Why some Americans don’t trust the census

More than 4 million Americans may not be represented in the upcoming 2020 census. This is a problem, as the once-every-10-year census affects everything from federal funding to political representation to research projects that rely on accurate census data, like the ones my colleagues and I conduct at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The 2020 census is fraught with uncertainty for a variety of reasons, including a lack of money, a growing…

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How many people were born in the state they currently live in?

By on 1.24.20 in Migration, NC in Focus

Population can grow—or decline—from one of two components of change: net migration (both domestic and international) or natural growth (births and deaths). Though both components have contributed to North Carolina’s population growth, net migration has been the driving force of growth in North Carolina since 1990. This has substantially changed the makeup of North Carolina’s population. More than 9 out of 10 North Carolina residents were native to the state a hundred years ago. By…

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NC in Focus: The 2019 Holiday Season

By on 12.23.19 in NC in Focus

The holidays are an important time for gathering with friends and family, gift giving, celebration, and giving thanks. Before we break for the holidays ourselves, we’d like to share a few holiday facts and figures that relate to North Carolina. 4 million Approximate number of Christmas trees harvested in North Carolina in 2017, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS). North Carolina ranked second only to Oregon, which harvested 4.7 million trees. 10…

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NC in Focus: Top Employer by State and County, 2019

By on 12.13.19 in NC in Focus

The state is the largest overall employer in North Carolina with over 82,000 public employees as of November 2019; over a quarter (27%) of them work for the University of North Carolina system alone.  Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in North Carolina, along with twenty-one other states. (Note: The map in the previous link erroneously classifies the UNC System as a private employer.) What does the employment landscape look like at the county…

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Due to hurricanes, NC sweet potato production down

By on 11.14.19 in NC in Focus

Ed note: Though we cover a range of demographic topics, we hold a special spot in our hearts for our annual report on NC's state vegetable, the humble sweet potato. Previous coverage: 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014. Happy Thanksgiving! Because of back-to-back hurricanes, North Carolina sweet potato production hit a five-year low in 2018. This is a serious consequence of extreme weather, as sweet potatoes are among North Carolina’s most lucrative agricultural exports, contributing more than…

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Where are NC’s fastest growing municipalities?

By on 10.24.19 in NC in Focus

As in previous years, the municipalities with the fastest and/or largest single-year of growth from 2017 to 2018 tended to cluster around North Carolina’s largest metro areas. This year, however, growth was not nearly as dominant in the Charlotte and Triangle metropolitan areas, and municipalities around Wilmington had greater representation. Last year, seven of the top ten fastest-growing municipalities from 2016 to 2017 were located in the Triangle metro—six in Wake County and one in…

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How we created a full demographic analysis for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro region

By on 9.18.19 in NC in Focus

Each September, local community leaders gather for a comprehensive overview of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. Hosted by The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, the State of the Community Report details how Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and the surrounding area are performing on various social, environmental and economic indicators. How Carolina Demography worked with the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro For the third year in a row, Carolina Demography will provide social, economic, and demographic…

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What I learned at SRCCON (Source Con) 2019

By on 8.14.19 in Lessons Learned

I visited Minneapolis last month to attend the data journalism conference SRCCON (pronounced “source con”). SRCCON hosts conversations and workshops for people who work on data teams – particularly those in newsrooms. While Carolina Demography does not produce traditional news, we do communicate data findings to the public on a regular basis.I was excited to learn more about how other teams work – and wanted to share a few things I learned at the conference.

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Are more NC grandparents raising grandchildren because of the opioid epidemic?

The opioid epidemic has had devastating impacts in recent years, affecting the lives of those battling addiction as well as their family, friends, and colleagues. Children, too, are deeply affected; they may be separated from parents with substance abuse disorders if their caretaker becomes incarcerated, needs to enter a rehabilitation program, or becomes unable to care for them. First-hand accounts and interviews collected by non-profit groups and the media suggest that nearby family members typically…

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Over the past decade, returns to postsecondary degrees have diminished nationwide and in NC

Key takeaways: A college degree is associated with several positive life outcomes, ranging from greater financial security to better health. However, over the past decade, returns on postsecondary degrees have diminished both nationwide and in North Carolina. We reported recently that the level of educational attainment among North Carolina’s degree-earners continues to rise. This is related, in part, to a shifting job market favoring higher-skilled workers. However, as more individuals seek out greater levels of…

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