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A Spatial Analysis of Urban Population Distribution in Raleigh, North Carolina Chittaranjan Pathak Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur Raleigh is the easternmost city of the so-called "Piedmont Crescent," a string of small- to medium-size cities along a semi-circular course extending westward from Raleigh through Greensboro, Charlotte, and into South Carolina. These cities, interconnected by railroads and by state, interstate and federal highways, are spreading along the transportation lines—as well as laterally—with a tendency to form a continuous chain of urban development (Fig. 1). Another distinctive feature of the Crescent is the absence of one dominant metropolis. Among the North Carolina cities involved, the largest was Charlotte with a 1960 population of 201,564, followed by Greensboro with 119,574, Winston-Salem with 111,134, and Raleigh with 93,931. Within this Crescent context, Raleigh has experienced a distinct growth pattern. It is the capital of North Carolina and the seat of Wake County. This political-administrative function brought Raleigh economic stability and, originally, a slow but steady growth in population and physical size. The distribution of population in Raleigh was simple and compact prior to this century, with a much smaller area size and a lower population. Even until very recently population density changes in the city have not been marked, and low density has been a Raleigh characteristic. The rapid rate of growth of Raleigh has occurred mostly in the twentieth century, particularly since the 1930's. In the period 1930-1960, Raleigh increased in population by 151 per cent, in area by 376 per cent, and in employment by 134 per cent. As a matter of fact, city growth in the 1950's exceeded that of any previous decade in the city's history. The population of Raleigh increased to 93,931 in 1960 with a city area of 33.646 square miles, which more than doubled the 1940 population and tripled the city area. The post-war population influx swelled the city population and was accompanied by rapid growth in city size and urban functions . Until 1920, the city shape was a perfect square of four square miles in area; since then, the city has grown axially mostly to the north and west to the present size with a wedge-like city shape. (1) While government and professional activities—the two basic urban functions of Raleigh—continued to set the pace for city growth and remained dominant through the present day, several other functions also grew notably. Raleigh became an important financial center in the state. Retail trade increased fivefold in the 1950's, and wholesale business made it the leading distribution center in the eastern part of the state. Although manufacturing had only 9.3 per cent of total employment in 1960, it increased by 74 per ___. RESEARCH TRIANGLE AREA WINSTON-SALEM ; ^. ^~ ? Burlington: DURHAM GREENSBORO HIGH ALEIGH"^. Concord/NORTH CAROLINA PIEDMONT CRESCENT HARLOTTE RALEIGH 40 mi INDEX MAP C/3 Q O W 1 Figure 1. Raleigh's location in North Carolina Piedmont Crescent. Vol. IV, 196443 cent in employment, and even more in the value added by manufacture during the 1950's. These changing and growing urban functions made Raleigh more multi-functional than any other city of North Carolina. (2) This rapid city growth and many other socio-economic factors have complicated the population structure of Raleigh and have altered its distribution . The main purpose of this study is to measure quantitatively the present day spatial distribution of urban population in Raleigh and to measure the extent to which its population structure has been changed due to rapid city growth. PATTERN OF POPULATION DISTRIBUTION. Until 1960 more people lived outside than inside the central city in Wake County. This was also true for Raleigh Township until 1930. (3) By 1940, Raleigh Township had about 50 per cent of the county population. During the decade 1940-1950, an increase in population was noted in Wake County townships having central towns, with maximum increase in Raleigh Township. The central city as well as other towns of Wake County gained in population both numerically and in percentage share of county total at the expense of agricultural townships with no important towns...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1549-6929
Print ISSN
0038-366X
Pages
pp. 41-50
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
No
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