Guilford grows to 500,000

Mar. 19, 2013 @ 10:41 AM

As modest urban growth continues statewide, Guilford County’s population broke the 500,000 mark in 2012, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Mecklenburg and Wake counties accounted for nearly half of the state’s growth as Guilford grew 2.6 percent since 2010 to 500,879.
North Carolina’s population grew by 2.3 percent from 2010 to 2012 to 9,752,073. The Greensboro-High Point metropolitan area grew slightly during the year ending July 1, 2012 from 730,531 to 736,065. The area includes Randolph, Guilford and Rockingham counties. Randolph County grew less than 1 percent to 142,466. Davidson County gained about 200 people since 2010 to 163,260.  Metropolitan Greensboro and High Point grew 0.8 percent, while metropolitan Winston-Salem grew 0.5 percent.
The fastest-growing counties were Meklenburg and three suburban counties and  coastal counties stretching from the South Carolina border north to Jacksonville.
Census experts said the state grew, partly because people moved to North Carolina cities and cities grew because rural residents moved.   Census data show that 1,135 of the nation’s 3,143 counties are experiencing population declines because deaths exceed births. That’s up from roughly 880 U.S. counties, or 1 in 4, in 2009. Also, a common trend is a waning local economy, such as farming, mining or industrial areas.
“These counties are in a pretty steep downward spiral,” Kenneth Johnson, a senior demographer and sociology professor at the University of New Hampshire, told the Associated Press. “The young people leave and the older adults stay in place and age. Unless something dramatic changes, these areas are likely to have more and more natural decrease.”
In the expanded Triad-foothills area,  Surry, Stokes, Yadkin, Ashe and Alleghany counties lost population. Alleghany led the group with a 2 percent population loss since 2010 to 10, 927.

County Populations

Losses:  47 of the state’s 100 counties have lost population since 2010. Only 7 counties lost population in the decade ending with the 2010 census.

Triad: Forsyth County population increased 2.1 percent to 358,137;  Alamance, up 1.9 percent to 153,920 and Rockingham, down 1 percent since 2010 to 92,720. 

N.C:  Metropolitan Charlotte grew 1.7 percent from 2011 to 2012, while metropolitan Raleigh grew 2.2 percent.