By on 3.28.18 in NC in Focus

Women’s History Month has its roots in various “Women’s History Week” celebrations dating back to the late 1970s. The commemoration was often anchored to the March 8th observance of International Women’s Day. As support for the celebration grew, Congress ultimately passed a resolution recognizing March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week”. In 1987, this event was expanded to the entire month in perpetuity. An annual Presidential Proclamation is now issued every March to recognize the achievements of women in the United States.
Here are some facts about women in North Carolina:

5.2 million

The total female population in North Carolina as of July 2016, or about 51% of the state population.1


The number of counties, out of 100, where women outnumber men in North Carolina. Statewide, the sex ratio of males to females is about 95 men for every 100 women. In the United States, this ratio was 97 men to 100 women.

Edgecombe County features the lowest sex ratio with just 86 men for every 100 women. At the other end, Hyde County has the highest sex ratio with approximately 124 men for every 100 women.1

6.4 million

The projected female population by 2035. The female population is projected to grow by 22% from 2016 to 2035, compared to 21% projected growth for men.

Because of the higher projected growth among the female population, North Carolina’s sex gap is projected to widen slightly at 94 men to 100 women.2


There are just four counties where Hispanic women outnumber Hispanic men: Cherokee, Currituck, Pasquotank, and Tyrrell.1

For all other racial and ethnic subgroups, women outnumber men in most North Carolina counties:

  • white women outnumber white men in 85 counties;
  • Asian women outnumber Asian men in 85 counties;
  • black women outnumber black men in 63 counties; and
  • American Indian women outnumber American Indian men in 55 counties.


The share of women aged 25 years and over who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in North Carolina, compared to 30% of men aged 25 years and over.

Women in the state are slightly less likely to have attained a BA+ than the female national average (32%). Men in North Carolina are also one percentage point below the male national average of 32%.3

2.4 million

The number of women aged 16 years and over in North Carolina’s labor force. Women made up 48% of the total pool of workers in North Carolina, one percentage point higher than their national share of 47%. 3

Top occupations for women (share of female employed population 16 years and over):3

  • Professional and Related Occupations – 27%
  • Office and Administrative Support Occupations – 18%
  • Management, Business, and Financial Operations Occupations – 14%
  • Sales and Related Occupations – 12%
  • Food Preparation and Service Related Occupations – 7%


The number of female-owned businesses with paid employees in 2015, up from 29,929 in 2014.4 From 2014 to 2015, the number of female-owned businesses in North Carolina grew by 4%, one percentage point faster than their growth nationwide (3%).

Female-owned firms represent nearly 20% of all North Carolina businesses with paid employees, on par with the national average. Collectively, these NC firms employed over 250,000 individuals in 2015.4

$5 billion+

Total sales and receipts of female-owned firms with paid employees in 2015.4

1. 2016 Census Population Estimates – U.S. Census Bureau
2. County Projections – North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management
3. 2016 1-Year American Community Survey Estimates – U.S. Census Bureau
4. 2015 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs – U.S. Census Bureau
Information on Women’s History Month provided by the National Women’s History Project and

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