Apex, North Carolina

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The historic downtown district of Apex
The historic downtown district of Apex
Official seal of Apex
Peak City
"The Peak of Good Living"
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Apex is located in North Carolina
Apex is located in the United States
Apex is located in North America
Coordinates: 35°43′55″N 78°51′10″W / 35.73194°N 78.85278°W / 35.73194; -78.85278Coordinates: 35°43′55″N 78°51′10″W / 35.73194°N 78.85278°W / 35.73194; -78.85278
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • MayorJacques K. Gilbert (D)
 • Mayor Pro TemAudra Killingsworth
 • Town ManagerCatherine Crosby
 • Town AttorneyLaurie Hohe
 • Town21.60 sq mi (55.95 km2)
 • Land21.52 sq mi (55.73 km2)
 • Water0.09 sq mi (0.22 km2)
499 ft (152 m)
 • Town58,780
 • Density2,755.96/sq mi (1,064.10/km2)
 • Metro
Demonym(s)Apexian or Apexer
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
27502, 27523, 27539
Area codes919, 984
FIPS code37-01520[2]
GNIS feature ID1018834[3]

Apex (/ˈ.pɛks/) is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. Apex encompasses the community of Friendship at its southern border. In 1994, the downtown area was designated a historic district, and the Apex train depot, built in 1867, is designated a Wake County landmark. The depot location marks the highest point on the old Chatham Railroad, hence the town's name. The town motto is "The Peak of Good Living".

In the precolonial era, the town's area was inhabited by the Tuscarora tribe of Native Americans. In the late 19th century a small community developed around the railroad station. The forests were cleared for farmland, much of which was dedicated to tobacco farming. Since Apex was near the state capital, it became a trading center. The railroad shipped products such as lumber, tar, and tobacco. The town was officially incorporated in 1873. By 1900 the town had a population of 349. The 2019 Census estimate places the population at 59,300.

The population boom occurred primarily in the late 1990s. The Research Triangle Park, established in the 1960s, created strong demand for technology workers. Apex began appearing on Best Place to Live lists starting in 2007 and steadily climbed the charts until reaching the #1 spot in 2015. This also drove population growth.[4] Apex is currently the eighteenth largest municipality in North Carolina.


The town is a suburb of both Raleigh and RTP. It is situated to the southwest of Raleigh with direct highway access via US 1. Apex is south of RTP with direct highway access via NC 540. Apex crests the watersheds of both the Neuse and Cape Fear rivers.[4] Neighboring towns include Cary to the north and northeast, Holly Springs to the south, and Raleigh to the east and northeast.


Apex Union Depot, built in 1914.

The town of Apex was incorporated in 1873. According to the North Carolina History Project, the town was named for its location as the highest point on a portion of the Chatham Railroad which ultimately extends between Richmond, Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida.[5] According to a 1905 USGS publication on place names, the name refers to the highest point between Raleigh and the Deep River.[6]

Apex grew slowly through the succeeding decades, despite several devastating fires, including a June 12, 1911, conflagration, that destroyed most of the downtown business district.[7] The town center was rebuilt and stands to this day, now one of the most intact railroad towns in the state. At the heart of town stands the Apex Union Depot, originally a passenger station for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad and later home to the locally supported Apex Community Library. The depot now houses the Apex Chamber of Commerce.

Apex suffered mild setbacks during the Depression-era, but growth began again in earnest in the 1950s. The town's proximity to North Carolina's Research Triangle Park spurred additional residential development, yet the town managed to preserve its small-town character. During the 1990s, the town's population quadrupled to over 20,000, placing new demands upon Apex's infrastructure.

Apex has continued to grow in recent years. A sizable shopping center was built at the intersection of Highway 55 and US 64, and several new neighborhoods have been built as the town grows toward the west.[8]

In October 2006, a chemical explosion and fire in a waste processing facility prompted one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history.[9] There were few serious injuries, and residents were soon able to return home.[10][11] In 2009, a federal court approved a $7.85M settlement to compensate Apex residents affected by the disaster. Each household received $750. Businesses received $2,200.[12]

In August 2015, Time ranked Apex #1 on its list of the nation's top places to live.[13] In July 2018, Realtor.com ranked Apex the #1 Fastest Growing Suburb in America.[14]

In addition to the Apex Union Depot, the Apex City Hall, Apex Historic District, Calvin Wray Lawrence House, and Utley-Council House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[15]


Apex's Council-Manager form of government has a mayor and five council members (one of whom serves as Mayor pro tem) who are each elected at-large in staggered four-year terms. The town's attorney and manager serve at the pleasure of the council. All the other staff report to the town manager and manage the town's day-to-day business.

