Rocky Mount is a city in Edgecombe and Nash counties in the Atlantic coastal plain region of the U.S. state of North Carolina. Incorporated on February 19, 1867, the community at the falls of the Tar River that became the city of Rocky Mount dates from the middle of the 18th century. The city's population is estimated to be 53,922 as of 2019, making it the 17th-most populous city in North Carolina. Rocky Mount is the principal city of the Rocky Mount metropolitan area, which includes Edgecombe and Nash counties, often called the "Twin Counties", and had an estimated population of 146,021 in 2018. Rocky Mount is also an anchor city of the Rocky Mount-Wilson-Roanoke Rapids Combined Statistical Area in northeast North Carolina with a total population of 297,726 as of 2018.
While historically strong in rail transportation, textiles and agriculture, the economy of Rocky Mount has diversified into biomedical pharmaceuticals and manufacturing in recent decades. Being at the juncture of a number of important highways and railway, distribution and logistics also play a key role in local business. The city also has a strong service sector as the home to a number of financial and customer support centers. Rocky Mount's location less than an hour away from Raleigh and the Research Triangle has attracted new companies looking to balance a skilled labor force with significantly lower costs of living and doing business. Forbes ranked the city as number six for cost of doing business on its list of Best Small Places For Business And Careers in 2018. Rocky Mount has also twice received the All-America City Award from the National Civic League in 1969 and 1999.
The region around the Tar River was continuously inhabited by indigenous people for 12,000 years before the first Europeans arrived, when it was home to the Tuscarora people.