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Wake County, NC



(by Population)




Square Miles
North Carolina Museum of Art
North Carolina Museum of Art
Coastal Credit Union Music Park
Coastal Credit Union Music Park
Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
Jordan Lake State Recreation Area

Wake County and the Best of North Carolina

Wake County, North Carolina, is known for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it's the most populated county in the Carolinas, with over 1,100,000 residents calling the area home. Secondly, it's home to eight institutions of higher education, part of the region's "Triangle" which includes North Carolina State University, Duke University (in Durham) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Thirdly, it's ranked time and time again as one of the best places to work in all of America.

Wake County thrives with opportunities for young job seekers and those who would like a fresh start in their careers, brimming with chances to work in a large variety of fields, including research, developmental, electronic, business and financial. Aside from job possibilities, the area has plenty to offer visitors, with endless cultural and art centers, numerous sports fields, beautiful parks and historical attractions. Yes, the county is a must-see area for those who want to experience the best North Carolina has to offer.

History of Wake County

Much of Wake County's origins began when it was founded in 1770, and named after Margaret Wake Tryon, the wife of British Army General William Tryon. The state capital was initially the city of New Bern before the title was stripped away during The American Revolutionary War and for a few years after. Finally, in 1794, Raleigh became the official state capital, named after notable British citizen Sir Walter Raleigh.

In the 18th century, the region became famous for being the setting of The Battle at Morrisville Station in 1865, fought between Major General William T. Sherman and General Joseph E. Johnston and their respective armies. This battle would eventually lead to one of the most prominent surrenders in the war that would, in turn, lead to the conclusion of The American Civil War. As such, Wake County remains an important setting in the history of the Civil War itself.

Wake County Geography

Wake County sits in a very intriguing location in The United States -- at the country's Atlantic Seaboard Fall Line. This 900-mile escarpment, or long steep slope, marks the point where the Piedmont and the Atlantic coastal plain meet. As a result, the area is lush with creeks, rivers and waterfalls, making for a magnificent viewing experience. Some of the most notable bodies of water in the region include Lake Crabtree, Lake Johnson and the Neuse River. Locals and tourists alike enjoy strolling among these bodies of waters to snap pictures or enjoy a fishing excursion.

The climate sees very hot and humid summers as well as cold winters that typically bring in a little snow and the occasional ice storm. The spring and fall seasons bring mild and sunny weather, attracting lots of visitors. Many residents enjoy driving up to the Great Smoky Mountains during these times, about four hours east by car.

Home to Some of the Happiest Workers in The U.S.

Wake County is home to a diverse set of 1,111,761 residents (population as of 2019). The racial makeup is: 67% White, 21% Black, 10% Hispanic and the remaining 2% other races. The average age sits at 36 years old, with 34% of households having children under the age of 18. Just under half of the entire population is in the age range of 18 - 44, with many younger individuals attracted to the area for its prestigious universities.

The Town of Cary, also in Wake County, attracts some interesting statistics as well. 60% of its residents hold a Bachelors Degree or higher, making it one of the most educated areas in the country. Moreover, Cary has one of the lowest crime rates in all of North Carolina -- 79% less than the state average. Because of this, it has been consistently rated as one of the safest places to live in America, attracting high-income individuals in particular.

Wake County Economy

Much of the county's economy is derived from the Research Triangle Park (RTP), which is located between Durham and Raleigh, although mostly in Durham county. Here, nearly 200 companies employ 40,000 employees in the tech, textile development and medical markets. The biggest employers are IBM, GlaxoSmithKline and Cisco Systems. Other economic influences include the agricultural industry, pharmaceuticals and food processing. Commonly grown products in the region include tobacco, cotton and wheat. Overall, the region saw continuous economic growth throughout the 2000s and 2010s.

Cary, as referenced above, is the seventh-largest municipality in North Carolina, almost entirely located in Wake County. It is home to many prominent businesses in the area, including the SAS Institute. SAS is one of the largest private software companies in the entire world, with its software being used by many Fortune 500 companies. Moreover, Cary is also known and loved for being home to the video game and software developer Epic Games, the team behind such games as "Fortnite" and "Gears of War." Cary is also the territory of other industry leaders in electronics, technology, and robotics, including ABB Group, Arista Networks and Lord Corporation, in addition to the software and video game market.

As Raleigh is the state capital, many jobs in Wake county are government related, whether for state or local municipalities.

How to Have Fun in Wake County

When it comes to Wake County, it'll be hard to disappoint any kind of visitor. Perhaps the happiest tourist will be the one that loves art, theater and culture, as the opportunities to visit a good art center or theater are countless. Highlights include the North Carolina Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Museum of History. The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, in particular, tends to house plenty of special exhibitions of such artists as Claude Monet and Auguste Rodin.

Of course, anyone who loves a good concert simply shouldn't miss a show at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, where such acts as Aerosmith, B.B. King, Coldplay and Elton John have played among many, many others. Those who enjoy a quieter show can make a stop at Fletcher Opera Theater, Kennedy Theatre, or Meymandi Concert Hall for other concerts, operas and plays. The town of Cary is also a go-to place for attending seasonal festivals and annual events such as the Ritmo Latino Music, Art and Dance Festival, the Cary Diwali Celebration - Festival of Light and the Greater Triangle Area Dragon Boat Festival, which all pay homage to various cultures and cultural holidays and attract a wide range of attendees.

Sports fans need to see a game at PNC Arena, home to many-a basketball and hockey game, including The National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes. There are also 152 parks and recreation areas in the county filled with tennis facilities, basketball courts and swimming pools. Those who enjoy going on a good run or bike ride can make their way through one of the county's (or all three!) state parks: Falls Lake State Recreation Area, William B. Umstead State Park, and the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. Non-sport visitors will love to make a stop at one of these parks to take some social media-worthy photos and videos.

Last but certainly not least, there are notable historical points in the county, with many visitors enjoying the Joel Lane Museum House, the North Carolina State Capitol, Historic Yates Mill County Park and Mordecai Historical Park. There is a lot to unpack in the region, which history buffs will have a ball doing. Perhaps the most exciting part of Wake County is waiting to see where the county will go next!

Additional Wake County Information