North Carolina population growth at highest levels since 2010

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

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Top 10 Last Names

In addition to counting basic demographic characteristics of 309 million Americans, the 2010 decennial census also included information on the last names about 295 million individuals – more than 95% of all Americans. Summaries of these data were made publicly available today. Some highlights:

  • Americans reported 6.3 million individual surnames in 2010. Most of these—3.9 million or 62%–were reported only once. Why? Lots of unique surnames or unique variations of more common names.
  • There were 11 last names reported by more than one million individuals: Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Garcia, Miller, Davis, Rodriguez, Martinez, and Hernandez. Nearly 16 million Americans have one of these 11 last names.
  • Among the top 15 fastest-growing last names (2000-2010), all but one are predominantly Asian or Hispanic, reflecting the faster growth in these populations over the decade.

Last names vary significantly by race and ethnicity. “Most individual surnames do not reflect the diversity of the population as a whole,” writes Joshua Comenetz. “In many cases, over 90 percent of people reporting a name” are from a single race or ethnic group.

Among the top 10 surnames nationwide, the top five are dominated by white and black individuals, while three of the next five are predominantly Hispanic.


What does your last name look like? You can download the full file of names reported by 100 or more individuals here. As of 2010, I was one of 4,344 with the last name Tippett. It was the 7,644th most common last name, a slight decline in position from 2000 (#7,620).

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Mexico top sending country for immigrants to NC in 2015

After the Great Recession, the volume of Mexican immigration to the United States—and North Carolina—dropped sharply. Between 2009 and 2014, the Pew Hispanic Center found that more Mexican immigrants had returned to Mexico than immigrated to the U.S., with an estimated net migration of -140,000 individuals. During this same time period, Asian countries, such as China and India, emerged as leading senders of immigrants. Similar trends were documented in North Carolina.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey indicate changing patterns in North Carolina but not the nation. Nationally, India and China remain the leading sources of new immigrants to America. In 2015, the U.S. received 180,000 immigrants from India and 143,000 from China compared to 139,000 from Mexico.

In North Carolina, immigration from Mexico more than doubled between 2014 and 2015, rising from just under 3,500 to nearly 7,400. The volume of Mexican immigration to the state in 2015 was greater than the combined volume of immigration from both China (3,500) and India (3,400).


Although there have been large continued flows of Mexican immigrants into the state since 2005, North Carolina’s Mexican population has not grown as much as populations born in other countries. Continue reading

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The North Carolina Electorate: North Carolina-born voters


Over half (54%) of North Carolina’s voting-eligible (18+ citizen) population is North Carolina born, according to estimates from the 2014 American Community Survey. This is slightly below the national proportion of 56% of eligible voters born in their current state of residence. Louisiana has the highest proportion of state native potential voters at 77% while Nevada has by far the lowest rate. Just 14% of Nevada’s voting-eligible residents were born in Nevada.

As individuals moved to North Carolina from other states and countries over the past few decades, the state share of North Carolina-born potential voters has declined. Continue reading

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The North Carolina Electorate: Asian & Hispanic Voters

North Carolina’s population is rapidly diversifying. Since 2000, the state’s Asian population has more than doubled, increasing from 114,000 to 268,000, a growth rate of 136%. The Hispanic population has grown at a similar pace, with even more significant numeric increases. In 2000, North Carolina had 379,000 Hispanic residents. By 2015, the Hispanic population was nearly 912,000, an increase of more than half a million or 141% over fifteen years.

This diversity is not fully reflected in the state’s electorate, however. Just 2.3% of North Carolina’s active, registered voters identify as Hispanic compared to 9.1% of the total population. Similarly, Asian voters comprised 1.1% of North Carolina registered voters while making up 2.7% of the total population. What accounts for these differences?

First, North Carolina’s Asian and Hispanic residents are younger than the national average, making them more likely to be ineligible to vote due to age. In 2015:

  • 37% of NC Hispanics were under 18 compared to 32% nationwide.
  • 24% of NC Asians were under 18 compared to 20% nationwide.

In addition, North Carolina Asian and Hispanic adults are less likely to be eligible to vote due to citizenship status. Nearly all of North Carolina black and white adults are eligible to vote (9%). In contrast, just 60% of North Carolina’s Asian adults are citizens compared to 68% of Asians nationwide. Less than half of North Carolina’s Hispanic adults are citizens—47%—the lowest rate of any state in the nation.


Among the voting eligible populations, current voter registration data indicates lower registration rates among Asian and Hispanic adults. Continue reading

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