Professor Sherry Jarrell Offers Perspective on Winston-Salem Population Ranking

11.23.2010 Article, Faculty News, General

Reposted from WGHP-TV (

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Durham has passed Winston-Salem to become the fourth most populous city in North Carolina, according to the latest estimates by Buffalo Business First.

According to the report, Durham had 237,214 residents as of Nov. 22, while Winston-Salem had a population of 234,268. A year ago, Winston-Salem had 229,828 residents, compared to 229,171 in Durham.

Raleigh remains firmly entrenched as the second biggest city in North Carolina. With a population of 426,708, Raleigh ranks comfortably ahead of Greensboro (260,927) but well behind Charlotte (729,781).

Wake Forest University economist Dr. Sherry Jarrell says while she doubts the newspapers numbers are totally accurate, it's the headlines that matter especially when you're trying to attract new businesses.

"The real concern for surveys like that is a community failing is it drying up and everybody leaving and on our last leg and that's clearly not the case. Clearly, Winston-Salem is a vibrant community."

Jarrell says recent announcements like Caterpillar's new plan and expansions for Pepsi and the Piedmont Triad Research Park are proof Winston-Walem is still growing.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines argues the numbers that matter come from the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Those actual numbers matter because the federal government makes allocations of federal programs based on population the state also does those allocations on population," he said.

The Queen City ranks No. 18 nationally, Raleigh is 43rd, Greensboro is 72nd, Durham is 84th and Winston-Salem is 85th.

Raleigh moved up one spot, passing Cleveland, Ohio, which slipped to No. 44.