Axios Raleigh

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πŸ€™ Happy Friday, y'all.

⛅️ Weather: A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 3pm. High of 80Β°.

Today's Smart Brevityℒ️ count is 878 words β€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Triangle suburbs continue to boom

Change in population, 2020 to 2023
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Triangle has been the 10th fastest-growing region in the nation since 2020, as the area continues to be reshaped by a surge in people moving to Sunbelt communities.

Why it matters: Much of that growth is coming to the Triangle's booming suburbs and outlying counties, where rapid housing construction and job growth is transforming once-small towns like Apex and Holly Springs into some of the fastest-growing places in the country.

By the numbers: Since 2020, the Raleigh-Durham-Cary combined statistical area has grown 5.6% to 2.4 million people, the 10th fastest rate in the U.S.

  • Wake County has grown 5.3% since 2020, and is the state's largest county with 1.2 million residents.

But the Triangle's fastest-growing counties were its outer-lying ones.

  • Franklin County, located north of Wake, grew at the fastest clip, up 11.3% since 2020 to 77,000 residents.
  • Johnston saw its population grow 11.1% to 242,000.
  • And Chatham expanded 6.5% to 81,600.

Zoom out: North Carolina's population is growing most significantly along the coast, the mountains and in the Piedmont, home to most of its largest cities.

  • The fastest-growing county in the state continues to be Brunswick, home to towns like Ocean Island Beach and Oak Island. The county grew 15.8% to 160,000 people since 2020.

Yes, but: The rural northeastern part of the state has shed population, with Hertford County's population falling 9% to 19,450.

Change in population, 2020 to 2023
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Full story on how our region is changing

2. Here they come ...

Photo: Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images

North Carolina can expect a lot of insect company at picnics and playgrounds in the coming months, Axios' Katie Peralta Soloff writes.

Why it matters: The U.S. will experience a rare phenomenon this spring: Two broods of cicadas are expected to emerge from the ground simultaneously. Our state will likely see one of these broods starting in April or May.

Zoom out: Cicadas are harmless and beneficial to local environments, so they're not considered pests. But they sure are noisy.

  • That high-pitched buzz that's a classic summer sound? That's the male cicada's mating call.

What they're saying: "There've been estimates that where they do emerge, there can be up to a million per acre," Eric Benson, an entomologist at Clemson University, tells Axios. "It's going to be a lot of cicadas."

Yes, but: The Carolinas won't see and hear all of the trillions of cicadas expected to emerge around the U.S. in this year's double brood.

  • Brood XIX will emerge across several counties in North Carolina and across several other states, per the Wilmington Star News. They'll appear in Charlotte, plus western North Carolina and parts of the Triangle, too.
  • Brood XIII is expected in states across the Midwest at the same time.

Fun fact: Broods XIX and XIII haven't specifically co-emerged since 1803, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.

Keep reading: A few things to know about this year's big cicada event

3. The Tea: Biden's NC re-election campaign ramps up

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ€ NC State upset Duke 74-69 in the ACC tournament, while UNC rolled past Florida State and Wake Forest suffered a loss to Pitt that could be critical to their NCAA tournament chances.

  • Tonight, UNC will play Pitt at 7pm and NC State will play Virginia at 9:30pm

πŸ“Ί The Biden campaign is ramping up North Carolina staff as it rolls out a multimillion-dollar ad push in the state. (Axios)

πŸ—³οΈ Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has resigned from his position as national co-chair of the centrist group No Labels. (News & Observer πŸ”’)

🏨 A Homewood Suites and Tempo hotel under construction at 200 W. Davie St. in downtown Raleigh are expected to open this summer. (Triangle Business Journal πŸ”’)

Five missing teenagers were found after escaping from the Raleigh mental health and addiction facility Holly Hill Hospital. (WRAL)

🎀 Meghan Trainor will perform at Red Hat Amphitheater on Sept. 12. (Ticketmaster)

4. The price to pay for spring

The downside of this beautiful image? The allergies it portends. Photo: Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

It's not just you; Raleigh can be rough for those with seasonal allergies.

Why it matters: While spring brings some of the most beautiful weather and blossoms to the area, it can also be an incredibly challenging time for residents who suffer from asthma and allergies.

Driving the news: Raleigh is the ninth most challenging place to live with seasonal allergies in the country, according to an annual report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

  • The Southeast and the lower Midwest are the hot spots for a rough allergy season, according to the report, which looked at pollen levels, over-the-counter allergy medicine use and availability of allergists.
  • Raleigh, in particular, was dinged for a lack of allergy specialists working in the area.

5. Map du jour: Irish ancestry

☘️ Share of people reporting Irish ancestry
Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Axios Visuals

For the 40th year, the Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade will take over the streets of downtown Raleigh on Saturday to celebrate Irish heritage in the City of Oaks.

Zoom in: While North Carolina reports one of the lowest shares of Irish heritage in the country, more than 9% of Wake County residents have Irish heritage, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • Nationally, 9.5% of Americans report some Irish heritage.
  • In Orange and Chatham counties, more than 10% of the population reports some Irish lineage.
  • The county with the highest rate is Brunswick, where 14.5% of residents claim Irish heritage.

πŸ€ Zachery wants to thank the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament for delivering a spectacle once again.

This newsletter was edited by Katie Peralta Soloff and copy edited by Lucia Maher.