Raleigh Demographics

Last updated Sep. 10, 2018 - 12:22 pm

The Greek roots of the word demographics translate to “measurement of people”. This simple idea is a crucial part of effective governance at all scales and especially for the City of Raleigh. It has come to include a range of topics like age, race, employment, household size, and marital status. Elected officials and city staff must understand national and regional trends as well as characteristics unique to Raleigh in order to maintain the quality of life that citizens enjoy.

The City Planning Department maintains a collection of demographic and economic statistics called the Data Book. This document is an important source of data and analysis that informs policy decisions and city administration. Raleigh’s Office of Economic Development maintains a Data Center that visualizes many of the same metrics from the Data Book and adds other statistics related to business and economic growth. The City of Raleigh has also created an Open Data portal where citizens and professionals can access and analyze nearly all of the publicly available data on city operations and demographic trends.

This page is an introduction to Raleigh’s demographic profile and the data sources that can help you find out more.

The Data Book

The Data Book is a yearly publication of the City Planning Department at the City of Raleigh. It serves as an update to the Community Inventory Report published in 2008. Planning staff combines data from federal, state, and regional agencies with city records to produce a wide-ranging snapshot of the residents, economy, resources, and infrastructure of the City. The Community Profile offers a condensed version of the Data Book for quick access and sharing. Below you will find selected statistics from the Data Book.


Raleigh’s recent population growth and projections can be seen in the graph below.


Raleigh’s population density (people per square mile) is similar to peer cities.


Residents of Raleigh are racially and ethnically diverse. Between 2000 and 2014 the population of Hispanic residents in Raleigh has increased from 7% to 12%.


Raleigh has become more diverse overall since 2000. National trends suggest this is a product of increased migration to cities combined with low birth rates among whites and African-Americans.


Baby boomers and young children are both growing segments of the Raleigh population. While the city is home to many major employers for young adults, housing stock for young professionals is more widely distributed throughout the region.


Low-density residential zoning makes up about half the land area in the city limits of Raleigh. Even so, 62% of new residential construction permits in 2015 were for apartments. This mix of housing types is one reason why housing in Raleigh was 18-35% more affordable than housing in Austin, Atlanta, and Charlotte in 2015.


The percentage of people who are unemployed or living below the poverty line has decreased since 2010, as shown at right.


Forty-eight percent of Raleigh residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 30% nationwide. As shown in the graph at right, the city has high levels of employment in the creative and technology fields. These increasingly overlapping sectors draw on talent from world-class universities in the region.



Another great source of information about Raleigh is the Data Center at Raleigh4U is an initiative of the Office of Economic Development that highlights the many business opportunities and successes that have made Raleigh a great place to live and work. The site’s Data Center offers interactive, user-friendly visualizations of key economic data for the city. Visitors to Raleigh4U can also find specialized reports prepared by the Office of Economic Development.

Open Data

Open Data

Raleigh has joined some of the leading cities in the United States in making public data readily available and all in one digital location. That location is the Open Data portal at Open Data is a nationwide standard being adopted by many cities that empowers cities to share public data with citizens and between departments. When data is freely shared, citizens can understand and participate in the process of governance. City departments break down organizational barriers and start to find coordinated solutions for improving city services.

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