The Largest Cities in North Carolina

Raleigh, one of the largest cities in North Carolina.
Raleigh, one of the largest cities in North Carolina.

North Carolina boasts of a population of at least 10.2 million residents ranking the state as the 9th most populous in the United States. With the large population in the state, not a single one of the cities hosts more than a million residents, and this could be as a result of the fact that North Carolina is subdivided into a hundred counties. While Raleigh is the capital, Charlotte is the largest city in the state. Durham and Greensboro also rank among the four largest cities in North Carolina.

The Largest Cities in North Carolina


Durham ranks fourth among the largest cities in North Carolina. The 2010 census put the population at about 228,000. This number is estimated to have risen by about 17.26% by 2017 putting the population at 267,743. This city is home to the reputed Duke University and North Carolina Central University. Additionally, Durham also sits as one of the vertices of the Research Triangle which is America’s largest research park.


Greensboro is the largest city and the seat of its host county Guilford. It is also the 3rd most populous city in the state of North Carolina, and the 68th most populous city in the whole country. As of 2010, the population was approximately 269,666 residents, and by 2017 the estimate was put at 290,222. Before 1895, the name of the city was spelled as Greensborough. Three major interstate highways in the Piedmont region were built with Greensboro as their confluence. History tells of a village that has been rocked by war and turbulence. However, in the 1890s, with the restoration of textile plants and related businesses, Greensboro dramatically transformed from a village to a major city.


The state capital of North Carolina is the second largest city in the state after the city of Charlotte. The city is also known as the City of Oaks thanks to the multitude of oak trees lining the streets at the city centre. By land area, Raleigh holds about 142 square miles which is home to the city’s large population of more than 464,758. The population is estimated to be growing at a steady rate of 2% per year putting it among the fastest-growing cities in the United States. Raleigh’s political importance accounts partly for its growth. The development of the Research Triangle Park created jobs in science and technology research leading to the growth of the city.


Charlotte is the largest city in the state and rivals Jacksonville in Florida for the title of the biggest city in the south-eastern United States. It is the county seat of the county of Mecklenburg. As of 2017, the city of Charlotte had a population of 859,035 placing it as the 17th most populous city in the country. The whole metropolitan area is the 22nd largest in the country, and it had a population of 2,474,314 in 2016. The city of Charlotte is of the headquarters of the Bank of America. The growth of Charlotte is rooted in the city’s financial sector. Debatably Charlotte has also been touted to have the best nightlife in North Carolina and possibly the southern parts of the country.

Other Cities

North Carolina is home to some of the largest and also the fastest-growing cities in the country. Other large cities in the state of North Carolina include Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Fayetteville, and High Point. These cities are all home to more than 100,000 residents each.

The Largest Cities in North Carolina

1Charlotte 859,035
2Raleigh 464,758
3Durham 311,640
4Greensboro 290,222
5Winston-Salem 244,605
6Fayetteville 209,899
8Wilmington 119,045
9High Point111,513
10Greenville 92,156
11Concord 92,067
12Asheville 91,902
13Gastonia 76,593
14Jacksonville 72,447
15Chapel Hill59,862

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