Onslow County sees 2.8% population growth rate

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – New population numbers from the US Census Bureau show one county here in the east has had an influx of residents over the years.

Data from U.S. Census estimates show Onslow County is still the 13th most populous county in the state. In 2020, Onslow County had a population of 204,576 according to a census. Now the latest numbers from 2023 show 213,676 residents.

That’s an increase that Keller Williams Crystal Coast real estate broker Amanda Turner said she expected.

“It’s not surprising to me,” Turner said. “We have seen so much growth in the eastern Carolina market and we’ve had so many people coming from different areas of the country that move here.”

Other North Carolina counties grew over the years. Pitt County had an increase of 4,877 people, while Craven County gained 1,669 more residents.

Some eastern counties weren’t as fortunate and saw a drop in population, including Bertie County which lost 1,930 residents. Jacksonville Transportation Service director Anthony Prinz said there are many reasons people choose Onslow County.

“They have good jobs,” Prinz said. “They have affordable housing, and they have things to do when they get here. So that’s all about quality of life.”

Turner said the increase in people has led to more demands for homes, despite interest rates, with February being her company’s largest month.

“It’s more affordable to live here compared to the neighboring counties and you still have the benefits of living close to the coast, the beaches, and all the attractions we have in the area,” Turner said.

Since he works with the State DOT and Federal Highway Administration, Prinz said he wants to better ensure safety on the roads for new residents in Onslow County.

“It is a good place to come and move work, live, play, or retire,” Prinz said.

North Carolina as a whole has seen growth across the state. New data shows it’s grown by 3.7% since 2020 to an estimated population of 10.8 million people. The estimates from the U.S. Census are formed from reports of deaths, births, and migration in and out of the county.