Below are responses to frequently asked questions about Durham. Visit the Durham Overview & Facts page to find general information about Durham such as population, geographic area, climate, and more.
What size is Durham?
Durham County is the 17th-smallest land unit in North Carolina at 286 square miles in area, but it contains the fourth-largest city in the state. Durham is 16 miles across, 25 miles long, and 28 miles from corner to corner. The county population is 288,133, with 245,475 living inside the city limits.
Where is Durham located in North Carolina?
Durham is located 23 miles from the Virginia border in the northeast corner of North Carolina's central Piedmont, a geographic foothills region lying between the mountains and the area where the elevation drops off to Raleigh and the coastal plain. Durham is located 140 miles from the Appalachian highlands and 130 miles from the Atlantic coast, midway between Miami and Chicago and midway between and Atlanta and Philadelphia.
When was Durham founded?
Durham was recognized in 1823 when it first was given a post office. Many date the community to 1853 when Dr. Bartlett Durham provided land for a railroad station here. Like most communities in the South, Durham was officially reincorporated in 1869 after the Civil War.
What is the makeup of Durham's population?
Durham is the most ethnically diverse of the major communities in the state, with roughly a 50/50 split between white residents and residents who are African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, or other people of color. Durham County has a population that is 38.7% African American, 13.5% Hispanic/Latino, 4.8% Asian, and 1.0% Native American. The City of Durham has a greater makeup of minority groups than any of the five largest cities in North Carolina.
Is it easy to get around in Durham?
The community is very compact. While Durham is North Carolina's fourth-largest city, the county is the state's 17th-smallest land unit. Research Triangle Park is only four miles from Duke University and just two miles from Downtown Durham. Durham is served by taxi, rental car, and intracity public transit services. (One caution: Roads in the Southeast are rarely on a grid system, so a Durham map is a must.)
What are the leading industries in Durham?
Durham is known as the City of Medicine because almost one in four Durham workers is employed in health care or a health-related industry. In addition, Durham is home to many leading technology companies like IBM, Cree, and others located in Research Triangle Park. Those companies not only continue Durham's history of technology and innovation, but they also carry forward its manufacturing heritage, which began with tobacco and textiles in the 19th century and remains a key component of Durham's economy today.
Where and what is RTP?
The Research Triangle Park (RTP) is in Durham, midway between Chapel Hill and Raleigh. Research Triangle Park, N.C. 27709 is a Durham postal substation, but not a city: it is a private, nonprofit technology park for research-related businesses and organizations. The majority of the park exists in a special Durham County tax district in which owners and tenants do not pay city taxes. A small portion of the park extends into nearby Wake County near Morrisville. The name comes from RTP's proximity to and relationship with three major research universities: Duke University in Durham, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
What food specialty is in Durham?
Durham is increasingly recognized for its colony of nationally acclaimed chefs. There are dozens of restaurants that have earned national or regional acclaim. Many specialize in the adaptation and evolution of regional neo-American (Southern) cooking, but Asian, French, German, Jamaican, and Mediterranean styles are represented as well.
Durham is also home to several restaurants well-known for North Carolina barbecue. In Durham, you can get both the Eastern North Carolina style (with chopped pork and a clear sauce of vinegar, pepper, and salt) and the Western North Carolina style (with chopped or sliced pork with a red sauce that includes ketchup and sugar, along with the other ingredients). Find out more in the restaurants section.
What are the must sees in Durham?
Check out the must-sees page to find a list of all of Durham's most acclaimed and talked about features.