SOUTHEASTERN, N.C. —- It’s something you could probably already feel, but now, there’s data to confirm it.
Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, non-native residents outnumber natives in 18. Brunswick County’s non-native residents are now estimated to make up 53 percent of its total population; New Hanover County is sitting right at 50 percent.
The data was gathered by Carolina Demography, a consulting service at the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. Carolina Demography combined 2012-2016 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and 2007-2011 data from American Community Surveys.
“Non-Natives,” as defined by the study, refer to residents born outside the state of North Carolina.
Jessica Stanford, a demographic analyst at Carolina Demography, said the researched produced can add a quantifiable layer to existing cultural insight.
“We can’t know the on the ground reality for everywhere but we help a lot of people realize what they’re seeing matches up with what the Census has recorded,” Stanford said.
Notably, Stanford’s research identified significant growth in Brunswick County. She found that in a five-year period, Brunswick County’s non-native population increased by 3 percentage points.
“I do consider that to be large growth,” Stanford said. “That is just simply the expansion of the non-native population alone.”
The research credited “the appeal of Brunswick County for many out-of-state retirees,” as a probable factor that contributed to the recent growth.
It appears Brunswick County is growing regardless of increasing non-native populations.
“We saw that Brunswick County growth rate – granted this is the growth rate of everybody – was 18 percent,” Stanford said. “They had the number one growth rate from 2010-2016.”
As it pertains to southeastern North Carolina, Onslow County leads the way with nearly 70 percent of its population comprised of non-native residents.
New Hanover County’s non-native growth was “minimal” according to Stanford. The most recent data set shows New Hanover County finally reaching the 50 percent threshold.
While the state as a whole is experiencing an influx of non-native residents, Carolina Demography broke the increase down across North Carolina’s 100 counties, revealing the share of non-native residents varies dramatically.
For more information on Carolina Demography and the UNC-Chapel Hill Population Center, visit http://demography.cpc.unc.edu/.
Johanna Ferebee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @j__ferebee on Twitter