The Wilmington MSA (New Hanover and Pender Counties) had an estimated 1.99 percent growth rate between July 2012 and July 2013 – adding 5,248 residents to the metro, according to figures the U.S. Census Bureau released on Thursday, March 27. The one-year growth in population estimates was second to Raleigh’s population growth rate of 2.19 percent, and followed by the Charlotte and Durham-Chapel Hill and metros at 1.76 percent and 1.74 percent. The MSA population estimate for 2013 was 268,601 for New Hanover and Pender Counties.
The Wilmington MSA would have ranked first in the state if the Department of Management and Budget had not moved Brunswick County to the Myrtle Beach, SC MSA in 2013. Brunswick had been part of the Wilmington MSA for ten years and accounted for losing more than 110,000 from the population count.