Raleigh, North Carolina facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Raleigh, North Carolina
|City of Raleigh|
City of Oaks, Raleigh Wood, Oak City
|Chartered||December 31, 1794|
|Named for||Sir Walter Raleigh|
|• State capital city||147.64 sq mi (382.38 km2)|
|• Land||146.54 sq mi (379.55 km2)|
|• Water||1.09 sq mi (2.83 km2)|
|Elevation||315 ft (96 m)|
|• State capital city||467,665|
|• Rank||41st in the United States
2nd in North Carolina
|• Density||3,191.38/sq mi (1,232.16/km2)|
|• Metro||1,413,982 (42nd)|
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (EDT)|
27601, 27603, 27604, 27605, 27606, 27607, 27608, 27609, 27610, 27612, 27613, 27614, 27615, 27616, 27617
|Area code(s)||919, 984|
|GNIS feature ID||1024242|
|Primary airport||Raleigh–Durham International Airport|
|Interstate Highways||I-40, I-87, I-440, I-540|
|Other major highways||US 1, US 64, US 70, US 401, NC 50, NC 540|
Raleigh ( RAH-lee) is the capital of the state of North Carolina and the seat of Wake County in the United States. It is the second-most populous city in North Carolina, tenth-most populous city in the Southeast, 41st-most populous city in the U.S., and the largest city of the Research Triangle metro area. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city. The city covers a land area of 147.6 square miles (382 km2). The U.S. Census Bureau counted the city's population as 474,069 in 2020. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. The city of Raleigh is named after Walter Raleigh, who established the lost Roanoke Colony in present-day Dare County.
Raleigh is home to North Carolina State University (NC State) and is part of the Research Triangle together with Durham (home of Duke University and North Carolina Central University) and Chapel Hill (home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The name of the Research Triangle (often shortened to the "Triangle") originated after the 1959 creation of Research Triangle Park (RTP), located in Durham and Wake counties, among the three cities and their universities. The Triangle encompasses the U.S. Census Bureau's Raleigh-Durham-Cary Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which had an estimated population of 2,037,430 in 2013. The Raleigh metropolitan statistical area had an estimated population of 1,390,785 in 2019.
Most of Raleigh is located within Wake County, with a very small portion extending into Durham County. The towns of Cary, Morrisville, Garner, Clayton, Wake Forest, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, and Rolesville are some of Raleigh's primary nearby suburbs and satellite towns.
Raleigh is an early example in the United States of a planned city. Following the American Revolutionary War when the U.S. gained independence, this was chosen as the site of the state capital in 1788 and incorporated in 1792 as such. The city was originally laid out in a grid pattern with the North Carolina State Capitol in Union Square at the center. During the American Civil War, the city was spared from any significant battle. It fell to the Union in the closing days of the war, and struggled with the economic hardships in the postwar period related to the reconstitution of labor markets, over-reliance on agriculture, and the social unrest of the Reconstruction Era. Following the establishment of the Research Triangle Park (RTP) in 1959, several tens of thousands of jobs were created in the fields of science and technology, and it became one of the fastest-growing communities in the United States by the early 21st century.
- Cultural resources
- Sister cities
- Notable people
- Images for kids
- See also
Bath, the oldest town in North Carolina, was the first nominal capital from 1705 until 1722, when Edenton took over the role. The colony had no permanent institutions of government until the establishment at the new capital New Bern in 1743.
In December 1770, Joel Lane successfully petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly to create a new county. On January 5, 1771, the bill creating Wake County was passed in the General Assembly. The county was formed from portions of Cumberland, Orange, and Johnston counties. The county gets its name from Margaret Wake Tryon, the wife of Governor William Tryon. The first county seat was Bloomsbury.
New Bern, a port town 35 miles (56 km) from the Atlantic Ocean, was the largest city and the capital of North Carolina during the American Revolution. When the British Army laid siege to the city, governing from that location on the wide Neuse River became infeasible.
Raleigh was chosen as the site of the new capital in 1788, as its central location protected it from attacks from the coast, and was officially established in 1792 as both county seat and state capital (incorporated on December 31, 1792 – charter granted January 21, 1795). The city was named for Sir Walter Raleigh, sponsor of Roanoke, the "lost colony" on Roanoke Island.
The city's location was chosen, in part, for being within 11 mi (18 km) of Isaac Hunter's Tavern, a popular tavern frequented by the state legislators. No known city or town existed previously on the chosen city site. Raleigh is one of the few cities in the United States that was planned and built specifically to serve as a state capital. Its original boundaries were formed by the downtown streets of North, East, West and South streets. The plan, a grid with two main axes meeting at a central square and an additional square in each corner, was based on Thomas Holme's 1682 plan for Philadelphia.
The North Carolina General Assembly first met in Raleigh in December 1794, and quickly granted the city a charter, with a board of seven appointed commissioners (elected by the city after 1803) and an "Intendant of Police" (which would eventually become the office of Mayor) to govern it. In 1799, the N.C. Minerva and Raleigh Advertiser became the first newspaper published in Raleigh. John Haywood was the first Intendant of Police.
In 1808, Andrew Johnson, the nation's 17th President, was born at Casso's Inn in Raleigh. The city's first water supply network was completed in 1818, although due to system failures the project was abandoned. 1819 saw the arrival of Raleigh's first volunteer fire company, followed in 1821 by a full-time fire company.
In 1817, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina was established and headquartered in Raleigh.
In 1831, a fire destroyed the State Capitol. Two years later, reconstruction began with quarried gneiss being delivered by the first railroad in the state. Raleigh celebrated the completions of the new Capitol and new Raleigh & Gaston Railroad Company in 1840.
