Yesterday the Raleigh News and Observer ran an interesting article about population growth in suburban towns around the Triangle. Using 2010 population figures and estimates from the Census Bureau, population changes are plotted for cities towns and counties in North Carolina. While the city and town data is certainly interesting, there is another story to be told. The data revealed that 48 counties –almost half of North Carolina’s 100 counties — lost population between 2010-2016. While it’s true 14 of those 48 net-loss counties, experienced improvements in the last year (2015-16), the gains were not large enough to reverse the county’s status.
It’s no surprise to learn that nearly all the counties with net population losses were in rural areas. Still the trendlines are predictors of things to come – most notably school enrollments. The data should also fuel discussion about other important topics like school funding, staffing and consolidation – which is a subject nobody likes but we’ve managed to successfully avoid for quite some time.
It might be getting more difficult.