A report from the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute says that North Carolina, historically a state of small towns, is becoming increasingly urban.
Since 2010, Mecklenburg and Wake counties, home to Charlotte and Raleigh, respectively, have grown by about 145,000 people, which is almost half of the growth in the entire state, the Urban Institute report shows.
Mecklenburg and Wake counties both grew by around 8 percent since 2010, according to the report. Mecklenburg added 71,909 people to reach a population of 990,977 at the end of 2013. Wake County added 73,271 people to reach a population of 974,289.
The growth in these N.C. urban areas is consistent with trends nationwide, the Urban Institute says. The largest metro areas are claiming the majority of population growth while rural areas are seeing population stagnate or decline.
The fastest-growing N.C. counties after Mecklenburg and Wake were Guilford County, which added 18,204 people; Durham County, which added 18,159 people; and Union County, which added 11,465 people, the Urban Institute said. Rockingham County lost 1,762 people between 2010 and 2013, which was the most in the state.
“As cities become even more critical to regional and state economies, they will also be faced with the infrastructure challenges the rapid growth will bring,” the report said. “How those challenges are met will be crucial to maintaining the health of these engines of economic growth and prosperity.”