Raleigh, North Carolina

From Academic Kids

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Downtown Raleigh Skyline

Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina, a state of the United States of America. It is the county seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as "The City of Oaks" for its many oak trees. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 276,093, making it the second most populous city in North Carolina, behind Charlotte. Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill make up the three cities of The Triangle, so named in 1959 with the creation of the Research Triangle Park, a research park between Durham and Raleigh.

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Raleigh was established in 1792 as both the new county seat and the new state capital. It was named for Sir Walter Raleigh, sponsor of the Colony of Roanoke, known as the "Lost Colony." The site was chosen as being within ten miles of Isaac Hunter's Tavern, a tavern popular with the legislators of the time. No city or town existed on the site before it was chosen to house the capital.

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Downtown Raleigh panorama, from 1909

The F4 tornado of November 28, 1988

On November 28, 1988, at about 1 am, a tornado with wind speeds exceeding 260 mph suddenly touched down west of Raleigh. The supercell thunderstorm that generated the tornado formed in an unusual situation; the early morning hours of late November were believed to not be conducive to the development of such storms. As a result, the National Weather Service issued no watches or warnings before the storm developed [1] (http://www2.ncsu.edu/eos/service/pams/meas/www/foamv/ERPWEB/erp30.html).

The tornado blasted a 84-mile long path, an unusually drawn out length for tornadoes in the region. The twister first touched down in a posh neighborhood, before moving on to destroy a motel and then a USD 7-million K-Mart store on Glenwood Avenue. Damage and casualties included 400-500 destroyed or heavily damaged homes and two fatalities; both of them children, and claimed two more additional victims. A series of tornadoes would continue across eight other North Carolinia counties. In all 150-200 people were injured, the majority in Raleigh. Image:North_carolina_state_map.jpg The intensity of the tornado gauged by speed rests around the F3-F4 dividing point on the Fujita scale, with some F4 level damage was observed in Raleigh.

Image provided by Classroom Clipart (http://classroomclipart.com)
Image provided by Classroom Clipart (http://classroomclipart.com)

Law and government

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The state capitol in Raleigh

Raleigh has operated under a council-manager government since 1947. The city council consists of eight members; all seats, including the mayor's, come up for election every two years. The current town council, elected in 2003, consists of Mayor Charles Meeker and 7 council members (5 district representatives and 2 at large).

City council

See also: List of mayors of Raleigh, North Carolina


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 299.3 km² (115.6 mi²). 296.8 km² (114.6 mi²) of it is land and 2.5 km² (1.0 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.84% water.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 276,093 people, 112,608 households, and 61,371 families residing in the city. The population density is 930.2/km² (2,409.2/mi²). There are 120,699 housing units at an average density of 406.7/km² (1,053.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 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. 6.99% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 112,608 households out of which 26.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.5% are married couples living together, 11.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 45.5% are non-families. 33.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 6.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 2.97.

In the city the population is 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 96.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $46,612, and the median income for a family is $60,003. Males have a median income of $39,248 versus $30,656 for females. The per capita income for the city is $25,113. 11.5% of the population and 7.1% of families are below 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 are living below the poverty line.


Institutes of higher education

Public education

Public education in Raleigh is serviced by the Wake County Public School System (http://www.wcpss.net/).



The NHL Carolina Hurricanes moved to Raleigh in 1999 with the completion of the RBC Center. The team played two years in Greensboro, North Carolina on an interim basis following their move from Hartford, Connecticut, where they were known as the Hartford Whalers. However, in Raleigh college sports are supreme, with NCAA Division I-A rivals the North Carolina State University Wolfpack, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tar Heels, and Duke University Blue Devils being the most prominent teams in the area.

The NC-DOT Mountains-to-Sea bike route goes through Raleigh, as does the US Maine-to-Florida bicycle route #1. The NC-DOT Cape Fear Run bicycle route connects Apex to Wilmington and closely parallels the RUSA 600km brevet route (http://www.unc.edu/~alanj/600_kilometers.htm).

The area also features a variety of amateur participatory sports as well, with softball, flag football, basketball, and even dodgeball leagues operated privately or by the municipality.


US-1 (known in parts of Raleigh as Capital Boulevard)
US-70 (known in parts of Raleigh as Glenwood Avenue)
US-401 (known in parts of Raleigh as Capital Boulevard)
  • Passenger Rail: Amtrak Carolinian, Piedmont and Silver Star offer daily service to Charlotte, Richmond, Washington DC and Miami
  • Local Bus: Within Raleigh, the CAT (http://www.raleigh-nc.org/transit/) system. The Triangle Transit Authority operates buses that serve the region and connect to municipal bus systems in Durham and Chapel Hill; this authority is planning a regional rail system to run through Durham, the RTP, Cary and Raleigh.
  • Bicycle: All public buses are equipped with bicycle racks. A small minority of roads are equipped with bicycle lanes.

Sister cities


  • Jarvis, C. (1988, November 29). Recovering from surprise tornadoes. United Press International
  • Thompson, M. S. (1988, November 29) Twisters Rip N. Carolina; 4 Killed, Scores Injured; First Storm Struck Area With No Warning. Washington Post, p. A3.
  • Jarvis, C. (1988, November 30). Tornado had winds up to 200 mph. United Press International

External links


Regions of North Carolina Flag of North Carolina
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