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Population and Income Information

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The statistics provided below are provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the North Carolina State Data Center and the N.C. Department of Commerce.

Population Information: The latest estimated population from the US Census Bureau is 71,472 for 2017.  The official 2010 Census placed our 2010 population at 63,505, an increase of 28.74% since 2000. The state average growth for that decade was 18.5%. 

Less than 20% of our county’s residents live in incorporated towns. The county has about 101 residents per square mile, which reflects its generally rural nature.

The 2010 US Census estimates for our incorporated towns: 

basket vendor at Siler City Alive
Siler City Alive! festival in the downtown area attracts a
diverse array of vendors and attendees.
Photo by Duane Hall

  • Siler City: 7,887 (estimated in 2017 at 8,190)
  • Pittsboro: 3,743 (estimated in 2017 at 4,221)
  • Goldston: 268 (estimated in 2017 at 293)

The number of Chatham County residents living inside Cary’s town limits, which is mostly in Wake County, increased from just 19 people in 2000 to over nearly 2,300 in 2017.

Ethnic/Racial Diversity: The overall, racial/ethnic composition of Chatham County is: 71.6% white, 12.7% African American and 12.5% Hispanic. Other categories have less than 3%. 

The major change has been an increase in the Hispanic population between 1990 and 2008. The county had an estimated 564 Hispanic residents in 1990 and this grew to an estimated 8,800 in 2017, but the growth rate has leveled off since the last recession. 

The majority of the growing Hispanic population is located in and around Siler City, but other areas are also seeing increases. The African-American population and Caucasian population continues to increase as well, but not as an overall percentage of the county’s population.

Age: The 2017 estimated median age for Chatham County residents is 47, up from 38.7 in 2007 and above the state average. As of 2017, the percentage of residents age 65+ was nearly 24%, while those age 0 to 19 were estimated at 22% of the population. Like many counties, Chatham County is becoming "grayer," but doing so at a faster rate than surrounding counties.

Income and Poverty: Based on information from the US Census, the estimated median household income for Chatham County in 2012-2016 was $58,555, considerably higher than the state average of $55,322. Similarly, the Census Bureau gives Chatham County an average per capita income of $35,109 for that same period, compared to the statewide average of $29,829. Chatham County consistently ranks in the top five in terms of per capita income, even though we have major pockets of poverty. An estimated 11.7% of the residents are at or below the federal poverty level.  Much of Chatham's wealth is concentrated in the eastern part of the county, especially the northeast quadrant. This points out the challenges of a county with residents at extreme ends of the income spectrum.  

For current information on county and state population and demographics visit:

The State Data Center

US Census Bureau Estimates of Population

NC Department of Commerce County Profiles