In 1853, the first State Fair was held near Raleigh. The first institution of higher learning in Raleigh, Peace College, was established in 1857. Raleigh's Historic Oakwood contains many houses from the 19th century that are still in good condition.
After the Civil War began, Governor Zebulon Baird Vance ordered the construction of breastworks around the city as protection from Union troops. During General Sherman's Carolinas Campaign, Raleigh was captured by Union cavalry under the command of General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick on April 13, 1865. As the Confederate cavalry retreated west, the Union soldiers followed, leading to the nearby Battle of Morrisville. The city was spared significant destruction during the War, but due to the economic problems of the post-war period and Reconstruction, with a state economy based on agriculture, it grew little over the next several decades.
After the Civil War ended in 1865, African Americans were emancipated. The Reconstruction legislature established public education for blacks and whites. Freedmen were often led by free blacks who had become educated before the war. With the help of the Freedmen's Bureau, many freedmen migrated from rural areas to Raleigh. It had a free black community and many freedmen wanted to get out from under white supervision in the rural areas.
Shaw University, the South's first African-American college, began classes in 1865 and was chartered in 1875. Its Estey Hall was the first building constructed for the higher education of black women, and Leonard Medical Center was the first four-year medical school in the country for African Americans.
In 1867, Episcopal clergy founded St. Augustine's College for the education of freedmen. The biracial Reconstruction legislature created new welfare institutions: in 1869, it approved the nation's first school for blind and deaf blacks, to be located in Raleigh. And in 1874, a Federal Building was constructed in Raleigh, the first federal government project in the South following the Civil War.
In 1880, the newspapers News and Observer combined to form The News & Observer. It remains Raleigh's primary daily newspaper. The North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, now known as North Carolina State University, was founded as a land-grant college in 1887. The city's Rex Hospital opened in 1889 and included the state's first nursing school. The Baptist Women's College, now known as Meredith College, opened in 1891, and in 1898, The Academy of Music, a private music conservatory, was established.
In the late nineteenth century, two black Congressmen were elected from North Carolina's 2nd district, the last in 1898. George Henry White sought to promote civil rights for blacks and to challenge efforts by white Democrats to reduce black voting by new discriminatory laws. They were unsuccessful. In 1900, the state legislature passed a new constitution, with voter registration rules that disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites. The state succeeded in reducing black voting to zero by 1908. Loss of the ability to vote disqualified black men (and later women) from sitting on juries and serving in any office, local, state or federal. The rising black middle-class in Raleigh and other areas was politically silenced and shut out of local governance, and the Republican Party was no longer competitive. It was not until after federal civil rights legislation was passed in the mid-1960s that the majority of blacks in North Carolina would again be able to vote, sit on juries and serve in local offices. No African American was elected to Congress until 1992.
From 1914 to 1917, an influenza epidemic killed 288 Raleigh citizens.
In 1922, WLAC signed on as the city's first radio station, but lasted only two years. WFBQ signed on in 1924 and became WPTF in 1927. It is now Raleigh's oldest continuous radio broadcaster.
On December 12, 1924, The Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh was officially established by Pope Pius XI and the Sacred Heart Cathedral became the official seat of the diocese with William Joseph Hafey as its bishop.
The city's first airport, Curtiss-Wright Flying Field opened in 1929. That same year, the stock market crash resulted in six Raleigh banks closing.
During the difficult 1930s of the Great Depression, government at all levels was integral to creating jobs. The city provided recreational and educational programs, and hired people for public works projects. In 1932, Raleigh Memorial Auditorium was dedicated. The North Carolina Symphony, founded the same year, performed in its new home. From 1934 to 1937, the federal Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the area now known as William B. Umstead State Park. In 1939, the State General Assembly chartered the Raleigh-Durham Aeronautical Authority to build a larger airport between Raleigh and Durham, with the first flight occurring in 1943.
In 1947, Raleigh citizens adopted a council-manager form of government, the current form.
The Dorton Arena, a 7,610-seat multi-purpose arena designed by Matthew Nowicki, was opened in 1952 on the grounds of the North Carolina State Fair. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Raleigh experienced significant damage from Hurricane Hazel in 1954.
In 1953, WNAO-TV, channel 28, became the city's first television station, though it folded in 1957.
With the opening of the Research Triangle Park in 1959, Raleigh began to experience a population increase, resulting in a total city population of 100,000 by 1960. In 1960, the Census Bureau reported Raleigh's population as 76.4% white and 23.4% black.
Following passage of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the main achievements of the Civil Rights Movement and the Lyndon B. Johnson presidency, political participation and voting by African Americans in Raleigh increased rapidly. In 1967, Clarence Lightner was elected to the City Council, and in 1973 became Raleigh's first African-American mayor.
In 1976, the Raleigh City and Wake County schools merged to become the Wake County Public School System, now the largest school system in the state and 19th largest in the country.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the I-440 beltline was constructed, easing traffic congestion and providing access to most major city roads.
The first Raleigh Convention Center (replaced in 2008) and Fayetteville Street Mall were both opened in 1977. Fayetteville Street was turned into a pedestrian-only street in an effort to help the then-ailing downtown area, but the plan was flawed and business declined for years to come. Fayetteville Street was reopened in 2007 as the main thoroughfare of Raleigh's downtown.
The 1988 Raleigh tornado outbreak of November 28, 1988, was the most destructive of the seven tornadoes reported in Northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia between 1:00 AM and 5:45 AM. The Raleigh tornado produced over $77 million in F4 damage, along with four fatalities (two in the city of Raleigh, and two in Nash County) and 154 injuries. The damage path from the storm was measured at 84 miles (135 km) long, and .5 miles (0.8 km) wide at times.
