Katie Zager

Social research specialist


Katie Zager is a social research specialist with UNC Charlotte Metropolitan Studies, where she works on the Quality of Life Dashboard and has worked with Carolinas Health Care system. She grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and has also lived in Texas, California and Minnesota.


Zager received a bachelor's degree in geography in 2012 from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. In 2014 she earned a master's degree in geography from UNC Charlotte.


Zager works with Census data, neighborhood analyses and GIS mapping. Other interests include the relationship between health outcomes and neighborhood-level factors.


  • ui.uncc.edu
    Mar 30, 2020
    The coronavirus crisis is growing across North Carolina, with a statewide stay-at-home order going into effect Monday, but the effects could be felt differently from place to place. 
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Mar 24, 2020
    Mecklenburg County residents are directed to stay at home through a new proclamation Tuesday, in order to limit their social contacts and slow the spread of coronavirus. But some residents could find that harder to do: The rate of crowded housing varies widely across the city of Charlotte and the rest of the county. 
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Mar 20, 2020
    Charlotte is home to the world’s sixth-busiest airport by takeoffs and landings, and Charlotte Douglas International is often cited as the region’s most important economic asset. That’s why the airline industry’s sudden existential crisis could be especially consequential for the region.  Because of the coronavirus crisis, American Airlines and other carriers are struggling with the twin blow of a massive dropoff in customer demand and radically tightened restrictions on where they can fly.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Mar 19, 2020
    Restaurant workers are grappling with the industry’s near shutdown in North Carolina due to coronavirus. Another category of workers being hit hard is those employed by the retail sector. The closures have come swiftly over the past week, engulfing an ever-widening swath of stores locally:...
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Mar 18, 2020
    With Gov. Roy Cooper’s declaration this week that restaurants must close their dining rooms and move to carry-out only, restaurant workers across the region are scrambling to figure out how they’ll get by during the coronavirus crisis.  Food services and drinking establishments (basically, restaurants and bars) account for almost 9 percent of the region’s jobs: 115,000 out of 1.35 million total jobs in Mecklenburg and the surrounding 13 counties.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Nov 18, 2019
    Ecosystems such as forests and wetlands provide clean air and water, food, building materials, and recreational opportunities. The benefits people receive from nature are referred to as “ecosystem services.”  Our interactions with ecosystems can have a positive impact, boosting our health and the economy. We can also have a negative impact on the health and survival of these natural resources.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Nov 15, 2019
    There’s a common narrative about people in rural areas seeking opportunities: they should go to the big city and leave the country behind.  Rural counties are often seen as hollowed out or in decline, while cities and their adjacent suburbs boom. While population in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study area has become much more concentrated in the urban and suburban core, the story is (as usual) more complex than that.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Nov 12, 2019
    Charlotte has struggled with housing affordability in recent years, as the city faces rising rents and home prices driven by rapid growth and low supply.  But urban areas are not the only places grappling with these challenges, even though affordable housing is typically seen as an urban problem. Rural areas in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study region are also experiencing a severe housing shortage and affordability issue.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Nov 11, 2019
    We don’t often think about crossing state lines. Other than changes in gas prices or the availability of fireworks, there’s little visible difference as you cross from North Carolina into South Carolina, or vice versa. But that line appears to influence our behavior, at least when it comes to how we spend leisure time. 
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Sep 30, 2019
    New data on the Quality of Life Explorer mapping tool paint a picture of how demographics are changing across Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, as well as other measures such as bicycle friendliness, voter participation and average water consumption.