About Cary

Image of businesses and Lake Crabtree

Our Community

Cary, North Carolina is located in western Wake County and eastern Chatham County as the heart of North Carolina’s renowned Research Triangle Region. Bound on the north and east by Raleigh, on the north and west by Research Triangle Park and Morrisville, on the south by Apex and Holly Springs, and on the west by the Jordan Lake area, Cary is one of the state's most progressive towns and the seventh largest municipality in North Carolina.

2010 Vital Statistics

Square Miles: 55.34
Street Miles: 657.30

Maintained by the Town: 448.64
Maintained by NCDOT: 118.06
Privately maintained: 90.60

Population: 137,483
Race and Ethnicity

Hispanic: 5%
African American: 6%
Asian: 12%
Caucasian: 77 %

Median Age: 37.1
Median family income: $112,695
Households with children under 18: 40.3%
Cary adults with a college degree: 64.6%
Number of Parks: 23
Total Park & Open Space Acreage: 2,400
Miles of Greenway: 53
Largest Employer: SAS Institute
No. of Town Employees: 1,150
Median Price of New Single Family House:

Median sales price: $263,000
Median list price: $378,000

Residents living in Cary five years or less: 40.9%
Residents living in Cary over 10 years: 32.8%


Today’s Cary began in the 1750’s as a settlement called Bradford's Ordinary. About 100 years later, the construction of the North Carolina Railroad between New Bern and Hillsborough placed Bradford's Ordinary on a major transportation route. Soon after, Allison Francis Page, a Wake County farmer and lumberman, bought 300 acres of land nearby and established a sawmill, general store, and post office. He called his development Cary after Samuel Fenton Cary, an Ohio prohibitionist, abolitionist, and Congressman whom Page admired. The Town of Cary – the community we serve today – was incorporated on April 6, 1871.

In 1868, Page built a hotel to serve railroad passengers coming through Cary. Page sold the hotel to J. R. Walker in 1884; meals and rooms were available to travelers until 1916. It later became a private residence but by the mid-1980’s had fallen into disrepair.

A group of concerned and dedicated citizens formed the Friends of the Page-Walker and spearheaded saving the historic structure. Following its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, the Friends partnered with the Town government to save the historic resource for use by all Cary citizens. Today, the Page-Walker Arts and History Center, located on Town Hall Campus, serves as a focus for arts and history activities as well as Town celebrations.

In the late 1800’s, a prestigious, private boarding school was started in Cary and later became the first public high school in North Carolina. The school was located on the site currently occupied by Old Cary Elementary School in the heart of downtown Cary. No longer used for education, the school was purchased by the Town and is being restored and renovated into a community arts space.

With the development of Research Triangle Park in the 1960s and its proximity to Raleigh, Durham, and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Cary experienced the beginning of the high-quality development that still characterizes the Town today. From about 1,000 residents, Cary grew dramatically during the first decade of the Research Triangle Park, adding nearly 6,000 new citizens by the early 1970’s. That number more than tripled to about 24,000 in the early 1980’s and doubled again in the 1990’s to more than 45,000. Cary broke the 100,000 mark in 2001.

Cary is home to the largest privately-held software company in the world – SAS – and has attracted other key, world-class businesses including Cotton Inc., John Deere, IBM, Siemens, American Airlines, Oxford University Press, Fidelity Investments, Deutsche Bank, and the Lord Corporation, to name just a few.