In 1991, two large skyscrapers in Raleigh were completed, First Union Capitol Center and Two Hannover Square, along with the popular Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek in Southeast Raleigh.
In 1996, the Olympic Flame passed through Raleigh while on its way to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Also in 1996, Hurricane Fran struck the area, causing massive flooding and extensive structural damage. In addition, WRAL-TV became the first High-Definition broadcast station in the world.
In 1999, the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena (later renamed the RBC Center and now called PNC Arena), opened to provide a home for the Hurricanes and the NC State Wolfpack men's basketball team, as well as an up-to-date major concert venue.
In the first decade of the 21st century, Raleigh was featured prominently in a number of "Top 10 Lists", including those by Forbes, MSNBC and Money magazine, due to its quality of life and business climate.
In 2001, the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium complex was expanded with the addition of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Meymandi Concert Hall, Fletcher Opera Theater, Kennedy Theatre, Betty Ray McCain Gallery and Lichtin Plaza.
Fayetteville Street reopened to vehicular traffic in 2006. A variety of downtown building projects began around this time including the 34-story RBC Bank Tower, multiple condominium projects and several new restaurants. Additional skyscrapers are in the proposal/planning phase.
In 2006, the city's NHL franchise, the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup, North Carolina's first and only professional sports championship.
With the opening of parts of I-540 from 2005 to 2007, a new 70-mile (110 km) loop around Wake County, traffic congestion eased somewhat in the North Raleigh area. Completion of the entire loop is expected to take another 15 years.
In 2008, the city's Fayetteville Street Historic District joined the National Register of Historic Places.
In September 2010, Raleigh hosted the inaugural Hopscotch Music Festival.
In January 2011, Raleigh hosted the National Hockey League All-Star Game.
In April 2011, a devastating EF-3 tornado hit Raleigh, and many other tornadoes touched down in the state (ultimately the largest, but not the strongest (1984 Carolinas tornado outbreak) outbreak to ever hit the state), killing 24 people. The tornado tracked northeast through parts of Downtown, East Central Raleigh and Northeast Raleigh and produced $115 million in damages in Wake County. There were 4 fatalities in the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Raleigh occupies a total area of 144.0 square miles (373.0 km2), of which 142.9 square miles (370.1 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), or 0.76%, is covered by water. The Neuse River flows through the northeast end of the city.
Raleigh is located in the northeast central region of North Carolina, where the Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain regions meet. This area is known as the "fall line" because it marks the elevation inland at which waterfalls begin to appear in creeks and rivers. As a result, most of Raleigh features gently rolling hills that slope eastward toward the state's flat coastal plain. Its central Piedmont location situates Raleigh about two hours west of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, by car and four hours east of the Great Smoky Mountains. The city is 155 miles (249 km) south of Richmond, Virginia, 263 miles (423 km) south of Washington, D.C., and 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Raleigh is divided into several major geographic areas, each of which use a Raleigh address and a ZIP code that begins with the digits 276. PNC Plaza, formerly known as RBC Plaza, is the largest and tallest skyscraper in the city of Raleigh. The tower rises to a height of 538 feet (164 m), with a floor count of 34.
The downtown area is home to historic neighborhoods and buildings such as the Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel built in the early 20th century, the restored City Market, the Fayetteville Street downtown business district, which includes the PNC Plaza and Wells Fargo Capitol Center buildings, as well as the North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina State Capitol, Peace College, the City of Raleigh Museum, Raleigh Convention Center, Shaw University, Campbell University School of Law, and St. Augustine's College. The neighborhoods in Old Raleigh include Cameron Park, Boylan Heights, Country Club Hills, Coley Forest, Five Points, Budleigh, Glenwood-Brooklyn, Hayes Barton Historic District, Moore Square, Mordecai, Rosengarten Park, Belvidere Park, Woodcrest, and Historic Oakwood. In the 2000s, an effort by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance was made to separate this area of the city into five smaller districts: Fayetteville Street, Moore Square, Glenwood South, Warehouse (Raleigh), and Capital District (Raleigh). Some of the names have become common place among locals such as the Warehouse, Fayetteville Street, and Glenwood South Districts.
Midtown Raleigh is a residential and commercial area just North of the I-440 Beltline and is part of North Raleigh. It is roughly framed by Glenwood/Creedmoor Road to the West, Wake Forest Road to the East, and Millbrook Road to the North. It includes shopping centers such as North Hills and Crabtree Valley Mall. It also includes North Hills Park and part of the Raleigh Greenway System. The term was coined by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, developer John Kane and planning director Mitchell Silver. The News & Observer newspaper started using the term for marketing purposes only. The Midtown Raleigh Alliance was founded on July 25, 2011 as a way for community leaders to promote the area.
East Raleigh is situated roughly from Capital Boulevard near the I-440 beltline to New Hope Road. Most of East Raleigh's development is along primary corridors such as U.S. 1 (Capital Boulevard), New Bern Avenue, Poole Road, Buffaloe Road, and New Hope Road. Neighborhoods in East Raleigh include Hedingham, Longview, Lockwood, Madonna Acres, New Hope, Thompson-Hunter and Wilder's Grove. The area is bordered to the east by the town of Knightdale.
West Raleigh lies along Hillsborough Street and Western Boulevard. The area is bordered to the west by suburban Cary. It is home to North Carolina State University, Meredith College, Pullen Park, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Cameron Village, Lake Johnson, the North Carolina Museum of Art and historic Saint Mary's School. Primary thoroughfares serving West Raleigh, in addition to Hillsborough Street, are Avent Ferry Road, Blue Ridge Road, and Western Boulevard. The PNC Arena is also located here adjacent to the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. These are located approximately 2 miles from Rex Hospital.
