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Facts That Matter Blog

At the ncIMPACT Initiative, we ground our research in the challenges faced by North Carolina’s state and local leaders and their communities. Through compelling story telling, the Facts That Matter blog shares data and evidence about collaborative problem solving efforts that chart a path forward in communities across the state. We share these stories for the benefit of other communities in pursuit of our mission to improve the lives of North Carolinians.


June 28, 2024

Water in North Carolina

Our relationship with water varies with our circumstances. Communities often want more clean drinking water to catalyze economic development and serve new residents and businesses. At the same time, they want less polluted runoff and flooding from the growing number of rooftops and extreme weather events. As a warming climate generates more violent storms, flooding is damaging more lives and property. In many communities, the 100-year storm is becoming a regular occurrence.

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June 28, 2024

Food Security in North Carolina

About 10.9% of North Carolina’s population, including 17% of children, experienced food insecurity in 2021 (Feeding America 2022). All North Carolina counties are affected by food insecurity, with rates generally higher in rural than urban or suburban areas.

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June 28, 2024

Energy in North Carolina

While North Carolina’s renewable energy leaders tend to be larger cities and communities in the Research Triangle region, there are many examples of rural areas and smaller cities benefiting from solar and other forms of clean energy investment.

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June 28, 2024

Climate in North Carolina

Washouts of NC 12 on the Outer Banks. Wildfires in Western North Carolina. Rising urban heat in the Piedmont. Sound familiar? North Carolina has seen all these events in recent years. What do they have in common? They are all intensified by a changing climate.

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June 21, 2024

Workplace/Workforce Disruption in North Carolina

Automation (substituting human labor with machines) is a long-term trend expected to primarily impact lower-paid, semi-skilled occupations like office administration, production, transportation, and food preparation (Muro et al., 2019). Powered by large language models such as ChatGPT, recent advances in generative artificial intelligence (AI) have greatly expanded the range of tasks that can be automated. Potentially vulnerable occupations include language and literature teachers, writers, legal services, finance, insurance, and accounting (Felten et al., 2023).

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June 21, 2024

Economic Restructuring in North Carolina

The predominant trend in the U.S. economy since the 1950s has been restructuring from a manufacturing to a service-sector base. Impacts include declining traditional blue-collar employment and increasing inequality between higher-paying jobs in the professional and technical sectors and low-wage, low-skilled jobs in the service sector. More recently, the rapid spread of digital technology and the Internet is spurring a new wave of economic restructuring. Key interconnected trends include e-commerce, the gig economy, and the subscription economy.

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June 21, 2024

North Carolina’s Circular Economy

Increasingly, once is not enough. The goal of a circular economy is to move from linear flows to circular flows of raw materials and finished products, extending the productive life of finished goods, reusing and recycling their components, and reducing or eliminating waste. Examples of this concept, like curbside recycling, are already part of daily life for many North Carolinians.[1] But opportunities abound for improving these systems, since only about a third of recyclable materials are currently being recovered from municipal solid waste in the state, and less than 20% of construction and demolition debris is currently being recycled.[2] Entrepreneurs in the state are also developing new ways to save resources and money by implementing zero-waste solutions.

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June 20, 2024

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency in North Carolina

A blockchain is a digital, internet-based ledger for recording transactions. Each record or “block” adds to the cumulative list of transactions or “chain.” Because it is shared, decentralized, and cryptographically protected, a blockchain is broadly accessible, independently verifiable, and resistant to tampering. These features have enabled it to support digital cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether that don’t require centralized intermediaries like banks. Some cryptocurrencies require complex verification, and individuals or firms compete to provide this service using computers in return for digital coins (cryptocurrency “mining”).

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June 20, 2024

Smart Communities in North Carolina

Smart community technologies can help local governments and communities in North Carolina do more with less, broaden community engagement, and improve service delivery.

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June 20, 2024

New Transportation Technology in North Carolina

Led by NCDOT’s Integrated Mobility Division, North Carolina is promoting the use of new transportation technology to achieve three goals: increase access, enhance quality of life, and ensure safety. The overall vision is for North Carolinians to have equal opportunity to get anywhere in the state, with or without a car.

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