Cary, North Carolina Population 2023

186,568

Cary is a city located in Wake County North Carolina. With a 2023 population of 186,568, it is the 7th largest city in North Carolina and the 145th largest city in the United States.Cary is currently growing at a rate of 2.16% annually and its population has increased by 6.78% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 174,721 in 2020. Spanning over 60 miles, Cary has a population density of 3,177 people per square mile.

The average household income in Cary is $131,841 with a poverty rate of 5.95%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Cary is 39.6 years, 38.5 years for males, and 40.6 years for females.

Cary is an incorporated town located mostly in Wake County with a small portion of the town in Chatham County, North Carolina. It's the third largest town in the Triangle of North Carolina, a region in the Piedmont of North Carolina, behind Raleigh and Durham. Interestingly, Cary is the country's second largest incorporated town after Gilbert, Arizona with a population 162,000 in 2019.

Diversity

The foreign-born population of Cary is about 21%. Since 2010, the fastest growing demographic in North Carolina, including Greater Raleigh, has been Asian-Americans. North Carolina has one of the country's fastest growing Asian-American populations and the largest communities are in Charlotte and Raleigh, including suburbs like Cary. About 60% of the Asian-American population in North Carolina was born abroad and about half have become naturalized U.S. citizens.

Population Growth

Between 2006 and 2007, Cary was the country's 5th fastest growing municipality although its growth rate has declined since then. Between 2010 and 2017, the population of North Carolina as a whole increased by 738,000, 43% of which was in nine cities and towns like Cary, Raleigh, and Durham. The population of Wake County has experienced significant growth, growing by 171,000 people since 2010. Almost half of this growth has come from people aged 55 and older, many of whom moved to the region to retire, get a new job, or get closer to family.

Cary was originally settled in 1750 by Francis Page, a lumberman and farmer. The town was named for Samuel Fenton Cary, an Ohio prohibitionist and congressman. Due to the inspiration for the town's name, Cary was a dry town without alcohol. For much of its early history, Cary was a farming community growing crops like cotton and tobacco. The region was better known in its early days as Bradford's Ordinary, the name of a popular inn in the town.

The community wasn't linked to a major transportation route for another century when the North Carolina Railroad was constructed through the town. The railroad helped to finally spur growth in the area. By the early 20th century, Cary had one of North Carolina's first public high schools.

Cary modernized with electricity in 1921 and the construction of the Western Wake Highway that made it faster to travel to Raleigh. This gave rise to Cary's popularity as a commuter town. Many suburbs developed around the downtown area in the 1950s and the creation of the Research Triangle Park, a region anchored by North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Duke University, caused the population to double.

Cary Demographics

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

  • White: 65.7%
  • Asian: 19.86%
  • Black or African American: 7.59%
  • Two or more races: 4.13%
  • Other race: 2.25%
  • Native American: 0.4%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.07%
The current population of Cary, North Carolina is 186,568 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates.The last official US Census in 2020 recorded the population at 174,721.

Cary, North Carolina Population 2023

Population by Race

White

Asian

Black or African American

Two or more races

Other race

Native American

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

Cary Population by Race

Cary Population Pyramid 2023

Cary Median Age

39.6

Total

38.5

Male

40.6

Female

Cary Adults

There are 125,915 adults, (21,188 of whom are seniors) in Cary.

Cary Age Dependency

61.5

Age Dependency Ratio

20.2

Old Age Dependency Ratio

41.3

Child Dependency Ratio

Cary Sex Ratio

Female86,20250.95%
Male82,97549.05%

Cary Population by Age

Cary Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

3.15

Average Family Size

2.66

Average Household Size

67.4%

Rate of Home Ownership

Married

Male

Female

NonFamily

owner

renter

Cary Households and Families

Male

Female

Less Than 9th Grade

9th to 12th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Associates Degree

Bachelors Degree

Graduate Degree

Cary Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Cary Educational Attainment by Race

High School Graduation Rate

Bachelors Rate

The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 100%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 72.01%.

Cary Educational Attainment by Race

All

Male

Female

$66,411

Average Earnings

$88,739

Average Male

$48,675

Average Female

Cary Earnings by Educational Attainment

Cary Language by Age

Only English

Spanish

Other Indo-European Languages

Asian and Pacific Island Languages

Other Languages

Cary Language

75.13% of Cary residents speak only English, while 24.87% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Asian and Pacific Island languages, which is spoken by 16.08% of the population.

Cary Language

Cary Poverty by Race

rate

5.95%

Overall Poverty Rate

3.94%

Male Poverty Rate

5.48%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Cary

The race most likely to be in poverty in Cary is Native, with 22.12% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Cary is Asian, with 3.77% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 1.18%. Among those working part-time, it was 6.97%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 8.24%.

Cary Poverty

Cary Poverty Rate by Education

Cary Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Cary Income by Household Type

Households

Families

MarriedFamilies

NonFamilies

mean

median

Income by Household Type

Cary Marital Status

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

Marriage Rates

61.8%

Overall Marriage Rate

63.9%

Male Marriage Rate

59.8%

Female Marriage Rate

Cary Married by Age and Sex

male

female

Cary Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is 45-54, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35-44.

Cary Marital Status by Race

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

Cary Marital Status

Second Gulf War

First Gulf War

Vietnam

Korea

World War II

6,686

Number of Veterans

6,050

Male Veterans

636

Female Veterans

Cary Veterans by War

Cary Veterans by Age

count

Cary Veterans by Race

Cary Veterans by Education

Less Than 9th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Bachelors or Greater

3.87%

Veteran Poverty Rate

21.07%

Veteran Disability Rate

Cary Veterans by Education

LaborForceParticipation

70.6%

Labor Force Participation

68.3%

Employment Rate

3.3%

Unemployment Rate

Cary Employment by Age

LaborForceParticipation

Cary Employment by Race

LaborForceParticipation

Cary Employment by Education

Origin of Non-Citizens

Europe

Asia

Africa

Oceania

Latin America

North America

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

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

Europe

Asia

Africa

Oceania

Latin America

North America

27.76%

Born in Cary

75.13%

Native Born

21.7%

Foreign Born

10.08%

Non Citizen

11.61%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

75.13% of Cary residents were born in the United States, with 27.76% having been born in North Carolina. 10.08% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.

Cary Place of Birth

Note: data after 2020 is projected based on recent growth

Cary Population by Year