Think it’s getting more crowded around here lately?
Wake County recently hit a new milestone… 1 million residents! Wake County is growing by an average of 63 people each day (including births, deaths, and people moving), and has added 100,000 people in the last four years.
According to US Census numbers, Wake County’s population grew by 43.5% between 2000 and 2010, which was the highest growth of any metropolitan area in the nation for that period (newgeography.com). During the recession, the Raleigh-Durham metro area grew more than any other metro region in the U.S. (News&Observer 2010), and this growth is continuing, with Wake County projected to reach 2 million residents by 2054. (Wakegov.com). Half of these new arrivals are moving into apartments and condos.
Raleigh continues to be ranked as one of the best places to live in the nation. It’s no wonder that the Raleigh metro region is projected to be the fastest growing in the U.S. over the coming decade (proximityone.com 2011). Raleigh’s population is due to DOUBLE in the next two decades, and about half of today’s growth occurs in Raleigh and Cary combined.
Much of the growth happening in Wake County is from minority ethnicities, senior citizens and young professional “Millennials”. At the current pace, minority populations are expected to grow to 35% by 2020, moving towards “majority minority” (triangle.uli.org). Among retirees who choose to move, the Carolinas are the #1 destination choice (triangle.uli.org), and as more tech companies locate to the Triangle, many young professionals are moving here to find jobs.
These changes don’t come without challenges.
- The Raleigh–Cary area worker’s average commute time is increasing, now about 25.18 minutes – the 5th longest commute time average nationally (2009 American Community Survey administered by the US Census Bureau).
- With the high number of cars on the roads, it is no surprise that Wake County consistently ranks among the top North Carolina counties in the number of unhealthy air quality days per year (EPA website).
- With the influx of new arrivals and population growth booming, the state’s treasured natural areas will disappear. A 2007 report by Environment North Carolina shows that the Triangle will lose 37% of its natural areas by 2027 unless legislative action is taken. Every day 27-35 acres are lost to development in Wake County.
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