Monday numbers: A closer look at North Carolina’s population growth



After unveiling the official population counts of the State, the United States Census Bureau released a new set of county and metropolitan area-level population estimates for 2020 ahead of the 2020 census detailed counts later this fall.

Estimates are calculated by tracking births, deaths, and migration in addition to the 2010 census baseline. The figures serve as a benchmark for the number of people residing in each county. While the official state-wide tally of 10,439,388 is lower than the estimate of 10,600,823, it came extremely close.

Here are some highlights of the 2020 population estimates.

North Carolina: one of the country’s most dynamic states

10 600 823 – estimate of the resident population of North Carolina in 2020

11.2% – North Carolina’s estimated ten-year population growth rate since 2010 – this places the state 11th among 50 states and the District of Columbia.

99,439 – population growth between July 2019 and June 2020, the fourth largest growth nationally, after Texas, Florida and Arizona

110,026 – demographic growth for the 2019 financial year

118,855 – number of births statewide in fiscal year 2020, a rate of 11.26%, down slightly from 11.4% in fiscal year 2019

102,921 – number of deaths statewide in fiscal year 2020, a death rate of 9.75%, up from 9.11% a year ago

15,934 – population added due to North Carolina’s natural increase in FY2020, which equals births minus deaths (which ranked 12th nationally)

23 948 – population added in fiscal year 2019 (the decrease in 2020 was due to an increase in new deaths and a decrease in new births

More counties have negative natural increases in 2020

1,132,271 – number of residents of Wake County estimated in 2020. Wake overtakes Mecklenburg (1,128,945) for the first time as the most populous county, thanks mainly to net migration. However, the number of net migration in FY2020 – 13,489 – is still lower than a year ago, largely due to a decrease in net international migration.

-798 – Estimated population loss of Craven County in 2020 compared to a year ago, the county with the largest population loss – in 2019 Robeson lost around 1,450

69 – counties are expected to have positive population growth in fiscal year 2020 compared to a year ago.

31 declining countries

26 – number of counties with a positive natural increase between July 2019 and June 2020, which means that births outnumber deaths

74 – number of counties with negative natural increase, which means that deaths exceeded births between July 2019 and June 2020

58 – number of counties with positive overall population growth between 2010 and 2020

42 —Number estimated to have fewer residents than in 2010

38% – ten-year growth rate of Brunswick County population estimated between 2010 and 2020 – highest of all counties, followed by Johnson (28%) and Wake (25%)

13.6% – rate of population decline in Northampton County between 2010 and 2020, the largest decline statewide

Migration, a constant source of demographic growth

83,616 – number of residents gained by migration, or the margin of people who moved minus those who moved in 2020 – UNC-CH Caroline Population Center described migration as “the engine of North Carolina’s growth over the past 30 years”

4th – where North Carolina ranks nationally (the number, however, is down from 86,060 a year ago)

13 387 – the number of net international migration (the number of new residents of North Carolina who immigrated from abroad compared to the number of those who moved abroad) during the period July 2019 to June 2020

70 229 – population added due to migration, meaning that 70,229 more new North Carolina residents left other states than those who moved to other states during the period July 2019 to June 2020

27 – number of counties where more residents moved than new residents in fiscal year 2020

73 – number of counties that recorded positive net migration in fiscal year 2020

35 367 – The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metropolitan area gained more residents through migration than any other metro or county (the number was 33,307 in fiscal 2019)

Source: United States Census Bureau



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