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Census data shows fastest growing, shrinking counties in NC



RALEIGH, N.C. News- It’s no secret cities around the Triangle are among the fastest growing in North Carolina. In some cases, the rate of population increase is higher than the national rate, while the average age is younger than the national average.

From 2010-20, new Census data shows the country experienced an overall 7.4 percent increase in population. In North Carolina, the population grew 9.5 percent.

While not the largest county in the state, Johnston County’s population growth outpaced the state’s overall rate. The growing county’s population has grown 28 percent, from 168,878 residents in 2010 to 215,999 in 2020. About 14 percent of the county’s population is over the age of 65, that’s lower than the national average of about 17 percent.

Additionally, Brunswick County isn’t too far behind Johnston County, growing 27.2 percent between 2010-20. Its population now sits at 136,693. The coastal county’s population is older than Johnston County, however, with more than one quarter of residents falling in the 65 and older category.

Cabarrus County also experienced growth, with a 27 percent population growth, increasing from 178,000 to nearly 226,000 people. About 14 percent of the population is over the age of 65.

To no surprise, Wake County was the fourth fastest-growing county in the state, gaining more than 220,000 residents between 2010-20. Wake County’s 25 percent population growth resulted in a count of 1,129,410 in 2020. The county’s attraction to young professionals is evident with more than 87 percent of its population under the age of 65, higher than the national average.

Finally, another area for young professionals, Durham County, isn’t too far behind experiencing 21.4 percent growth in population. It boosted its population from 267,587 in 2010 to 324,833 in 2020. It’s a relatively young population with 86 percent of people under the age of 86.

While these areas are growing Census data also shows some shrinking parts of the state. Below are the counties experiencing the slowest growth:

  • Tyrell County: -26.4%
  • Northhampton County: -20.9%
  • Hyde County: -21%
  • Anson County: -18.2%
  • Washington County : -16.8%
  • Duplin County: -16.7%

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