North Raleigh is an expansive, diverse, and fast-growing suburban area of the city that is home to established neighborhoods to the south along with many newly built subdivisions and along its northern fringes. The area generally falls North of Millbrook Road. It is primarily suburban with large shopping areas. Primary neighborhoods and subdivisions in North Raleigh include Bartons Creek Bluffs, Bedford, Bent Tree, Black Horse Run, Brier Creek, Brookhaven, Coachman's Trail, Crossgate, Crosswinds, Dominion Park, Ethans Glen, Falls River, Harrington Grove, Hidden Valley, Lake Park, Long Lake, North Haven, North Ridge, Oakcroft, Shannon Woods, Six Forks Station, Springdale Estates, Stonebridge, Stone Creek, Stonehenge, Summerfield, Valley Estates, Wakefield, Weathersfield, Windsor Forest, and Wood Valley. The area is served by a number of primary transportation corridors including Glenwood Avenue U.S. Route 70, Interstate 540, Wake Forest Road, Millbrook Road, Lynn Road, Six Forks Road, Spring Forest Road, Creedmoor Road, Leesville Road, Norwood Road, Strickland Road, and North Hills Drive.
South Raleigh is located along U.S. 401 south toward Fuquay-Varina and along US 70 into suburban Garner. This area is the least developed and least dense area of Raleigh (much of the area lies within the Swift Creek watershed district, where development regulations limit housing densities and construction). The area is bordered to the west by Cary, to the east by Garner, and to the southwest by Holly Springs. Neighborhoods in South Raleigh include Eagle Creek, Renaissance Park, Lake Wheeler, Swift Creek, Carolina Pines, Rhamkatte, Riverbrooke, and Enchanted Oaks.
Southeast Raleigh is bounded by downtown on the west, Garner on the southwest, and rural Wake County to the southeast. The area includes areas along Rock Quarry Road, Poole Road, and New Bern Avenue. Primary neighborhoods include Chastain, Chavis Heights, Raleigh Country Club, Southgate, Kingwood Forest, Rochester Heights, Emerald Village and Biltmore Hills. Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion (formerly Alltel Pavilion and Walnut Creek Amphitheatre) is one of the region's major outdoor concert venues and is located on Rock Quarry Road. Shaw University is located in this part of the city.
Like much of the southeastern United States, Raleigh has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with four distinct seasons. Winters are short and generally cool, with a January daily average of 41.0 °F (5.0 °C). On average, there are 69 nights per year that drop to or below freezing, and only 2.7 days that fail to rise above freezing. April is the driest month, with an average of 2.91 inches (73.9 mm) of precipitation. Precipitation is well distributed around the year, with a slight maximum between July and September; on average, July is the wettest month, owing to generally frequent, sometimes heavy, showers and thunderstorms. Summers are hot and humid, with a daily average in July of 80.0 °F (26.7 °C). There are 48 days per year with highs at or above 90 °F (32 °C). Autumn is similar to spring overall but has fewer days of rainfall. Extremes in temperature have ranged from −9 °F (−23 °C) on January 21, 1985 up to 105 °F (41 °C), most recently on July 8, 2012.
Raleigh receives an average of 6.0 inches (15.2 cm) of snow in winter. Freezing rain and sleet also occur most winters, and occasionally the area experiences a major damaging ice storm. On January 24–25, 2000, Raleigh received its greatest snowfall from a single storm – 20.3 inches (52 cm) – the Winter Storm of January 2000. Storms of this magnitude are generally the result of cold air damming that affects the city due to its proximity to the Appalachian Mountains. Winter storms have caused traffic problems in the past as well.
The region also experiences occasional periods of drought, during which the city sometimes has restricted water use by residents. During the late summer and early fall, Raleigh can experience hurricanes. In 1996, Hurricane Fran caused severe damage in the Raleigh area, mostly from falling trees. The most recent hurricane to have a considerable effect on the area was Matthew in 2016. Tornadoes also have on occasion affected the city of Raleigh most notably the November 28, 1988 tornado which occurred in the early morning hours and rated an F4 on the Fujita Tornado Scale and affected Northwestern portions of the city. Also the April 16, 2011 F3 Tornado which affected portions of downtown and North east Raleigh and the suburb of Holly Springs.
Despite the concerns of occasional drought that comes with the region, Raleigh and the state of North Carolina receive large amounts of rainfall throughout the year. Raleigh receives an average annual rainfall of 43.34 inches (110.1 cm), which is 4.2 inches (10.7 cm) more than the national average.
