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The town's population was 135,234 as of the 2010 census (an increase of 43.1% since 2000), making it the largest town and seventh-largest municipality statewide. As of July 2019, the town's estimated population was 170,282, though Cary is still classified a town because that is how it was incorporated with the state. Cary is the second most populous incorporated town (behind only Gilbert, Arizona) in the United States.
According to the US Census Bureau, Cary was the fifth fastest-growing municipality in the United States between September 1, 2006, and September 1, 2007. In 2015 Cary had a crime rate of 84 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, had a violent crime rate of 648 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, almost eight times higher than Cary.
Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill make up the three primary metropolitan areas of the Research Triangle metropolitan region. The regional nickname of "The Triangle" originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, primarily located in Durham County, four miles from downtown Durham. RTP is bordered on three sides by the city of Durham and is roughly midway between the cities of Raleigh and Chapel Hill, and the three major research universities of NC State University, Duke University, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Effective June 6, 2003, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) redefined the Federal statistical areas. This resulted in the formation of the Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area and the Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metro Area.
The Research Triangle region encompasses OMB's Combined Statistical Area (CSA) of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina. As of 2012, the population of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill CSA was 1,998,808. The Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as of Census 2010 was 1,130,490.
In 1750, Cary began as a settlement called Bradford's Ordinary. About a century later, the North Carolina Railroad between New Bern and Hillsborough was constructed through the town, linking Bradford's Ordinary to a major transportation route.
Allison Francis "Frank" Page is credited with founding the town. Page was a Wake County farmer and lumberman. He and his wife, Catherine "Kate" Raboteau Page bought 300 acres (1.2 km2) surrounding the railroad junction in 1854 and named his development Cary, after Samuel Fenton Cary (a former Ohio congressman and prohibitionist he admired). Page became a railroad agent and a town developer. He laid out the first streets in Cary and built a sawmill, a general store and a post office (Page became the first Postmaster). In 1868, Page built a hotel to serve railroad passengers coming through Cary. Cary was incorporated on April 3, 1871, with Page becoming the first mayor. In 1879, the Raleigh and Augusta Air-Line Railroad (later the Seaboard, now CSX Transportation) arrived in Cary from the southwest, creating Fetner Junction just north of downtown and spurring further growth.
In the early years, Cary adopted zoning and other ordinances on an ad-hoc basis to control growth and give the town structure. Beginning in 1971, the town created Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning to accommodate population growth related to the growth of Research Triangle Park nearby. A PUD allows a developer to plan an entire community before beginning development, thus allowing future residents to be aware of where churches, schools, commercial and industrial areas will be located well before such use begins. Kildaire Farms, a 967-acre (3.9 km2) Planned Unit Development in Cary, was North Carolina's first PUD. It was developed on the Pine State Dairy Farm by Thomas F. Adams, Jr. Adams named a section of Kildaire Farms "Farmington Woods" in their honor.
In addition to the Page-Walker Hotel, the Carpenter Historic District, Cary Historic District, Green Level Historic District, Ivey-Ellington House, and Nancy Jones House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Located in the Piedmont region of the eastern United States, Cary is near North Carolina's Research Triangle. It is bordered on the north and east by Raleigh, on the north and west by Research Triangle Park and Morrisville, on the south by Apex and Holly Springs, and on the west by the Jordan Lake area. The town is hilly, with much of the undeveloped land covered in dense woods. Several creeks and small lakes dot the area, most notably Lake Crabtree in the north.
Nearly all of Cary is in western Wake County, with neighborhood-sized sections in the northeast corner of Chatham County.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 43.5 square miles (112.6 km2), of which 42.1 square miles (109.0 km2) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) (3.17%) is water. As of 2010, Cary claims a total area of 55.34 mi2.
Cary has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) under the K?ppen climate classification system. It receives hot summers and mildly cold winters, with several months of pleasant weather each year. Temperature extremes here range from the negatives to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hurricanes and tropical storms can affect Cary, usually after weakening substantially from being over land. Some, such as Hurricane Fran in 1996, have caused great damage in the area. Snow falls every year, averaging approximately six inches annually.
