Locust, Oakboro biggest movers in latest Census results for the county

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

STANLY COUNTY — On Aug. 12, the U.S. Census Bureau released its 2020 population results, which demonstrate residential growth over the past decade for the majority of Stanly County.  

While the county itself grew 3.2%, to 62,504 residents, the western side saw the larger population increase, as Locust, Oakboro and Stanfield experienced the highest percentages of growth. Of the county’s 10 municipalities, only Norwood, Richfield and Misenheimer saw a decrease in numbers since the 2010 Census. 

With Locust seeing a 54.8% growth from 2,930 to 4,537 residents, the city is now ranked as the fourth-fastest-growing municipality in the Charlotte metro area, after Waxhaw, Harrisburg and Troutman. 

City of Locust administrator Cesar Correa told SCJ on Aug. 16 that while local officials were hoping that Locust would hit the 5,000-person threshold, in order to attract some new economic development opportunities, the latest Census report is still a testament to the city’s rapid expansion. 

“It wasn’t surprising that we saw such a jump from our 2010 population, because we’ve been permitting a number of housing units and there have been a number of subdivisions that have started and finished since 2010,” Correa said. “We’ve seen a lot of folks relocate to Locust so we knew the numbers were going to be good. Every year, we get the updates and estimates from the state demographer knowing they were pretty wrong.” 

As Stanly County’s closest outlet to Charlotte — a city that now ranks as the nation’s 16th largest, with a 19.6% growth since 2010 — Locust’s location makes it a prime spot for additional growth in the future.  

“Our vicinity makes it comfortable for people to have access to Charlotte amenities but come home to an environment that’s more peaceful and quiet,” Corea continued. “We spend a lot of time and effort giving our police department everything it needs, and I think that’s why people feel safe coming to raise their kids here.” 

Locust’s closest neighbors, Oakboro and Stanfield, saw residential percentage jumps of 14.5% and 6.7%, respectively; Oakboro grew from 1,859 to 2,128 residents while Stanfield grew from 1,486 to 1,589 residents.  

As the county’s seat and most populated city, Albemarle saw a 3.3% increase, from 15,903 to 16,432 residents. Meanwhile, Red Cross grew 2.7%, from 742 to 762 residents, Badin grew 2.5% from 1,974 to 2,024 residents, and New London grew 1.2% from 600 to 607 residents.  

Norwood — the largest Stanly municipality to see a dropoff in population — decreased .5, from 2,379 to 2,367 residents. Richfield saw a 5.1% decline, from 613 to 582 residents, while Misenheimer saw a 10.7% decline from 728 to 650 residents.  

On Sept. 30, the U.S. Census Bureau will re-release its population data with additional toolkits for public access ease of use.