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North Carolina State Facts and Higher Education Information

North Carolina is the U.S.'s tenth-largest state by population and one of its original thirteen British colonies. The state has a large variety of public universities and private colleges. Read about the state's economy, schools and population below.

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About North Carolina

North Carolina, also known as the Tar Heel State, is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the four southern states of Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. North Carolina is known for its varied natural landscape, which can be divided into three distinct geographic regions: the Appalachian Mountains in the west, the Piedmont in the center and the coastal plains to the east. As of 2015 U.S. Census estimates, the population of North Carolina was about 10 million.

Eastern North Carolina's climate is generally warm and humid, with summer highs averaging 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the southeastern portion of the state, while the mountainous section features a climate more similar to that of inland states, such as Indiana, due to its higher elevation.

North Carolina is home to Roanoke Island, the site of Sir Walter Raleigh's famous 'Lost Colony', as well as a variety of other cultural attractions. Charlotte Motor Speedway, a major NASCAR racetrack, is in Concord, while PNC Arena in Raleigh is the home arena for the Carolina Hurricanes NHL team. The wilderness areas of North Carolina, including the Blue Ridge Mountains and the east coast's tallest peak, Mount Mitchell, offer varied opportunities for hiking, camping and other outdoor activities.

Higher Education

North Carolina has about 205 colleges and universities. Its higher education traditions date back to the founding in 1795 of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, its flagship public university. UNC at Chapel Hill is ranked 30th among national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2016. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs through its schools and colleges, including the Kenan-Flagler Business School, a school of medicine, law school and the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

UNC has six other campuses throughout the state, including a Charlotte location and campuses in Greensboro, Pembroke and Asheville. North Carolina State University at Raleigh is the largest college in the state. It enrolls around 34,000 students. Other high-ranking schools in North Carolina include Duke University, ranked 8th in the nation by U.S. News in 2016, and Wake Forest University, ranked 27th in the nation.

Other schools include Winston-Salem State University, Davidson College, East Carolina University and Queens University of Charlotte. North Carolina also maintains a large public community college system, featuring 58 campuses across the state.

Economic Facts

North Carolina is a major agricultural, manufacturing and financial services center. Its agricultural products include soy, pork, dairy and eggs. Major industries in the state include defense, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and green energy. Additionally, North Carolina is one of the U.S.'s largest tobacco producers.

North Carolina is a major financial center, and Charlotte is the second-largest banking center after New York City. A number of financial institutions are based in this state, including Bank of America and BB&T.

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