Garner, North Carolina
Downtown Garner Water Tower over East Main Street
Downtown Garner Water Tower over East Main Street
Official seal of Garner, North Carolina
"A Great Place to Be"
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Coordinates: 35°41′34″N 78°36′53″W / 35.69278°N 78.61472°W / 35.69278; -78.61472
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
 • TypeCouncil–Manager
 • MayorBuddy Gupton[1]
 • Total18.32 sq mi (47.44 km2)
 • Land18.27 sq mi (47.32 km2)
 • Water0.05 sq mi (0.12 km2)
Elevation325 ft (99 m)
 • Total31,159
 • Density1,705.38/sq mi (658.44/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code919
FIPS code37-25480[4]
GNIS feature ID2406547[3]

Garner is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States and a suburb of Raleigh. The population is 31,159 as of the 2020 census. The city limits are entirely within Wake County, though portions of unincorporated Wake County, as well as the Cleveland community in northern Johnston County, have Garner mailing addresses. It is part of the Research Triangle region of North Carolina and serves as a bedroom community for the region.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 14.8 square miles (38.3 km2), of which 14.7 square miles (38.2 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.34%, is water.[5]

Garner is located entirely within Wake County.[6] There are unincorporated areas of Wake County and Johnston County that have Garner postal addresses, including a portion of the unincorporated, but densely populated, Cleveland Community.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

2020 census

Garner racial composition[8]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 15,905 51.04%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 9,163 29.41%
Native American 132 0.42%
Asian 681 2.19%
Pacific Islander 17 0.05%
Other/Mixed 1,468 4.71%
Hispanic or Latino 3,793 12.17%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 31,159 people, 11,642 households, and 7,637 families residing in the town.

2000 census

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 17,757 people, 6,950 households, and 4,830 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,385.1 inhabitants per square mile (534.8/km2). There were 7,252 housing units at an average density of 565.7 per square mile (218.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 67.02% White, 27.13% African American, 0.41% Native American, 1.11% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.77% from other races, and 1.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.75% of the population.

There were 6,950 households, out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.5% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.5% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.0% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $47,380, and the median income for a family was $58,302. Males had a median income of $37,359 versus $29,805 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,433. About 4.9% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.9% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.


Land near the town of Garner was first settled around 1751. In the 1850s, the North Carolina Railroad was built, and before the 1870s, a wood-and-water stop was established in present-day downtown Garner. The community of Garner's Station received a post office in 1878 and was incorporated in 1883, but the community had its charter repealed in 1891.

In 1905, the charter was reinstated as the Town of Garner. The first mayor was J.B. Richardson, and the first aldermen were H.D. Rand, J.J. Bagwell, H. Bryan, M.C. Penny, and J.S. Buffaloe.

In 1912, the telephone came to Garner. The town is off of US 70, which in 1917 became the first paved highway to be built in North Carolina.[9] An explosion and partial roof collapse of a ConAgra Foods plant on June 9, 2009, killed four and injured some 40 workers.[10][11]

The Downtown Garner Historic District, Edenwood, and Meadowbrook Country Club are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[12]


City Council and City Manager

Garner currently operates under a council–manager government whereby the Town Council is the publicly elected legislative body of the town, and appoints a Town Manager to manage the administrative operations of the town. The Town Council consists of the Mayor and five Town Council Members, one of whom serves as Mayor "Pro Tempore." The composition of the Garner City Council, as of 2024, are as follows:[1]

Since March 2016, Rodney Dickerson has served as the Town Manager.[13]

City Police Department

As of 2019, the Garner Police Department has 68 sworn police officers and 10 professional staff personnel (including full-time and part-time staff) to provide law enforcement services to a town roughly 16 square miles in area with a permanent residential population of over 31,000 citizens.[14] The Department is divided into two bureaus—the Operations Bureau and the Administration Bureau.

Lorie Smith, a captain in the Garner Police Department since 2017, and interim chief since the October 1, 2022, retirement of Joe Binns, was officially promoted to the position of Garner police chief. Smith was formally sworn in on December 21, 2021.


