Sanford, NC Profile: Facts & Data


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Sanford, North Carolina - Basic Facts

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The City of Sanford had a population of 31,320 as of July 1, 2021. Sanford ranks in the upper quartile for Diversity Index when compared to the other cities, towns and Census Designated Places (CDPs) in North Carolina. See peer rankings below.

The primary coordinate point for Sanford is located at latitude 35.4799 and longitude -79.1803 in Lee County. The formal boundaries for the City of Sanford encompass a land area of 26.69 sq. miles and a water area of 0.25 sq. miles. Lee County is in the Eastern time zone (GMT -5). The elevation is 358 feet.

The City of Sanford has a C1 Census Class Code which indicates an active incorporated place that does not serve as a county subdivision equivalent. It also has a Functional Status Code of "A" which identifies an active government providing primary general-purpose functions.

The City of Sanford is located within Township 6-West Sanford, a minor civil division (MCD) of Lee County.

Jump to... (On This Page!)
  1. Sanford 2021 Demographic Data
  2. Growth Rates for Sanford (Historical & 5-Year Forecast)
  3. Peer Comparisons (Rank and Percentile)
  1. Neighborhoods Demographics (Home Values, Household Income, etc.)
  2. North Carolina Research Tools (Easy Tools & Current Data)
  3. North Carolina Data Comparison Tool - 2021 Demographics

Sanford, NC Data & Demographics (As of July 1, 2021)


Total Population 31,320 (100%)
Population in Households 30,386 (97.0%)
Population in Families 24,793 (79.2%)
Population in Group Quarters1 934 ( 3.0%)
Population Density 1,078
Diversity Index2 77


Median Household Income $48,489
Average Household Income $66,861
% of Income for Mortgage4 14%
Per Capita Income $25,298
Wealth Index5 61


Total HU (Housing Units) 12,645 (100%)
Owner Occupied HU 6,128 (48.5%)
Renter Occupied HU 5,600 (44.3%)
Vacant Housing Units 917 ( 7.3%)
Median Home Value $157,437
Average Home Value $179,606
Housing Affordability Index3 171


Total Households 11,728
Average Household Size 2.59
Family Households 7,760
Average Family Size 3
  1. Group Quarters - a place where people live or stay in a group living arrangement. Includes college residents halls, nursing facilities, military barracks, and correctional facilities.
  2. The Diversity Index is a scale of 0 to 100 that represents the likelihood that two persons, chosen at random from the same area, belong to different races or ethnic groups. If an area's entire population belongs to one race AND one ethnic group, then the area has zero diversity. An area's diversity index increases to 100 when the population is evenly divided into two or more race/ethnic groups.
  3. The Housing Affordability Index base is 100 and represents a balance point where a resident with a median household income can normally qualify to purchase a median price home. Values above 100 indicate increased affordability, while values below 100 indicate decreased affordability.
  4. The % of Income for Mortgage quantifies the percentage of median household income dedicated to mortgage payments on a home priced at the median value (assuming a 30-year mortgage and a 20% down payment).
  5. The Wealth Index is based on a number of indicators of affluence including average household income and average net worth, but it also includes the value of material possessions and resources. It represents the wealth of the area relative to the national level. Values above or below 100 represent above-average wealth or below-average wealth compared to the national level.


2010-2021 2021-2026
Population 0.93% 0.55%
Households 0.98% 0.59%
Families 0.86% 0.51%
Median Household Income   1.52%
Per Capita Income   2.05%
Owner Occupied HU   0.97%

Sanford, NC - Peer Comparisons by Rank and Percentile

The table below compares Sanford to the other 739 incorporated cities, towns and CDPs in North Carolina by rank and percentile using July 1, 2021 data. The location Ranked # 1 has the highest value. A location that ranks higher than 75% of its peers would be in the 75th percentile of the peer group.

Variable Description Rank Percentile
Total Population # 32 96th
Population Density # 204 73rd
Median Household Income # 358 52nd
Housing Affordability Index # 338 46th
Per Capita Income # 365 51st
Diversity Index # 35 96th

Additional comparisons and rankings can be made with a VERY EASY TO USE North Carolina Census Data Comparison Tool.

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