What makes the CONNECT Beyond region so unique and special is the diversity of its geography. This area is made up of rural counties with small towns, suburban counties with regional cities and an urban hub – the City of Charlotte. Each of these different geography types has unique transportation challenges and needs. Through the CONNECT Our Future project and the Regional Transit Engagement Series, we gained a fundamental understanding of those unique challenges facing the different communities in our region by doing extensive stakeholder outreach and community engagement.

The CONNECT Beyond region covers:

2 States
12 Counties
5000 Square Miles
2.6 Million Residents
4 Metropolitan Planning Organizations
1 Rural Planning Organization
3 Councils of Government
17 Transit Providers
Numerous Private Operators
Non-profit Transportation Services

The project study area includes Anson County, Cabarrus County, Cleveland County, Gaston County, Iredell County, Lincoln County, Mecklenburg County, Rowan County, Stanly County and Union County in North Carolina, and the urbanized areas of Lancaster County and York County in South Carolina.

Area Map

Regional Growth

The CONNECT Beyond region is one of the fastest-growing large metropolitan areas in the United States. Between 2000 and 2010, the total population of the region increased by 26 percent, adding approximately 500,000 new residents to our region.

Between 2000 and 2018, the population of the CONNECT Beyond region increased from 1,926,831 residents to 2,662,091 residents, which is an increase of 735,260 residents or 38%. It is projected that by 2045, there will be approximately 4,067,534 residents living in our region, which is an increase of 53% from 2018 or 1,405,443 additional residents. In 2016, the Charlotte metropolitan area was also named the number one destination in the United States for millennials. Today, Charlotte is the nation’s 15th largest city.

Population Growth in the Greater Charlotte Region


1,926,831 Residents


2,431,584 Residents


2,662,091 Residents


4,067,534 Residents

Employment Growth

Our region had a strong economy and benefited from solid employment growth. Between 2000 and 2018, employment in the region grew by approximately 367,403 jobs, which is an annual growth rate of 3.8 percent. As our economy recovers, the positive employment trend is expected to continue with projections estimating that between 2018 and 2045 approximately 731,663 jobs will be created in the region, which is a 46% increase.

Employment Growth in the Greater Charlotte Region


1,216,393 Employed


1,339,528 Employed


1,583,796 Employed


2,315,459 Employed