Climate data for Cary, North Carolina
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 50
Average low °F (°C) 30
Record low °F (°C) ?9
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.02
Cary is divided into distinct east and west sections. The eastern side contains the downtown area as well as the town's neighborhoods. Several of the town's iconic buildings, such as the Ashworth Drug Store, Fidelity Building, and Page-Walker Hotel are in the eastern part of town. The western side holds mostly residences and shopping. Almost completely suburbanized, the area features sprawling neighborhoods, parks, and lakes.
Census Pop. %±
1890 423 33.9%
1900 333 ?21.3%
1910 383 15.0%
1920 645 68.4%
1930 909 40.9%
1940 1,141 25.5%
1950 1,446 26.7%
1960 3,356 132.1%
1970 7,686 129.0%
1980 21,763 183.2%
1990 43,858 101.5%
2000 94,536 115.6%
2010 135,234 43.1%
Est. 2019 170,282 25.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
According to the 2010 Census, there were 135,234 people and 55,303 households in the town. As of 2013, the population has increased to 151,088. The population was 73.1% White, 13.1% Asian, 8.0% African American, 7.7% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 2.6% identified as having ancestry of two or more races, 0.4% Native American, and 0.0% Pacific Islander.
The median household income for Cary as of 2011 was $110,609.
Data from the 2000 Census shows 29.2% of Cary residents are native to North Carolina; 55.2% were born in other states. Additionally, 15.6% of the town's population were born outside the United States. The high proportion of non-native-born North Carolinians in the town has led native-born North Carolinians to refer to it derisively as "Containment Area for Relocated Yankees" or "Congested Area of Relocated Yankees".
More than two-thirds (68.0%) of Cary residents (aged 25 and older) hold an associate degree or higher, and 60.7% of adults possess a bachelor's degree or higher. Cary has one of the lowest crime rates (79% less than North Carolina) in the state for municipalities of its size. The home ownership rate (owner-occupied housing units to total units) is 72.8%.
In 2013, Cary moved up in the latest rankings of safe U.S. cities and is now considered the third-safest among municipalities with populations of 100,000 to 499,999, behind Amherst, New York, and Irvine, California, according to CQ Press, publisher of the annual "City Crime Rankings 2008-2009: Crime in Metropolitan America."
3Dsolve Simulation software used in training by the military, recently purchased by Lockheed Martin
A10 Networks U.S. public company specializing in the manufacturing of application delivery controllers
Arista Networks Computer networking manufacturer
Cotton Incorporated Industry trade-group
Epic Games Video game and software developer
IntelliScanner Corporation Home and small business organization products
Lord Corporation Diversified technology company
SAS Institute Large software company and Cary's largest employer
Western Wake Medical Center Private hospital
ABB Group - Electrification, Robotics and Industrial Automation conglomerate
According to the Cary's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the town are:
# Employer # of Employees
1 SAS Institute 5,616
2 MetLife 2,600
3 Verizon 2,000
4 Powersteam Services 1,993
5 Siemens Medical Solutions USA 1,600
6 HCL America 1,500
7 ABB, Inc. 1,300
7 Town of Cary 1,222
5 American Airlines Reservation Center 1,200
10 DB Global Technologies 1,000
Arts and culture
Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival
Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival
Greater Triangle Area Dragon Boat Festival
Cary Diwali Celebration - Festival of Light
Ritmo Latino Music, Art and Dance Festival
NC Eid Festival
Cary Band Day
Cary is home to two professional sports teams. North Carolina FC of the USL Championship league, and North Carolina Courage of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). The USL Championship league is the second tier of the American Soccer Pyramid. Both teams play their home games at WakeMed Soccer Park, known as Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Club Sport Founded League Venue
North Carolina FC Soccer 2006 USL Championship WakeMed Soccer Park
North Carolina Courage Soccer 2009 NWSL WakeMed Soccer Park
Cary has also been the host site for various different NCAA sports national championships.