|Climate data for Raleigh–Durham International Airport, North Carolina (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1887–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||80
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||71.1
|Average high °F (°C)||50.9
|Average low °F (°C)||31.0
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||12.4
|Record low °F (°C)||−9
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.50
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||2.9
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||9.8||9.4||9.8||9.3||9.9||10.6||11.9||10.5||8.0||7.3||8.2||9.4||114.1|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||1.1||1.3||0.3||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||0.5||3.4|
|Average relative humidity (%)||66.5||64.1||63.0||61.7||71.1||73.6||76.0||77.9||77.1||73.3||69.1||68.5||70.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||163.8||173.1||228.9||250.7||258.4||267.7||259.5||239.6||217.6||215.4||174.0||157.6||2,606.3|
|Percent possible sunshine||53||57||62||64||59||61||58||57||58||62||56||52||59|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990),|
|U.S. Decennial Census
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||120,480||25.76%|
|Hispanic or Latino||60,514||12.94%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 467,665 people, 188,412 households, and 104,848 families residing in the city. In the American Community Survey of 2019, the city of Raleigh's population was estimated at 474,708; an earlier estimate determined the population at 474,069. At the 2000 United States census, there were 276,093 persons (July 2008 estimate was 380,173) and 61,371 families residing in Raleigh. The population density was 2,409.2 people per square mile (930.2/km2). There were 120,699 housing units at an average density of 1,053.2 per square mile (406.7/km2). There were 112,608 households in the city in 2000, of which 26.5% included children below the age of 18, 39.5% were composed of married couples living together, 11.4% reported a female householder with no husband present, and 45.5% classified themselves as nonfamily. Unmarried partners were present in 2.2% of households. In addition, 33.1% of all households were composed of individuals living alone, of which 6.2% was someone 65 years of age or older. The average household size in Raleigh was 2.30 persons, and the average family size was 2.97 persons.
Raleigh's population in 2000 was evenly distributed with 20.9% below the age of 18, 15.9% aged 18 to 24, 36.6% from 25 to 44, and 18.4% from 45 to 64. An estimated 8.3% of the population was 65 years of age or older, and the median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.0 males; for every 100 females aged 18 or older, there were 96.6 males aged 18 or older.
The racial makeup of Raleigh in 2019 was 52.5% non-Hispanic white, 28.3% Black or African American, 0.4% American Indian or Alaska Native, 4.0% Asian American, 0.1% from some other race, 2.1% two or more races, 12.5% Hispanic or Latin American of any race. According to the 2010 United States census, the racial composition of the city was: 57.5% White (53.3% non-Hispanic white), 29.3% Black or African American, 4.3% Asian American (1.2% Indian, 0.8% Chinese, 0.7% Vietnamese, 0.5% Korean, 0.4% Filipino, 0.1% Japanese), 2.6% two or more races, 1.4% some other race, 0.5% Native American, and <0.1% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander In addition, 11.4% of city residents were Hispanic or Latino Americans, of any race (5.9% Mexican, 1.1% Puerto Rican, 0.9% Salvadoran, 0.6% Dominican, 0.6% Honduran, 0.3% Colombian, 0.3% Cuban, 0.2% Guatemalan, 0.2% Spanish, 0.2% Peruvian, 0.1% Venezuelan, 0.1% Ecuadorian, 0.1% Argentine, and 0.1% Panamanian). In 2000, the racial composition of the city was: 63.31% White, 27.80% Black or African American, 7.01% Hispanic or Latino American, 3.38% Asian American, 0.36% Native American, 0.04% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 3.24% some other race, and 1.88% two or more races.
The median household income in the city was $46,612 in 2000, and the median family income was $60,003. Males earned a median income of $39,248, versus $30,656 for females. The median per capita income for the city was $25,113, and an estimated 11.5% of the population and 7.1% of families were living below the poverty line. Of the total population, 18.8% of those below the age of 18, and 9.3% of those 65 and older, were living below the poverty line. In 2019, an estimated 10.9% of the local population were at or below the poverty line. The median household income from 2014-2018 was $63,891 and the per capita income was $36,875. There were 180,046 households with an average of 2.43 persons per household. The median value of an owner-occupied housing unit was $236,700 in 2018 and the monthly cost with a mortgage was $1,480. The cost without a mortgage was $526. Raleigh had a median gross rent of $1,074.
Raleigh is home to a wide variety of religious practitioners. The predominant religion in Raleigh is Christianity, with the largest numbers of adherents being Baptist (14.1%), Methodist (5.6%), and Roman Catholic (4.2%). Others include Presbyterianism (2.8%), Pentecostalism (1.7%), Anglicanism/Episcopalianism (1.2%), Lutheranism (0.6%), the Latter-Day Saints (0.7%), and other Christian denominations (10.2%) including the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Science, Christian Unitarianism, other Mainline Protestant groups, and non-denominational Christians. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the New Hope Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are all headquartered in Raleigh.
In Wake County, 29% of the population are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, 22% are affiliated with the Catholic Church, 17% are affiliated with the United Methodist Church, 6% are affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), and 27% are religiously affiliated with other denominations, religions, or are not religiously affiliated.
- African American Cultural Complex
- Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh
- Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NCSU
- Haywood Hall House & Gardens
- Marbles Kids Museum
- North Carolina Museum of Art
- North Carolina Museum of History
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
- North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame
- City of Raleigh Museum
- J. C. Raulston Arboretum
- Joel Lane House
- Mordecai Plantation
- Montfort Hall
- Pope House Museum
The Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek hosts major international touring acts. In 2011, the Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater opened (now sponsored as the Red Hat Amphitheater), which hosts numerous concerts primarily in the summer months. An additional amphitheater sits on the grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art, which hosts a summer concert series and outdoor movies. Nearby Cary is home to the Koka Booth Amphitheatre which hosts additional summer concerts and outdoor movies, and serves as the venue for regularly scheduled outdoor concerts by the North Carolina Symphony based in Raleigh. During the North Carolina State Fair, Dorton Arena hosts headline acts. The private Lincoln Theatre is one of several clubs in downtown Raleigh that schedules many concerts throughout the year in multiple formats (rock, pop, country).
The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts complex houses the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, the Fletcher Opera Theater, the Kennedy Theatre, and the Meymandi Concert Hall. In 2008, a new theatre space, the Meymandi Theatre at the Murphey School, was opened in the restored auditorium of the historic Murphey School. Theater performances are also offered at the Raleigh Little Theatre, Long View Center, Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre, and Stewart and Thompson Theaters at North Carolina State University.
