North Carolina Population 2021

10,701,000
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The North Carolina population statistics make for very interesting reading as a whole, but how do the numbers stack up in recent years? North Carolina currently has a very healthy growth rate of 1.13%, which ranks 14th in the nation.

It's essential to look at the last set of confirmed figures which were declared at the time of the official US census of 2010. At the time, it was reported that there were 9,535,483 people living in the state, and that represented a significant rise of 18.5% from the numbers declared in 2000.

North Carolina Area and Population Density

Situated on the east coast of the United States, North Carolina is just the 28th largest state in the country in terms of area but it has a relatively high population density.

North Carolina may only rank in the lower middle half of the US in terms of size but it more than makes up for those statistics with its population density. The total surface area is 53,819 square miles (139,390 square kilometers) and there is an average of 196 people for every square mile. This makes North Carolina the 15th most densely populated state in the US.

North Carolina has three major Combined Statistical Areas with populations over 1.6 million, as of 2016. This includes:

Charlotte is by far the largest city in North Carolina, claiming 827,097 residents out of the total population of over 10 million. While North Carolina has historically been a rural area, the past thirty years have seen a rapid increase in urbanization, like most of the United States. Today, most of the residents of North Carolina live in urban and suburban areas.

The most populated counties in North Carolina are Mecklenburg (1,076,837), Wake (1,072,203), and Guilford (526,953) counties.

North Carolina Gender and Religion Statistics

The median age of the population in North Carolina is approximately 38.3 years of age. The ratio of females to males in the state is about 51.4% females to 48.6% males.

In terms of religious preferences across the state, 77% of the population report affiliation with a Christian based faith, 3% are affiliated with non-Christian based faiths, and 20% are unaffiliated with any faith in particular.

North Carolina Boundary, Census, and Statehood History

North Carolina was one of the 13 original States and by the time of the 1790 census had essentially its current boundaries. In 1790 census coverage included most of the State, except for areas at the western end, parts of which were not enumerated until 1840. The population for 1810 includes Walton County, enumerated as part of Georgia although actually within North Carolina.

North Carolina Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of North Carolina was:

  • White: 68.68%
  • Black or African American: 21.44%
  • Other race: 3.09%
  • Asian: 2.85%
  • Two or more races: 2.66%
  • Native American: 1.21%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.07%

North Carolina Population History

It’s a simplistic view at times to suggest that the western states within the US had healthy populations from the very birth of the United States' independence but the figures in relation to North Carolina certainly back up that view.

In 1790, recorded figures show that the North Carolina population had already reached 393,751 and just ten years later those numbers had climbed to 478,103. Similar rises were noted in the Censuses that followed, and in 1870 it was confirmed that numbers had exceeded one million for the very first time.

Average percentage rises in the years that have followed have tended to be in the region of 18%, and when the numbers are already healthy, that leads to a growing population and a densely populated state.

North Carolina Population Growth

With healthy natural growth and net migration, there is nothing apparent that would suggest that the North Carolina population growth will slow down. The population density is significant but there is space still to accommodate an ever-growing territory.

North Carolina Population Projections

It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that the census of 2020 will show that the population has far exceeded 10 million. According to state projections, North Carolina will reach a population of 10.5 million in 2020, and will then surpass 11 million by 2030.

North Carolina has seen a large growth in diversity, mostly fueled by immigrants from India, Southeast Asia and Latin America. There have also been high numbers of people moving from the Northeastern area of the US, Florida and even as far away as California.

North Carolina has a large African American population that makes up almost a quarter of its total population. Since the 1970s, the number of middle-class black residents has increased, and most African Americans live on the eastern Coastal Plain and in areas of the Piedmont Plateau. Many free black people migrated to the frontier areas of the state from Virginia during the colonial and post-Revolutionary period, with 80% counted as "all other free persons" in the 1790-1810 census.

The state also has a large and growing population of Asian Americans, especially those from India and Vietnam. North Carolina has the largest population of Montagnards (about 10,000) in the United States. These refugees from Vietnam's Central Highlands first arrived in the 1980s, and most live in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. North Carolina is also home to the largest American Indian population on the East Coast with an estimated population of 110,000 with 8 tribal nations recognized.

North Carolina Growth Rate

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North Carolina Population Rank

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North Carolina Population 2021

North Carolina Facts

Wake County

  • Population1,152,740
  • Density1379.99 per sq km
  • Growth Since 201027.11%
  • State Population Rank1
  • % of State10.77%

When examining data from the 2010 Census and US Census Bureau estimates from 2015, the counties of North Carolina have both significant increases and decreases in population across the state. The largest percentages of growth were recorded in the southern and central regions of the state. Brunswick County, the southernmost North Carolina County, reflected a growth of 13.48%, the largest rate of growth during the 5-year period. This was followed by Wake County at 12.93% and Mecklenburg at 12%. Eight additional counties in the state had growth rates that exceeded 10%, while other counties saw smaller rates of growth.

The largest decreases in population were recorded in the northeastern corner of the state, with Tyrrell County showing the largest decline at 7.77%. Other counties with higher losses include Northampton at 7.14%, Gates at 6%, and Washington at 5.91%. North Carolina had other counties with losses that were less than 5%, and these counties include Graham, Anson, Richmond, and Beaufort.

