That's the assessment of demographers and town officials, and it shows in
"We're kind of the next ring of suburbs in growth," said
The rising price of housing has pushed some people out of
Job growth in the technology and to a lesser extent the health-care industry has drawn new residents to the Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle area, Stanford said.
The people moving to the urban areas tend to be younger, Stanford said, and many are moving from
Population growth tends to be self-sustaining, Stanford said, and so does population decline.
Not all rural areas are in decline. The towns of
"You've got a lot of retirees -- baby boomers -- who want to move from, say, the Northeast area or the Midwest down to
Town officials said they welcome new growth, but they acknowledged that it can create challenges.
For example, small towns near larger cities can become bedroom communities with most of the residents' employers outside the town limits and few commercial or industrial properties in town, said Arnold, the
That puts most of the tax burden for town services that the residents want and need on the residents' homes, he said.
"Our No. 1 challenge is diversification of our community and our property tax base," Arnold said.
Meet the towns (based on growth rate 2010-19, descending order)
"We've been fairly successful in bringing in the kind of things that provide jobs, provide shopping, and we provide recreation and arts for the community," said
This development, the mayor says, has changed the face of the town.
"We're seeing a lot of diversity," he said. "I think we're seeing different cultures, different nationalities, different racial makeup."
Then the population in
The town grew by nearly 45% between 2010 and 2019, from 5,877 to 8,577, according to the
"And honestly, it was bound to happen," Gray said.
The highway makes it easy for residents to commute to work in
"We have a really unique mix of -- kind of the feeling that you live in the country, kind of even in a really small town. But you have some of the extras of larger town and we're getting more of those all the time," she said.
At first, business didn't take off.
"There would sometimes be multiple days in a row where we wouldn't see a customer come in the store," Thompson said.
Fast-forward five years, and growing customer demand propelled Thompson to upgrade her initial 1,000 square-foot store to a 10,000 square-foot space. Today, Thompson sees
And this time, Thompson didn't mind the activity.
"There's a lot happening that's very family-focused, art-focused, nightlife-focused," she said. "There's a huge revitalization going on within the culture of our community."
"I think many small towns of this size don't have that kind of billions of dollars of investment," said
Founded in 1977,
"I don't think I'm going to recognize this place in 10 years," he said.
Just east of
Now it's one of the booming communities in the Research Triangle, with an estimated 17,843 people as of
"Our demographics have changed. We now have more millennials moving to the area -- professional millennials," Roberson said. "And they can't quite afford to live in
With the growth,
"So I think in the next five to six years you're going to see this major transformation take place in our downtown area," he said.
The bright lights of
But then again, that they aren't right next door is one of the attractions of the fast-growing
Between 2010 and 2019, the town's population boomed by an estimated 10,000 residents to more than 23,000.
"I believe word has gotten out about our 'little' Southern town," she said. "
She notes that being a bedroom community for
But the town's rapid growth hasn't come without a few bumps, notably the increased traffic. Schools also are showing the strain of all the new residents.
Still, she's excited about the direction her town is headed in.
"The biggest change I have seen is, in a word, everything," Bozeman said. "Nothing here is like it used to be. It is like a completely new town."
"It has grown in leaps and bounds," Marrow said of her lifelong hometown. "It's still a really quaint little town center, but there is a lot that has happened."
Sitting 30 miles south of
A train runs through the middle of
"A lot of people who move here, they're from a larger town or maybe a busier place," Vigil said. "I always greet them with open arms and then I just remind them to slow down because it's something that I had to learn myself."
Just a bunch of Yankees.
"We really have reached out, worked to develop good relationships with our neighbors," said Muuss, who is the town's official photographer, "and I credit a lot of that to the people we have here, who come from all walks of life and from all over, and the work our volunteers do both inside and outside
What's also changed is the size of
Like other booming communities in
But so have
Prior to World War II,
Then the military came to town, and the population surged to more than 110,000.
But it's not as sleepy as it once was.
A sweet location between two fast-growing coastal metro areas and easy access to the beach has seen the town's population more than double in the past decade.
"We're snap dab right in the middle between two of the fastest growing areas in the state," he said. "And we're also the self-proclaimed gateway to
Affordable housing options, at least compared to neighboring communities, coupled with the town's rural feel has made
"The challenge for a growing small town like us is how do you preserve the history of the past while also retaining that small-town feel even while you're still growing," Wenzel said.
How does a town grow by 850% in just 20 years? Why did it more than double in size in 10 years?
They attract families and seniors to a small community where they feel safe, Arnold said.
The town has many commuters and many who work from home, Arnold said, and that creates
The town is identifying the best places for commercial and industrial growth and adjusting its transportation plan and zoning code to foster that growth, he said.
"And we're going to actually be able to build a real
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