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 estimated population in 2019 was 311,848.
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 71.22 cents.
Source: AccessNC

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

Cannabis vs. HIV: UNC researcher lands $4M grant to explore possibility

July 11, 2021
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the NIH, is funding the Browne lab in the UNC HIV Cure Center for a study on the effects of cannabis use on the reservoir of HIV that is dormant within patients but becomes activated and spreads when antiretroviral medications are ceased. This phenomenon is called HIV latency, and it’s considered the main barrier to eradicating the virus that causes AIDS.

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.