North Carolina Population Growth Rate by County

Wake County

  • Population1,152,740
  • Density1379.99 per sq km
  • Growth Since 201027.11%
  • State Population Rank1
  • % of State10.77%

North Carolina Population Density by County

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White7,049,92168.68%
Black or African American2,200,76021.44%
Some Other Race316,7633.09%
Asian292,9922.85%
Two or More Races273,2762.66%
American Indian and Alaska Native123,9521.21%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander7,2130.07%
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North Carolina Population by Race

North Carolina Population Pyramid 2021

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North Carolina Median Age

38.7


Total

37.2


Male

40.2


Female

North Carolina Adults

There are 7,968,260 adults, (1,628,010 of whom are seniors) in North Carolina.

North Carolina Age Dependency

61.9

Age Dependency Ratio

25.7

Old Age Dependency Ratio

36.2

Child Dependency Ratio

North Carolina Sex Ratio

Female

5,268,240

51.32%

Male

4,996,640

48.68%

North Carolina Population by Age

North Carolina Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

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North Carolina Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married81.2%18.8%
All65.2%34.8%
Male53.5%46.5%
Non Family51.9%48.1%
Female45.5%54.5%

65.2%

Rate of Home Ownership

North Carolina Households and Families

Type Count Average Size Owned
All3,965,4802.5265.2
Married1,903,9903.1181.2
Non Family1,370,0901.2651.9
Female515,4313.3845.5
Male175,9733.3753.5

3.1

Average Family Size

2.52

Average Household Size

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North Carolina Households by Type

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Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade314,5454.50%
9th to 12th Grade538,8517.72%
High School Graduate1,791,53025.65%
Some College1,480,93021.21%
Associates Degree675,1459.67%
Bachelors Degree1,395,21019.98%
Graduate Degree787,63911.28%
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North Carolina Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

North Carolina Educational Attainment by Race

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Name Total High School Bachelors
White4,718,7304,313,2501,650,410
Black1,435,2901,228,020305,462
Hispanic476,433287,66873,655
Asian196,154169,173113,079
Other Race160,89387,42217,414
Multiple Races99,72888,90432,184
Native American80,21960,30310,975
Islander4,1843,5981,088

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 91.41%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 57.65%.

North Carolina Educational Attainment by Race

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Name Average Male Female
Overall$37,443$42,818$31,897
Less Than High School$22,459$26,011$16,854
High School Grad$29,278$32,969$23,360
Some College$33,784$41,493$28,967
Bachelors Degree$50,523$63,291$42,689
Graduate Degree$63,845$85,203$54,012

$37,443

Average Earnings

$42,818

Average Male

$31,897

Average Female

North Carolina Earnings by Educational Attainment

North Carolina Language by Age

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North Carolina Language

88.20% of North Carolina residents speak only English, while 11.80% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 7.62% of the population.

North Carolina Language

North Carolina Poverty by Race

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Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White6,320,340644,44010.20%
Black2,116,770475,97322.49%
Hispanic940,295248,47426.43%
Other311,20684,69927.22%
Multiple262,58054,62720.80%
Asian285,78630,70710.74%
Native120,32829,98124.92%
Islander6,6301,36020.51%

14.70%

Overall Poverty Rate

13.31%

Male Poverty Rate

16.00%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in North Carolina

The race most likely to be in poverty in North Carolina is Other, with 27.22% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in North Carolina is White, with 10.20% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.11%. Among those working part-time, it was 18.46%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 21.77%.

North Carolina Poverty

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Name Poverty
Less Than High School27.56%
High School14.67%
Some College10.33%
Bachelors or Greater4.03%

North Carolina Poverty Rate by Education

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Name Poverty
Female Unemployed37.85%
Male Unemployed30.76%
Female Employed8.48%
Male Employed5.94%

North Carolina Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

North Carolina Income by Household Type

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Name Median Mean
Households$54,602$76,940
Families$68,435$91,227
Married Families$83,332$107,219
Non Families$32,906$47,033
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Income by Household Type

North Carolina Marital Status

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Marriage Rates

48.7%

Overall Marriage Rate

51.0%

Male Marriage Rate

46.5%

Female Marriage Rate

North Carolina Married by Age and Sex

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North Carolina Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.

North Carolina Marital Status by Race

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North Carolina Marital Status

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659,584

Number of Veterans

591,605

Male Veterans

67,979

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam227,028
First Gulf War158,495
Second Gulf War145,221
Korea44,234
World War II16,191

North Carolina Veterans by War

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Age Group Veterans
35 to 54171,337
65 to 74167,256
75+130,403
55 to 64125,538
18 to 3465,050

North Carolina Veterans by Age

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Name Veterans % of Total
White493,1148.87%
Black139,8268.40%
Hispanic22,6243.94%
2 or More10,1217.63%
Indian6,3296.85%
Other5,1862.63%
Asian4,1231.85%
Hawaiian88517.77%

North Carolina Veterans by Race

North Carolina Veterans by Education

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6.99%

Veteran Poverty Rate

29.02%

Veteran Disability Rate

North Carolina Veterans by Education

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62.4%

Labor Force Participation

57.9%

Employment Rate

5.6%

Unemployment Rate

North Carolina Employment by Age

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North Carolina Employment by Race

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North Carolina Employment by Education

Origin of Non-Citizens

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Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

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56.41%

Born in North Carolina

91.98%

Native Born

8.02%

Foreign Born

4.85%

Non Citizen

3.16%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

91.98% of North Carolina residents were born in the United States, with 56.41% having been born in North Carolina. 4.85% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

North Carolina Place of Birth