North Carolina has the second largest rural population in the country, with one in three residents living in rural areas. Rural North Carolinians face higher levels of unemployment and poverty than their urban counterparts, and earn lower incomes. Changing this situation and achieving employment equity — when everyone who wants to work has access to a job that pays family-supporting wages and the lack of a good job cannot be predicted by race, gender, or geography — is crucial to the economic future of not only rural North Carolina, but that of the entire state. This is the fourth of five briefs about employment equity in southern states produced by the National Equity Atlas partnership with the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This report was released in partnership with Rural Forward NC and the NC Budget & Tax Center. Download the report, detailed methodology, and fact sheet.