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Raleigh, N.C.

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Mayor: Nancy McFarlane (to Nov. 2015)

2010 census population (rank): 403,892 (43); Male: 195,143 (48.3%); Female: 208,749 (51.7%); White: 232,377 (57.5%); Black: 118,471 (29.3%); American Indian and Alaska Native: 1,963 (0.5%); Asian: 17,434 (4.3%); Other race: 22,942 (5.7%); Two or more races: 10,532 (2.6%); Hispanic/Latino: 45,868 (11.4%). 2010 percent population 18 and over: 76.9; 65 and over: 8.2; Median age: 31.9.

2014 population estimate (rank): 439,896 (42)

See additional census data

Land area: 142.9 sq mi. (370 sq km);

Alt.: 434 ft.

Avg. daily temp.: Jan., 50° F; July, 71° F

Churches: 868;

City-owned parks: 200;

Radio stations: AM, 28; FM, 33;

Television stations: 11

Civilian Labor Force (MSA) April 2015: 645,100,

Unemployed (April 2015): 27,400,

Percent (April 2015): 4.3;

Per capita personal income 2013: $30,470

Chamber of Commerce: Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, 800 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh is the capital and second largest city in North Carolina and the seat of Wake County. Raleigh lies in east-central North Carolina, where the hilly Piedmont region meets the flat coastal plain.

Named for Sir Walter Raleigh, the "Citie of Ralegh" was founded in 1587 on the north end of Roanoke Island, about 190 miles from present-day Raleigh. When John White returned from a provisioning trip to England four years later, the settlement had mysteriously disappeared and is known today as the "Lost Colony."

Modern Raleigh was founded in 1792 as North Carolina's capital city, the only state capital to have been purposefully planned and established as the seat of government. The city's founding fathers called Raleigh the "City of Oaks" and dedicated themselves to maintaining the area's green spaces.

Raleigh is the largest city in a combined statistical area comprised of Raleigh-Durham-Cary and is one point of the area known as the Research Triangle Region, named after a park created in 1959 by leaders from business and academia. Home to the North Carolina State University as well as six other colleges and universities, Raleigh participates fully in the region's high-technology research, development, and manufacturing in such areas as the health sciences, pharmaceuticals, computers, optics, and many other for-profit and nonprofit enterprises.

Raleigh is home to one of the state’s three major league franchises, the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes—the 2006 Stanley Cup champions—as well as the North Carolina State Fair, N.C.'s largest annual event. Other attractions include The North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina Symphony, numerous live music venues, museums, and shopping centers.

In April 2011, a devastating F-3 tornado hit Raleigh, killing four.

See also Encyclopedia: Raleigh.

Selected famous natives natives and residents:

  • Clay Aiken singer, actor;
  • John Anthony Copeland, Jr. freed slave, abolitionist;
  • John E. Ivey, Jr.; co-creator of the Peace Corps;
  • Mary Robinette Kowal author;
  • Daniel McFadden, economist;
  • Leigh Torrence NFL athlete;
  • Kristi Yamaguchi Olympic figure skater.

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Profiles of the 50 Largest Cities of the United States
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