NC in Focus: Where were NC voters born?

With the majority of North Carolina’s population growth since 1990 fueled by net in-migration, the share of residents born in other states and countries has steadily increased. According to the State Board of Elections, over 6.6 million North Carolinians were registered to vote as of September 3rd, 2016. Where were they born?

In the 9/3/2016 data, 85% of voters provided information on place of birth. Half of the voters who reported their birthplace were born in North Carolina.

Half of NC registered voters are North Carolina born

After North Carolina, Northeastern and other Southern states are most frequently reported. New York (6%) is the second most common birthplace for NC registered voters, followed by other countries (4%), Virginia (4%), Pennsylvania (3%), and South Carolina (3%). Ohio is the most frequently reported Midwestern state (2%) and California is the most common Western state (1.7%).

These patterns vary significantly across counties. In four Eastern North Carolina counties—Greene, Bertie, Martin, and Washington—more than 80% of registered voters are North Carolina-born. Continuing further east, however, one finds the two counties with the lowest share of North Carolina-born registered voters: Currituck (18%) and Dare (22%). In these counties, Virginia is the most common birthplace.

In contrast, New York-born voters are concentrated in retirement communities and large urban centers. Among voters reporting a place of birth, Brunswick County has the highest proportion reporting New York (12%), followed by Mecklenburg (11%). New Yorkers also represent 10% of registered voters in Union, Chatham, Wake, and New Hanover counties.

About Rebecca Tippett

Rebecca Tippett is Director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill's Carolina Population Center.
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