North Carolina's In-Migration Numbers

Text Description automatically generated with medium confidenceCity of Burlington

Economic Development Office

February 32, 202

North Carolina has had a record year – named 2022 State of the Year by Business Facilities, CNBC America’s Top State for Business, and more economic development announcements than anyone knows how to keep up with. After the tumultuous period of COVID-19 Pandemic, where businesses and customers alike were thrown into uncertainty, markets and migration seem to be returning to their pre-pandemic levels. In the midst of recovery, North Carolina has seen growth, and along with it the hope for further progress and innovation. 

The Nation is Seeing Growth 

The U.S. Census Bureau issued its latest population estimates in December, detailing the impressive recovery the nation is making from the COVID-19 Pandemic. In total, the resident population increased by 0.4% from July of 2021 to July of 2022, numbering 1.26 million. The national population increase was driven mainly by net international migration, which added 1.01 million people from abroad in 2022. Positive natural change (births minus deaths) also increased the population by 245,080. International migration added only 376,029 residents from 2020 to 2021; given the 168.8% growth between 2021 and 2022, the estimates indicate that migration patterns are returning to pre-pandemic levels. 

North Carolina Outpaces the Nation 

From July of 2021 to July of 2022, North Carolina added 133,088 residents, a growth rate of 1.3%. There were around 6,000 more births than deaths in 2022, reflecting similar trends of positive natural change and accounting for 25% of the population growth. North Carolina added around 26,000 new residents from abroad in 2022, more than doubling the 10,000 new residents in 2021. The most significant increase, however, goes to domestic migration – the number of new residents from other US states. In 2022, net domestic migration saw an increase of 99,796 people into North Carolina. 

With the combination of positive natural birth, positive international migration, and positive domestic migration, it is no wonder North Carolina had the third highest numeric growth in 2022 – preceded only by Texas (470K) and Florida (416K). The rate at which North Carolina is growing is the ninth highest in the country at 1.3%, as well as the ninth largest state by population with 10.7 million residents. 

Alamance County has also been seeing rapid growth this year, with Burlington alongside it. Alamance County increased by 2,400 residents from April of 2020 to July of 2021, at an estimated 1.4% change. Similarly, Burlington has grown from 57,300 residents in April of 2020 to over 58,800 in July of 2021, at a 2.6% change. With almost 1,500 new residents in Burlington this year, the city’s continued growth plays a substantial role in the state’s positive growth. Alamance attracts residents from both in-state relocations, especially with recent industry announcements in the Piedmont Triad like the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, and from out-of-state – “Recently we have seen increased in-migration from California, Texas and the norther states into Alamance County and the surrounding areas,” as reported by Allen Tate Realtors to the Triad Business Journal.

Why North Carolina is Growing so Fast 

North Carolina has enjoyed great success in attracting new residents. What sets North Carolina apart as the preferred destination for new residents? The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the State’s lead economic development and tourism promotion agency, highlights five essential elements to the state and its assets that altogether contribute to economic development success in 2022 and beyond: 

  • Workforce and education: North Carolina workers are talented and ready to work. Our highly skilled, educated diverse workforce trains at the state’s 52 top-tier universities, the second most Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the country, and across a 58-campus community college system. It is home to the #1 largest manufacturing workforce in the southeast, as well as the fourth largest military workforce in the nation. 
  • Business climate: Continually ranked as one of the best business climates in the United States, North Carolina has rightfully earned the title of America’s Top State for Business by CNBC in 2022. The state holds the most competitive tax environment for businesses at 2.5%, low business costs and costs of living, unparalleled access to highly skilled workforce, and unwavering commitment to a clean energy future. 
  • Infrastructure: With a central location on the eastern seaboard and excellent transportation infrastructure, North Carolina provides an optimal point of access to markets and customers, keeping freight and delivery costs low. North Carolina is home to four international airports, two deep water seaports, the second-largest state-owned highway system, and the #1 largest consolidated rail system. 
  • Quality of life: North Carolina has a little bit of everything – a moderate four-season climate, assorted recreational opportunities, culture-rich history and arts, low cost of living compared to the national average, stellar healthcare and medical facilities, and an education system recognized for quality from pre-K to university.
  • Incentives: North Carolina’s targeted, performance-based incentive programs help companies in North Carolina by lessening the tax burden and lowering overall costs to the business. A multitude of grant programs are applied in a variety of circumstances, and to businesses new, old, expanding, relocating, and diversifying.

It is encouraging to see positive population growth at each level – city, county, state, and nation – because it opens possibilities for economic growth. If 2022 was any indication of how much economic development is happening nowadays, especially around North Carolina, positive population growth is further proof of its success. More new residents means an expanding workforce possibility, more people to both make money and spend money in-state, and more innovation to be seen. 

As Burlington continues to grow, the City continues to work hard for its residents! The Economic Development office is excited to see what 2023 has in store!

Isabella DeLaGarza, EYOS Fellow

City Contact
Isabella DeLaGarza
425 S. Lexington Ave. 
Burlington, NC 27215