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Chapter Two

existing system overview

38

Parks, recreation, and cultural resources are essential to

the City of Raleigh’s high quality of life. Planning for these

facilities, however, isnot just about creatingplaces, it’s about

how to best serve residents and build strong communities.

One of the first steps in park system planning is to better

understand the population, current demographic trends,

and projections for the future. Evaluation of population

and demographic statistics in this section are anecdotal in

nature and constitute an observational analysis. Though

data is static in nature, the City of Raleigh can make better

informed decisions based on trends that may impact

delivery of services over the next 20 years.

Over the past one hundred years, Raleigh has transformed

itself from a small town to a metropolitan city with

a population of 403,892

1

. The city is now one of the 50

largest cities in the United States

2

. If regional population

projections are correct, Raleigh will continue to grow,

reaching almost 600,000 residents by 2035. As a result of

its growth, the City faces a dual challenge: how can we

make sure we are providing the right parks, recreation and

cultural resource services to our existing population while

simultaneously preparing for the future?

The Project Team reviewed available City of Raleigh

demographic data to determine implications for parks,

recreation and cultural resource needs and priorities,

including:

1. Population Growth

2. Population Characteristics

3. Housing Characteristics

With the City of Raleigh’s current polices, population

growth directly affects the provision of parks, recreation

and cultural resource facilities through additional stresses

on level of service goals. Simply put, the more people in

the community, the more facilities or acreage of parks is

needed. This approach does not ensure the right type of

facility or program but can be modified in accordance

to changing goals or impacts. The primary goal for

reviewing Raleigh’s population growth as part of this

System Plan is to identify trends. According to the city’s

2030 Comprehensive Plan, the City of Raleigh has grown

at a rate ranging from 2.0% to 4.3% every year since 1900

3

(see

Table 1

). Recent growth has hovered near the top of

this range, resulting in even larger absolute gains. This

growth, while affecting most areas of the city, has largely

been concentrated at the fringes of the city, particularly in

the northeast, northwest and southeast.

Table 1

. Historic Growth Rates in the City of Raleigh

Year Population APGR*

Land

Area

Pop.

Density

1900

13,643

- -

1.76

7,765

1910

19,218

3.5% 4.03

4,773

1920

24,418

2.4% 6.96

3,508

1930

37,379

4.3% 7.25

5,153

1940

46,879

2.3% 7.25

6,463

1950

65,679

3.4% 10.88

6,035

1960

93,931

3.6% 33.67

2,790

1970

122,830

2.7% 44.93

2,734

1980

150,255

2.0% 55.17

2,724

1990

212,092

3.5% 91.40

2,321

2000

276,093

2.7% 118.71

2,326

2010

403,892

4.1% 143.77

2,801

* APGR, Annual Population Growth Rate

Source: CAMPO (via the City of Raleigh 2030 Comprehensive Plan),

U.S. Census 2010.

A primary trend identified in the 2030 Comprehensive

Plan is that growth is expected to continue. The Capital

Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (CAMPO)

projections estimate that the city will have approximately

590,560 residents by 2030, an increase of over 180,000

residents, shown in

Table 2

. Although in absolute terms this

projection is a large number, it actually represents a lower

rate of growth than the city has experienced in previous

decades. However, the absolute growth of approximately

100,000 per decade is consistent with the last two decades.

Map B

identifies the projected increase in population

by Traffic Analysis Zone (TAZ) according to CAMPO

Section 2.3

|

Population &

Demographics

2.3 Overview

2.3.1 Population Growth