By Laura Quinn, Quinn Properties
Joe Stewart, Executive Director of the non-partisan North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation, spoke Tuesday evening to a full audience at the Cary Theatre hosted by ULI Triangle’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. His engaging and informative presentation spanned years of demographic trends of North Carolina. He highlighted the living, working, and voting behaviors of North Carolina residents as they have changed over the last few decades.
For example, the national rural-to-urban trend is alive and well in North Carolina. As young residents of small towns migrates to cities in search of jobs, these towns find themselves unable to repopulate. But, as Joe noted, North Carolina’s urban centers need these small towns, just as the small towns need the urban centers.
Joe also discussed voting behaviors and trends. Two interesting facts: the dramatic growth of “unaffiliated” voters, and the growth of Millennials and Hispanics in North Carolina. The explosion of “unaffiliated” voters—a block which tends towards issue-based voting—is reprioritizing party affiliation. This group today makes up roughly 30% of registered voters. Joe also spoke about the diversifying demographics of North Carolina. By 2050, data suggests 30% of North Carolina voters will be Hispanic. In addition, by 2036, over half of legislatures will be made up of Millennials. As these trends are unprecedented, their effects remain to be seen.