Where Are All the New Residents of Raleigh Moving From?

Elizabeth Whalen
September 21, 2017
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Given its spot in Research Triangle Park, Raleigh might be best known as a tech hub, but the area’s largest employers are actually in government, education and healthcare, with energy and financial services also in the mix.

Perhaps that wide variety of opportunity is driving the area’s strong population growth.

In fact, the metro area gained more than 30,000 new residents between July 2015 and July 2016, according to the latest census data. During that time, the population went from 1,271,381 to 1,302,946, a 2.5 percent increase.

Wake County, where the city of Raleigh is located, grew slightly more slowly during that time, going from 1,021,974 to 1,046,791, a 2.4 percent increase. (The metro area is larger than the county, and its population is bigger.)

Some of that growth comes from new births and immigration, but a good chunk of it is also due to people moving into Raleigh from other places in the U.S. Indeed, Wake County attracted 61,111 domestic movers from 2011 to 2015, according to another census study that covers those years.

So, you may be wondering where all those people are coming from. That same census study gives us a pretty good idea. (Spoiler alert: It’s a lot of Yankees, okay, and Californians and Floridians, too).

It turns out the split is almost even between those coming from outside North Carolina (51 percent) and those moving from elsewhere within the state (49 percent). Take a look at the graphic below to see exactly where folks both in and out of the Tarheel State are coming from.

Below are rankings for the top five counties of origin for movers to Wake County:

Movers outside of North Carolina:

  1. Fairfax County, VA (west of Washington, D.C.)
  2. Riverside County, CA
  3. Santa Clara County, CA (San Jose)
  4. Middlesex County, NJ (Edison)
  5. Jewell County, KS (Mankato)

Movers from North Carolina:

  1. Durham County
  2. Johnston County
  3. Mecklenburg County
  4. Pitt County
  5. Guilford County

Above are the top places inside North Carolina that people moved to Wake County from over the five-year period 2011-2015. Numbers represent the number of movers from that place during the period.

Sources: City of Raleigh Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, June 30, 2016 (PDF Download)