Mayor Weinbrecht reported in his 2017 State of Cary Address that the population-growth rate in Cary is less than 3% and that that rate is sustainable.



The population of Cary, according to the 2010 U.S. census, was 135,234. The U.S. Census Bureau estimate of Cary's population in 2015 was 159,769, a figure near that referenced by the mayor in his address. Thus the Town's population increased by 24,535 people in that five-year span, a total percentage of 18.14%. If this increase is expressed in terms of a Compound Annual Growth Rate, that rate is 3.39% per year.

This table below shows the actual population increase of the Town from its incorporation in 1871 to 2015. The population at inception is given [p. 50] by Thomas M. Byrd in his and Jerry Miller's book, Around and About Cary [Raleigh: Daniels Industries; 1970. 2nd ed., Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, Inc.; 1994.]. The population totals from 1880 to 2010 are from the United States Census Bureau counts for those years. The population figure for 2015 is the Census Bureau's official estimate.


Year Population Additional People Percent Increase Compound Annual Growth Rate
1871 +/- 150
1880 371 221 147% 10.59%
1890 423 52 14% 1.32%
1900 333 -90 –21% -2.36%
1910 383 50 15% 1.41%
1920 645 262 68% 5.35%
1930 909 264 41% 3.49%
1940 1,141 232 26% 2.30%
1950 1,446 305 27% 2.40%
1960 3,356 1,910 132% 8.78%
1970 7,686 4,330 129% 8.64%
1980 21,763 14,077 183% 10.97%
1990 45,497 23,734 109% 7.65%
2000 97,411 51,914 114% 7.91%
2010 135,234 37,823 39% 3.34%
2015 159,769 24,535 18% 3.39


The larger elephant in this particular room, however, is what is meant by "sustainable." Assuming the growth rate is indeed less than 3%, that still presents a problem.

The Cary Community Plan states that Cary's population will reach 193,000 in 2040. The mayor's stated rate of population growth means that that figure [193,000] will be exceeded in 2023 – 17 years sooner than the Community Plan projects.

The Plan states that the yearly growth rate "is expected to decline" [p. 82], but does not specify who it is that expects the growth rate to decline, by how much he or she expects it to decline, or for what reason or reasons the decline is expected.

If a projection based on the United States Census Bureau's figures is used, the Town's population will surpass 193,000 sometime in 2021.

The table below shows the Town of Cary's projected population based on (1) The Cary Community Plan, (2) the mayor's stated rate of growth, and (3) the rate of growth based on U. S. Census figures for the years 2010 to 2015. Note that the CCP projection works backward from a prediction of 193,000 in 2040. The mayor's projection and the U.S. Census Bureau projection work forward from known population numbers using the most recent rates of increase.

The United States Census Bureau's official estimate of Cary's population in 2015 was 159,769.

UPDATE — The U. S. Census Bureau released its July 1, 2016 population estimate for the Town of Cary after this page was developed. The Bureau's estimate of Cary's population on that date was 162,320. Please see it here. This number is 1,337 higher than the number projected by the Cary Community Plan.

The Town of Cary's estimated population figures [right column] are taken from its published Quarterly Reports. I've used the population estimates of July 1 for each year, in order to match up to the U.S. Census Bureau, whose estimates for each year are also for July 1. Note that Cary's population estimates show an increase from 142,257 in 2012 to 160,390 in 2017. This increase of 18,133 people in five years works out to a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 2.43%. This is three times higher than the growth rate of the Cary Community Plan's projection.


Year Population per
Cary Community Plan
(0.76%)
Population per
Mayor Weinbrecht
(2.75%)
Population per
Census Bureau
(3.39%)
Census Bureau
official estimate
(July 1)
Town of Cary
estimate
(July 1)
2012 N/A N/A N/A 142,257
2013 N/A N/A N/A 144,981
2014 N/A N/A N/A 149,854
2015 159,769 N/A 159,769 159,769 153,865
2016 160,983 159,769 165,185 162,320 157,259
2017 162,207 164,162 170,785 160,390
2018 163,439 168,677 176,575
2019 164,682 173,315 182,560
2020 165,933 178,082 188,749
2021 167,194 182,979 195,148
2022 168,465 188,011 201,763
2023 169,745 193,181 208,603
2024 171,035 198,494 215,675
2025 172,335 203,952 222,986
2026 173,645 209,561 230,545
2027 174,965 215,324 238,361
2028 176,294 221,246 246,441
2029 177,634 227,328 254,796
2030 178,984 233,581 263,433
2031 180,345 240,004 272,364
2032 181,715 246,605 281,597
2033 183,096 253,387 291,143
2034 184,488 260,355 301,012
2035 185,890 267,515 311,216
2036 187,303 274,871 321,767
2037 188,726 282,430 332,675
2038 190,160 290,197 343,952
2039 191,606 298,177 355,612
2040 193,000 306,377 367,667


Objectives


Objective #1

That within the next decade, the Town of Cary properly plant one million additional trees within its borders and nurture them correctly.


Objective #2

That the Town of Cary establish an office dedicated solely to addressing environmental issues. The office will consist of two parts. One part will be a Skunk Works, a group given a high degree of autonomy and charged with devising ways that the Town can move rapidly towards sustainability. The second will be an inspection unit charged with ensuring compliance with sustainability measures undertaken by the Town.


Objective #3

That the Town of Cary adopt a long-lived and beautiful noble hardwood tree as its Official Tree.
Why.


Objective #4

That the Town of Cary re-start the now-defunct Wake County Champion and Notable Tree List, and that it be administered by volunteers using a donated program and server space.
Why.


Objective #5

If When the United States withdraws from the Paris Agreement, I will propose that Cary join the nationwide movement of local jurisdictions that will strive to achieve the goals of the Agreement. Why.