A Rich History with a Versatile Future

Durham has successfully transformed its business and economic landscape from one based upon tobacco and textile products to a modern, cutting-edge economy. GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, and Cree are just some of the forward-thinking companies that have headquarters in Durham.

Durham County Data

Durham County's population in the 2020 census was 324,833.
Durham County's estimated median age in 2018 was 35.
The average commute for workers is 22.9 minutes.
67.1% of residents also work in Durham County.
The estimated median family income in 2019 was $81,263.
The property tax rate per $100 value is 72.22 cents.
Source: Census (2020, ACS 2015-19).

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Home to Duke University, one of the nation’s top-ranked colleges, and North Carolina Central University, one of the top-rated Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Aerial view of Duke University.
Science students looking at microscopic image on computer.
  • More than 40% of the state's biotechnology companies are located in Durham
  • Life science and healthcare-related industries employ nearly 30% of workers in the county
  • Duke Hospital and Duke Regional Hospital, two of the top four hospitals in NC, are located here
  • Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) is the fourth most successful performing arts center in the US and 6th globally (Source: Pollster Magazine)
  • A reputation as the Foodiest City in the South thanks to Southern Living, Bon Appetit, and the New York Post
Sunny day in downtown Durham with residents and visitors visiting food and craft stands lining the streets.

County Spotlights

American Underground

The American Underground launched in 2010 on the historic American Tobacco Campus. Today, it supports 275+ startups across four locations and has been dubbed the “Startup Capital of the South” by CNBC. Inspired by Durham, North Carolina’s century-old entrepreneurial legacy, American Underground is building the counter-story to Silicon Valley– a diverse startup scene rich in innovative ideas and deep city engagement. As one of twelve Google for Startups tech hubs in North America, AU offers its startups a global network of thinkers and resources.

View of Durham Performing Arts Center from the balcony.

Unique Developments and Contributions

Downtown Durham has soared in popularity as a hub for start-ups, with over 50 companies employing 500 people currently occupying the Central Business District. Mostly in the software and IT sectors, they richly complement larger technology companies already established. And a 2,800-seat performing arts center greatly expanded the city’s growing cultural arts offerings to include touring Broadway productions and live performances.

Learn more about Durham’s forward-thinking progress.

Infrastructure and Support

4 scientists working together in a medical lab.

The county has three major hospitals including the nationally ranked Duke University Medical Center. It is also a leading center of agriculture biotechnology in the US, with BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta, and Monsanto all having significant research centers in the community.

Learn even more about the available support systems and infrastructure in Durham County.

Durham County News

Novo Nordisk strikes potential $2B-plus gene editing deal with Durham’s Life Edit

June 1, 2023
Gene editing from a Durham-based firm that will target possible new therapeutics has led to a deal with international drug firm Novo Nordisk worth a potential $2 billion if not more. Life Edit, which is owned by Boston based ElevateBio, and Novo Nordisk, which has a big presence in the Triangle, announced the deal Wednesday. […]

Durham company grows human blood vessels, sends them to wounded Ukraine soldiers

June 1, 2023
A Durham company is saving lives in Ukraine in an unusual way. They’re producing blood vessels – in a lab – that are helping trauma patients in war zone hospitals. From the outside, the Humacyte building blends right in at Research Triangle Park. Inside, however, what they’re doing is unlike anything else you’ll find in the world. […]

CRISPR salads – greens made tastier by gene editing – head to market from Durham startup

May 16, 2023
A Durham startup pioneering the use of gene editing technology known as CRISPR is shipping its first products to market in what also is a first for the emerging CRISPR industry. Pairwise announced Tuesday that its “Conscious Greens” are shipping to restaurants in partnership with the Performance Food Group, which operates in the U.S. and Canada […]

Connect with Durham County

Interested in learning more about Durham County? Get in touch with their economic development team.

Our Counties

Get to know the counties that make up the Research Triangle Region.