North Carolina

North Carolina by the Numbers:
Key Statistical Data and Facts

Key Details

  • North Carolina is the ninth most populous state in the US, with 10.7 million residents. 
  • It has an almost even gender split, with 51.1% female and 48.8% male residents. 
  • 89% of North Carolina aged 25 and above had a high school education or higher, while 33% had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and 25.2% had a college or associate degree. 
  • Elected in 2016, Roy Cooper, a Democrat, serves as the 75th governor of the Old North State. 
  • In 2021, NC's estimated median household income was $60,516, slightly lower than the average national median household income ($70,784). 
  • 64,832 marriages were recorded in 2019, while 32,960 divorces were recorded in 2020 
  • North Carolina's life expectancy rate as of 2020 is 82 years.  

North Carolina Population Demographics

North Carolina is the 9th-most populous state in the United States. According to 2022 census estimates, the Tar Heel state is home to a population of 10,698,973 residents, marking a nearly 10% increase from the number recorded in 2010 (9,535,483). Between 2020 and 2022, the state's population grew by 2.5%.  

Roughly one of every five persons living in North Carolina is aged 18 or above (21.8%), while 1 out of almost every six persons is 65 years or above (17%). Persons aged five years or below constitute 5.6% of the North Carolina population. North Carolina has an almost even gender split, with 51.1% female and 48.9% male residents. 

North Carolina Housing

4,801,712 households
Between 2017 and 2021, North Carolina had approximately 4,801,712 households, with an average of 2.50 persons per household.
During the same period, housing units in North Carolina were valued at $197,500
$122.25 to $422
 while the average monthly rates of occupied units in North Carolina ranged from $122.25 to $422.
Roughly 65.9% of housing units in The Old North State were owner-occupied, and 5.9% had residents living in the apartment for at least one year.
The median selected monthly owner cost (with and without a mortgage) ranged from $422 to $1397. In comparison, the median gross rent was $988.

North Carolina Racial Demographics


North Carolina is home to a variety of racial groups. As of 2023, the state's racial composition comprises 3.4% Asians and 22.3% Black or African-American. Also, 70.1% of North Carolina residents are white alone, while Hispanic or Latinos make up 10.2%. About 2.5% of the population had a connection to at least two racial groups as of 2021.

  • Whites alone
  • Black or African-American alone
  • Asian alone
White alone 70.1% 
Black or African-American alone 22.3% 
Hispanic or Latino 10.2% 
Asian alone 3.4% 
American Indians and Alaska Natives alone 1.6% 
Two or more races 2.5% 

Elections in North Carolina

During past elections, North Carolina has chosen candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties.  

As of 2023, Democrats control the governorship. The Democrats also hold the offices of the secretary of state and attorney general. However, the North Carolina chambers are under the control of the Republican Party by three-fifths, enough to withstand vetoes. 

Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is the 75th governor of The Old North State. He took charge of the state in 2017 following the defeat of his Republican opponent, Pat McCrory. Mark Robinson leads the state Senate and is also the first African-American to become Lieutenant Governor. 

2020 Presidential Election 

The presidential election in North Carolina was a close race. Donald Trump won the state by a margin of 1.3%. The Republican candidate had 49.93% of tallied votes (2,758,775), more than the Democratic Party’s Joe Biden, who received 48.59% (2,684,292). 

Donald Trump’s eventual loss made him the second sitting president after George W. Bush to have lost the national elections despite winning North Carolina. 

Joe Biden

49.93% of votes

Donald Trump

49.93% of votes

Donald Trump’s eventual loss made him the second sitting president after George W. Bush to have lost the national elections despite winning North Carolina.

North Carolina Voting Statistics

North Carolina witnessed increased voter turnout (75.35%) in the 2020 general elections, a leap from 65.20% in 2016. As of 2020, the state had a total of 7,359,798 registered voters, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections

About 2,620,162 North Carolina residents registered as Democrats, while 2,246,540 registered as Republicans. Over 2.4 million people remained unaffiliated, while Green Party and Constitution Party shared less than 55,000 registered voters in the state. North Carolina’s voter participation in the 2020 general elections was the state’s highest recorded turnout of the century. 


General Election

YearVoter TurnoutTurnout Percentage (Voting Age Population)
2022 3,790,202 51.14% 
2020 5,545,848 75.35% 
2018 3,755,778 52.98% 
2016 4,769,640 68.98% 
2014 2,918,052 44.02% 
2012 4,540,488 68.40% 
2010 2,036,451 36.58% 
2008 4,354,052 69.53% 

How Educated Is North Carolina

As of 2022, 89% of North Carolina aged 25 and above had a high school education or higher. About 33% of the North Carolina population aged 25 or older had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, while 25.2% had a college or associate degree. This means 3 out of almost every 4 North Carolina residents of college age had a high school diploma, while 1 out of 4 had a bachelor’s degree. 

Highest Level of Education 

Residents aged 35 to 44 years (15%) had the highest level of education (Graduate or professional degree) in the state. About 23% of the same age group had a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

North Carolina boasts almost 150 colleges and universities, comprising 75 public institutions, 50 nonprofit private, and over 20 for-profit private universities. The North Carolina State University, Raleigh, has the highest total enrolments, with about 38,786 students as of 2023. Top universities in North Carolina include Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University

North Carolina Employment Rate

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in North Carolina was 3.5% as of March 2023, less than the national average unemployment rate of 3.6%. However, the state unemployment rate has increased by 0.2 of a percentage point within the past year. 

North Carolina had 43,953 establishments employing 606,085 people as of 2021. This figure was a 7% reduction in total employed persons from 2020. As of March 2023, there were 866,100 employed persons in North Carolina. 

