These Are The 10 Fastest Growing Cities In North Carolina For 2018


We used data and science to determine the places in North Carolina everyone wants to move to today.

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Is being in an area that’s growing quickly a good thing or a bad thing?

Depends on who you ask. Some want bigger, more exciting cities like Charlotte and Raleigh, while others want peace and quiet like in Long View and Angier, thank you very much.

But today we’re going to put opinions aside and just look at the cold hard facts — over the past five years, which cities in North Carolina have the grown the fastest.

After getting knee deep in the Census’s American Community Survey, we emerged with this set of cities in the Tar Heel State that have people climbing over each other to get in.

These are the 10 fastest growing cities in North Carolina for 2018 according to the most recent census data:

  1. Rolesville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Leland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Waxhaw (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Fuquay-Varina (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Harrisburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Morrisville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Holly Springs (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Wake Forest (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Knightdale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Mebane (Photos | Homes For Sale)

If you happen to be a resident of Rolesville, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on our list.

If you’re surprised–and you’re wondering why these places are kind of a big deal–keep reading. We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 places in North Carolina are growing like weeds–but first, a bit about our methodology.

And if you already knew these places were happening, check out the best places to live in North Carolina or the Fastest Growing States In America.

How We Measured The Fastest Growing Cities In Tar Heel State

To figure out which cities are growing the most, we simply had to look at the growth rates for cities sine the begining of the decade, according to the American Community Survey put out by the census every year. Specifically:

  • Population in 2016
  • Population in 2010
  • Growth rate from 2010 to 2016 (The latest available data which came out in Dec 2017)

We ranked all 134 North Carolina cities with a population over 5,000 people from highest growth rate to lowest.

The city with the highest growth rate during this time was crowned the fastest growing city in the Tar Heel State.

And for those of you who are a little rusty with their statistics, you can calculate the growth rate by the following formula:

[Population 2016 – Population 2010] / [Population 2010]

Here’s a graph of the cities in North Carolina with the largest percent increase in population:
Fastest Growing Cities in north carolina

Click to enlarge

1. Rolesville

Rolesville, North Carolina

Population: 5,583
Population 2010: 3,289
Growth Rate: 69.75%
Absolute Growth: 2,294
More on Rolesville: Homes For Sale | Data
Rolesville is a town and suburb in northeastern Wake County, North Carolina, United States, just outside the capital city of Raleigh. It is the second oldest town in Wake County and has been one of the fastest growing towns in the state of North Carolina for the past several years. The population was 6,074 in 2015.

2. Leland

Leland, North Carolina

Population: 17,023
Population 2010: 11,925
Growth Rate: 42.75%
Absolute Growth: 5,098
More on Leland: Homes For Sale | Data
Leland is a town in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 13,527 at the 2010 census, up from 1,938 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area. A number of movies, such as Maximum Overdrive (1986), Domestic Disturbance (2001), and We’re the Millers (2013) have been shot in or around Leland.

3. Waxhaw

Waxhaw, North Carolina

Population: 12,398
Population 2010: 8,754
Growth Rate: 41.63%
Absolute Growth: 3,644
More on Waxhaw: Homes For Sale | Data
Waxhaw is a town located in Union County, North Carolina. The population was 9,859 according to the 2010 Census.

4. Fuquay-Varina

Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 22,722
Population 2010: 16,152
Growth Rate: 40.68%
Absolute Growth: 6,570
More on Fuquay-Varina: Homes For Sale | Data
Fuquay-Varina /fjukwe vrin/ is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 18,644 in 2012 (state-certified as of July 1, 2012). The population was 17,937 at the 2010 census, up from 7,898 at the 2000 census. The town is a 25-minute drive south of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. The hyphenated name attests to the town’s history as two separate towns. Fuquay Springs and Varina merged in 1963 to create the modern town. Economically, the town initially grew due to tobacco trade and agriculture, but has seen recent population growth and real estate development due to its proximity to Research Triangle Park.

5. Harrisburg

Harrisburg, North Carolina

Population: 14,500
Population 2010: 10,328
Growth Rate: 40.4%
Absolute Growth: 4,172
More on Harrisburg: Homes For Sale | Data

6. Morrisville

Morrisville, North Carolina

Population: 22,600
Population 2010: 16,147
Growth Rate: 39.96%
Absolute Growth: 6,453
More on Morrisville: Homes For Sale | Data
Morrisville is a town located in both Wake and Durham counties of the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 18,576 at the 2010 census. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town’s population to be 21,932 as of July 1, 2013. Morrisville is part of the Research Triangle metropolitan region. The regional name originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, located midway between the cities of Raleigh and Durham. The Research Triangle region encompasses the U.S. Census Bureau’s Combined Statistical Area (CSA) of Raleigh-Durham-Cary. The estimated population of the Raleigh-Durham-Cary CSA was 1,565,223 as of July 1, 2006, with the Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) portion estimated at 994,551 residents. The U.S. headquarters of Chinese multinational Lenovo are located in the municipal limits.