Parks and recreation
Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park
WakeMed Soccer Park, home of North Carolina FC of USL Championship, and North Carolina Courage of the NWSL.
William B. Umstead State Park
USA Baseball National Training Complex
Thomas Brooks Park
Sk8 Cary Skate Park
Fred G. Bond Metropolitan Park
Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve
MacDonald Woods Park
Walnut Street Park
Jack Smith Park
North Cary Park
Downtown Cary Park
Cary Tennis Park
Recreation Club of Lochmere
Cary has a council-manager government; the mayor and council members serve a four-year term, with half of the council seats being up for election each odd-numbered year. Four of the six council seats are elected by single-member districts; the remaining two seats are elected as at-largerepresentatives, meaning they must attract a majority of votes across the whole town.
The current (as of December 2016) town council consists of Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and Representatives Jennifer Robinson (District A), Don Frantz (District B), Jack W. Smith (District C), Ken George (District D), Lori Bush (at-large), and Ed Yerha (at-large).
On October 9, 2007, Harold Weinbrecht defeated incumbent Mayor Ernie McAlister in the 2007 mayoral election. Citizen concerns that rapid growth was adversely affecting infrastructure and environment over the effect rapid growth was having on the town, especially on roads, schools, and the environment, led to McAlister's ouster.
On December 26, 2009, The Nation reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had secret prisons in the United States, where it held suspected illegal immigrants indefinitely before deportation. It reported that at least one of these secret federal prisons is allegedly located in an office building in Cary. Part of the federal government's Department of Homeland Security, ICE has leased an office in Cary for more than 10 years. The town says that no detainees are kept at this location overnight. Other than protesters of punitive ICE policies picketing the facility, the town does not acknowledge any issues associated with the Cary ICE office.
From 1871 to present
Read in columns.
Name Year(s) Name Year(s) Name Year(s) Name Year(s)
A. F. Page 1871 G. S. Leacock 1914 Dr. J. P. Hunter 19331935 Joseph R. Veasey 19691971
J. H. Adams 1884 T. H. Taylor 1916 M. T. Jones 1935 Fred G. Bond 19711983
R. J. Harrison 1887 W. G. Crowder 1916 T. W. Addicks 1935 Harold D. Ritter 19831987
John Nugeer 1897 E. P. Bradshaw 1921 L. L. Raines 19371947 Koka E. Booth 19871999
E. C. Hayes 1900 W. H. Atkins 19211925 R. W. Mayton 19351937 Glen Lang 19992003
A.R. McGarrity 1902 G. H. Jordan 1925 Robert G. Setzer 19471949 Ernie McAlister 20032007
R. J. Harrison 1903 E. P. Bradshaw 1925 H. Waldo Rood 19491961 Harold Weinbrecht 2007present
H. B. Jordan 1903 Dr. F. R. Yarborough 19271928 Dr. W. H. Justice 19611962
N. C. Hines 1910 A. N. Jackson 19281929 James Hogarth 19621963
J. M. Templeton, Jr. 1912 H. H. Waddell 19291933 Dr. E. B. Davis 19631969
Green Hope High School
Based in Cary, the Wake County Public School System is the largest public school system in North Carolina.
Cary High School
Crossroads FLEX High School
Green Hope High School
Green Level High School
Middle Creek High School
Panther Creek High School
Davis Drive Middle School
East Cary Middle School
Mills Park Middle School
Reedy Creek Middle School
West Cary Middle School
Alston Ridge Middle School
Adams Elementary School
Alston Ridge Elementary School
Briarcliff Elementary School
Carpenter Elementary School
Cary Elementary School
Davis Drive Elementary School
Farmington Woods Elementary School
Green Hope Elementary School
Highcroft Drive Elementary School
Hortons Creek Elementary
Kingswood Elementary School
Mills Park Elementary School
Northwoods Elementary School
Oak Grove Elementary School
Penny Road Elementary School
Reedy Creek Elementary School
Turner Creek Elementary School
Weatherstone Elementary School
Cardinal Charter Academy, K8th grade
Cary Academy, 612 grade
Cary Christian School, K12 grade
Chesterbrook Academy, K5 grade
Grace Christian School, K12 grade
Hopewell Academy, 612 grade
Landmark Christian Academy, K12 grade
Resurrection Lutheran School, K8th grade
Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic School, PK8 grade
Wake Technical Community College
Public transit within the town is provided by GoCary, with six fixed-routes. There is a door-to-door service for the senior citizens (60+) and riders with disabilities. GoTriangle operates fixed-route buses that serve the metropolitan region and connect to the local municipal transit systems in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.
