By on 5.8.23 in Carolina Demographics, NC in Focus

From WoW Supermarket in Monroe, to Tienda Mi Pueblo in Durham; from Dirtbag Ales in Hope Mills to Tienda Los Nenes in Asheville; from Pura Vida Worldy Art in Charlotte to Diamante Arts & Cultural Center in Cary. The evidence of Hispanic population’s growth and cultural influence can be found across North Carolina.

The Hispanic population in the state hasn’t just grown in the last three decades. Where the Hispanic population lives in North Carolina is also evolving. In 1990, 57% of the Hispanic population lived in either a county with a military facility (Cumberland, Onslow, Craven, and Wayne) or a major city (Mecklenburg, Wake, Guilford, Forsyth, and Durham). Combined, 44,000 of 77,000 Hispanic people lived in these nine counties in 1990.

Hispanic Population by Size, 1990

Hispanic Population by Size by County, 1990
Source: IPUMS NHGIS, Univ. of Minnesota,

The Hispanic population continued growing in these counties but also grew rapidly in other parts of the state – particularly in rural counties like Sampson, Robeson, Bladen, and Hoke, where Hispanics were employed in agriculture and agricultural product processing plants. By 2020, Hispanic populations were found in all North Carolina counties and accounted for at least 5% of the population in 73.

Hispanic Population as a Proportion of Total Population, 2020

Hispanic Population as Proportion of Total Population, 2020
Source: 2020 Census

More than half of the Hispanic population lived in 10 counties in 2020

While North Carolina’s Hispanic population is more dispersed throughout the state than it was in 1990, the majority of the Hispanic population continues to live in urban and suburban counties and in counties with major military installations. In 2020, 55% of the Hispanic population lived in Mecklenburg, Wake, Forsyth, Guilford, Durham, Cumberland, Johnston, Union, Onslow, and Cabarrus Counties.

Hispanic Population by Size, 2020

Hispanic Population by Size by County, 2020
Source: 2020 Census

Our latest population projections show continued growth of the Hispanic population throughout North Carolina with much of that growth occurring in these same counties. We project there to be Hispanic population living in all North Carolina counties in 2050, though the relative size of that population will vary – from the highest in 2050 of 39% in Johnston County to a low of 1% in Perquimans County.

Hispanic Population as a Proportion of Total Population, 2050

Hispanic Population as Proportion of Total Population, 2050
Source: NC OSBM, Population Projections, Vintage 2022

How to Access Population Estimates and Projections by Hispanic Origin

You can access a summary showing the size and age characteristics of the Hispanic population for past or future years (2010 through 2050) for North Carolina or one or more North Carolina Counties. You can also go directly to to access estimates and projections of the total Hispanic population by race and sex for the state and counties. Search for the “Population Projections by Hispanic Origin and Race” dataset. Data users can explore these data by selecting specific counties or other characteristics. Selected data or the full dataset can be downloaded from the data platform as well. These data can also be downloaded directly as a comma delimited text file at: County/State Population Projections. Go to the last dataset titled: Hispanic Origin by Race (2010-2050).

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