7. Holly Springs

Holly Springs, North Carolina

Population: 30,126
Population 2010: 21,968
Growth Rate: 37.14%
Absolute Growth: 8,158
More on Holly Springs: Homes For Sale | Data
Holly Springs is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 24,661, over 2½ times its population in 2000.

8. Wake Forest

Wake Forest, North Carolina

Population: 36,472
Population 2010: 26,790
Growth Rate: 36.14%
Absolute Growth: 9,682
More on Wake Forest: Homes For Sale | Data
Wake Forest is a town in Franklin and Wake counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina; located almost entirely in Wake County, it lies just north of the state capital, Raleigh. The population was 30,117 at the 2010 census, up from 12,588 at the 2000 census. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the city’s population to be 34,752 as of July 1, 2013. In 2007, the town was listed by Forbes magazine as the 20th fastest growing suburb in America, with a 73.2 percent increase in population between 2000 and 2006. Wake Forest was the original home of Wake Forest University for 122 years before it moved to Winston-Salem in 1956.

9. Knightdale

Knightdale, North Carolina

Population: 13,787
Population 2010: 10,477
Growth Rate: 31.59%
Absolute Growth: 3,310
More on Knightdale: Homes For Sale | Data
Knightdale is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,401. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town’s population to be 13,291 as of July 1, 2013. Knightdale’s population grew 10.4% from 2010-2012, making it the second fastest-growing community in the Research Triangle region for that time period.

10. Mebane

Mebane, North Carolina

Population: 13,592
Population 2010: 10,401
Growth Rate: 30.68%
Absolute Growth: 3,191
More on Mebane: Homes For Sale | Data
Mebane /mbn/ is a city located mostly in Alamance County, North Carolina, United States, and partly in Orange County, North Carolina. The town was named for Alexander Mebane, an American Revolutionary War general and member of the U.S. Congress. It was incorporated as “Mebanesville” in 1881, and in 1883 the name was changed to “Mebane”. It was incorporated as a city in 1987. The population as of the 2010 census was 11,393. Mebane is one of the fastest growing municipalities in North Carolina.

These Places Grew Up So Fast, You Know?

So there you have it, the fastest growing cities in North Carolina are led by Rolesville which has been growing at a blistering pace this decade relative to other cities and towns around the state.

It’ll be interesting to see if these places can keep growing at the same rate over the next couple of years. We’ll be here to let you know!

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of Fastest Growing Places In North Carolina

