2021’s Top Stories: Census data shows population decline in Roanoke-Chowan

Published 2:14 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021

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From August 14, 2021

While North Carolina is hailed as one of the fastest growing states in the nation, the same isn’t true for the Roanoke-Chowan area and most all of the northeastern corner of the state.

Some of the results of the 2020 Census – delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic – were released on Aug. 12. They show promising results for North Carolina, which increased its population by 9.5% (now at 10,439,388 compared to 9,535,483 in 2010).

Meanwhile, the local four counties experienced a population decline as follows:

Bertie: 21,282 in 2010; 17,934 in 2020 (-3,348; -16%)

Gates: 12,197 in 2010; 10,478 in 2020 (-1,719; -14%)

Hertford: 24,669 in 2010; 21,552 in 2020 (-3,117; -13%)

Northampton: 22,099 in 2010; 17,471 in 2020 (-4,628; -20.9%).

According to 2020 Census data posted by ncdemography.org, Northampton’s 20.9 percent loss in population was the third highest in the state, trailing Tyrrell (-26.4%) and Hyde (-21.0%).

More than one-half (51) counties in North Carolina lost population over the past decade. The counties with the largest numeric declines were Robeson (-17,638), Duplin (-9,790), Edgecombe (-7,652), Columbus (-7,475), and Halifax (-6,069).

On the flip side, three counties in northeastern North Carolina experienced population gains over the past 10 years. Currituck gained 19 percent (from 23,547 to 28,100). Dare’s citizenry increased by nine percent (from 33,920 to 36,915). Camden has three percent more people (from 9,980 to 10,355).

Wake County (a current population of 1,129,410) surpassed Mecklenburg (1,115,482) to become the most populous county in North Carolina. The remainder of the top five most populous counties in the state are Guilford (541,299), Forsyth (382,590), and Cumberland (334,728).

By race, U.S. Census data showed Blacks or African Americans representing 21.5 percent of the state’s population. That percentage is higher in the Roanoke-Chowan area: 61.6% in Bertie County; 33.4% in Gates County; 59.4% in Hertford County; and 56.4% in Northampton County.

The number of white individuals living in the state represents 62.5 percent of the total population. Gates County has the largest percentage of whites (63.3%) in the Roanoke-Chowan area followed by Northampton (38.7%), Bertie (34.6%) and Hertford (33.3%).

Meanwhile, the Hispanic/Latino population in the local four counties stands at 2.1% in Bertie; 0.1% in Gates; 3.8% in Hertford; and 2.3% in Northampton. Hispanic/Latino represents 9.8% of the state’s population according to the new Census.

Due to its overall growth in population, North Carolina will gain a 14th seat in the United States House of Representatives.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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