North Carolina’s population grew by 112,000 between 2015 and 2016, the largest single year increase since 2010, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. With a growth rate of 1.1%, North Carolina’s 2015-16 growth was faster than the national growth rate (0.7%) and similar to the South’s regional rate (1.1%). Overall, North Carolina’s population has grown by 611,000 since 2010, an increase of 6.4%.
The uptick in population growth was fueled by an increase in net migration: North Carolina received 81,000 net migrants between 2015 and 2016. This was the fifth largest inflow of any state after Florida (346K), Texas (221K), Washington (94K), and Arizona (83K). Net migration accounted for nearly three of every four new residents to the state.
Meanwhile, natural increase (births minus deaths) declined to the lowest level recorded in the state since 1970. Between 2015 and 2016, nearly 121,000 babies were born in North Carolina and 90,000 individuals died, a net population gain from natural increase of just 31,000. This is a marked decline from 2007, when North Carolina added nearly 55,000 new residents due to natural increase (131,000 births and 76,000 deaths), the largest numeric gain from natural increase in state history.
The declining influence of natural increase on population growth reflects the combined impact of two factors. Continue reading