By the numbers…

• $258,045
Average price of a home in Asheville in 2009, down from $278,428 in 2008 (source: National Board of Realtors).
• 101.1
Cost of living in the Asheville metropolitan area in October 2010 (among the highest in the state); the national average is 100 (ACCRA Cost of Living Index).
• $807
Average monthly rental for an unfurnished, 2-bedroom, 950-square-foot apartment in the Asheville metro with 1 to 2 bathrooms as of March 2011 (ACCRA COLI).
• 7.7 percent
Buncombe County unemployment rate, March 2011 (N.C. Employment Security Commission).
• $34,381
Per capita income in the Asheville metro as of October 2010 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
• $85,044
Per capita income, Biltmore Forest (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
• $14.2 billion
Total personal wealth, Asheville metro (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
• 53rd
Asheville metro’s rank, nationally, in “independent retailer vitality”; in the mid-Atlantic region, Asheville ranked seventh (2011 survey by Civic Economics).
• 12,051
Number of businesses in the Asheville metro (U.S. Census Bureau).
• 6,623
Number of Asheville metro businesses employing between one and four people (U.S. Census Bureau).
• 229
Number of Asheville metro businesses employing more than 100 people (U.S. Census Bureau).
• 1,439
Number of businesses in 28801 ZIP code, which includes downtown Asheville (U.S. Census Bureau).
• 30,500
People in the Asheville metro employed in the health-services/private-education sector as of March 2011 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
• 27,900
People in the Asheville metro employed by local, state and federal governments as of March 2011 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
• 42,900
People in the Asheville metro employed in the retail, service and hospitality sectors as of March 2011 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
• 1,393
Number of Buncombe County homes in foreclosure during 2010 (N.C. Justice Center).
• 16.12 percent
Average Asheville metro residents’ debt as a percentage of their annual income — the sixth-worst in the nation (Equifax study).
• 23.9 percent
Percentage of Asheville metro residents who struggled to feed themselves or their families at some point in 2010 (Food Research and Action Center).

— — David Forbes

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