Raleigh (IPA: ['ɹa li], rälē or rah-lee) is the capital of the State of North Carolina and the county seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees, though pine trees are the dominant species. It has a population of approximately 367,995 (2007 estimate), making it the second most populous city in North Carolina, after Charlotte and the 51st largest city in the United States. Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill make up the three cities of The Triangle. This name comes from the 1959 creation of a research park Research Triangle Park, located mostly within Durham County. The Triangle is an urban region, equivalent to the U.S. Census Bureau's Combined Statistical Area of Raleigh-Durham-Cary. Its estimated total population as of 2006 was 1,565,223. The estimated Raleigh-Cary metropolitan statistical area population, as of 2006, is 994,551. While almost all of the city limits is located in Wake County, a few small portions of Raleigh are actually in Durham County as a result of annexation .
Raleigh was chosen as the site of a new state capital in 1788, and was officially established in 1792 as both the new county seat and the new state capital. It was named in November 1792 for Sir Walter Raleigh, sponsor of the Colony of Roanoke, which was also known as the "Lost Colony" (today, the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site).
The site was chosen for being within ten miles (16 km) of Isaac Hunter's Tavern, which was apparently popular with the legislators of the time. No city or town existed on the site before it was chosen to house the capital. Raleigh is one of the few cities in the U.S. planned and built specifically to serve as a state capital.
The North Carolina General Assembly first met in Raleigh in December 1794, and within one month, the legislature officially granted the city a charter, with a board of seven appointed commissioners (starting in 1803, elected by the people) and an "Intendant of Police" (what would later be called "Mayor") to govern it. John Haywood was the first Intendant of Police.
Despite being spared destruction in the Civil War, Raleigh grew very little from its original 1792 size until the introduction of streetcar lines in the 1920s, the establishment of the Research Triangle Park in the 1950s, and a freeway known as the Beltline (I-440/US-1/US-64) in the 1960s. IBM became an influential force in Raleigh in the 1960s, and greatly influenced the city's growth.
Raleigh is divided into at least five geographic areas, each of which use the Raleigh address and postcode, starting with 276.
Olde Raleigh ("Inside the Beltline") is home to many 20th-century neighborhoods, the City Market, Fayetteville Street Mall (re-opened as a thoroughfare in mid-2006), North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina State Capitol, Peace College, Raleigh City Museum, Raleigh Convention and Conference Center, Shaw University, and Saint Augustine's College. The neighborhoods in Old Raleigh include Cameron Park, Boylan Heights, Country Club Hills, Five Points, Glenwood, Brooklyn, Hayes Barton, Moore Square, Mordecai, Belvidere Park, Woodcrest and Oakwood.
East Raleigh is along Capital Boulevard near the I-440 beltline to New Hope Road. Most of East Raleigh's development is along established corridors such as US 1 (Capital Blvd), New Bern Ave, Poole Rd, Buffaloe Rd, and New Hope Rd. Enloe High School and Southeast Raleigh High School are both in this area. It is bordered to the east by the town of Knightdale.
West Raleigh is near Hillsborough Street and Western Boulevard. The area is bordered to the west by the town of Cary. It is home to the North Carolina State University campus, Meredith College, Pullen Park, and Cameron Village. Also in West Raleigh are Avent Ferry Road, Blue Ridge Road, Lake Johnson, the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh Little Theatre, Theatre in the Park, St. Mary's School, and Municipal Rose Garden.
North Raleigh is a large area containing many established neighborhoods along with many newly constructed sub-divisions. It begins North of the I-440 beltline. It is a suburban location with shopping areas (such as the renovated North Hills Mall). Neighborhoods and communities in North Raleigh include Bent Tree, Brookhaven, Crossgate, North Hills, North Ridge, Stonebridge, Stone Creek, Stonehenge, Wakefield and Wood Valley.
South Raleigh is along U.S. 401 South toward Fuquay-Varina and US 70 into Garner. This is the least developed and least dense area of Raleigh, and is home to the last gristmill in Wake County, Yates Mill. It is bordered to the west by Cary, to the east by Garner, and to the southwest by Holly Springs. Neighborhoods in South Raleigh include Lake Wheeler, Penny Road and Riverbrooke.
Raleigh's industries include electrical, medical, electronic, telecommunications equipment, clothing apparel, food processing, paper products, and pharmaceuticals. Raleigh is part of North Carolina's Research Triangle, a center of researching and textiles. The city is a major retail shipping point for eastern North Carolina and a wholesale distributing point for food stores.
The following companies are based in or operated in Raleigh:
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 276,093 people, 112,608 households, and 61,371 families residing in the city. The population density was 930.2/km² (2,409.2/mi²). There were 120,699 housing units at an average density of 406.7/km² (1,053.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 63.31% White, 27.80% African American, 0.36% Native American, 3.38% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.24% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.99% of the population. The Hispanic population continues to grow due to a large immigrant influx, both legal and illegal.
There were 112,608 households out of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.5% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.5% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.9% under the age of 18, 15.9% from 18 to 24, 36.6% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $46,612, and the median income for a family was $60,003. Males had a median income of $39,248 versus $30,656 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,113. 11.5% of the population and 7.1% of families were below the poverty line. Approximately one out of four (25.5%) Raleigh citizens are beneath 200% of the poverty line. Out of the total population, 13.8% of those under the age of 18 and 9.3% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.