The Charlotte metro was definitely a hotbed of growth for the state during the past decade. From 2000 to 2010, the Charlotte metro area’s population grew by 32 percent, compared to the national growth rate of 9.7 percent. The pattern within the metro region is uneven, however, with of much of the strongest population increases concentrated in areas north and south of Charlotte.
The map below shows the population growth from 2000 to 2010 superimposed on a base map of the region. Move the slider bar to see the population change appear on the map. Scroll down for analysis and a map of the growth pattern in the Southeastern United States. Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Map Viewer.
The fastest-growing areas within Mecklenburg County were north of I-85 and in the southwestern part of the county. There is also a center-city Charlotte area of high growth (mostly within the inner freeway belt).
The map also shows where growth occurred in suburban counties like Union (southeast of Charlotte). Union County had the highest growth rate in North or South Carolina during this period, at 63 percent. Much of that growth is on the edge of the county that borders Mecklenburg.
The areas of population decline were mostly contained within parts of Charlotte and the centers of smaller surrounding towns. In Mecklenburg the areas losing population were just south of I-85 and in several areas of eastern and western Charlotte. That pattern of population loss extends into areas of central Gaston County, as well. Gaston County did have lower growth than the other counties directly adjacent to Mecklenburg, but at 8.2 percent growth over the decade, Gaston’s growth was only 1.5 percent less than the national average. Other regional counties saw lower population growth over the decade. Stanly County, east of Charlotte, saw 4.3 percent growth over the decade; Cleveland County, west of Gaston, experienced 1.9 percent growth.
The map below shows the growth pattern for cities around Charlotte in the Southeastern United States during the same period. Overall, the Southeast reflects the national pattern of metropolitan growth areas surrounded by areas of slower growth or population decline. Atlanta’s large urban core, which developed in earlier decades, is visible as an area of slower or negative population change surrounded by a large ring of growth. Raleigh looks like a smaller version of Atlanta’s pattern, while Charlotte and Nashville show stornger growth in specific quadrants of their respective regions.
Click on the map image below to go to the Census Bureau’s interactive map with access to locations across the country. (Note: the census site requires a recent version of Adobe Flash, so the map may not load on some systems.)