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McDowell County ranks #2 in state for Most Value for Their Property Taxes

Rank County, State Property Tax Rate School Rating Home Value Growth Overall Index
1 Watauga, NC 0.44% 10.00 43.15% 85.56
2 McDowell, NC 0.57% 6.00 32.75% 81.38
3 Swain, NC 0.44% 7.00 26.78% 80.84
4 Avery, NC 0.46% 9.00 21.57% 76.83
5 Macon, NC 0.47% 7.00 29.32% 76.76
6 Rutherford, NC 0.72% 9.00 33.63% 76.48
7 Henderson, NC 0.60% 10.00 46.96% 76.32
8 Catawba, NC 0.73% 7.00 49.76% 76.13
9 Yancey, NC 0.58% 8.00 31.18% 75.29
10 Cleveland, NC 0.85% 8.00 42.68% 74.93
North Carolina 0.84% 5.58 42.06%


Our study aims to find the places in the United States where people are getting the most value for their property tax dollars. To do this, we looked at property taxes paid, school rankings and the change in property values over a five-year period.

First, we used the number of households, median home value and average property tax rate to calculate a per capita property tax collected for each county.

As a way to measure the quality of schools, we analyzed the math and reading/language arts proficiencies for every school district in the country. We created an average score for each district by looking at the scores for every school in that district, weighting it to account for the number of students in each school. Within each state, we assigned every county a score between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on the average scores of the districts in each county.

Then, we calculated the change in property value in each county over a five-year period. Places where property values rose by the greatest amount indicated where consumers were motivated to buy homes, and a positive return on investment for homeowners in the community.

Finally, we calculated a property tax index, based on the criteria above. Counties with the highest scores were those where property tax dollars are going the furthest.