Transportation Affordability in North Carolina’s Research Triangle

We begin our analysis of transportation affordability by examining the Triangle metro area.  Like many metros in North Carolina, the Triangle is very sprawling.  A recent report ranked Raleigh-Cary as the 67th most sprawling metro (out of 221 analyzed), while Durham-Chapel Hill placed 31st.*  Both have little mixing between residential areas and job centers – meaning that residents have to drive longer distances to employment.  This, in turn, drives up transportation costs for residents.


Click the map above to go to an interactive version.

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Transportation Affordability in North Carolina’s Cities

In our next series of posts, we’ll shift our attention to a major cost faced by low-income households: transportation.  Transportation is most families’ second-greatest expense (after housing); on average, Americans spend nearly 14% of their income on it.  However, the average poor family spends nearly 23% of their income on transportation, but despite paying more their transportation is often less reliable.

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North Carolina Primary Elections: Comparing our Projections to Results

In a recent post, we used demographic data and prior election results from Virginia and South Carolina to predict North Carolina’s primary election. Like most predictions, we got some right, and some very wrong. In this post, we review why we were right on some things and wrong on others. In doing so, we hope to show how election trends—including Trump’s and Clinton’s consistent areas of strength, and how establishment Republican support for Cruz—played out in North Carolina.


Ted Cruz exceeded our predictions in the Triangle and in eastern North Carolina.

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Income Mixing and Inequality in North Carolina’s Triad

North Carolina’s Triad region—including the cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point—is the third-largest metro area in the state. Compared to the Triangle and Charlotte, however, the Triad hasn’t experienced such rapid population growth, and its population is less wealthy. Despite this, one-quarter of the Triad’s residents pay a disproportionate share of their income toward housing, and affordable housing has been an important election topic in Greensboro.

Triad map

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Charlotte Income Mixing and Inequality

As the largest city in North Carolina, the Charlotte metro area stretches across 13 counties in two states. As the metro’s population has grown substantially over the past few decades, so have affordable housing pressures: HUD estimates that Charlotte needs 34,000 affordable housing units to meet demand, and over 32,000 households recently applied for the Charlotte Housing Authority’s Section 8 program.

Charlotte income mixing & inequality

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Projecting North Carolina’s Primary Results

Today, North Carolina will hold its Democratic and Republican primary elections.  Unlike other states voting today—like Florida and Ohio—North Carolina is not a “winner-take-all” state, and will award its delegates proportionately among candidates.  Polls show Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with strong leads in the Tar Heel state.  Using demographics to project the election, we also find that Trump and Clinton will be the top vote-getters in the North Carolina primary.

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