More than 1.3 million people live in the Raleigh-Cary metro area, defined as Wake, Johnston and Franklin counties, up 2.5 percent in the year ending last June 30. The Raleigh metro area was the 14th fastest growing in the country and the fastest growing in North Carolina, followed by Charlotte, which grew 2 percent during that time.
▪ Harnett County, which is not part of the Raleigh metro area, has been the fourth fastest-growing county in the state since 2010, at 14.1 percent. Nearly 131,000 people lived in Harnett last summer.
But 48 counties have lost population since the 2010 census, most in rural areas. The northeastern part of the state has suffered the largest losses, led by Northampton at an estimated 9.5 percent. Altogether, 11 North Carolina counties have lost 5 percent or more of their population since 2010, all but one of them north and east of Rocky Mount.