Raleigh Demographics

Last updated Sep. 21, 2015 - 11:49 am
Raleigh Demographics

Raleigh, the Capital City of North Carolina, is the second largest city in North Carolina, the seat of government for Wake County, and central to one of the fastest growing areas in the country. The demographic data below, taken directly from the United States Census Bureau, the North Carolina Division of Employment Security, and City of Raleigh building and inspections databases, provides an overview of the city, its people, and recent development trends. Data is organized into four broad categories: Population, Geography and Land Use, Housing, and Economy.

To further investigate Raleigh's development, there are city websites listed under the menu on the left and, on the right, links to related data and analysis. In each section below, there are also links to relevant websites of partner organizations. More detailed information from the Census Bureau - including decennial census data and American Community Survey sample data - can be found at the American FactFinder website.




2014 Population Comparison

PlacePopulation Estimate*
City of Raleigh439,896
Wake County998,691
North Carolina9,943,964

*As of July 1, 2014
Source: Census Population Estimates Program

Raleigh Population Estimates, 2001 - 2013

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program

Raleigh is part of two other important multi-jurisdictional demographic areas: the Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Combined Statistical Area (CSA). The Raleigh-Cary MSA is made up of 3 counties – Wake, Johnston, and Franklin. The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill CSA is made up of 11 counties – Harnett, Chatham, Durham, Orange, Person, Vance, Granville, Wake, Johnston, Franklin, and Lee. The 2010-2014 Census population estimates for these geographic areas are listed below:

MSA & CSA Population Estimates

YearRaleigh-Cary MSARaleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill CSA

As of July 1, 2014
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program


POPULATION BASICS: The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Raleigh’s 2010 population at 403,892. This represents a 46% increase since 2000 and a 94% increase since 1990. The city is 51.7% female and 48.4% male. 19,526 people (4.8% of total city population) were estimated to live in group quarters (i.e. dormitories, supportive housing, prisons).

Raleigh Population Growth, 1990, 2000, and 2010

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 1990, 2000, & 2010 Decennial Censuses

AGE: Raleigh’s median age is estimated at 31.9. From 1990 to 2000, Raleigh saw an increase in the share of children 14 and under, as well as an increase in the share of adults aged 45 to 64. 23.1% of the population is under 18, and 8.2% of the population is 65 and over.

Raleigh Age Group Distribution

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 1990, 2000, & 2010 Decennial Censuses

: In 2000 and 2010, whites made up the largest racial group in Raleigh. However, the percentage of whites decreased during this period (63.3% in 2000 to 57.5% in 2010) and the percentage of people identifying as African-American, Asian, some other race, or two or more races increased. The percentage of people identifying as Hispanic or Latino – of any race – also increased from 7% to 11.4%

Race and Ethnicity

Black or African-American27.8%29.3%
Two or More Races1.9%2.6%
---------------------------------- ------
Hispanic or Latino7.0%11.4%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 & 2010 Decennial Censuses

HOUSEHOLDS: In 2010, Raleigh had 162,999 households housing 384,366 people (95.3% of the total population). Average household size was 2.36 people. 91,186 – or 55.9% - were family households. Average family size was 3.06 people.

Household Types, 1990, 2000, and 2010

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 1990, 2000, & 2010 Decennial Censuses

For a more detailed breakdown from the April 2010 Census numbers, please see the 2010 Census Profile Data.
Comparison information for past decennial data is also available in the column on the right under 'Census Tract Charts'.

Geography and Land Use

Land Area
GeographyAcresSq. Miles
Current City Limits92,838145
Potential ETJ Growth Area23,32737
Potential USA Growth Area18,78829
Total Future Annexation Potential42,11566
Total Potential City Limits134,953211

Source: City of Raleigh Department of Planning & Development

CURRENT LAND AREA AND GROWTH POTENTIAL: As detailed in the table above, Raleigh's current land area within the city limits is 92,838 acres or 145 square miles, and the total potential city limits size is 134,953 acres or 211 square miles. The city’s total future annexation potential includes the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and urban services areas (USA). ETJ is an extension of the city’s planning and zoning jurisdiction that extends past the current city limits. The purpose of the ETJ is to anticipate portions of the unincorporated county that are urbanizing and bring them under a set of urban standards for development. A USA is an area expected to become part of the city’s service area (public utilities, fire, police, etc.).

