DCMetroRaleigh

U.S. Census: Wake County close to overtaking Mecklenburg County in Population

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According to latest 2009 census estimates, Mecklenburg County had 913,639 people last July, while Wake County had 897,214 people. But between 2008 and 2009, Wake grew by 29,000, while Mecklenburg grew by 21,000. Since 2005, Wake has grown by about 143,000 people, while Mecklenburg has grown by 113,000. At this rate, Wake could surpass Mecklenburg in population by early 2012. Both counties should reach one million people by 2013 or 2014. Wake could even reach the 1 million milestone by late 2012 if it retains its robust growth rate.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/24/404143/wake-set-to-eclipse-mecklenburg.html

Edited by DCMetroRaleigh

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Yep this is a story every year in the N&O when the Census figures come out. However they never mention that Wake is nearly twice the size of Mecklenburg in land area.

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This is so true. But congrats to Wake in outgrowing Mecklenburg county. I wonder how close are the other counties to these two?

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If Raleigh can annex all the county like some cities have done in other states (Jacksonville, Florida for example), Raleigh would overtake Charlotte in population too.

Edited by cityboi

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Yep this is a story every year in the N&O when the Census figures come out. However they never mention that Wake is nearly twice the size of Mecklenburg in land area.

857 vs 546 square miles with water being about equal. So thats more like 50% bigger.

And frankly I think "sorry" is more appropriate than "congratulations".

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This is so true. But congrats to Wake in outgrowing Mecklenburg county. I wonder how close are the other counties to these two?

Guilford is third, going on 500,000, though I don't think they'll make that number with this census.

Geography-wise, Wake is larger than any of the other big urban counties - Guilford and Cumberland are smaller; Durham, New Hanover, Gsaton and Forsyth are considerably smaller, so Wake has more room to accomodate population, along with a speedy rate of increase.

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Yep this is a story every year in the N&O when the Census figures come out. However they never mention that Wake is nearly twice the size of Mecklenburg in land area.

Well, nothing is ever written in stone. After all, for decades the census and the AJC routinely predicted that Gwinnett would overtake Fulton in Georgia, but it didn't happen. Now Fulton is outgrowing Gwinnett and Gwinnett is slowing down. I've seen predictions of this sort fall flat before, but it does look likely at present. However, land area is not a reliable predictor of population size. Russia is double the land area of China but China has MANY times the population of Russia and nearly half of China is desert. Density is the factor here, I think. If Charlotte can keep capitalizing on the trend of intown/urban living and the development of high density high rises and developments continue, Mecklenburg stands a chance at pacing Wake. Currently it does look like Wake will overtake it however.

Edited by Unifour

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True, nothing is written in stone, but until we see evidence of the trend reversing, I think it is likely that Wake County will overtake Mecklenbury County in population. Of course, no one is claiming this will mean Wake will be more urban than Mecklenburg. In fact, that is very unlikely to happen within the next two decades or so because Wake County has to "overcome" its huge land area in order to become as dense as Mecklenburg. Still, it's superficial bragging rights to say that you are the largest county in population in NC.

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True, nothing is written in stone, but until we see evidence of the trend reversing, I think it is likely that Wake County will overtake Mecklenbury County in population. Of course, no one is claiming this will mean Wake will be more urban than Mecklenburg. In fact, that is very unlikely to happen within the next two decades or so because Wake County has to "overcome" its huge land area in order to become as dense as Mecklenburg. Still, it's superficial bragging rights to say that you are the largest county in population in NC.

Oh, I agree that it is probably going to happen. Mecklenburg didn't have as big a lead on Wake as say Fulton had over Gwinnett in Ga. Wake county is only slightly smaller than Mecklenburg so Wake doesn't have far to go to catch it. At present, based on the "estimates" (educated guesses, but still guesses nonetheless), there is no evidence of an acceleration in Meck. Those "estimates" are mostly off though. They usually underestimate true population. I was just throwing out hypotheticals by stating that land area does not determine population size. You can fit innumerable people on relatively small land areas. I read somewhere that you could theoretically fit all the people on Earth in Texas and they'd still have room for a back yard. However, that is impossible since there'd be nowhere to plant food so the point is moot LOL. Don't you think that if Charlotte could start pulling in as many people as Atlanta has been without annexation that it could theoretically keep Meck ahead of Wake? I believe it would be possible, however unlikely it appears at present. Charlotte has suburban counties growing fast too, and Charlotte Metro remains considerably larger than Raleigh so Charlotte won't lose it's status I don't think. It's a technicality like a Jacksonville vs Miami type situation. Cheers, bud!