Unemployment rates in North Carolina counties have varied significantly over the years. The rates of unemployment increased in five counties, decreased in 74 counties, and remained unchanged in 12. Hyde County had the highest unemployment rate in the state at 10.6% as of February 2023, while Orange County recorded the lowest with 2.8%. 

Compared to the previous month (January), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in 12 of the state’s major metro areas decreased but did not change in three metro areas. According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Asheville recorded the lowest unemployment rate at 3.0%, while Rocky Mount had the highest with 5.2%. Between January 2022 and March 2023, unemployed workers in North Carolina had decreased by 4,369 while those employed had increased by 35,804. 

North Carolina’s workforce is spread across several industries. Industries with the highest number of workers are Business and Finance, Educational Instruction, Healthcare and support, Transportation and Utilities, and Construction. 

Average Income in North Carolina

The estimated median household income in North Carolina as of 2021 was $60,516, according to the US Census. This was a little short of the average national median household income across the United States ($70,784). In terms of annual household take-home, North Carolina ranks 29th in the US. 

Median income levels vary across different counties. Wake ($83,567), Union ($82,557), Orange ($74,803), and Currituck ($73,741) were the wealthiest counties as of 2020, according to US Census data. By age groups, North Carolina’s highest earning group are earners between the ages of 45 to 64. Householders aged 25 to 44 come second with $66,559. 

Families in North Carolina

North Carolina Marriage Rates

6.2 per 1000 person

As of 2019, there were 64,832 marriages in the state of North Carolina. By 2022, the number had increased to 75,657, making it one of the highest in the United States. That comes down to a rate of 6.2 marriages per 1000 people per year. Marriage rates in North Carolina dropped over the decade because young people waited to get older to get married, compared to the previous century when people got married in their late teens and early 20s. 

North Carolina Divorce Rates

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2020, North Carolina recorded 32,960 divorces (or 3.2 divorces for every 1000 inhabitants). Although this rate showed a downward trend from the divorces recorded in the previous decade (5.2 divorces among every one thousand residents), it was still higher than the national divorce rate of 2.7 per thousand residents.  

Divorce rates differed across counties and months of the year in North Carolina. In May 2020, the state recorded the highest number of divorces of the year. Similarly, there were more divorces in Wake County, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, and Apex than in all other counties. 

Life Expectancy in North Carolina

According to the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, the life expectancy in North Carolina is 82.1 as of 2020. Considering all factors, individuals living in North Carolina are expected to live beyond age 80. 

Life expectancy also varies across counties in North Carolina. Orange County, Wake County, Watauga County, and Transylvania County have the longest life expectancy in North Carolina. The quality of life across North Carolina counties ranges from 1 to 9 by rank. 

North Carolina’s fertility rate is 56.2 per 1000 women aged 18 to 44 as of 2020. 53.3% of this demographic are white, 24% are black, and 16.1% are Hispanic. As of 2023, North Carolina is ranked the 19th most fertile state in the United States. 

According to the North Carolina Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDPC), heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in North Carolina. COVID-19 rose through the ranks post-2020, while accidents remain a significant cause of mortality in the state. 

North Carolina Crime Rates

According to a 2021 report by the NC Bureau of Investigations, North Carolina's crime rate is 3.9 per 1000 residents, a little higher than the average across the United States. Data provided by Crime Grade USA establishes that as of 2022, 58% of states in the US were safer than North Carolina. 

Rated C on the crime ranks, North Carolina has a slightly higher crime rate than most parts of the US. Regardless, the central parts of the state are considered safer than other regions. The Northern part of North Carolina witnesses an average of 7780 crimes per year, while the Northwest region experiences much fewer crimes at 1,711 crimes each year. 

A further breakdown reveals that assault is the most common crime in the state, with a rate of 2.635 per 1000 residents. Robbery comes second with a rate of 0.9524, while murder follows at 0.06 per 1000 residents. 

North Carolina Incarceration Rate

100,000 people
As of 2019, 429 per 100,000 people over 18 are incarcerated in North Carolina prisons. This is lower than the US rate of 556 per 100,000.
5,612 individuals
As of December 2021, there were 5,612 individuals confined in New Mexico prisons.
The jail and prison incarceration rate in North Carolina increased from 1996 to 2023
680 men per every 100,000 and 62 women per every 100,000
As of 2023, Men’s prisons in North Carolina held about 680 men per every 100,000 males and 62 women per every 100,000 female residents.

North Carolina Bankruptcy Rate

Per statistics from the United States Bankruptcy Court Eastern District of North Carolina, North Carolina has a bankruptcy rate of 0.68 per 1000 residents. The state is ranked seventh on the country’s lowest bankruptcy rate list. With a median income of $60,516, North Carolina performs well in debt statistics. 

8,909 bankruptcy cases

From 2011 to 2019, the number of bankruptcies filed in North Carolina increased slowly from 439 to 1,147. The state’s bankruptcy filing rate is among the lowest in the United States. As of 2020, the United Bankruptcy Court – Eastern District of North Carolina reported that 8,909 bankruptcy cases were filed in the state, specifically Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy. 

Weird Laws in North Carolina

North Carolina has a fair number of laws non-Carolinians might find weird. Most odd NC laws are listed in the books but largely unenforced. They include:

  • It is illegal to serve alcohol when a game of bingo is ongoing.
  • It is illegal to ride a bike with only one hand.
  • It is unlawful to drive on the sidewalk in North Carolina
  • In Downer, NC, you are not permitted to wash your cars in the street.
  • It is illegal to fly a kite 10 feet above ground level.
  • Singing off-key is against the law.

Cities in North Carolina

Table of contents

Cities in North Carolina