Economic Profile

Of the more than 3,600 full time residents in Southport, 64 percent are currently employed, with over half of them commuting to work, presumably to nearby Wilmington. The most commonly held position is within management, professional and sales occupations, while the most prominent industry is educational, health and social services. The median household income is $56,042. Southport has a median residence value of $300,732.

Oak Island has a working culture that makes up 56 percent of it's total population. Of these, 80 percent commute with an average of a 20 minute travel time. The most commonly held occupation is within management, professional and sales positions while education, health and social services are the leading industries, with construction very close behind. The median household income was $52,462, and the average housing value was estimated to be $324,500.

Bald Head Island may have a small population, but it is a productive one. Around 86 percent of their population is currently employed, with the bulk of them holding positions in management, professional and sales roles. The leading industry in town is finance, insurance and real estate (including buying, rentals and leasing). The median household income of 2016 was $93,523, and housing value is estimated to be at a median price of $689,500.

Major Employers

35 Referendum Dr.
Bolivia, NC 28422
(910) 253-2900

The Brunswick County School System has earned District Accreditation from the AdvanceED organization. The Brunswick County School System strives to meet the diverse challenges of a growing student population of more than 12,500 from kindergarten through grade 12. The system is Brunswick County's largest employer with approximately 1800 employees to operate...more about Brunswick County Schools

Southport, NC 28461
(910) 457-2900

Duke Energy Progress owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides about 12,900 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.5 million customers in a 32,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in...more about Duke Energy Progress - Brunswick Plant

929 North Front Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
(910) 251 0081

PPD is a leading global contract research organization providing drug discovery, development and lifecycle management services. Their clients and partners include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, academic and government organizations.

Founded in Wilmington, the company has offices in 46 countries with more than 12,000 professionals worldwide. Their international headquarters is in downtown Wilmington....more about PPD

5135 Carolina Beach Road
Wilmngton, NC
(910) 452-0944

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 9,700 retail units under 69 different banners in 28 countries. With fiscal year 2011 sales of $419 billion, Walmart employs more than two million associates worldwide....more about Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.


Both Oak Island and Bald Head Island are popular vacation spots on North Carolina's southern coast. Their beaches are not densely developed, and therefore retain the natural beauty of untouched dunes and swaying sea grass. Tourists looking for a low-key, serene escape find these shores to be an ideal reprieve, causing the population to increase during the peak months. Because of this expansion, all of the businesses in the area experience a hearty revenue increase in the summer, and seasonal jobs are always available.

Real Estate

Directly related to the prominence of tourism is the thriving real estate industry. In fact, on Bald Head Island and Oak Island, about 30 percent of all the housing units are renter occupied, especially during the summer months. It's not just tourists that give real estate its distinction, but also the residents of nearby Wilmington and other inland citizens who use the area's beaches as a home away from home. With more than a dozen agencies catering to the area, the possibility for employment within this industry is high and can be very lucrative.

Senior Services and Healthcare

Due in part to the maritime location, which makes the climate unusually mild, the business of retirement has become a major industry in southern coastal areas. Warm spring breezes, hot summers, a mild autumn and a few days of freezing winter temperatures create a friendly weather pattern for retirees. Because of this, many services geared to retirees have been established in the area. (See our Retirement sections for more about senior services.)

Twelve percent of North Carolina's population is age 65 and older and the percentage is projected to grow in the future as the number of retirees continues to increase. In response and expectation, planned retirement communities, senior services, recreational opportunities aimed at retirees and other enterprises represent a large component of the local economy. As retirees flow into the area they contribute to the economy as well as giving their skills and knowledge to area volunteer organizations.

The rapidly expanding seniors' healthcare market is a national phenomenon, but it is particularly pronounced in coastal/resort communities. In addition to extensive medical services, New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties offer a large and constantly growing number of domiciliary care facilities. See our Healthcare sections for more information about area hospitals and medical services in the three-county area.

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