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Center for Advanced Research & Data Analytics

For the past __ years, our local governments and other entities in the educational and private sectors have relied on the Western Piedmont COG’s Data Center for demographic and economic analyses to help understand regional trends and make data-driven policy decisions. WPCOG has developed significant capabilities to obtain and analyze data from various resources – from the U.S. Census to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Recently, WPCOG took the initiative to improve efficiency by streamlining our data analysis processes through investments in the social explorer. The innovative tool combines demographic and economic data into one platform. The social explorer will allow our data team to spend more time analyzing relevant data for clients, and less time searching for data.

With the creation of the new Western Piedmont COG Center for Advanced Research and Data Analytics, staff are expanding into the new and highly useful field of location analytics. Location analytics helps streamline the planning process, gain insights into the economic impacts of events and festivals, learn more about the demographic profiles of visitors, optimize marketing efforts, evaluate migration and commuting patterns, recruit businesses, and discover visitation to any destination or attraction.


Staff will continue to provide the region with previous data options provided in the past, but will now include two new ways to provide clients with access to cutting-edge information. Contact Duncan Cavanaugh for additional information.

The Western Piedmont Council of Governments is one of 16 regional affiliates in the North Carolina State Data Center network. The WPCOG Center for Advanced Research and Data Analytics has access to the following sets regional data:


  • American Community Survey (ACS) data from the US Census Bureau

  • Building permit data for Alexander County, Burke County, City of Morganton, Caldwell County and Catawba County

  • Decennial and economic census data

  • Education data

  • Employment data provided by the NC Labor and Economic Analysis Division (NC LEAD) and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (US BLS)

  • Regional commuting patterns

  • Regional average daily traffic counts

  • Other social-economic information for the Greater Hickory Metro area

Staff provides assistance in locating and analyzing demographics for local governments, nonprofits and the private sector. Staff also produces specialized data products including community assessments, economic indicators newsletters, industry growth analysis, and student growth estimation models.

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