Raleigh is home to several professional arts organizations, including the North Carolina Symphony, the Opera Company of North Carolina, Theatre In The Park, Burning Coal Theatre Company, the North Carolina Theatre, Broadway Series South and the Carolina Ballet. The numerous local colleges and universities significantly add to the options available for viewing live performances.
North Carolina Museum of Art, occupying a large suburban campus on Blue Ridge Road near the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, maintains one of the premier public art collections located between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. In addition to its extensive collections of American Art, European Art and ancient art, the museum recently has hosted major exhibitions featuring Auguste Rodin (in 2000) and Claude Monet (in 2006-07), each attracting more than 200,000 visitors. Unlike most prominent public museums, the North Carolina Museum of Art acquired a large number of the works in its permanent collection through purchases with public funds. The museum's outdoor park is one of the largest such art parks in the country. The museum facility underwent a major expansion which greatly expanded the exhibit space that was completed in 2010. The 127,000 sf new expansion is designed by NYC architect Thomas Phifer and Partners.
Raleigh's downtown is also home to many local art galleries such as Art Space in City Market, Visual Art Exchange, and 311 Gallery, on Martin Street, and Bee Hive Studios on Hargett Street. CAM Raleigh is a downtown contemporary art museum, also on Martin Street, that serves to promote new artists and does not house a permanent collection. CAM Raleigh was designed by the award-winning architectural firm Brooks+Scarpa of Los Angeles.
Raleigh frequently receives national recognition for its quality of life and business climate. Some recent national rankings include:
- America's Best Places to Live: #1 (Businessweek.com, June 2011)
- Best Place for Business and Careers: #3 (Forbes.com, June 2012)
- Top 10 Best Cities for Educated Workers: #5 (Raleigh-Cary, NC)(247WallSt.com, September 2011)
- Most Cost-Attractive Business Location: #5 (KPMG, March 2012)
- Best Cities in America for Health and Happiness: #3 (EcoSalon, March 2012)
- Fastest Growing Cities for Technology Jobs: #1 (Dice, March 2012)
- Best Cities for Raising a Family: #5 (Forbes, April 2012 & 2015)
- The Ten Best Cities for Newlyweds: #2 (Forbes.com, July 2012)
- Best Places for Bargain Retirement Homes: #3 (Forbes.com, January 2011)
- America's Most Wired Cities: #1 (Forbes.com, March 2010)
|Carolina Hurricanes||National Hockey League||PNC Arena (18,176)||1997||1|
|North Carolina FC||United Soccer League||WakeMed Soccer Park (10,000)||2006||0|
|North Carolina Courage||National Women's Soccer League||WakeMed Soccer Park (10,000)||2017||2|
|Carolina Mudcats||Single-A (baseball)||Five County Stadium (6,500)||1991||2|
The National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes franchise moved to Raleigh in 1997 from Hartford, Connecticut (where it was known as the Hartford Whalers). The team played its first two seasons more than 60 miles away at Greensboro Coliseum while its home arena, Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena (later RBC Center and now PNC Arena), was under construction. The Hurricanes are the only major league (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB) professional sports team in North Carolina to have won a championship, winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, over the Edmonton Oilers. The city played host to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.
In addition to the Hurricanes, the North Carolina FC of the United Soccer League and North Carolina Courage women's professional soccer team play in suburban Cary to the west; the Carolina Mudcats, a Single-A minor-league baseball team, play in the city's eastern suburbs; the newly formed Single-A minor-league baseball Fayetteville Woodpeckers, who formerly played in Buies Creek, began play in the nearby out-of-county southern suburb of Fayetteville when their new ballpark opened in 2019; the Carolina Flyers of the American Ultimate Disc League play primarily at Cardinal Gibbons High School near the PNC Arena; and the Durham Bulls, the AAA minor-league baseball team made internationally famous by the movie Bull Durham, play in the neighboring city of Durham.
Several other professional sports leagues have had former franchises (now defunct) in Raleigh, including the Raleigh IceCaps of the ECHL (1991–1998); Carolina Cobras of the Arena Football League (2000–2004); the Raleigh–Durham Skyhawks of the World League of American Football (1991); the Raleigh Bullfrogs of the Global Basketball Association (1991–1992); the Raleigh Cougars of the United States Basketball League (1997–1999); and most recently, the Carolina Courage of the Women's United Soccer Association (2000–2001 in Chapel Hill, 2001–2003 in suburban Cary), which won that league's championship Founders Cup in 2002.
The Raleigh area has hosted the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) Nationwide Tour Rex Hospital Open since 1994, with the current location of play at Raleigh's Wakefield Plantation. Nearby Prestonwood Country Club hosts the PGA SAS Championship every fall.
North Carolina State University is located in southwest Raleigh where the Wolfpack competes nationally in 24 intercollegiate varsity sports as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The university's football team plays in Carter–Finley Stadium, the second largest football stadium in North Carolina, while the men's basketball team shares the PNC Arena with the Carolina Hurricanes hockey club. The Wolfpack women's basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics as well as men's wrestling events are held on campus at Reynolds Coliseum. The men's baseball team plays at Doak Field.
The North Carolina Tigers compete as an Australian Rules football club in the United States Australian Football League, in the Eastern Australian Football League.
Raleigh is also home to one of the Cheer Extreme All Stars gyms. In 2009 and again in 2010, Cheer Extreme Raleigh's Small Senior Level 5 Team were silver medalists at the Cheerleading Worlds Competition in Orlando, Florida, and in 2012 they received the bronze medal. Raleigh is also home to one of the Southeast's premier Hardcourt Bike Polo clubs.
