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A new report from UNC’s Carolina Population Center finds that the percentage of North Carolina’s non-native population—people like me—is rising, to nearly half the state among adults.

  • “The percentage of the state’s total population not born in North Carolina continues to rise. Recent estimates from the American Community Survey indicate that 43% of the overall population is non-native, up 1% from previous five-year estimates when this share was 42%. … This share is even higher among the adult population. Nearly half of all individuals 18 and older were born somewhere else and this group has grown faster than the population overall. This growth reflects how attractive North Carolina is to migrants of all ages with a range of educational, employment and retirement opportunities. If these prospects remain abundant, the share of adult North Carolinians born outside of the state may continue to increase.”
  • “While the state share of non-native residents is 43%, the share of residents born outside of the state varies dramatically across our 100 counties. In eighteen counties, more than half of residents are non-native. Currituck County ranked number one among these counties with three-fourths of its population born outside of the state. Currituck’s close proximity and economic ties to the Virginia Beach metro area likely contributes to this large non-native population share. Over the past five years, two new counties have seen their non-native population grow to at least half: Union County (51%) and Brunswick County (53%). These additions likely reflect the expansion of the Charlotte metro area into Union and the appeal of Brunswick County for many out-of-state retirees.”
  • In the Triangle, Wake and Orange counties are pushing 60 percent non-native population, with Durham just over 50 percent.

As the N&O notes: “North Carolina also is home to one of the largest United States military populations in the country—and many of those soldiers and their families were born outside the state. Two North Carolina bases are among the largest in their respective branches in terms of military population, as well as facility value—the Army’s Fort Bragg and the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune. Fort Bragg’s population is the largest of any base in any branch of the military—not just the Army. It had 53,660 soldiers in 2015, according to The Fayetteville Observer. Fort Bragg’s entire population of soldiers and civilians is about 140,000 people. If it were a city, it would be one of the largest in North Carolina.”

WHAT IT MEANS: New people bring new attitudes, and politics follows. Millennials are flocking to the Triangle and Charlotte for tech jobs. The state’s urban areas are growing and prospering—and generally voting for progressives. The more nonnatives show up, in all likelihood, the more progressive this state will become.