Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Toward 2050 in North Carolina: A Roundtable Report on the Changing Face of the Tar Heel State
Press Release

RELEASE: Toward 2050 in North Carolina: A Roundtable Report on the Changing Face of the Tar Heel State

Washington, D.C. – Today, Progress 2050- a project of the Center for American Progress- and PolicyLink- a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity -released a report showing what implications the changing demographics of North Carolina have on future public policy matters in the state. These two organizations have partnered to hold a series of 2050 roundtables in communities that have already experienced aspects of this demographic shift. The roundtables are meant to help learn from the experiences of these bellwether communities about what the rest of the country may have in store and what policy shifts are needed to ensure that our nation embraces its diverse future.

North Carolina is undergoing a massive population shift. Over the past 10 years, the state’s white population has increased by 12.5 percent, while the state’s African American population has increased by 17.9 percent, and the state’s Hispanic population has increased by a substantial 111 percent. During this same time the state’s population has aged at a rapid pace, resulting in significant changes to both household and workforce composition. Additionally, North Carolina’s young population—which will increasingly determine the state’s housing markets and development patterns, as well as the strength of the workforce—now predominantly comprises youth of color.

The number one question that roundtable participants discussed in North Carolina concerned what investments and strategies must be immediately put in place to ensure that this growing youth population is prepared to become the state’s future leaders, workers, voters, and homebuyers.

The report gives some demographic context about the state of North Carolina and the Raleigh region in particular and then moves on to discuss the three prominent themes that roundtable participants raised from the region’s experience in turning challenges into opportunities generated by the state’s increasing levels of diversity:

  • Addressing the intertwined challenges of employment and education, or what we term edunomics
  • Fighting intercommunal division through coalitions
  • Preparing for the state’s future by investing in intergenerational leadership

Overall, the report makes the case that it is in everyone’s best interests to fully embrace this demographic change, understanding why it is indeed a true opportunity for the entire country.

To read the full report, click here.

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To speak to CAP experts on this topic, please contact Laura Pereyra at lpereyra@americanprogress.org or at 202.741.6258.

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