Amtrak's Silver Star, Carolinian and Piedmont passenger trains stop at the Cary Amtrak station. They offer service to Charlotte, New York City, Miami, and intermediate points.
In 2010 the League of American Bicyclists designated Cary as one of the fourteen recipients of the first Bicycle-Friendly Community awards for "providing safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists and encouraging residents to bike for transportation and recreation".
The Maine-to-Florida U.S. Bicycle Route 1 passes through suburban Cary, as does N.C. Bicycle Route #2, the "Mountains to Sea" route.
Cary Greenways and Trails maintains a network of sidewalks and paved trails connecting neighborhoods and parks throughout the town. These greenways place strict requirements on environmental conditions to preserve a park-like atmosphere. In addition, standard sidewalks and paths exist throughout the town.
The Raleigh-Durham International Airport, north of Cary via Interstate 40 between Cary, Raleigh and Durham, serves Cary and the greater Research Triangle metropolitan region. Raleigh-Durham offers more than 35 destinations, serving approximately 9 million passengers per year.
Freeways and primary routes
Main article: North Carolina Highway System
Downtown Cary, on Chatham Street
State Highway 54
State Highway 55
State Highway 147
State Highway 540
State Highway 751
Kildaire Farm Road
Walnut Street (which appears on some maps as Cary-Macedonia Road)
High House Road
Maynard Road Loop
Davis Drive (links to Research Triangle Park)
Holly Springs Road
Main category: People from Cary, North Carolina
Jesse Boulerice, former NHL player
Marshall Brain, founder of the HowStuffWorks website
Carter Cruise, pornographic actress
Casey Cole, American Franciscan friar, Catholic priest, writer, and blogger
H?ctor Cotto, Olympic track and field athlete representing Puerto Rico
Ryan Danford, Halo player known by the handle Saiyan
Anoop Desai, singer-songwriter best known for his time as a contestant on the eighth season of American Idol
Spright Dowell, former President of Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now known as Auburn University
Tim Downs, American author
Chris Flemmings, professional basketball player
Kendall Fletcher, professional women's soccer player
James Goodnight, co-founder and CEO of SAS Institute
Ron Hendren, former co-host of Entertainment Tonight
Justin Jedlica, model and businessman
Alfred Daniel Jones, US Consul General in Shanghai (1893), lived in Cary
Isaiah Johnson, NFL defensive back
U. Alexis Johnson, United States diplomat
Scott Kooistra, NFL offensive tackle
Nathan Macias, former member of the Texas House of Representatives; lived in Cary while in the United States Air Force
Luke Maye, professional basketball player
Walter Hines Page, former United States ambassador to the United Kingdom
Max Povse, professional baseball pitcher
Bevin Prince, actress from One Tree Hill
Morgan Reid, professional women's soccer player
John Sall, co-founder of SAS Institute
Ryan Spaulding, professional soccer player
Azur? Stevens, WNBA player
Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games
Rysa Walker, award-winning author of the Chronos Files series
Aaron Ward, former NHL player
Jennifer Weiss, former Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly
Glen Wesley, former NHL player
Evan Rachel Wood, actress in Thirteen, True Blood, The Conspirator
Kay Yow, former head coach of the women's basketball team at North Carolina State University
Money Magazine Best Place to Live ranked Cary as #5 in the nation in 2006.
Cary has four sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:
Markham, Ontario, Canada
County Meath, Ireland
Hsinchu City, Taiwan
Le Touquet, Pas-de-Calais, France
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