With a year round population in 2014 of 68,811, Carteret County has few large towns and lots of small ones, exactly reflecting local preferences. The year round population of the county's communities follows:
Atlantic Beach 1,506
Cape Carteret 2,058
Cedar Point 1,305
Emerald Isle 3,717
Indian Beach 116
Morehead City 9,258
Pine Knoll Shores 1,366
Swansboro (neighboring Onslow County) 3,074
In the 2.14 square miles of Atlantic Beach is packed a variety of rental and owner occupied homes, tourist accommodations, an active business community.
Median age is 50 years with a median income of $48,000 annually. Ninety percent of the population holds graduate or post-graduate degrees and 65 percent of the homes are owner occupied. Ninety three percent of Atlantic Beach population is Caucasian. During the tourist high season the numbers are vastly larger. Atlantic Beach unemployment figures are lower than the state average.
Into the 5.24 square miles of Emerald Isle is packed a variety of rental and owner occupied homes, an active business community catering to tourist and local needs and organized recreational opportunities such as Little League, paddling, cycling and watersports clubs.
In 2009 the median age was 52 years with a median income of $55,897 annually. Forty percent of the population holds graduate or post graduate degrees and 22 percent of the homes are owner occupied. Ninety-five percent of the Emerald Isle population is Caucasian. During the high season, the numbers are vastly larger and because of its visitors. Emerald Isle employment figures compare very favorably indeed with most other North Carolina counties.