Catawba County and its municipalities consistently rank high in national lists and publications.

USA Today readers ranked Hickory as having the 9th best main street in the US (April 2024)

US News & World Report ranked the Hickory MSA as #1 in their list of Most Affordable Places to Live in the US for the second year in a row. (May 2023)

US News & World Report  named Hickory, NC as #40 in the US for Best Places to Retire in the US,in NC(Oct. 2021)

United Van Lines recognized the HIckory MSA as #15 in the nation for inbound moves. (Jan. 2023)

US News & World Report  named Hickory, NC as one of the Best Places to Retire in the US, 3rd in NC. (Oct. 2021)

US News & World Report ranked the Hickory MSA as 4th for Most Affordable Places to Live in the US and as 5th in Best Places to Live in NC. (Jul. 2021)

Site Selection magazine ranked the Hickory MSA as 6th in the nation for number of economic development projects per capita in their 2020 Governor's Cup rankings. (Mar. 2021)

Smartest Dollar ranked the Hickory MSA as #1 midsize metro for number of manufactuirng jobs(Nov. 2020)

Business Facilities ranked the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton MSA #5 midsize MSA for manufacturing in their 2020 Metro And Global Rankings Reports.
Once again, has ranked the Greater Hickory Metro as having the lowest business costs in the nation for 2019. Since 2006 the metro area has been ranked no lower than 6th.  (Oct. 2019) ranked the Greater Hickory Metro as having the lowest business costs in the nation for 2018. Since 2006 the metro area has been ranked no lower than 6th.  (Oct. 2018)

Newton-Conover City School's Discovery High School in Newton received a silver medal from U.S. News & World Report's May 2018 ranking of the top U.S. public high schoolsThe publication evaluated more than 20,500 public high schools across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, awarding gold, silver and bronze medals to 6,000 of those schools.  Discovery High School was ranked in the top third of those schools and in the top 10% of all schools across the nation. 

Business North Carolina's February 2018 issue features Catawba County. From K-64, to recent economic development announcements, to the Manufacturing Solutions Center in Conover, to Maiden as home of Apple's east coast data campus, Catawba County delivers on its promises and is Making. Living. Better.  (Feb. 2018)

Carolina Reno's pilot episode on HGTV featured Conover-grown entrepreneur brother-sister duo, Roxy Te Owens and San San Te. Pending great ratings, there’s potential for a Catawba County-based series.  (Jan. 2018)

Charlotte Magazine published an article on the thriving business climate in the Hickory Metro featuring Chamber Shareholders and Investors, Century Furniture, the Hickory Furniture Mart, Transportation Insight, Hatch Sandwich Bar, Hickory Tree Furniture Consignment, and Highland Avenue Restaurant, among a few other local businesses.  (Jan. 2018)

National Geographic listed Hickory in the top 30 best small cities in the U.S. noting its hipster-friendly offerings, from tattoo parlors to vintage clothing boutiques. Craft-beer enthusiasts gather at the popular annual Hickory Hops festival featuring more than 50 microbreweries and live music.  (Jan. 2018)

WTVI PBS Charlotte featured downtown Newton in a January episode of Carolina Impact showcasing the Catawba County Museum of History, the Old Post Office Playhouse and the historic Newton Depot and Museum.  (Jan. 2018)

USA Today rated Hickory the third biggest economic gainer of 2017, after rising 64 places to No. 103 on Milken Institute’s list of Best-Performing Cities in America.  (Jan. 2018)

Pottery Barn’s January 2018 catalog gives a much-deserved shout out to all of the talented men and women who craft their beautiful line of upholstered furniture at Sutter Street Manufacturing Inc. in Claremont.  (Jan. 2018)

Realtor.Com named Hickory as the top “Tinsel Town” in America for holiday lovers. We were placed at the top of the list after considering a variety of holiday aspects, including Christmas parades, holiday events, and the number of Christmas trees cut down.  (Dec. 2017)

Although we didn’t make the short list for Amazon’s HQ2, we received regional, national and global press from publications such as the Charlotte Business JournalCNBC.comThe Seattle Times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Times, only to name a few.  (Oct. 2017)

SmartAsset, a financial technology company, ranked Hickory as the 9th best place to raise a family in North Carolina. The study considered 10 different factors, including data on median home values, violent and property crime rates, unemployment rates, housing costs, percent of families in poverty, high school graduation rate, and median household income.  (Oct. 2017)

The Kiplinger Letter included Hickory in the top 10 best places to retire in the U.S. in August 2017. It detailed our moderate weather and location, low cost of living, vibrant arts scene, access to quality health care, and revitalization efforts as evidence of a thriving quality of life.  (Aug. 2017) ranked Hickory the No. 20 safest city in North Carolina, based on low violent crime and property crime rates, as well as the best citizen-to-officer ratio.  (Apr. 2017) counted Conover, Newton, Hickory and Long View in the top 100 Safest Cities in NC in 2017.  (Apr. 2017)

Inc. named Hickory among its 6 cheapest US cities to start a business(Nov. 2015)

The Economic Policy Institute ranked the Metro area the 2nd least expensive MSA in North Carolina for a family of four.  (Aug 2015)

NerdWallet named Hickory and Conover the 4th and 6th best places to start a business in North Carolina.  (May 2015)

Movoto listed Hickory in their 10 most exciting places in North Carolina, ranking the city 5th in North Carolina for the number of nightlife venues per capita and also ranking it well for its number of non-fast food restaurants.  (Jun. 2014)