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NC Urban County Extension Centers

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N.C. Cooperative Extension has a presence in every county across North Carolina, including our most urban counties. But depending on whom you ask or what sources you check, “urban” can be defined in many different ways.

What Counts as “Urban” in North Carolina?

For North Carolina Urban Extension, we use population density to identify urban areas across the state. According to the NC Rural Center, North Carolina has six urban counties with an average population density that exceeds 750 people per square mile. Currently, over a third of the state’s population lives in the urban counties of Mecklenburg, Wake, New Hanover, Durham, Forsyth, and Guilford.

Our state also has a growing number of “regional city and suburban counties,” or counties with a population density between 250 and 750 people per square mile. These include counties such as Buncombe, Gaston, Orange, Cumberland, and Pitt.

North Carolina Counties by Population Density

NC population density map

North Carolina’s Top Urban Counties by County Population Density
County (Largest City) 2010 County Population Density
(people per square mile)
2018 Population
County City
Mecklenburg (Charlotte)  1,755.5 1,093,901 872,506
Wake (Raleigh)  1,178.8 1,092,305 470,509
New Hanover (Wilmington)  1,058.1 232,274 122,610
Durham (Durham)  935.7 316,379 274,497
Forsyth (Winston-Salem)  859.2 379,099 246,334
Guilford (Greensboro / High Point)  756.4 533,670 294,726 / 114,322
Sources: ACS 2018 1-Year Estimates, Total Population by County & City; 2010 U.S. Census, Population Density by County  

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N.C. Cooperative Extension, Guilford County Center

Want to know what Extension is up to in your area? What programs are available? Ways to volunteer? Check out your local Urban County Extension Center to learn more:

Contact Kristin Feierabend, Area Specialized Agent for Urban Programs, to learn more about urban extension statewide.