From 2015–16, Raleigh added 31,585 people, making it the fourteenth fastest-growing metro in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Perhaps more important, it's the second-fastest-growing major metro in the U.S., behind only Austin.
None of this is particularly surprising to those who call the City of Oaks home. Of those 31,585 new residents, nearly 22,000 came here from somewhere else, perhaps lured by the city's place among such Forbes top-ten lists as "Easiest Cities to Find a Job," "America's Hottest Spots for Techs," and "Best Cities for Young Professionals." (Thanks for helping make rush hour so delightful, Forbes.) Simply put, Raleigh has a lot going for it: good jobs, good climate, good culture, good people, good food, good beer.
So more people are on their way—and not just to Raleigh proper, but to its suburbs, as well. Sixty-three more people call Wake County home every day, which in time will put pressure on Wake's schools and infrastructure. That was a key rationale behind Wake's transit referendum last November.
"Every municipality but maybe Zebulon" has seen an influx of residents, says Commissioner John Burns. "Growth is at the center of every challenge we're facing. And it's something we're working on all the time, [making sure] we're thinking thirty and forty years down the road."
The transit referendum, which passed, was a "huge first step" in addressing the county's population boom, Burns says. But more work is ahead of both the city and county as they strive to keep up with services running the gamut from water and mental health care to transportation and affordable housing.
Still, Burns says, he'd "rather be dealing with this problem than Detroit's problem."
This article appeared in print with the headline "+Growth Spurt."