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Data Dashboard: Population Density


Population Density

Trend at a Glance

At last count

1,284 persons per square mile

Current Through

July 1, 2017



What does this measure?

Population density, or population per square mile (land area), is a by-product of population growth, and indicates where growth occurs within the county. Monitoring changes in population densities provides an opportunity to assess land use in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Urban areas have population densities measuring at least 3,000 people per square mile, and are expected to have a concentrated mix of housing, retail, education, medical, recreation, and transportation options. Communities measuring below 1,000 people per square mile are rural areas, where residences and amenities are spread farther apart from each other, as the land is used primarily for agriculture, forestry, and horticulture. Population density impacts costs of service provision, as government and business investments are made based on the efficiency and expense of marketing, distributing, or serving populations over the expanse of a geographic service area.

How is Wake County performing?

Wake County continues to grow more dense.  The County surpassed the 1,000 people per acre benchmark in 2008 and measured more than 1,250 less than 10 years later.

Did you know?

Wake County's density has increased nearly 31% in the last ten years.

Data Source

For most recent year, US Census Bureau Annual Estimates of Resident Population as of July 1.  For prior years, US Census Bureau American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.  Sources may be found at http://factfinder.census.gov

Data Considerations

Population estimates for prior years are revised annually.  There is a lag between the collection and reporting of Census Bureau data with July 1, 2017 county population estimates released in March of 2018.

Charts & Maps

WC Population Density.jpg

Data is updated:

The United States Census Bureau publishes official population estimates and population estimate revisions for prior years annually. County, state, and national data are released in March.

Related Resources


July 2018




Created at 1/3/2014 3:56 PM by Lori K. Neumeier
Last modified at 10/1/2018 12:52 PM by Jason Horton


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