Four North Carolina metropolitan areas ranked in the top 35 fastest-growing large areas in the country in 2017.
Together, these areas – Raleigh, Wilmington, Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, and Burlington – added nearly 90,000 people in just one year. Raleigh and Charlotte saw the vast majority of that growth with 80,000 new residents, but Wilmington and Burlington cracked the top 35 because of their year-over-year percentage population growth.
The Census Bureau released 2017 metropolitan and micropolitan figures on Thursday. While North Carolina's population as a whole continues to rise, it is increasingly concentrated around the metro areas, particularly in Wake and Mecklenburg counties. From 2010 through 2017, North Carolina's population grew by nearly 738,000, but 45 percent of that total was added just in those two counties. More than two-thirds of the state's net population increase happened in just seven counties, and 47 counties – nearly half – had a 2017 population lower than in 2010.
In looking at micropolitan areas, Pinehurst-Southern Pines had the biggest year-over-year population increase. Its population grew 2 percent last year to 97,264 residents. That was followed closely by Dunn, which had a 1.4 percent population increase last year. But Dunn stands out when taking a longer-term look. The town off I-95 north of Fayetteville has added more than 18,000 residents to its population since 2010 – a nearly 16 percent increase.