Centrally located in the Triangle area of North Carolina, Wake County is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation and the second-most populous county in the state with approximately 1,025,000 residents. The County was founded in 1771, currently encompasses about 860 square miles, and is the center of the state government, with the Capitol Building, legislature, and many government offices located in Raleigh, the County seat. Wake County is a thriving community whose population has grown approximately 142% since 1990, 52% since 2000, 14% since 2010 and is forecasted to maintain substantial growth of approximately 25,000 new residents per year for the next few decades.

The County’s 2016 General Fund budget is $1.14 billion, and the County has approximately 3,800 employees. The County has a seven-year capital plan totaling $911 million.

Wake County is governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners meetings are held bi-monthly on Mondays and last approximately 2–3 hours.

General Quick Facts:

  • Urban population and percent of total population: 805,993/81% (July 1, 2014)
  • Rural population and percent of total population: 192,698/19% (July 1, 2014)


Wake County is part of the Research Triangle Park, one of the nation’s largest planned research development communities. It has received national and international rankings and accolades from publications such as Money, Fortune and Time magazines as being one of the best places to live and work, best business climates, and best places to earn a world-class education, among others. The region is home to some of the world’s largest corporations as well as many start-up businesses.

Business Quick Facts:

Because of the business friendly environment, the County has a diverse economy which includes key industries such as:

  • Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals
  • Advanced Medical Technologies
  • Clinical Research
  • Agricultural Biotechnology
  • Software Development
  • Defense Technologies
  • Interactive Digital Media
  • Healthcare IT
  • Smart Grid
  • Renewable Energy
  • Advanced Transportation

Quality of Life

Quality of life is a priority in Wake County. While highly recognized for stability, prosperity and growth, Wake County also has unique neighborhoods and a family of communities steeped in history and tradition, as well as a blend of diverse people from worldwide locations. The community offers all the amenities of big-city life without the high cost of living along with a unique mix of urban and rural small towns, providing something for every lifestyle. The County has 12 core municipalities, the largest of which is Raleigh (pop. approximately 439,000).

Quality of Life Quick Facts:

  • The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) is the largest district in North Carolina and the 16th largest in the country, with 171 schools serving over 157,000 students.
  • Wake County is home to NC State University, Shaw University, Meredith College, Saint Augustine’s College, William Peace University, and Wake Technical Community College.
  • The cost of living index is 90.5, compared to the national average of 100.0.
  • The average cost of a home in Wake County is $283,000.

Twelve municipalities are part of Wake County:





Holly Springs





Wake Forest



Additional links of interest:




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Information for Visitors

Information for Businesses