Metropolitan Area Growth: 1990 to 1999

County population counts for April 2000 from the 2000 Census were released by the Census Bureau in March of 2001. Smoothed estimates of the population of North Carolina Counties for July 1, 1999 were released in May of 2001 by the State Demographer. These estimates were based upon a process of smoothing the estimates released in December of 2000 to more nearly match the trendline between the values for April 1, 1990 and April 1, 2000 from the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. This smoothing process was redone in early 2008 to account for 2000 Census corrections received between May of 2001 and November of 2007. The resulting new estimates were released by the State Demographer in April of 2008.

According to these smoothed 1999 estimates, the metropolitan areas in North Carolina as a whole grew one and one half times faster from 1990 to 1999 than did the non-metropolitan areas. As a whole, the rate of net migration into the metropolitan areas was roughly a third more positive than that into the non-metropolitan areas. However, there were vast differences between individual areas. The Wilmington area, the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, and the North Carolina portion of the Norfolk-Newport News-Virginia Beach area showed the largest rates of growth, each more than 50% faster than the state growth rate. The North Carolina portion of the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill area grew more than 35% faster than the state as a whole. The Greenville area grew about as fast as the state as a whole. The Asheville area, the Greensboro-Winston Salem-High Point area, and the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir area all grew slightly slower than the state. The Fayetteville area grew about half as fast as the state as a whole. The Goldsboro and Rocky Mount areas both grew less than half as fast as the state as a whole. The Jacksonville metropolitan area did not grow at all during this time period.

Within some of the multicounty metropolitan areas, there were vast differences in growth. Within the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, both Johnston and Wake counties grew more than twice as fast as Durham County and both had over twice the rate of net migration that Durham County had. Within the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill area, Union County grew more than five times as fast as Gaston County and had over eight times the rate of net migration. Within the Rocky Mount area, Nash County grew about two thirds as fast as the state; Edgecombe County lost population.

Both the Fayetteville and the Jacksonville metropolitan areas have the same unusual population growth pattern, extremely large numbers of births combined with net out-migration. Each of these areas contains a large military base. Thus, one may assume that as population is rotated through the bases, more than one family may live in the same housing unit during the growth period. If a family enters the county, experiences a birth, and leaves the county, the effect is one birth and one net out-migrant. Thus, the net migration for these areas becomes meaningless by itself.

Last Update: April 9, 2008