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About Wake County, NC

Wake County, North Carolina is a warm and welcoming place to visit. Some come for the climate and the related recreation, some on business or for the history, and some for the exciting sports teams. Wake County has a daily income from tourism of $3.1 million.

Many are so attracted that they move here. Wake County is consistently rated as one of the best places to live and work in America. Employment is consistently high. The population of Wake county is 627,846 (in 2000). Wake County and North Carolina work hard and successfully to attract new commercial and industrial businesses and to expand and diversify the tax base, but Tourism alone contributes almost 22,000 Wake County jobs in the hospitality, retail, and other service sectors.

A 1959 State of North Carolina initiative established the now world renowned Research Triangle Park here.

Education is prized and the percentage of population with a bachelor's degree or higher is well above the average for the State of North Carolina. A few local institutions of higher learning are:

  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh
  • Meredith College
  • Wake Technical Community College
  • Durham Technical Community College
  • Vance-Granville Community College
  • Duke University
  • Shaw University

Not quite Piedmont uplands nor yet the coastal plain of North Carolina, the county edges are still rural with the traditional farmhouses and small community churches, schools, and stores still serve the family infrastructure of people who appreciate their family and their heritage. Local historical societies are well established and have worked to preserve and showcase this heritage. Subdivisions and shopping centers abound, of course and Wake County boasts a variety of museums and parks, shopping and restaurants.

Established in 1771, Wake County was named for London heiress Margaret Wake, wife of the Royal Governor of the British colony of North Carolina. In 1792, the City of Raleigh, which is located in the heart of Wake County, was named the State Capitol. Despite the severe economic blow of the Reconstruction after the Civil War, cotton and tobacco were still the base of the economy until after WWII and Federal government limits on cotton and tobacco production. Wake County stayed primarily rural until mechanization reduced the number of laborers needed for farming.

The Neuse River and the Cape Fear River drain the County, and provide varied recreation such as fishing, swimming, picnicking, hiking, and camping. The Wake County Parks and Recreation Department also provide many preserved historical sites and buildings. North Carolina Museum of Art, the Raleigh City Museum, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and the North Carolina Museum of History are favorite tourist spots in Wake County.