A lot can be learned about our community from the data collected about it. The most recently released statistics pertaining to population, the economy, land development, and transportation provide a window into the quality of life of our residents, the diversity of our citizens, the stability of our businesses, and the health of our infrastructure. The measures tracked on this page paint a picture of our community's strengths and allow us to monitor areas where we can improve. We have endeavored to present this data as objectively and consistently as possible, and we invite you to explore it.

"Wake County by the Numbers" has previously only been published in pamphlet form. Due to data revisions to prior years, numbers published here may not match those numbers in previous Wake County publications. Data is updated and revised annually.

The trend arrow reflects the direction of change from the prior year of the last reported data.

  

The demographics of a community reveal a lot about its diversity and desirability. These numbers show who makes up our community, where our residents come from, and where growth is occurring within the county.
 
  
Trend at a Glance
At last count
Did you know?
Population

 

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1,046,791 residents
Wake was the 2nd fastest growing county nationally among the 6 counties that had more than 1 million residents on July 1, 2015 and experienced a cumulative growth rate of 12% between 2010 and 2015.
Population Density

1,253 persons per square mile

Wake County's population density increased by 175 additional people per square mile of land area between 2000 and 2016.
Net Migration

68 new residents per day; 47 per day from domestic and international migration

Wake County receives a steady flow of people into - and out of - the county. On average, Wake County gains an average of 47 new residents each day due to net migration. In 2016, migration accounted for about 68% of population growth in Wake County.
Median Age

35.7 years

Wake County median age is 35.7, compared to North Carolina is 38.0 and the U.S. average is 37.8
Foreign-Born Population



13.5% of the total population
The most common regions of birth for foreign-born residents in Wake County are Latin America and Asia.
Total Households

411,435 households

Nearly 100,000 housing units in Wake County are occupied by a single person.
Average Household Size

2.65 people per household
The historical average household size for owner-occupied households (2.74) is slightly higher than for renter-occupied households (2.41) in Wake County.
 
 
The extent to which citizens are able to achieve a desirable quality of life within Wake County is determined in part by their economic independence. These numbers measure the strength and sustainability of the economy, the affordability of education, and the relative wealth of the population.
 
  
Trend at a Glance
At last count
Did you know?
Unemployment

4.0% unemployment rate
The unemployment rate in Wake County is 0.6% lower than the U.S. average and 0.7% lower compared to North Carolina.
Educational Attainment

50.1% of the County's adult population has a bachelor's degree or higher
In 2015, the percentage of Wake County adult residents with a bachelor's degree or higher as adults age 25 or older ranked second in the state.
Median Household Income



$70,533
In 2015, Wake County had the highest median household income in the state.
Population Below Poverty Level




11.2% of the population lives below the federal poverty threshold
In 2015, Wake County had the second lowest poverty rate among the ten most populous counties in North Carolina.
 
 
 

Development patterns provide insight into the strength of the construction sector and the pace of residential and commercial development, and illustrate where growth is occurring.
 
  
Trend at a Glance
At last count
Did you know?
Total Housing Units Permitted





11,043 housing units

Prior to the recession during the late 2000's, 4 out of every 5 housing units were single family houses.  Today, 3 out of every 5 housing units are single family homes.  Multi-family homes are being built at a much faster rate since the recession.
Acres Annexed

3,376.6 acres annexed in 2016
 In 2016, the top five municipalities annexing areas in Wake County were: Apex (1,142), Cary (508.4), Fuquay-Varina (390.9), Rolesville (323.7), and Garner (316.5).
Residential Building Permits



14,918 permits

The number of residential building permits issued in 2016 was 60% higher than in 2009, when the recession had its strongest impact.
Commercial Building Permits


648 permits
2016 was a strong year for the value of commercial buildings.  Permitted values totaled more than $1.4 billion, increasing 53.2% compared from the prior year.
 
  
The way our residents can and do choose to get around has economic and environmental impacts. The efficiency and availability of public transportation; the cost of owning an automobile; the ease and safety of bicycling and walking; the location of our  of residential, employment, and commercial districts; and the quality of our roadways all play a role in residents' transportation choices.
 
  
Trend at a Glance
At last count
Did you know?
Bus Ridership





11,228,813 passenger boardings
C-Tran's passenger boardings increased 8% from 2013 to 2014, making it the fastest growing service provider in the County.
Funding for Public Transit Organizations



$59,332,534

In 2014, fare revenues accounted for nearly 19% of public transit operating costs.
Mode and Average Time of Commute





25.1 minutes
410,000 Wake County residents drove alone to work in 2015.
Registered Vehicles

770,989 vehicles registered
In 2016, 0.74 vehicles were registered per capita.
Vehicle Miles Traveled

 

 
11,318,366,823 miles traveled in Wake County during 2016
Although total vehicle miles traveled have increased for decades, there was a significant increase in vehicle miles traveled per capita in 2015 and 2016.  This may signify a strengthening local economy as people, good, and services feel comfortable moving around the County.  Lower energy costs are likely playing a role in the recent increases.
 

Download the Full By the Numbers Dataset:

 WCBTN Database 2017.xlsxWCBTN Database 2017



Learn More:

 
For more information about these and other topics, see the Trends and Outlook presentations, prepared annually by Wake County Planning, Development, and Inspections. Estimated population projections, racial and ethnic percentage distributions, and additional economic and development indicators are some of the components included.

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