Population gains

The U.S. Census released population numbers for North Carolina for the last decade (2000-2010). N.C. State University economist Mike Walden describes the highlights.

“North Carolina continued to grow. … Our population in that decade grew 19 percent. We are now at just shy of 10 million people — 9.5 million people. So this is a state people want to come to.

“However, the growth as we have seen over the last decade has not been even. The fastest growth was in metropolitan areas like Charlotte and the Triangle. Wake and Mecklenburg counties — the key counties in both of those metro regions — are now just shy of a million people.

“We also saw strong growth in so-called edge counties around those metro areas — Union County near Charlotte and Johnston County near Raleigh were very fast-growing.

“We had growth in some of our beach and mountain resort counties but not as fast as in the past. And this is probably due to the real-estate crash that really consumed the last part of the last decade.

“Bottom line here … is North Carolina is still an attractive area for growth, even in the challenging decade of the 2000. And I think this will continue — demographers would say (we will) probably add another third to our population by the middle of the century.”

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