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Census estimates show Wake is now North Carolina's largest county

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Wake County has the largest population of any North Carolina county, according to new estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Its annual population estimates, released last week, show the county grew 1.9% between July 2018 and July 2019. Wake County had an estimated 1,111,761 residents — or 1,405 people more than Mecklenburg County, which previously held the top spot. 

Wake County is asking citizens to help validate that growth by completing the census.

Most households should have received at least one invitation to respond to the 2020 Census, the county said in a press release. These invitations include instructions for responding online at or over the phone at 1-844-330-2020. Census responses can be completed in 13 languages.

There is a Census ID included in the invitation that ties responses to a specific residence, but people can also respond using their address.

Census results are used to determine how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities to be spent on schools, hospitals and other federal programs. They also determine how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives and helps state and local officials draw boundaries for congressional districts, state legislative districts and school districts.

National Census Day was Wednesday, April 1.

In its annual population estimates, the census bureau also said the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area was the 10th fastest-growing region over the last decade, increasing 23% to almost 1.4 million people. The area includes Wake, Franklin and Johnston counties.

Franklin County grew 3% to almost 70,000 residents between July 2018 and July 2019, according to the bureau’s population estimates.

During the same time, the state of North Carolina saw an estimated 1% increase to around 10.4 million citizens.