Featured projects


Using datasets and primary research, we provide accessible and customizable insights in whatever format makes the most sense for your team. Learn more about our work and explore stories of how our clients use our tools and expertise to inform their decisions.

Providing real-time response rates for the 2020 Census

In 2020, the NC Counts Coalition provided funding to more than 60 NC-based organizations working to reach the communities most at-risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census. The Coalition had previously worked with Carolina Demography to create a map identifying the communities across the state that could be hard to count in the 2020 Census.  They used this map to identify their priority areas and make funding decisions. As Census collection efforts began, they wanted us to provide their grant recipients with real-time information about Census counts in their targeted communities so that they…

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Improving NC’s FAFSA completion rate

Completing the FAFSA is strongly and positively associated with postsecondary enrollment. An analysis of data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that 88% of high school seniors who completed a FAFSA in 2012-13 had attended college by February 2016, compared to 49% of students who did not file a FAFSA. Increasing FAFSA completion is also a fundamental step in North Carolina’s efforts to meet the statewide education attainment goal. But how could school districts best track their students’ progress and increase FAFSA participation? That was the question at the heart of our recent…

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Measuring the data that matters to a community

Background Creating structure around data Our clients were, in their words “swimming in data soup.” They often had to collaborate together on county and town-level projects, and wanted to ensure that they were using numbers from the same data sources and had the same understanding about the status of their community. Their goal: to align around their work and their messaging around that work. They enlisted Carolina Demography to streamline their existing processes for acquiring, updating, and maintaining the data they used for their community reports and presentations and to inform decision-making by local governments,…

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Telling the story of COVID-19 in NC

Launched on December 18, 2020, the UNC Gillings COVID-19 Dashboard provides a centralized resource center for information about COVID-19 in North Carolina. Using modern epidemiologic tools, the dashboard has become a resource for policy makers, researchers and anyone interested in learning more about COVID-19 in the state. The dashboard also provides county-level profiles and interactive COVID-19 data visualizations for North Carolina, allowing users to see what’s happening in their area of the state by mapping demographics, health outcomes, economic characteristics and more. Carolina Demography worked closely with the core project team to provide data and…

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Understanding a community after redistricting

North Carolina’s 4th congressional district is currently represented by Congressman David Price. Mandatory redistricting in 2019 changed the boundaries of the district, which now encompasses all of Durham County, Orange County, Granville County, and Franklin County, as well as parts of Chatham County, Wake County, and Vance County. In 2020, David Price’s office approached us because they wanted to better understand the context of their new district and learn more about who their new constituents were. They asked us to create a comprehensive demographic and economic profile of the redrawn 4th district, and to detail…

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Telling the story of a region through data

Background The Research Triangle Regional Partnership is an economic development organization that works with 12 core counties located in Central North Carolina. The organization serves as a connector between businesses looking to expand or relocate in the Triangle and the economic development offices, government agencies, and business organizations that can help fuel their growth. They approached Carolina Demography in 2020 with an ask: Could we build a databook for them to use in two ways: To source the material for their 2020 State of the Region event and publications To use for business planning by…

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Soup-to-nuts data analysis

Appalachian GEAR UP wanted to provide each of the counties they serve with clear and usable information showing how their students were meeting college and career readiness benchmarks at key milestones between middle school and college. They also wanted each county to learn how their students were performing as compared to other students within their Prosperity Zone and the state of North Carolina. They asked Carolina Demography to determine which data sources were needed, perform an analysis on that data, and then create a series of one pagers for each county. We started by having…

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Visualizing NC’s hard-to-count communities

In 2010, just over three of every four North Carolina households mailed back their census forms (76%), a seven percentage point increase in mail participation compared to 2000 (69%). Higher participation rates reduce the overall costs of conducting the census. And, when individuals self-respond, the data is more accurate. An inaccurate count paints a distorted picture of the make-up of our communities and will result in a misallocation of resources for North Carolina.  To help North Carolina achieve a complete and accurate census count, Carolina Demography worked with the NC Counts Coalition to create a map that identifies communities across the state…

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Creating easy-to-use educational data

In 2018, the John M. Belk Endowment asked Carolina Demography to examine North Carolina students’ education outcomes at public, in-state schools and indicate gaps where interventions could be implemented to meet the state’s increasing need for a highly trained workforce. “We knew that less than half of working-age North Carolinians had earned a credential beyond a high school diploma,” says MC Belk Pilon, the president and board chair of the John M. Belk Endowment. “Still, much of the story remained unclear.” In collaboration with the John M. Belk Endowment, Carolina Demography mapped out a complete…

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Helping a community college understand migration patterns

Background  Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech) serves the students of Wake County and surrounding areas. Leaders at Wake Tech wanted to better understand the rapid growth and migration patterns in the region that would help them plan for future recruitment and enrollment at Wake Tech. Approach   We used data from a variety of sources – the  U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, U.S. Census Bureau commuting data (LODES), student data from the NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Community College System (NCCCS) data, and custom-developed population projections from a…

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