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Existing System Overview

existing system overview


more diverse than the rest of the county, Wake County is

also demonstrating a trend towards greater diversification:

its white population declined by 6.1% between 2000 and

2010, and its Hispanic/Latino population has risen by



In addition to becoming more diverse, Raleigh is also

showing signs of becoming younger. Between 2000

and 2010, the population under 15 years-old has grown

by 1.8%, contrary to a decline nationally, whereas the

population over 75 years-old has decreased by 3.5% (see

Table 4

). In addition, the city’s population between age

55 and 74 has grown by 4.1%, which probably reflects the

aging Baby Boomer generation. Growth in this age group

is not enough to offset the increase in population under

15 years’ impact on the city’s median age. Interestingly, the

population of young adults aged 20 to 34 decreased by a

combined 4%, again contrary to national trends.

Compared to the rest of Wake County, the City of Raleigh’s

population of children is growing at a faster rate. The

county’s elderly population did not reflect the change seen

in Raleigh, and remained stable with about 0.3% growth

in residents aged 75 or older.


Typically, populations do not witness extreme changes in

gender unless a major event occurs, such as the closing of

a military base. In 2010, the census indicated that 51.7% of

Raleigh residents were women, an increase of 1.2% from

2000 (see

Table 5

). In Wake County, the gender ratio also

shifted slightly more in favor of women, with an increase of

0.9% for a ratio of 51.3 women to 48.7 men. One possible

explanation for this shift is the proximity of many large

universities; according to the National Center for Education

Statistics, an estimated 59% of all higher education degrees

will be earned by women in 2012, with more women than

men enrolling in universities every year.



On the surface, the City of Raleigh’s population has

experienced a slight increase in median household income

between 2000 and 2010, from $46,612 to $49,931 (see

Table 6

). However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor

Statistics’ Inflation calculator, $46,612 in 2000 would have

the same buying power as $59,025 in 2010.


So, although

absolute income has increased, residents have actually

experienced a marked decrease in purchasing power.

Wake County as a whole has fared slightly better. The top

three income ranges grew by 7.5%, compared to 5% within

the city. Additionally, the median income in the county

grew by $6,438, bringing its 2010 median to $61,426,

which is significantly higher than the City of Raleigh’s


Educational Attainment

Between 2000 and 2010 Raleigh’s residents’ educational

attainment levels increased slightly, with 44.8% of the

population having at least a bachelor’s degree. The

proportion of residents who have not graduated high

school also decreased by 3.4%, as shown in

Table 7

. Wake

County’s figures are similar; the percentage of residents

who do not have a high school diploma decreased by 3.4

percent, and the percentage of residents with a bachelors

degree or higher increased by 2.8%to 46.7%in 2010. By

contrast, the national figure of 27.9% and the statewide

figureof 26.1%aremuch lower, indicatingahighlyeducated

community of residents in Raleigh and Wake County.


The economic downturn strongly affected both the City of

RaleighandWakeCounty residents’ employment. Between

2000 and 2010, the City of Raleigh’s unemployment rate

increased from 3.8% to 10.7% (see

Table 8

). Likewise,

unemployment County-wide increased 6.8% to 9.7% in


Mode of Commute

The type of transportation Raleigh residents used to travel

to work changed little between 2000 and 2010 (see



). In the city, the only notable change is that people who

drove alone increased by 2.5% to 81.2%, which is higher

than the national rate, and those who carpooled decreased

by 2.5%. Despite the increase in percentage of workers

driving alone, the mean travel time to work decreased

from 22 minutes to 21.6 minutes.