In the 2000 census, North Carolina ranked 11th in population in the nation. It had 8,049,313 people, an increase of 21.4 percent over the 1990 population of 6,628,637. In 2006 North Carolina’s population density was 70 persons per sq km (182 per sq mi). North Carolina is less urbanized than most other states. In 2000 only 60 percent of the state’s inhabitants were classified as urban dwellers.
In colonial days the English constituted the largest group of settlers. Scots-Irish, Highland Scots, Germans, and Welsh also arrived in the 18th century, many from the colony of Pennsylvania. Sometimes certain dialects and accents can be detected in the speech of more isolated rural North Carolinians, especially on the Outer Banks, where descendants of early English settlers remained spatially isolated for many decades.
North Carolina had about 100,000 black inhabitants in 1790, and by the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865) blacks accounted for one-third of the population. In 2000 blacks accounted for 21.6 percent of the state’s population. Whites comprised the largest share of the population, representing 72.1 percent of the people. Asians were 1.4 percent, Native Americans 1.2 percent, and those of mixed heritage or not reporting race were 3.6 percent. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders numbered 3,983. Hispanics, who may be of any race, were 4.7 percent of the people.
The largest cities in North Carolina are Charlotte (2006 population, 630,478), Raleigh (356,321), Greensboro (236,865), Durham (209,009), and Winston-Salem (196,990).
All are located in the industrial Piedmont region. Charlotte is the chief distribution center for the area. Raleigh, the state capital, has a modern legislative building designed by Edward Durell Stone. Greensboro is the site of much textile and tobacco manufacturing, and many insurance companies also have their home offices there. Tobaccoville, near Winston-Salem, has the world’s largest plant for manufacturing cigarettes. Asheville is the largest industrial city in the state outside the Piedmont. It is the central city of the mountain region and is an important resort and cultural center. "North Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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