North Carolina Named America’s Most Corrupt City, Again

North Carolina has encountered its share of corruption scandals, ranging from voter fraud to bribery, solidifying its reputation for political misconduct and abuse of power. A recent study by the Institute for Corruption Studies at Illinois State University reveals that not only is North Carolina among the most corrupt states in the nation, but it also claims the dubious title of the most corrupt city.

The study, relying on a survey of journalists covering state politics, assesses states and cities based on perceived levels of both illegal and legal corruption. Illegal corruption involves private gains, such as cash or gifts, exchanged by government officials for providing specific benefits. Legal corruption pertains to political gains, like campaign contributions or endorsements, in exchange for providing benefits, either explicitly or implicitly understood.

According to the study, North Carolina ranks 10th for illegal corruption at the state level and 7th for legal corruption. However, at the city level, North Carolina takes the lead as the most corrupt city in both categories. While the study doesn’t pinpoint which city is the most corrupt, it’s likely referring to Raleigh, the state capital, where most government officials and agencies are concentrated.

Causes of Corruption in North Carolina

The high levels of corruption in North Carolina can be attributed to various factors:

  1. Population growth and urban sprawl: Increased demand for public services and infrastructure outpaces available resources and oversight, creating opportunities for corruption and mismanagement.
  2. Economic activity and trade: Growing industries and businesses compete for the state’s market and policies, but inadequate regulation and transparency lead to corruption and influence-peddling.
  3. Travel behavior and preferences: Changing lifestyles and preferences are not reflected in transportation policies, creating opportunities for corruption and favoritism.
  4. Road design and conditions: Aging and deteriorating roads lack sufficient funding for maintenance, leading to corruption and waste.
  5. Weather and incidents: More severe weather events strain emergency preparedness and response, resulting in corruption and abuse.

Effects of Corruption in North Carolina

Corruption in North Carolina has several detrimental effects:

  1. Lost time and productivity: Traffic congestion reduces productivity, income, and happiness, impacting the overall economic output and competitiveness of the state.
  2. Wasted fuel and emissions: Traffic increases fuel consumption and emissions, contributing to transportation costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollution.
  3. Increased accidents and fatalities: Congested and chaotic traffic raises the risk of collisions, injuries, property damage, and legal costs, impacting safety and security.
  4. Reduced accessibility and mobility: Congestion limits access and availability, particularly for disadvantaged or marginalized individuals, affecting social and economic well-being.

Solutions for Corruption in North Carolina

Addressing corruption in North Carolina requires comprehensive solutions:

  1. Expand and improve the road network: Increase capacity and efficiency by adding lanes, interchanges, and bypasses and upgrading existing infrastructure to reduce congestion.
  2. Enhance and promote public transit: Improve the quality, frequency, and coverage of public transit to reduce reliance on private vehicles.
  3. Implement and enforce smart transportation policies: Use technology, data, tolls, congestion pricing, and parking management to create intelligent and responsive transportation policies.
  4. Encourage alternative modes of transportation: Provide facilities, infrastructure, and programs for alternative modes, such as bike lanes, sidewalks, and carpooling.
  5. Strengthen and reform anti-corruption institutions and laws: Increase resources, independence, and accountability of anti-corruption agencies, enhance transparency, participation, and enforcement of laws, reducing corruption.


While North Carolina boasts beauty and diversity, its serious corruption problem threatens democracy, development, and dignity. Action is imperative to combat corruption and safeguard the state’s future. It’s time for North Carolina’s people and leaders to unite against corruption, recognizing that it’s not inevitable or acceptable. Corruption can and must be fought for the sake of the state and its future.

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