One of the first steps in appropriately serving residents of the CRTPO planning area is to understand who our residents are. The Charlotte metro region’s varying demographics and socio-economic characteristics create a unique profile which can impact transportation needs, and how those needs are communicated and addressed.
The following demographic profile describes the current residents and workers of the Charlotte region*, and will continue to evolve over time, as will the region’s population. Demographic metrics below are taken from the U.S. Census American Community Survey, and rely on 2012-2016 five-year estimates, as the most current source of data. 2017 Total Population is a 2017 estimate, as aggregate population data are estimated more frequently.
Many of the communities and populations described in this demographic profile are described in further detail and represented geographically at the more precise U.S. Census Tract level, as a component of CRTPO’s Environmental Justice – Degree of Impact (EJ-DOI) methodology. Please reference the EJ- DOI webpage for more information on identified Environmental Justice communities within the CRTPO planning area: https://www.crtpo.org/plans-programs/environmental-justice-degree-impact.
*For the purposes of this profile, the entirety of Union County is profiled, as the Union County population outside of the CRTPO planning boundary is minimal and typically does not substantially alter the County’s aggregate demographics.
The Census-estimated 2017 population of Iredell, Mecklenburg, and Union Counties totaled 1,483,914 people. Mecklenburg County accounted for 72.4% of that population with 1,011,774 residents. Union and Iredell Counties accounted for 15.6% (217,614 residents) and 12% (167,493 residents) of the region’s population, respectively. This indicates that while the majority of the region is urban or suburban in character, significant populations continue to reside in the more rural portions of the planning area.
The racial makeup of the region’s residents varies across CRTPO’s three counties**. Of Iredell County’s roughly 175,700 residents, 77% are White/Caucasian, 12% are Black/African American, and 7% are Hispanic or Latino (rounding to nearest hundreds, and whole percentages). In Mecklenburg County, 49% of the county’s roughly 1,076,800 residents are White/Caucasian, while 31% are Black/African American, and 13% are Hispanic or Latino. Union County’s population more closely resembles Iredell County, with 73% of their 231,400 residents being White/Caucasian, 12% being Black/African American, and 11% being Hispanic or Latino. 5% of Mecklenburg County’s residents are Asian, while no other race comprises more than 2.4% of the residents in any County.
The table below summarizes common male/female and racial characteristics of the CRTPO population.
**Estimates of the share/percentage of the population among the three counties, and various race, age, and sex categories, are based on 2016 five-year Census estimates.
Often recognized as one of the faster growing metro areas in the nation, the counties within CRTPO’s planning area have grown steadily over the past decade. The table and accompanying chart below illustrate the annual estimated populations of Iredell, Mecklenburg, and Union Counties, as well as the regional total, between 2010 and 2017.
It should be noted that Iredell County joined CRTPO (formerly Mecklenburg - Union MPO, or MUMPO), in part, in 2013. The entirety of Iredell County joined CRTPO in 2015.
The 2012-2016 Five-Year Census estimates calculated 386,804 households in Mecklenburg County, 72,304 households in Union County, and 61,716 households in Iredell County. For the five income ranges between $0 and $49,999 Iredell, Mecklenburg, then Union County have the highest, mid-level, and lowest percentages of their own households in each range, respectively. At the $50,000 range, this trend begins to reverse, and ultimately at the higher income ranges, Union County has the highest percentage of its own households, Mecklenburg the middle, and Iredell County has the lowest percentage. It is noteworthy that despite having the lion’s share of employers and uptown Charlotte central business district, among other business districts, Mecklenburg County had both the second largest median income and mean(average) income among the three counties at $59,268. Union County’s median income was $67,194 and a significant share of Union County households fall within the upper income ranges.
The table below lists the income distribution among CRTPO households.
Much is made of the educational attainment of a city or region’s workforce being a major attractor for large-scale employers. The CRTPO region is home to many post-secondary schools. Among them are University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Davidson College, Queens University, Johnson C. Smith University, Central Piedmont Community College, Johnson & Wales University, Wingate University (Union County), and Mitchell Community College (Iredell County).
For the purposes of studying working age adults who have primarily completed their education, Iredell County was estimated to have 113,529 residents aged 25 years and over, Mecklenburg estimated to have 669,789, and Union County estimated to 137,190.
The table below lists the educational attainment of CRTPO’s 25-and-over population.
Combined, 39.6% of the CRTPO region’s population aged 25 or older has a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. By comparison, 33.4% of the national population, and 29% of the North Carolina population over the age of 25 has a Bachelor’s Degree of higher.
Communication amongst different language-speakers can be a challenge within any planning area. CRTPO is home to eight languages spoken prominently, as identified among CRTPO’s Limited English Proficiency (LEP) environmental justice community.
Among CRTPO planning area households, Spanish is the most commonly spoken non-English language. It is noteworthy that in Mecklenburg County, almost as many Asian & Pacific Island language households are LEP as those that are primarily Spanish-speaking (difference of 5%).
When viewing the table below, it should be noted that households which speak a particular language may in fact speak more than one non-English language, in addition to, or in place of English.
Access to all modes of transportation across the CRTPO planning area is critical for residents and visitors. Of the 520,824 households in the three-county region, most have access to at least one personal vehicle. Two-car households are the most common with 40.8%, 39.5%, and 45% of households in Iredell, Mecklenburg, and Union Counties, respectively, having access. Regionally, 5.7% of households – meaning roughly 29,700 households, 25,400 of which are in Mecklenburg County – have access to no vehicle.
The table below summarizes the level access to personal vehicles for CRTPO households.