Keep up with our latest demographic insights

NC in Focus: Charlotte and Raleigh captured 27% of NC population growth between 2010 and 2015

In 2015, Charlotte and Raleigh were among both the top 50 largest cities in the United States and the top 50 in numeric population growth since 2010, according to recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. As of July 1, 2015: Charlotte (827,097) was the 17th largest city in the United States, following Ft. Worth, TX, and ahead of Seattle, WA. It had the 9th largest numeric growth between 2010 and 2015, gaining more than…

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The persistent “rurality” of North Carolina

As we’ve mentioned in the past, North Carolina has a large population residing in areas that the U.S. Census Bureau classifies as rural. Among the 10 most populous states, North Carolina has the largest proportion of individuals living in rural areas. In fact, North Carolina’s rural population is larger than that of any other state except for Texas. Prior to coming to Carolina Demography, I worked in a similar role producing and interpreting demographic data…

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NC in Focus: Shifting from small towns to larger cities

When I moved into my first office at UNC, I inherited a framed, infographic poster published by the News & Observer after the release of the 2000 Census data. It’s a great overview of the significant growth and change that occurred in North Carolina between 1990 and 2000, and highlights many trends that continued in the decade that followed. One of these shifts was the increasing concentration of population in mid-size towns and larger cities.…

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NC in Focus: When did we transition to majority urban?

1920 marked the first year that more U.S. residents lived in urban areas than rural areas (51% vs. 49%). In North Carolina, this transition did not occur until 1990, when 50.4% of state residents were living in urban areas compared to 49.6% living in rural areas. In 1990, only South Dakota (50%), Mississippi (47%), Maine (45%), West Virginia (36%), and Vermont (32%) had smaller shares of their population living in urban areas. Globally, 2010 marked…

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NC Legislative District Population Estimates and Deviation from Ideal Population Size, 2014

Following the decennial Census, political districts, such as U.S. Congressional Districts and state legislative districts, are reapportioned to states and counties on the basis of population and their boundaries are redrawn in a process called redistricting. Broadly speaking, the goal of redistricting is to make each district as close in population size in possible. While North Carolina’s population growth continues to outpace the nation, this growth is concentrated in the state’s urban areas. Nearly half of the state’s population growth since 2010 has occurred in two counties—Wake and Mecklenburg. Over this same time period, 49 of the state’s 100 counties have lost population. Today’s post explores the implications of these population shifts on the state’s legislative districts.

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All congressional district boundaries will require adjustment in 2021 redistricting

North Carolina will likely have 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives following the post-2020 Census reapportionment process. While we cannot guarantee a 14th seat (no matter how likely), we can guarantee significant changes to the state’s congressional district boundaries during the 2021 redistricting process. North Carolina’s population has grown substantially in the past few decades, and it continues to grow. At the same time, population is increasingly concentrated in urban cores within the…

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What will your city be like in 15 years?

We know that Raleigh and Charlotte are among the fastest growing urban areas in the nation, while many rural areas of the state are facing population losses and stagnation. But if we know anything about the future with certainty, it’s that the future is inherently uncertain! How likely are these patterns? A new interactive tool from the Urban Institute uses historical trends and census data to map population projections for every state and metro area…

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Incorporated Municipalities: 5 Demographic Takeaways

The turn of the century marked a key moment in North Carolina’s rural to urban transition: it was the first time in state history that a majority of residents were living in incorporated municipalities. Today, nearly 5.5 million individuals—56% of the state’s population—reside in one of the state’s 552 incorporated municipalities. These municipalities vary widely in key characteristics related to future growth and planning. The smallest—Fontana Dam Village in Graham County—contains 20 residents. At the…

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Urbanization Trends

2010 marked the first time the majority of the world’s population was living in urban areas (52%), up from 47% in 2000. The global share of population living in urban areas is projected to increase to two-thirds by 2050. In 1990, the nation’s population was heavily urban (78%). By 2010, more than four of every five U.S. residents was living in an urban area. In some states, such as California (95%) and New Jersey (94.7%), nearly…

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Half of North Carolinians Live in These 13 Counties

Half of the 316 million people living in the United States live in one of the nation’s 145 most populous counties based on calculations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 Population Estimates. With 3,143 counties nationwide, this means that half of the U.S. population lives in just 4.6% of all counties. In North Carolina, half of the state’s nearly 10 million residents were living in 13 counties in 2013 (13% of the state’s 100 counties).…

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