Cary ( /kɛəri/) is a town and suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina in Wake and Chatham counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Located almost entirely in Wake County, it is the second largest municipality in that county and the third largest municipality in The Triangle after Raleigh and Durham. The town's population was 94,536 at the 2000 census, but the Census Bureau reported that its population had grown to 135,234 by 2010 (an increase of 43.1%), making it the largest town and seventh largest municipality statewide. According to the US Census Bureau, Cary was the 5th fastest growing municipality in the United States between September 1, 2006, and September 1, 2007.
Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill make up the three primary cities of the Research Triangle metropolitan region even though today Cary is the 3rd largest city in the metropolitan area. The regional nickname of "The Triangle" originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, primarily located in Durham County, four miles from downtown Durham. RTP is bordered on three sides by the city of Durham and is roughly midway between the cities of Raleigh and Chapel Hill, and three major research universities of NC State University, Duke University, and UNC-Chapel Hill.
Effective June 6, 2003 the U.S. Office of Management and Budget redefined the Federal Statistical Areas and dismantled what had been for decades the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, MSA and split them into two separate MSAs, even though the region still functions as a single metropolitan area. This resulted in the formation of the Raleigh-Cary, NC MSA and the Durham-Chapel Hill, NC MSA.