Because of the area's many billiards rooms, Raleigh is home to one of the largest amateur league franchises for playing pool, the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill American Poolplayers Association. There are leagues available in formats for players of any skill level.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport
Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the region's primary airport and the second-largest in North Carolina, located northwest of downtown Raleigh via Interstate-40 between Raleigh and Durham, serves the city and greater Research Triangle metropolitan region, as well as much of eastern North Carolina. The airport offers service to more than 35 domestic and international destinations and serves approximately 10 million passengers a year. The airport also offers facilities for cargo and general aviation. The airport authority tripled the size of its Terminal 2 (formerly Terminal C) in January 2011.
- Private Airport.
Freeways and primary designated routes
- I-40 traverses the southern part of the city, connecting Raleigh to Durham and Chapel Hill toward the west, and coastal Wilmington, North Carolina to the southeast.
- I-440, also known locally as the Raleigh Beltline, it forms part of the inner beltway around central Raleigh, forming the eastern, northern, and western portions, with I-40 forming the southern portion.
- I-540/NC 540, when complete, will be a full outer beltway around Raleigh. The northern and western quadrants are complete and open to traffic, while the remaining two quadrants are currently under construction.
- I-87, designated September 5, 2017, follows the former route of Interstate 495. It begins at the I-40/I-440 interchange southeast of Raleigh and runs east, meeting I-540 and currently terminating at Rolesville Road. It is entirely concurrent with US 64. When the route is completed it will link Raleigh to the Norfolk, Virginia area.
United States Highways
- U.S. Route 1 enters the city from the north as Capital Boulevard, joins I-440 around the west side of Raleigh, and leaves the city to the southwest as the US 1/US 64 expressway in Cary.
- U.S. Route 64 is the main east-west route through Raleigh; all segments share routes with another highway. East of the city, US-64/US-264 is known as the Knightdale Bypass. US 64 follows I-440 (as a wrong way concurrency) and I-40 along southern Raleigh, and US 1 to the southwest. A former alignment, designated as Business US-64, follows New Bern Avenue from the I-440 Beltline to the eastern boundary of the city, where it continues into Knightdale.
- U.S. Route 70 runs roughly northwest-southeast through Raleigh. North of downtown, the route follows Glenwood Avenue into Durham. South of Raleigh, the route (along with US 401 and NC 50) follows South Saunders and South Wilmington Streets into Garner. Through downtown, US 70 uses small segments of several streets, including Wade Avenue, Capital Boulevard, Dawson, and McDowell Streets.
- U.S. Route 264 cosigned with US 64 through East Raleigh.
- U.S. Route 401 north of downtown Raleigh it follows Capital Boulevard and Louisburg Road. South of downtown it is cosigned with US 70 from Wade Avenue southward.
North Carolina Highways
- N.C. Route 54 follows Chapel Hill Road and Hillsborough Street in West Raleigh. The route ends at its interchange with I-440.
- N.C. Route 50 is a north-south route through Raleigh. North of Raleigh it follows Creedmoor Road. NC 50 joins US 70 and later US 401 in downtown Raleigh. The three routes remain together through south Raleigh.
- N.C. Route 98, known as Durham Road in North Raleigh, traverses the extreme northern parts of the city.
Raleigh's train station is one of Amtrak's busiest stops in the Southern U.S. The station is served by five passenger trains daily: the Silver Star, thrice-daily Piedmont service, and the Carolinian. Daily service is offered between Raleigh and:
- Charlotte, with intermediate stops including Cary, Durham, Burlington and Greensboro, North Carolina.
- New York City, with intermediate stops including Richmond, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; and Philadelphia.
- Miami, with intermediate stops including Columbia, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia; as well as Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, Florida.
Public transportation in and around Raleigh is provided by GoRaleigh (formerly Capital Area Transit), which operates 33 fixed bus routes, including the R-Line and the Wake-Forest Loop. Although there are 33 routes, some routes are designed to cover multiple other routes at times when they are not served. Depending on the time of the day, and the day of the week, the number of routes operating is between 5 and 29.
Raleigh is also served by GoTriangle (formerly Triangle Transit Authority). GoTriangle offers scheduled, fixed-route regional and commuter bus service between Raleigh and the region's other principal cities of Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill, as well as to and from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Research Triangle Park and several of the region's larger suburban communities. Triangle Transit also coordinates an extensive vanpool and rideshare program that serves the region's larger employers and commute destinations.
North Carolina State University also maintains its own transit system, the Wolfline, that provides zero-fare bus service to the general public along multiple routes serving the university's campuses in southwest Raleigh.
Government agencies throughout the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area have struggled with determining the best means of providing fixed-rail transit service for the region.
From 1995 the cornerstone of Triangle Transit's long-term plan was a 28-mile rail corridor from northeast Raleigh, through downtown Raleigh, Cary, and Research Triangle Park, to Durham using DMU technology. There were proposals to extend this corridor 7 miles to Chapel Hill with light rail technology. However, in 2006 Triangle Transit deferred implementation indefinitely when the Federal Transit Administration declined to fund the program due to low ridership projections.
The region's two metropolitan planning organizations appointed a group of local citizens in 2007 to reexamine options for future transit development in light of Triangle Transit's problems. The Special Transit Advisory Commission (STAC) retained many of the provisions of Triangle Transit's original plan, but recommended adding new bus services and raising additional revenues by adding a new local half-cent sales tax to fund the project.
Greyhound Lines provides an inter-city bus service to Durham, Charlotte, Richmond, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and other cities.
