Report: North Carolina Habitat & Farm Loss Mostly Due to Population Growth

ARLINGTON, Va., March 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — North Carolina has lost more than 2.5 million acres of farmland and natural habitat to urban sprawl in recent decades, according to a new report from NumbersUSA. That’s an area the size of Wake, Mecklenburg, Guilford, Forsyth, Cumberland, Durham, and Buncombe Counties combined.

“Since 1982, North Carolina has lost more total acreage to sprawl than any state except Texas and Florida,” said Leon Kolankiewicz, an environmental planner and co-author of the report. “And 76% of that loss has resulted from the state adding 4.25 million new residents, nearly doubling from the early 1980s.”

North Carolina residents aren’t happy about all the growth and sprawl, according to a February 2024 survey of likely voters commissioned by NumbersUSA, the chief repository of sprawl and population research since 2000.

Roughly eight in 10 North Carolinians want their state’s population to “grow much more slowly” (50%) or “not at all” (31%). Huge majorities support reducing growth by mandating E-Verify to discourage illegal immigration (75%) and even reducing legal immigration (67%).

“North Carolinians don’t want a megalopolis stretching from Raleigh to Charlotte,” said Eric Ruark, Director of Research at NumbersUSA and a co-author of the report. “Lawmakers have a responsibility to craft policies that preserve wildlife and woodlands for the next generation.”

To schedule an interview with Leon Kolankiewicz or Eric Ruark, contact Emeline McClellan at
or (202) 970-9742.

About NumbersUSA

NumbersUSA supports a balanced immigration system that welcomes the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, is responsive to acute refugee crises, attracts those with extraordinary ability and talents, addresses temporary labor shortages, protects the most vulnerable, and is enforced. NumbersUSA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that believes better immigration policy is possible. Focused exclusively on immigration reform, NumbersUSA is America’s largest single-issue advocacy group with over 8 million grassroots members and supporters spread across every congressional district. Founded solely by Roy Beck in 1996 to promote civil debate on the immigration recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform — chaired by civil rights icon Barbara Jordan — NumbersUSA continues to advocate for sensible immigration policies that ensure Americans’ safety, promote economic fairness, while conserving the environment and quality of life.

Media Contact:
Emeline McClellan
(202) 970-9742