by John Egan
April 11, 2017
The decades-old pedestrian bridge and iconic water tower in Waxhaw, NC, lend a small-town feel to a Charlotte suburb that’s not so small anymore.
From 2010 to 2015, the population of Waxhaw jumped by nearly 37 percent -- making it the fastest-growing suburb in the Charlotte metro area. That’s according to a LawnStarter study of U.S. Census Bureau figures. During that period, Waxhaw added more than 3,600 residents, bringing the total headcount to nearly 13,500 in 2015.
Here are the six fastest-growing Charlotte suburbs:
Waxhaw, NC, 2010-15 growth rate of 36.9 percent
Tega Cay, SC, 24.5 percent
Fort Mill, SC, 20.8 percent
Cornelius, NC, 12.9 percent
Matthews, NC, 12.8 percent
Pineville, NC, 12.7 percent
(For a complete list of population growth in the Charlotte suburbs for which Census Bureau data was available, see the graphic at the end of this article.)
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So, what’s drawing people to the fastest-growing suburb on our list? Waxhaw Mayor Steve Maher cites the array of family-friendly activities, the presence of top-rated schools, the close proximity to farm-fresh foods and the strong sense of community. He describes Waxhaw as “friendly, vibrant and welcoming.”
“Waxhaw is one of Union County’s oldest towns, steeped in history and grounded in community. Our historic downtown is the centerpiece of our town, and it connects our past to our present,” Maher says.
If the future is like the past and present, Waxhaw should continue to experience a growth spurt. From 2015 to 2016, the population of Union County, where Waxhaw is located, grew 1.9 percent, according to the Census Bureau. Among all North Carolina counties, Union ranked 12th for percentage growth during the one-year period.
“There is just something special about this place,” Maher says of Waxhaw.
Pat Kahle, president of the Union County Chamber of Commerce, says Waxhaw’s proximity to Charlotte is helping spur population growth. But it goes beyond that, she says. Other reasons she cites for Waxhaw’s popularity include diversity in housing choices, access to high-quality health care and low tax rates.
“Waxhaw is a warm, welcoming community with a unique combination of deep historic roots and modern innovation,” says Kahle, echoing the mayor’s comments. “There is such a sense of community among those who live there and a sincere desire for those who visit to feel welcome. It is the type of community where you enjoy spending time walking around downtown, visiting local shops, having dinner at a local eatery, sitting on a bench watching the train go by or attending a local event.”
She adds: “It is also the type of community where you'll find innovative entrepreneurs and artists paving the way in innovation.”
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