NORTH CAROLINA – The Old North State ranks seventh in the nation for population. It makes a lot of sense for our state to have been growing. After all, we have tech hubs, university hubs, beaches, mountains, a great climate, low taxes, and the best barbecue. But despite the past decades of dramatic population growth, the next 20 year may actually record the lowest growth rates since the Civil War era. Seriously.
Why? Chairman of the John Locke Foundation John Hoods explores that question in this piece at Carolina Journal. You might be surprised at the answers.
From Carolina Journal:
“[…] If present trends continue, by 2040 North Carolina will have a population of about 12.7 million, ranking us seventh in the nation but only fourth in the South, after Texas (40 million), Florida (28.9 million), and, just barely, Georgia (12.8 million). By that time, more people will live in North Carolina than in Illinois or Ohio.
Surprised? Let’s see if I can surprise you again. Even as North Carolina reaches that milestone, our population-growth rate will be declining significantly. According to the projections (from the University of Virginia’s Demographics Research Group), North Carolina’s population will have risen 10.8 percent from 2010 to 2020, 10.5 percent from 2020 to 2030, and 8.4 percent from 2030 to 2040.
These increases will still outpace the average national rate, which is also projected to decline. But keep in mind that North Carolina’s growth rates have historically been far higher — 12.7 percent in the 1980s, 21.4 percent in the 1990s, and 18.5 percent in the 2000s. Indeed, if the 2020-2040 projections prove accurate, North Carolina will grow at our slowest rate since the tumultuous 1860s (7.9 percent). […]”