Rank City Pop 2016 Pop 2010 Growth % Growth
1 Rolesville 5,583 3,289 2,294 69.7%
2 Leland 17,023 11,925 5,098 42.8%
3 Waxhaw 12,398 8,754 3,644 41.6%
4 Fuquay-Varina 22,722 16,152 6,570 40.7%
5 Harrisburg 14,500 10,328 4,172 40.4%
6 Morrisville 22,600 16,147 6,453 40.0%
7 Holly Springs 30,126 21,968 8,158 37.1%
8 Wake Forest 36,472 26,790 9,682 36.1%
9 Knightdale 13,787 10,477 3,310 31.6%
10 Mebane 13,592 10,401 3,191 30.7%
11 Apex 43,893 34,427 9,466 27.5%
12 Clayton 18,553 14,714 3,839 26.1%
13 Pinehurst 15,522 12,521 3,001 24.0%
14 Marvin 6,056 4,889 1,167 23.9%
15 Angier 5,079 4,140 939 22.7%
16 Wesley Chapel 8,217 6,702 1,515 22.6%
17 Cary 155,822 127,587 28,235 22.1%
18 Aberdeen 7,107 5,884 1,223 20.8%
19 Huntersville 51,701 43,106 8,595 19.9%
20 Indian Trail 36,357 30,362 5,995 19.7%
21 Cornelius 27,426 22,970 4,456 19.4%
22 Davidson 12,076 10,320 1,756 17.0%
23 Stallings 14,759 12,682 2,077 16.4%
24 Mooresville 35,387 30,582 4,805 15.7%
25 Raleigh 441,326 382,729 58,597 15.3%
26 Charlotte 808,834 705,896 102,938 14.6%
27 Boiling Spring Lakes 5,703 4,982 721 14.5%
28 Durham 251,761 220,324 31,437 14.3%
29 Concord 85,753 75,172 10,581 14.1%
30 Mint Hill 25,024 21,940 3,084 14.1%
31 Oak Ridge 6,617 5,805 812 14.0%
32 Pineville 8,244 7,251 993 13.7%
33 Wendell 6,298 5,563 735 13.2%
34 Matthews 30,054 26,556 3,498 13.2%
35 Garner 27,625 24,417 3,208 13.1%
36 Fletcher 7,547 6,688 859 12.8%
37 Hope Mills 16,189 14,416 1,773 12.3%
38 Spring Lake 13,258 11,829 1,429 12.1%
39 Winterville 9,484 8,462 1,022 12.1%
40 Summerfield 10,758 9,615 1,143 11.9%
41 Greenville 89,745 80,439 9,306 11.6%
42 Stokesdale 5,278 4,732 546 11.5%
43 Gibsonville 6,759 6,063 696 11.5%
44 Weddington 10,254 9,207 1,047 11.4%
45 Boone 18,241 16,566 1,675 10.1%
46 Kannapolis 45,685 41,663 4,022 9.7%
47 Elon 9,781 8,933 848 9.5%
48 Southern Pines 13,258 12,116 1,142 9.4%
49 Carrboro 20,867 19,074 1,793 9.4%
50 Unionville 6,397 5,853 544 9.3%
51 Mount Holly 14,058 12,914 1,144 8.9%
52 Morehead City 9,273 8,523 750 8.8%
53 Wilmington 113,724 104,730 8,994 8.6%
54 High Point 108,982 100,903 8,079 8.0%
55 Sanford 29,048 26,897 2,151 8.0%
56 Oak Island 7,359 6,818 541 7.9%
57 Burlington 52,570 48,736 3,834 7.9%
58 Clemmons 19,536 18,145 1,391 7.7%
59 Hillsborough 6,428 5,972 456 7.6%
60 Greensboro 282,177 263,358 18,819 7.1%
61 New Bern 30,075 28,073 2,002 7.1%
62 Smithfield 11,746 10,972 774 7.1%
63 Dunn 9,762 9,123 639 7.0%
64 Chapel Hill 59,005 55,180 3,825 6.9%
65 Asheville 87,531 81,970 5,561 6.8%
66 Belmont 10,494 9,829 665 6.8%
67 Carolina Beach 6,048 5,665 383 6.8%
68 Lewisville 13,356 12,518 838 6.7%
69 Ayden 5,167 4,862 305 6.3%
70 Long View 5,071 4,772 299 6.3%
71 Kernersville 23,736 22,337 1,399 6.3%
72 Asheboro 25,978 24,478 1,500 6.1%
73 Winston-Salem 238,474 224,769 13,705 6.1%
74 Siler City 8,269 7,801 468 6.0%
75 Nashville 5,521 5,210 311 6.0%
76 Monroe 34,212 32,297 1,915 5.9%
77 Woodfin 6,241 5,913 328 5.5%
78 Mills River 6,990 6,633 357 5.4%
79 Whiteville 5,535 5,255 280 5.3%
80 Hendersonville 13,548 12,900 648 5.0%
81 Kill Devil Hills 6,948 6,630 318 4.8%
82 Archdale 11,483 10,964 519 4.7%
83 Black Mountain 8,168 7,809 359 4.6%
84 Statesville 25,731 24,619 1,112 4.5%
85 Gastonia 73,877 70,709 3,168 4.5%
86 Conover 8,263 7,928 335 4.2%
87 Graham 14,506 13,921 585 4.2%
88 Selma 6,325 6,072 253 4.2%
89 Kings Mountain 11,053 10,631 422 4.0%
90 Mocksville 5,140 4,952 188 3.8%
91 Butner 7,692 7,414 278 3.7%
92 Cherryville 5,901 5,697 204 3.6%
93 Thomasville 27,178 26,319 859 3.3%
94 Brevard 7,710 7,489 221 3.0%
95 Wilson 49,558 48,219 1,339 2.8%
96 Oxford 8,707 8,490 217 2.6%
97 Clinton 8,799 8,584 215 2.5%
98 Bessemer City 5,462 5,333 129 2.4%
99 Fayetteville 203,670 198,875 4,795 2.4%
100 Salisbury 33,674 33,018 656 2.0%

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