CARY'S POPULATION


The purpose of this page is to give a graphic representation of Cary's historical, current, and future population growth.


CARY'S POPULATION GROWTH SHOWN IN GRAPH FORMAT


CARY'S POPULATION GROWTH SHOWN IN TABLE FORMAT

The table below shows the population increase of the Town from its incorporation in 1871 to 2020. The population at inception is given [p. 50] by Thomas M. Byrd in his and Jerry Miller's book, Around and About Cary [Raleigh: Daniels Industries; 1970. 2nd ed., Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, Inc.; 1994.]. The population totals from 1880 to 2020 are the United States Census Bureau's official counts for those years.

The Compound Annual Growth Rate column at far right shows the rate of growth from the decade listed above it. Thus, for example, the rate of growth per year from 2000 to 2010 was 3.34%. FWIW, the compound annual growth rate of the Town of Cary from inception to 2017 has been 4.92%.

YEAR CARY'S
POPULATION
ADDITIONAL
PEOPLE
PERCENT
INCREASE
COMPOUND ANNUAL
GROWTH RATE
1871 +/- 150 Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable
1880 371 221 147% 10.59%
1890 423 52 14% 1.32%
1900 333 -90 –21% -2.36%
1910 383 50 15% 1.41%
1920 645 262 68% 5.35%
1930 909 264 41% 3.49%
1940 1,141 232 26% 2.30%
1950 1,446 305 27% 2.40%
1960 3,356 1,910 132% 8.78%
1970 7,686 4,330 129% 8.64%
1980 21,763 14,077 183% 10.97%
1990 45,497 23,734 109% 7.65%
2000 97,411 51,914 114% 7.91%
2010 135,234 37,823 39% 3.34%
2020 174,721 39,487 29% 2.59%

The population increase of 2.59% each year for the last decade, stated another way, means that the Town's population increased by 10.8 people per day, every day, seven days per week, 52 weeks of each year.

At that rate of growth, Cary's population on Election Day will be 183,112.


CARY'S FUTURE POPULATION

The Cary Community Plan's guidelines for the town's development and infrastructure are based on an assumption that Cary's population will increase to a mere 193,000 in the year 2040. If this were correct, the Compound Annual Growth Rate from now to then would be 0.76%.

The Cary Community Plan states that the yearly growth rate "is expected to decline" [p. 82], but does not specify who it is that expects the growth rate to decline, by how much he or she expects it to decline, or for what reason or reasons the decline is expected.

The table below shows the Town of Cary's population based on estimates of (1) the Cary Community Plan, (2) the U.S. Census Bureau, and (3) the Town of Cary administration. Note that the Cary Community Plan's projections work toward its prediction of 193,000 in 2040. The increase from 159,769 in 2015 to 193,000 in 2040 yields a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 0.76%.

If we take the actual rate of population growth for the Town and project it forward [right column of chart below], we see that the Cary Community Plan's prediction of 193,000 in the year 2040 will be surpassed 16 years early – in 2024 – and by 2040 there will be 291,371 people in the Town.

YEAR Population per
CARY COMMUNITY PLAN
( CAGR of 0.76%)
U.S.
CENSUS BUREAU
OFFICIAL ESTIMATE
(April 1)
TOWN of CARY
ESTIMATE
(July 1)
Population projection
based on
CAGR of 2.59%
2010 Not applicable 135,264
(official count)
Not available
2011 Not applicable Not available Not available
2012 Not applicable Not available 142,257
2013 Not applicable Not available 144,981
2014 Not applicable Not available 149,854
2015 159,769 159,769 153,865
2016 160,983 162,320 157,259
2017 162,207 165,904 160,390
2018 163,439 168,160 163,763
2019 164,682 170,282 167,316
2020 165,933 174,721
(official count)
170,287 174,721
2021 167,194 179,000+/-

[Town's revision] At the end of 2021, the estimated population for the Town of Cary is 179,864. During 2021, Cary’s population grew by 7,643 citizens, or 4%. This estimate is based on the Census 2020 data.

179,246
2022 168,465 183,889
2023 169,745 188,651
2024 171,035 193,538
2025 172,335 198,550
2026 173,645 203,693
2027 174,965 208,968
2028 176,294 214,381
2029 177,634 219,933
2030 178,984 (official count) 225,629
2031 180,345 231,473
2032 181,715 237,468
2033 183,096 243,619
2034 184,488 249,928
2035 185,890 256,401
2036 187,303 263,042
2037 188,726 269,855
2038 190,160 276,844
2039 191,606 284,015
2040 193,000 (official count) 291,371

If the demonstrated rate of growth continues, the Town of Cary's population will hit 193,000 people in 2024 – two years from now and 16 years ahead of the time on which the Cary Community Plan's assumptions are made.

If the demonstrated rate of growth continues, the Town of Cary's population will be 291,371 in 2040.


ACTUAL POPULATION GROWTH OF CARY AND NEARBY CITIES AND TOWNS


JURISDICTION 2010
POPULATION
2020
POPULATION
ADDITIONAL
PEOPLE
PERCENT
INCREASE
COMPOUND ANNUAL
GROWTH RATE
(2010 to 2020)
Raleigh 403,892 467,665 63,773 15.79% 1.48%
Durham 228,354 287,865 59,511 26.0% 2.33%
Cary 135,234 174,721 39,487 29.2% 2.59%
Apex 37,476 58,780 21,304 56.8% 4.60%
Holly Springs 24,661 40,050 15,389 62.4% 4.97%
Knightdale 11,401 18,761 7,360 64.6% 5.11%
Morrisville 18,576 31,670 13,094 70.5% 5.48%
Clayton 16,116 28,843 12,727 79% 5.99%
Fuquay-Varina 17,937 34,152 16,215 90.4% 6.65%

WAKE COUNTY IN TOTAL


JURISDICTION 2010
POPULATION
2020
POPULATION
ADDITIONAL
PEOPLE
PERCENT
INCREASE
COMPOUND ANNUAL
GROWTH RATE
Wake County 900,993 1,132,250 231,257 23.3% 2.31%


POPULATION DENSITIES (people per square mile)


Rank City 2020 Population Area (sq. mi.) People / sq. mi.
1 Raleigh 467,665 147.64 3,191
2 Cary 174,721 59.94 2,914
3 Charlotte 874,579 309.25 2,828
4 Durham 283,506 112.64 2,516
5 Greensboro 299,035 134.3 2,227
6 Wilmington 115,451 52.97 2,180
7 High Point 117,624 57.51 2,045
8 Asheville 93,350 45.95 2,031
9 Winston-Salem 249,545 133.82 1,864
10 Fayetteville 213,475 150.1 1,422