The town is led by Mayor Jacques K. Gilbert, elected in 2019. The council members, in order of tenure, are: Brett D. Gantt (2017), Audra M. Killingsworth (2017), Terry J. Mahaffey (2019), Cheryl F. Stallings (2019), and Ed Gray (2021).[16]

In the North Carolina House of Representatives, Apex is represented by Julie von Haefen (District 36), Erin Paré (District 37), and Gale Adcock (District 41). In the North Carolina Senate, Apex is represented by Sydney Batch (District 17). In the United States House of Representatives Apex is represented by Deborah Ross (NC-02) and David Price (NC-04).


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census[edit]

Apex racial composition[17]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 39,498 67.2%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 3,852 6.55%
Native American 99 0.17%
Asian 7,295 12.41%
Pacific Islander 16 0.03%
Other/Mixed 3,117 5.3%
Hispanic or Latino 4,903 8.34%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 58,780 people, 18,197 households, and 14,027 families residing in the town.

2010 census[edit]

  White alone (69%)
  Black alone (7%)
  Asian (12%)
  Other Race alone (3%)
  Two or more races (9%)

As of the census of 2010, there were 37,476 people, 13,225 households, and 9,959 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,437.9 people per square mile. There were 13,922 housing units at an average density of 905.8 per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 69% White, 7% African American, 12% Asian, 3% from other races, and 9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8% of the population.[18]

There were 18,197 total households in Apex in 2019. Of these, 14,027 (77%) were family households, out of which 46% had children under the age of 18 living with them. 63% of the family households were married couples living together, and 11% had a female householder with no husband present. There were 4,170 nonfamily households in Apex, comprising 23% of total households. The average household size was 3.12 and the average family size was 2.81.[19]

In 2019 the Census Bureau estimated the town population's ages as 31% under the age of 20, 15% from 20 to 34, 36% from 35 to 54, and 14% from 55 to 74, and 3% of age 75 or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 96 males.[20]

The median income (in 2019 dollars) for a household in the town was $111,435. (2019 estimate[21]). The per capita income for the town was $51,370.[22]

About 1.5% are below the poverty threshold (2019 estimate[23]).


Top employers[edit]

According to the 2020 Comprehensive Financial Report for Apex, these were the town's top employers:[24]

# Employer # of employees
1 Wake County Public Schools 1,779
2 Town of Apex 506
3 Dell 500
4 Apex Tool Group 425
5 Bland Landscaping 325
6 Costco 290
7 ATI Industrial Automation 275
8 Super Target 250
9 Walmart 243
10 Lowe's Home Improvement 220


Apex's public schools are operated by the Wake County Public School System.

There are over 4,000 students enrolled in two public high schools in Apex:[25]

Public middle schools include:

  • Apex Friendship Middle School
  • Apex Middle School
  • Lufkin Road Middle School
  • Salem Middle School

Public elementary schools include:

  • Apex Elementary School
  • A.V. Baucom Elementary
  • Laurel Park Elementary
  • Olive Chapel Elementary
  • Salem Elementary School
  • Scotts Ridge Elementary School
  • West Lake Elementary School
  • White Oak Elementary School

Private schools:

  • Peace Montessori School
  • St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School
  • Thales Academy of Apex

Charter Schools:

  • Peak Charter Academy




  • US 1, US 64, and NC 55 are the major roads through Apex.
  • The Triangle Expressway southwestern section ( NC 540) is a toll road connecting to I-540. This is a partially completed loop road around the greater Raleigh area.
  • The Apex Peakway is a loop road orbiting downtown Apex. The Peakway was conceived as a means to relieve traffic in the downtown area and provide a bypass for commuters traveling from one side of the town to the other. It is currently the only "peakway" in North Carolina, taking its name from Apex's town motto: "The Peak of Good Living." When finished, the Apex Peakway will be 6 miles (9.7 km) long; so far 5 miles (8.0 km) have been constructed.[26]




Apex Utilities provides water/sewer, electricity, garbage, recycling, and yard waste pickup. Natural Gas is provided by PSNC.

Health care[edit]

Emergency, primary, and specialist care is provided at the WakeMed Apex Healthplex.


