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2015 population data shows uneven growth in state and county

Raleigh is now bigger than Omaha, Durham has more residents than St. Petersburg, Fla., and eight of the 25 fastest-growing municipalities in North Carolina last year were in the Triangle, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau’s annual report on municipal population shows most of the big gainers are in the South and West, matching the shift in the nation’s population. Seattle and Denver now each have more residents than Detroit, while Arlington, Texas, displaced Cleveland on the list of the nation’s 50 largest cities.
Johnston County’s population is now 185,650 and it grew by 2.3% just last year and nearly 10% since 2010. Growth in the county continues to be uneven, with western and eastern towns growing more rapidly than those on the I-95 corridor.
The report also shows the uneven growth of North Carolina, which topped 10 million residents last year. Of the 552 North Carolina communities counted by the Census Bureau, about 41 percent lost population last year, including sizable cities such as Fayetteville, Rocky Mount, Goldsboro and Jacksonville.
Among the report’s findings:

  • Smithfield’s population is now 12,022, up 2.4% in the last year and up over 9% since 2010.
  • Selma’s population is 6,307, with more modest growth at .8% last year and 3.6% in the last five years
  • Clayton is the largest town in Johnston County at 19,304. It grew by almost 5% in the last year and nearly 20% since 2010.
  • Four Oaks and Benson grew by just a little over 1% last year.
  • Raleigh’s population reached an estimated 451,066 last July 1, making the city the 42nd largest in the country just behind Virginia Beach.
  •  Rolesville continues to be the Triangle’s fastest-growing community. Nearly 6,300 people lived in the town last July 1, about 65 percent more than in 2010.
  •  Also, Fuquay-Varina, Clayton, Morrisville, Zebulon, Wake Forest, Holly Springs and Apex were among the top 25 fastest-growing towns in the state last year.
  • In addition to those mentioned above, eastern towns that lost population last year include: Ayden, Clinton, Elizabeth City, Havelock, Kinston, Lumberton, New Bern and Warsaw.

From News and Observer story by Richard Stradling and David Raynor

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