Edited by Unifour

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The O has a roundup on this issue: http://www.charlotte...er-than-us.html

State demographers say Wake's population has hit 920,307 while Mecklenburg's is 909,493.

...

The Charlotte Chamber's vice president for research says Mecklenburg had 963,363 residents on Jan. 1

A 50,000 difference in headcount is pretty substantial, I guess we'll have to wait for 2010 Census figures to have a better idea of what's going on.

It notes that Mecklenburg's density is a little less than twice that of Wake's. It also mentioned something I had forgotten - Wake's school district size surpassed Mecklenburg three years ago.

Edited by tozmervo

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its officially happened. I guess Raleghites have been waiting for this moment for a long time. the population rate reflects job growth.

but looking at that charlotte observer article, looks like both sides are fighting like school children to see who is the top dog LOL. One guy in the article said despite the population Charlotte is still the economic engine of the Carolinas, but I guess even that can be disputed. Clearly Raleigh is growing faster than Charlotte and Wake over taking Mecklanburg could only be the begining. Its not out of the question for Raleigh to deliever a fatal blow to Charlotte's pride by becoming the largest city in North Carolina.

Edited by cityboi

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Yep this is a story every year in the N&O when the Census figures come out. However they never mention that Wake is nearly twice the size of Mecklenburg in land area.

And Charlotte is Twice as big as Raleigh, So what! And it's not a story every year so stop trying to down play everything related to growth for the Wake County Raleigh Area anyway you guys do have somthing we don't have and that's that your Bojangle's chicken still serve's the Cherry soda, I'm mad about that <_<

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its officially happened. I guess Raleghites have been waiting for this moment for a long time. the population rate reflects job growth.

but looking at that charlotte observer article, looks like both sides are fighting like school children to see who is the top dog LOL. One guy in the article said despite the population Charlotte is still the economic engine of the Carolinas, but I guess even that can be disputed. Clearly Raleigh is growing faster than Charlotte and Wake over taking Mecklanburg could only be the begining. Its not out of the question for Raleigh to deliever a fatal blow to Charlotte's pride by becoming the largest city in North Carolina.

The "GREAT ONE IS BACK" Their not fighting up their any more because the Charlotte Observer Has removed the Article or I can't find it anymore. I do see the Triangle if they ever put us back with Durham being the biggest in the State in the future, but I have to admit I don't see Raleigh Catching Charlotte based just off a city vs city comparison because just like Wake has more land mass than Mecklenburg the city of Charlotte(CITY LIMITS) has alot more land mass to grow into Than my beloved Raleigh. Edited by RALBOI

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I could care less about the comparisons. Both places have their positives and negatives that can be debated endlessly. However, I'm pretty sure that this subject is crossing over the "city vs. city" rule...

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Demographers say 74 percent of Mecklenburg residents live within municipal boundaries compared with 35 percent of those in Wake.

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One guy in the article said despite the population Charlotte is still the economic engine of the Carolinas, but I guess even that can be disputed.

Not really. The stats speak pretty clear in that regard.

Clearly Raleigh is growing faster than Charlotte and Wake over taking Mecklanburg could only be the begining. Its not out of the question for Raleigh to deliever a fatal blow to Charlotte's pride by becoming the largest city in North Carolina.

If that were to happen, it will definitely take some time. You don't overcome a 300,000 difference in population in a decade. I think city population is going to start leveling out for both cities within the coming years to a certain extent because both are running out of room to annex.

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Not really. The stats speak pretty clear in that regard.

If that were to happen, it will definitely take some time. You don't overcome a 300,000 difference in population in a decade. I think city population is going to start leveling out for both cities within the coming years to a certain extent because both are running out of room to annex.

