Durham is a city located in Durham County and Orange County North Carolina. Durham has a 2023 population of 287,794. It is also the county seat of Durham County.Durham is currently growing at a rate of 0.4% annually and its population has increased by 1.19% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 284,400 in 2020.
The average household income in Durham is $91,960 with a poverty rate of 13.54%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Durham is 34.6 years, 33.6 years for males, and 35.3 years for females.
Durham is most-known for its role within the “Research Triangle” of North Carolina, which also includes the cities of Raleigh and Chapel Hill. The city is home to Duke University and is a diverse city that is known for its cultural events, schools and institutions, sports, music and the arts. Over 34,000 people are employed by Duke University and the Duke University Health System. Other major employers include IBM, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of NC, and the City of Durham, to name a few.
The city of Durham has seen rapid population growth throughout its history. Most recently, the population has grown over 15% between the 2010 census and estimates taken in 2016. Before that, the polls between 2000 and 2010 recorded over 22% growth. A thriving economy, jobs at major companies, and educational opportunities will keep the city of Durham’s population on the upswing far into the future.
Durham was incorporated as a city in 1869, but its history began long before that. The Eno and the Occoneechi were believed to have first lived in the area and it is thought that there was once a village named Adshusheer located where Durham currently stands. In its early history, before the development of the region’s railroad, Durham was an agricultural center. The development of Hillsborough Road, which served as a major route through the state, led to population growth. A railroad depot was constructed before the Civil War. While growth was slow before the war, the end of the Civil War brought about much more rapid population growth. This was primarily because of the city’s thriving tobacco industry.
Durham was incorporated as a city in 1869. The early 1900s saw continued population growth because of the tobacco industry. Washington Duke's W. Duke & Sons Tobacco Company was a prosperous company that brought wealth to the city. However, antitrust laws broke up what was a monopoly, allowing the family to retain American Tobacco. The Dukes went on to become involved in the generation of electric power, establishing Duke Power, which is now known as Duke Energy and provided electricity to residents in North Carolina before eventually expanded to other states.
The city faced some troubles in 1914 when a fire destroyed much of the downtown business district. This led to the establishment of a city water system. Durham in its earliest years also became known its black community, with an area known as Hayti becoming home to some of the most successful black-owned businesses in the 20th century. The first publicly supported liberal arts college for blacks was also founded here in 1910. This university – North Carolina Central University – wasn’t the only institution the city became known for. Later, Trinity College became Duke University and is one of the most renowned colleges in the country.
Today, Duke University and Duke Medical Center are two of the city’s largest employers. City officials have also tackled a revitalization of the downtown area, including the construction of the $80 million “City Center Tower.” Other projects are currently underway, including the development of a boutique hotel, upscale restaurants, and a contemporary art museum.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Durham was:
Black or African American
Two or more races
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 91.6%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 62.29%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
81.74% of Durham residents speak only English, while 18.26% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 11.22% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Durham is Islander, with 38.99% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Durham is White, with 6.59% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 2.31%. Among those working part-time, it was 16.48%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 25.87%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
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.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in Durham
88.88% of Durham residents were born in the United States, with 48.25% having been born in North Carolina. 9.7% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.