CURRENT ZONING: Approximately 67% of the city (city limits and ETJ) is zoned residential. Commercial zones account for 11.5% of the city’s area, followed by industrial (11%), office & institutional (7%), and conservation (3%). As part of the implementation of the new Raleigh Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), the city will be remapping districts other than Residential-2 through Residential-10, conservation districts, and overlay districts into new UDO districts. The generalized categories listed below will likely be somewhat different after this process is complete.

Generalized Zoning Allocation, 2013

Source: City of Raleigh Department of Planning & Development

DEVELOPMENT TRENDS: The city issued almost 4,000 residential building permits in 2013. Apartments represent the largest category (2,096 or 55% of total permitted units) as compared to single family units (909 or 24% of total permitted units). From 2009 to 2013, apartments made up 55% of all permitted dwelling units.

Residential Units Permitted, 2009-2013

Single FamilyTownhouseCondominium2-4 Attached
of total

Source: City of Raleigh Department of Planning & Development

Reference Maps

City of Raleigh Map Gallery
Online Mapping - iMAPS




HOUSING UNITS: In 2010, Raleigh had a total of 176,124 housing units. This represents a 46% increase from 2000 (120,699 units), and a 90% increase from 1990 (92,643 units).

Total Housing Units, 1990, 2000, & 2010


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 1990, 2000 & 2010 Decennial Censuses

HOUSING TENURE:  In 2010, 50% of all housing units in Raleigh were owner-occupied, 43% were renter-occupied, and 7% were vacant.

2010 Housing Tenure


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Decennial Census


HOUSING TYPE:  The 2012 American Community Survey shows single family housing as the predominant housing type in Raleigh, followed by multi-family, townhomes, duplexes, and mobile homes.

Housing Share by Type, 2012


Source: 2012 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates

HOUSING VALUE: The 2012 ACS also estimates Raleigh’s median home value at $210,900 and median rent at $881.



EDUCATION: Raleigh has a well-educated citizenry, with recent estimates showing 91% of residents have a high school degree or higher and 47% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Educational Attainment Comparison, 2000 & 2012

Source: 2012 American Community Survey, 1-year Estimates

EMPLOYMENT: 2012 American Community Survey estimates for Raleigh show that the top industries (by number of jobs) are: educational & health services; professional, scientific, management, and administrative; and retail trade. Raleigh’s unemployment rate has fallen steadily over the last few years, from 7.8% in 2010 to 6.1% in 2013. The city’s unemployment rate has also remained lower than county, state and national rates during this time.

Jobs by Industry Comparison, 2012

Source: 2012 American Community Survey, 1-year Estimates

Average Annual Unemployment Rates, 2009 – 2013

Source: North Carolina Division of Employment Security

INCOME: Recent ACS estimates show that Raleigh’s median household income, median family income, and per capita income are below figures for the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area and above figures for the state.

Income Comparison, 2012

Source: 2012 American Community Survey, 1-year Estimates

POVERTY: Raleigh’s poverty rate for both individuals and families has increased from 1990 to 2012. The poverty rate for individuals increased 5% while the family poverty rate increased 3% during this time period.

Raleigh Poverty Rate, 1990, 2000, & 2012

Percent of persons below poverty level11.8%11.5%16.4%
Percent of families below poverty level9.0%7.1%12.0%

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Censuses, 1990 and 2000;2012 American Community Survey, 1-year Estimates

For additional economic indicators, please see the City of Raleigh Economic Development Program at

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