I agree, we will be dead and gone when and if this ever happens. I won't lie I'm happy we are the new population king of the State from a bragging and ego stand point but with are current planning and are bad history with it. I'm scared were going to end up like a little Houston or Atlanta which as cities I love but from a planning point of view these two cities aren't the best so being the new king of counties in population might be a curse rather than a blessing, but hey time will tell. Edited by RALBOI

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The O has a roundup on this issue: http://www.charlotte...er-than-us.html

A 50,000 difference in headcount is pretty substantial, I guess we'll have to wait for 2010 Census figures to have a better idea of what's going on.

It notes that Mecklenburg's density is a little less than twice that of Wake's. It also mentioned something I had forgotten - Wake's school district size surpassed Mecklenburg three years ago.

Exactly. We won't know until we know. Those estimates can be very wrong. The info regarding the school district is more concrete proof to me.

Edited by Unifour

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The Census 2009 estimate has Meck at 913,000 and Wake at 897,000, with Meck adding 21,000 during last year and Wake adding 29,000. Both counties have gauged a slowdown, so it's up in the air.

I think Charlotte's status is safe for a good while longer at least. Even if Wake has surpassed Mecklenburg (not known for sure yet), Charlotte's suburban counties are growing faster than Mecklenburg is. Charlotte Metro extends into South Carolina and York county now has 200,000 people, giving metro Charlotte 4 counties in the 200,000 population range. Charlotte will probably get Iredell county added to it's metro soon, giving it yet another fast growing county with nearly 200,000 people. Charlotte is becomming another metropolitan mass like other cities. Metro population determine more than anything what a city possesses. Atlanta wouldn't have near what it has if it wasn't for its large metro population. It's not the end of Charlotte's success or status by any stretch.

Edited by Unifour

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Oh, man! Reading this topic is kinda like walking into a high school bathroom and seeing a couple of adolescent boys (with some identity issues) comparing their tools. Pretty sophomoric!

BTW...While there is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of civic pride, there is a line between being a civic booster and flat out boorishness. I saw the N&O article that spawned all of this -- again -- and I thought it was crap. The author made comparisons (in couched language to be sure) to venerable places like Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and then the real headscratcher -- Minneapolis??? By any measure, all of these places would be recognized as cities by people outside of the Carolinas long before either Raleigh or Charlotte would, if simply on reputation and/or history. Even by the American "caveman" reference of a city's might, all three of these cities sport multiple, upper echelon, professional sports franchises -- not just one or two. And while St. Louis and Pittsburgh are often sold short (unjustly so I personally think), Minneapolis is an absolute stud of a city (with all of the "Big Four" leagues covered, I might add), with as much financial muscle as Charlotte (probably more, if the measure is not just of banks alone), plus a research base that rivals the Triangle. All three have skylines as big as Charlotte's and way bigger than Raleigh's.

My intent is not to denigrate Charlotte or Raleigh. Both are growing and prosperous. Most all of us on the outside are happy for you. But your yardstick of success is a bit skewed. Jacksonville has 150,000 more people than Boston. Does anybody here have the huevos to insist that Jax is more of a city than Beantown? Just be careful about beating your own chest at the expense of others. (Not that they care.) It is very unseemly.

Edited by vitaviatic

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Not really. The stats speak pretty clear in that regard.

If that were to happen, it will definitely take some time. You don't overcome a 300,000 difference in population in a decade. I think city population is going to start leveling out for both cities within the coming years to a certain extent because both are running out of room to annex.

The leveling off could also reflect a future growth spurt in the Triad cities of Greensboro and Winston-Salem and even Burlington. Eventually Charlotte and the Triangle will become over saturated markets and companies and developers will be looking at the next rising urban area in the state (the Triad) The Triad sits between Charlotte and the Triangle so its only a matter of time. The FedEx Hub, HondaJet, triad research parks, multiple new interstates, downtown redevelopment are just a beginning of whats to come in the Triad. Guilford County is creeping up on half a million people and it wont be long before Greensboro hits 300,000. About 12 years ago Greensboro had 198,000 people. Today Greensboro has about 260,000. BTW Guilford and Wake counties are the only counties in the state that have two cities over 100,000 residents. Cary in Wake County has over 100,000 and High Point in Guilford County has over 100,000.

