In 2015, the population in North Carolina surpassed 10 million. From 2010 through mid-2015 NC gained 507,000 new residents representing a 5.3% increase in overall population which exceeds the national average of 4.1% for the same period.
Population growth is always important to child care but of significant importance is 39% of the population increase in NC resulted from 200,000 more births than deaths. Child care centers across the state, and those in the counties that experienced the highest growth rates saw increased enrollment of infants through four-year-olds during this period.
Other highlights from the 2015 North Carolina population estimates:
- Brunswick County (coast of NC between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, SC) was the fastest growing county with a 14.3 % increase. Brunswick’s growth was from individuals moving to the area for retirement.
- Brunswick, Wake, Mecklenburg, Hoke, Harnett, Chatham and Durham counties were among the 100 fastest growing counties in the nation each experiencing more than a 10% increase in population.
- Wake County surpassed the 1 million population mark.
- Almost 50% of North Carolina’s population increase came from two counties – Mecklenburg and Wake.
- Although some counties have increased the population from the net difference between births and deaths, most of NC population increase from 2010 – 2015 was a result of migration. 61% from individuals moving from another state to NC and 39% moving from another country to NC.
Now, for the not so good news; 48 North Carolina counties lost population between 2010 and 2015. Given North Carolina has 100 counties this fact alone is disappointing. However, of greater concern is comparing this to years 2000 through 2005 when only 14 counties lost population. Five counties saw a five percent of greater population decline – Bertie, Gates, Northampton, Tyrell, and Washington. (Detailed NC County map below.)
So, what is the takeaway for North Carolina child care business owners?
- Accurate child care business planning – enrollment projections by age, revenue and expense estimates, cash flows, working capital estimates – all require knowledge of market area population growth increases and decreases.
- Knowing your market area population changes by age group are essential information necessary for determining facility room allocation by age group. For instance, do you need to have two classrooms of four-year-old children instead of only one? Maybe in your market area birth rates are declining – could this indicate you should consider utilizing a smaller room for infants and increasing your enrollment of older children?
- If you are considering adding on to your child care business or starting a new child care business, having current, detailed population changes and demographics is essential. Having provided child care business brokerage services in NC since 1995, I know of many centers that are vacant today or the building is be utilized by another type of business because the owner did not analyze area population and demographics before expanding or building a new child care center that the market could not support.
**Hover mouse over county to view information.