Bicycle and pedestrian
- The Maine-to-Florida U.S. Bicycle Route#1 routes through suburban Raleigh, along with N.C. Bicycle Route #2, the "Mountains To Sea" route. As of September 2010, maps and signage for both US Bike Route #1 and NC Bike Route #2 are out-of-date for the Raleigh area. N.C. Bicycle Route #5 is routed nearby, connecting Apex to Wilmington and closely paralleling the NCBC Randonneurs 600 kilometer brevet route.
- Most public buses are equipped with bicycle racks, and some roads have dedicated bicycle-only lanes. Bicyclists and pedestrians also may use Raleigh's extensive greenway system, with paths and trails located throughout the city.
- In May 2011, Raleigh was designated a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists at the Bronze level.
- A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Raleigh 36th most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities.
- In 2002, the "Walk [Your City]" initiative was started in the city which provides a tool kit for neighborhood organizations to post signs giving a distance by bike or foot, with directions in scannable QR code. The movement has spread to more than 400 communities in 55 countries.
The Raleigh Fire Department provides fire protection throughout the city. The North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, the state's primary correctional facility housing female inmates, is based in Raleigh.
Raleigh has several sister cities:
- Xiangyang, China
- Compiègne, Oise, Hauts-de-France, France
- Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom
- Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
- Nairobi, Kenya
Raleigh's industrial base includes financial services, electrical, medical, electronic and telecommunications equipment, clothing and apparel, food processing, paper products, and pharmaceuticals. Raleigh is part of North Carolina's Research Triangle, one of the country's largest and most successful research parks, and a major center in the United States for high-tech and biotech research, as well as advanced textile development. The city is a major retail shipping point for eastern North Carolina and a wholesale distributing point for the grocery industry.
The healthcare and pharmaceutical industry has experienced major growth in recent years with many companies based in Raleigh including PRA Health Sciences, Chiesi USA (subsidiary of Chiesi Farmaceutici), formerly Mallinckrodt prior to tax evasion with Ireland, MAKO Surgical Corp., Metabolon, TearScience, and American Board of Anesthesiology.
Raleigh was number one on the 2015 Forbes list of the best place for businesses and careers. Companies based in Raleigh include Advance Auto Parts, Bandwidth, Truist Financial, Building Materials Holding Corporation, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Carquest, First Citizens BancShares, Golden Corral, Martin Marietta Materials, PRA Health Sciences, Red Hat, Vontier, Waste Industries, and Lulu.
Social Blade, a website that tracks social media statistics and analytics, and Temple Run developer Imangi Studios are based in Raleigh.
The North Carolina Air National Guard a unit of the Air National Guard is also headquartered in Raleigh.
In April 2014 Steven P. Rosenthal of Northland Investment Corp. referred to Raleigh as "a real concentration of brain power. You have a lot of smart people living in the same place. That will drive the economy."
According to Raleigh's 2017–18 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||No. of employees|
|1||State of North Carolina||22,365|
|3||North Carolina State University||8,948|
|4||Wake County Public School System||8,396|
|5||UNC Rex Healthcare||5,680|
|6||City of Raleigh||4,276|
|9||Duke Energy Progress||2,800|
|10||Wake Technical Community College||2,160|
As of 2011, Time ranked Raleigh as the third most educated city in the US based on the percentage of residents who held college degrees. This statistic can most likely be credited to the presence of universities in and around Raleigh, as well as the presence of Research Triangle Park (RTP) to the Northwest.
- North Carolina State University
- Wake Technical Community College
- Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law (Baptist)
- Meredith College (Baptist)
- Montreat College's School of Professional and Adult Studies (Presbyterian)
- William Peace University (Presbyterian)
- Shaw University (Baptist)
- Skema Business School, the first French Business School to open a campus in the USA
- St. Augustine's University (Episcopal)
Private, for profit
- ECPI College of Technology
- The Medical Arts School
- Strayer University
Primary and secondary education
Public schools in Raleigh are operated by the Wake County Public School System, the largest public school system in the Carolinas. Observers have praised the Wake County Public School System for its innovative efforts to maintain a socially, economically and racial balanced system by using income as a prime factor in assigning students to schools. Raleigh is home to several magnet high schools and several schools offering the International Baccalaureate program. There are four early college high schools in Raleigh. Raleigh also has two alternative high schools.
Wake County Public high schools in Raleigh include:
- Needham B. Broughton High School (International Baccalaureate)
- Leesville Road High School
- Jesse O. Sanderson High School
- Wakefield High School
- Athens Drive High School
- William G. Enloe GT/IB Center for the Humanities, Sciences, and the Arts (International Baccalaureate)
- Millbrook High School (International Baccalaureate)
- Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School
- Longview School
- Mary E. Phillips High School
Early college schools
- Wake Young Men's Leadership Academy
- Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy
- Wake STEM Early College High School
- Wake Early College of Health and Sciences
The State of North Carolina provides for a legislated number of charter schools. These schools are administered independently of the Wake County Public School System. Raleigh is currently home to 11 such charter schools:
- Casa Esperanza Montessori School (K-8)
- Endeavor Charter School (K-8)
- Exploris Middle School (1-8)
- Hope Elementary School (K-5)
- Longleaf School of the Arts (9-12)
- Magellan Charter School (3-8)
- PreEminent Charter School (K-8)
- Quest Academy (K-8)
- Raleigh Charter High School (9-12)
- Torchlight Academy (K-6)
- Woods Charter School (K-12)
- Governor Morehead School, school for the blind
Private and religion-based schools
Images for kids
In Spanish: Raleigh para niños
Raleigh, North Carolina Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.