Edited by cityboi

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The leveling off could also reflect a future growth spurt in the Triad cities of Greensboro and Winston-Salem and even Burlington. Eventually Charlotte and the Triangle will become over saturated markets and companies and developers will be looking at the next rising urban area in the state (the Triad) The Triad sits between Charlotte and the Triangle so its only a matter of time. The FedEx Hub, HondaJet, triad research parks, multiple new interstates, downtown redevelopment are just a beginning of whats to come in the Triad. Guilford County is creeping up on half a million people and it wont be long before Greensboro hits 300,000. About 12 years ago Greensboro had 198,000 people. Today Greensboro has about 260,000. BTW Guilford and Wake counties are the only counties in the state that have two cities over 100,000 residents. Cary in Wake County has over 100,000 and High Point in Guilford County has over 100,000.

I don't think anyone disputes the need for growth in all of North Carolina's urban areas and I don't believe anyone would think the developments you listed for the triad are anything but terrific, but I think you're making long and questionable reaches here. I bolded the section where I'm specifically referencing.

As already been notated by Unifour, Charlotte has four counties that are in the 200,000 range and they are growing and with Mecklenburg at the 900K area - your statement of being a matter of time translates realistically to not within more than a few decades in the least in my humble opinion.

I just don't understand the need to want to be the next Charlotte as far as population (just I don't understand some of Charlotte's want to be the next Atlanta). It's not a way to grow or want to grow. Each city has its strengths and that is what should be the focus. Mecklenburg is the most urbanized county and it will continue to attract those who like it and lose people who don't. Though frankly, I think Greenville and/or Spartanburg should be in your calculations as I think they are just as likely to get growth based on your theory.

Personally I am happy to cede Wake as the largest County in North Carolina population wise. It doesn't affect anything I feel or think about in regards to Charlotte or Mecklenburg.

Just my 2 cents.

Edited by Urbanity

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The leveling off could also reflect a future growth spurt in the Triad cities of Greensboro and Winston-Salem and even Burlington. Eventually Charlotte and the Triangle will become over saturated markets and companies and developers will be looking at the next rising urban area in the state (the Triad) The Triad sits between Charlotte and the Triangle so its only a matter of time.

The leveling off of the municipal populations of Charlotte and Raleigh is merely a function of geography; the metros are still growing quite rapidly so all this means is that surrounding municipalities/counties are receiving a larger share of that growth. Metro areas have to get much, much larger than Charlotte and Raleigh currently are to even think of them as being "oversaturated." If the Triad is wanting to experience a growth spurt, it would be a very unwise and poor strategy to wait until Charlotte and Raleigh become oversaturated and position itself as an "overflow" or alternative location, because that won't be anytime soon.

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BTW...While there is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of civic pride, there is a line between being a civic booster and flat out boorishness....

My intent is not to denigrate Charlotte or Raleigh. Both are growing and prosperous. Most all of us on the outside are happy for you. But your yardstick of success is a bit skewed. Jacksonville has 150,000 more people than Boston. Does anybody here have the huevos to insist that Jax is more of a city than Beantown? Just be careful about beating your own chest at the expense of others. (Not that they care.) It is very unseemly.

"Boorishness" "It is very unseemly."

Do you write for Debutante's Weekly? While I honestly love your rhetorical style, it's not fair to take the mentality of one article in the N&O and ascribe it to the entire population of NC. Most people in the Carolinas would gladly agree that Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis are larger, and more established than Charlotte or Raleigh. Yet again, that doesn't mean that Charlotte can't go toe to toe with St. Louis and Pittsburgh when comparing things like size of GMP or financial prowess. RTP on the other hand has, well, The RTP. Very few places in the world can match The Research Triangle Park in terms scope, scale, and quality of research. Not even Pittsburgh's Oakland area (home Pitt and CMU) can do that. People from both cities often feel that because of their relatively modest populations they are denied due credit for their collective accomplishments. And, those accomplishments are substantial. So, I completely understand why people from Wake would be excited to inch past their cross state rival.

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