Garner's library service began in 1928 and was formed by the Garner's Women's Club, which operated and staffed the library with volunteer workers [15]

Today, Garner's public library is the Southeast Regional Library, which is a regional facility operated by Wake County Public Libraries.[16] The library offers Wake County Public Library's child and adult services, which include storytimes, adult craft programs, computer use, and other free activities for the community.[17] In 2020, as part of Wake County Public Library's Fine Free program, Southeast Regional Library has stopped collecting fines for books that are returned late.[18]

In June 2020, Southeast Regional Library began offering Wake County's Books on the Go program, a contactless book retrieval service that allows patrons to request and receive books from the library while it is closed due to COVID-19 [19]


According to Garner's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[20] the top employers in the town were:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Wake County Public School System 1,280
2 Pepsi Bottling Ventures 400
3 Walmart 350
4 Lowe's Home Improvement 335
5 Sigma Electric Mfg Corp 300
6 Target 290
7 Hamlin Company 250
8 Food Lion 220
9 Ameri Gas 198
10 Town of Garner 170

In 2020, Amazon began operations at a new Fulfillment Center in Garner and is expected to hire 3,000 full time employees.[21]



Several major roads and highways serve Garner:

Public transportation

Garner is served by the GoRaleigh bus routes 7 and 40x, both serving the shopping centers around Garner Station.[22][23] In October 2019, GoRaleigh bus route 20 replaced the rush-hour-only service of GoTriangle bus route 102 with all-day service.[24] Route 20 connects Downtown Garner with Downtown Raleigh as well as the shopping centers at White Oak, Timber Crossing, and Forest Hills, the Garner Town Hall, the Southeast Regional Library, and the Garner Police Station.[25]

Addition service is provided to seniors and those with disabilities through GoWake Access. This service provides door-to-door service to eligible residents that may have difficulties using traditional public transportation.[26]


Amtrak passes through Garner but does not have a scheduled stop; the nearest station is Raleigh Union Station.


The nearest commercial airport with regular passenger service is Raleigh-Durham International Airport. General aviation services can also be found at the Triple W Airport in Fuquay-Varina or the Raleigh East Airport in Knightdale.


The following schools serve students in and around Garner. Most, but not all, are located within the town limits of Garner. With few exceptions, school districts in North Carolina are organized at the county level, and students are often assigned to schools without regard to which municipality they live in.

Wake County public schools:[27]

Johnston County public schools:[28]

The original campus of the Governor Morehead School, a state-operated school for blind white students and blind and deaf black students, was in Garner.[29] In 1923 white blind students were moved to Raleigh.[30] The desegregation plan in the 1960s called for all deaf students to be moved to North Carolina School for the Deaf and Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf,[29] while blind students were moved to Raleigh.[30]

Notable people


  1. ^ a b "Mayor and Council Members | Town of Garner, NC". Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  2. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  3. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Garner, North Carolina
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Garner town, North Carolina". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  6. ^ "Garner Corporate Limits as of August, 2008" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 28, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  9. ^ Town of Garner website, Town History
  10. ^ "Bodies removed from Garner plant rubble". June 10, 2009. Archived from the original on June 14, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
  11. ^ "2 dead, 1 missing after Slim Jim plant explosion". June 9, 2009. Archived from the original on May 29, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
  12. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  13. ^ "Town Manager | Town of Garner, NC". Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  14. ^ "Garner Police Department 2019 Annual Report". 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  15. ^ "A Brief Town History | Town of Garner, NC".
  16. ^ "Southeast Regional Library".
  17. ^ "At Your Service".
  18. ^ "I heard the library is "late fee free." What does this mean? - AskWCPL".
  19. ^ "WCPL Books on the Go".
  20. ^ "Town of Garner Comprehensive Annual Financial Report". Town of Garner. December 18, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  21. ^ "Amazon hiring 3,000 workers for new Garner facility". Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  22. ^ "Maps & Schedules | GoRaleigh". Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  23. ^ "Maps & Schedules | GoRaleigh". Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  24. ^ "All-day GoRaleigh service for Knightdale, Garner replaces peak-hours-only GoTriangle routes Oct. 14 | GoTriangle". Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  25. ^ "Maps & Schedules | GoRaleigh". Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  26. ^ "GoWake Access Transportation". Wake County Government. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  27. ^ Wake County Public School System
  28. ^ Schools in Johnston County Schools. Archived March 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ a b "$89,927 Blind-Deaf School May Lose U.S. Aid". The Charlotte Observer. Associated Press. September 15, 1966. p. 18A. - Clipping at
  30. ^ a b "About GMS". Governor Morehead School. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  31. ^ Nyheim Hines Stats. Pro-Football-Reference. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  32. ^ James Mays, Clemson, Power Forward - Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  33. ^ #2 Manny Perez. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  34. ^ Cooper, Duncan. (May 4, 2017). Meet Sarah Shook, Country Music’s Radical And Ordinary Hero. The Fader. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  35. ^ Pat Watkins Stats. Baseball-Reference. Retrieved July 16, 2020.