These Are The 10 Fastest Growing Cities In North Carolina For 2019

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

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the fastest growing cities in North Carolina.

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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 Ayden, 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 2019 according to the most recent census data:

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.

For more North Carolina state reading:

How We Measured The Fastest Growing Cities In the Tar Heel State for 2019

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

  • Current Population
  • Population in 2010
  • Growth rate from 2010 to Current (The latest available data which came out in Dec 2018)

We ranked all 132 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:

[Current Population – 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 Graph For 2019

Click to enlarge

Rolesville, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,308
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Population 2010: 3,289
Percent Growth 91.8%
Absolute Growth: 3,019
More on Rolesville: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

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.

Waxhaw, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,343
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Population 2010: 8,754
Percent Growth 52.4%
Absolute Growth: 4,589
More on Waxhaw: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Waxhaw is a town located in Union County, North Carolina. The population was 9,859 according to the 2010 Census.

Leland, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,023
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Population 2010: 11,925
Percent Growth 51.1%
Absolute Growth: 6,098
More on Leland: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

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, Domestic Disturbance, and We’re the Millers have been shot in or around Leland.

Morrisville, NC

Source: Town of Morrisville
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 23,873
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Population 2010: 16,147
Percent Growth 47.8%
Absolute Growth: 7,726
More on Morrisville: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

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 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 portion estimated at 994,551 residents. The U.S. headquarters of Chinese multinational Lenovo are located in the municipal limits.

Holly Springs, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 31,827
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Population 2010: 21,968
Percent Growth 44.9%
Absolute Growth: 9,859
More on Holly Springs: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Holly Springs is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 24,661, over 2 times its population in 2000.

Harrisburg, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,856
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Population 2010: 10,328
Percent Growth 43.8%
Absolute Growth: 4,528
More on Harrisburg: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Wake Forest, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 38,473
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Population 2010: 26,790
Percent Growth 43.6%
Absolute Growth: 11,683
More on Wake Forest: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

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.

Mebane, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,426
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Population 2010: 10,401
Percent Growth 38.7%
Absolute Growth: 4,025
More on Mebane: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Mebane 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.

Knightdale, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,363
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Population 2010: 10,477
Percent Growth 37.1%
Absolute Growth: 3,886
More on Knightdale: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

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.

Apex, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 45,899
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Population 2010: 34,427
Percent Growth 33.3%
Absolute Growth: 11,472
More on Apex: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Apex is a town in Wake County, North Carolina and a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town’s population to be 43,907 as of July 1, 2014.

These Places Grew Up So Fast In North Carolina, 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!

These places have been growing (or shrinking) the slowest (fastest):

  1. Wadesboro
  2. Elizabeth City
  3. Roanoke Rapids

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of Fastest Growing Places In North Carolina For 2019

Rank City Growth Population Population 2010
1 Rolesville 91.8% 6,308 3,289
2 Waxhaw 52.4% 13,343 8,754
3 Leland 51.1% 18,023 11,925
4 Morrisville 47.8% 23,873 16,147
5 Holly Springs 44.9% 31,827 21,968
6 Harrisburg 43.8% 14,856 10,328
7 Wake Forest 43.6% 38,473 26,790
8 Mebane 38.7% 14,426 10,401
9 Knightdale 37.1% 14,363 10,477
10 Apex 33.3% 45,899 34,427

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.