View all infographics

North Carolina consistently ranks as one of the states in the country with the most urban and suburban sprawl in government and academic studies. The rate of growth and development in North Carolina, particularly in recent decades, has out-paced most other states. Residential developments, big box retail stores and the easy mobility provided by the automobile are at the center of the issue.


This project provides unbiased, un-politicized, easy to understand information about urbanization and development in North Carolina since the 1940s. Population growth, land use and an over-reliance on the automobile define the degree of urban and suburban sprawl. Bringing together statistics from the past and expected trends in the future, the infographics contained within this site offer a unique look at the state of urbanization in North Carolina.


The information used to create the infographics in this website came from government reports like the Census, Federal Highway Administration 'Highway Statistics' or the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management. Additional information came from Rutgers University and the nonprofit, Environment North Carolina.


North Carolina is nicknamed the Tar Heel state. And 'Footprint' refers to the amount of space society occupies through continued development and daily life.