Why is it called The Triangle?

People hear the “Triangle” all the time and often refer to our home as “The Triangle”. But Why?

We’ll give you the inside track on all of this so you don’t seem like a newbie.

Raleigh-Durham doesn’t exist! Raleigh-Durham is the name of our Airport. It is common to hear news broadcasters on national news say “Raleigh-Durham” to refer to the collection of cities that make up our region but natives just roll their eyes. People call all the time saying they are moving to “Raleigh-Durham” but that could include any of over a dozen cities and towns that make up the Triangle area. It has become such a joke you’ll even hear it on ads targeted to our metro community from companies like AT&T. “It isn’t called Raleigh-Durham.”

What Towns Make Up The Triangle?

Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are 3 distinct cities that form the points of an oddly shaped Triangle.

Way back in the 1960’s the Research Triangle Park was formed as an economic park that was focused on science and technology. Home to companies like IBM, Glaxo, Cisco, and many other large firms it created an explosion of growth in the area.

Additionally, each city in the Triangle is home to at least one well-known University. Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State to name just a few. Others include Shaw University, North Carolina Central University, Meredith College, St. Augustine’s College, William Peace University, Campbell University, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and multiple community colleges.

Close Together but Independent

Each city in the Triangle is an independent town.  Smaller towns around the 3 major cities also gather national attention. These include Carrboro, Cary, Hillsborough, Morrisville, Apex, Garner, Pittsboro. Many other smaller towns are bumped up to each city thanks to our explosive growth.

The 3 Major Cities are roughly 30 minutes apart and connected by I-40 and I-540 to allow for easier commuting. The Research Triangle Park and the RDU Airport are wedged in between the 3 major cities.

Explosive Growth Over Time

As time has gone on and growth has exploded the smaller cities have grown and are still in a highly rapid phase of development. The “Triangle” now includes more than 5 of NC’s 100 counties. They aren’t inside the triangle shape but everyone considers them part of the area because there is very little undeveloped space between them.

What Do We Include in The Triangle?

A matter of endless discussion but we can try and put a list together if we must.

  • Chapel Hill and Carrboro (they literally touch)
  • Hillsborough
  • Durham (and Durham County which is Completely Absorbed by the City of Durham)
  • Pittsboro (Close to Chapel Hill)
  • Clayton (Outside of Raleigh)
  • Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina, Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell, Zebulon

How Big Are We Talking?

As of 2017, the Population of the Entire Triangle is Approximately 2.3 Million People. More people move here every week. It would not be surprising for the Triangle to reach 3 Million residents by 2026.