Fire protection is provided by the Apex Fire Department.


Police service is provided by the Apex Police Department.

Parks and recreation[edit]

The Apex Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources department manages many parks, greenways, and sport programs, and even a skate park near downtown.[28]

Major parks include:

There are both youth and adult sport programs:[31] There are both youth and adult sport programs:[31]

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Arts and culture[edit]

  • Apex PeakFest is the community's annual festival held on the first Saturday in May. The downtown area is closed off and over 200 vendors provide food, arts & crafts, rides, and other entertainment.[32]
  • The Halle Cultural Arts Center provides a theater, classroom, and gallery spaces.[33] It was built as the Town Hall in 1912.[34]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ a b "Our History | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  5. ^ Bynum, Sheryl. "Town of Apex". North Carolina History Project. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  6. ^ Gannett (1905). Origin of Certain Place Names (PDF). Washington DC. p. 26.
  7. ^ "History of the Apex Volunteer Fire Department". Archived from the original on 2016-01-17. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  8. ^ "Beaver Creek Crossings to Bring More Than 650,000 Square Feet of New Retail Space to Apex, N.C.". The Creative Investor. 2005-04-21.
  9. ^ "Thousands Evacuated in Apex Chemical Fire". InjuryBoard. Archived from the original on 2018-11-09. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  10. ^ "Chemical fire evacuation over". NBC News. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  11. ^ Reeves, Jeff (2016-10-05). "Apex chemical explosion 10 years later: How it changed haz-mat site regulations". WNCN. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  12. ^ WRAL. "Apex chemical explosion settlement approved :: WRAL.com". WRAL.com. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  13. ^ "Best Places to Live 2015: Apex, North Carolina". Time. 2015-08-16. Archived from the original on November 13, 2015.
  14. ^ "America's 10 Fastest-Growing Suburbs". Realtor.com. 2018-07-16.
  15. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  16. ^ "Meet Your Town Council". Town of Apex. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  17. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  18. ^ "United States Census Bureau Race". United States Census. U.S. Census Bureau. 2020. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  19. ^ "United States Census Bureau Households and Families". United States Census. U.S. Census Bureau. 2019. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  20. ^ "United States Census Bureau ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates". United States Census. U.S. Census Bureau. 2019. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  21. ^ "Income in the Past 12 Months (In 2019 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars". United States Census. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  22. ^ "Mean Income in the Past 12 Months (In 2019 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars". United States Census. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  23. ^ "Pverty Status in the Past 12 Months of Families". U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  24. ^ "Town of Apex North Carolina Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2020". Town of Apex. Town of Apex. June 30, 2018. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  25. ^ "District Facts / Overview". www.wcpss.net. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  26. ^ "Apex Peakway Completion Plan". Town of Apex. January 2012. p. 32. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
  27. ^ "27th ANNUAL NCBC BREVET SERIES - 2010 Brevet Series". Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  28. ^ "Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  29. ^ Doran, Will (2016-01-22). "Pleasant Park design approved in Apex". The News & Observer. Retrieved 2021-10-25.
  30. ^ "Pleasant Park". ApexNC.org. August 2021. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  31. ^ a b "Youth Athletics | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  32. ^ "PeakFest | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  33. ^ "Halle Cultural Arts Center | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  34. ^ "History of the Halle | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  35. ^ The Baseball Cube. Retrieved July 18, 2018, from http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=123384
  36. ^ The Baseball Cube. Retrieved July 18, 2018, from http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=20977
  37. ^ Douglas, Williams. (Jan 20, 2018). N.C. hockey player ready to skate for historic Korean hockey team in Winter Olympics. Raleigh News & Observer. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  38. ^ Susan D. Higginbotham - an Apex, North Carolina (NC) lawyer. FindLaw. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  39. ^ Peeler, Tim (2000-06-17). "Greensboro News & Record". Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  40. ^ "'Human Ken Doll' with North Carolina ties wants to be 100 percent plastic". 15 March 2015.
  41. ^ The Baseball Cube. Retrieved July 18, 2018, from http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=57080
  42. ^ The Baseball Cube. Retrieved July 18, 2018, from http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=33615
  43. ^ Street, Julia Montgomery, Author - North Carolina Literary Map. library.uncg.edu. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  44. ^ Will Wynn Stats. Pro-Football-Reference. Retrieved July 15, 2020.

External links[edit]