Smithfield is a town in and the county seat of Johnston County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 10,966, and in 2016 the estimated population was 12,266. Smithfield is home to the Ava Gardner Museum and is situated along the Neuse River, where visitors enjoy the annual Smithfield Ham and Yam Festival, walks along the Buffalo Creek Greenway, and the historic downtown district. The town is located in North Carolina's famed Research Triangle and is approximately 30 miles (48 km) southeast of downtown Raleigh. The Raleigh-Durham-Cary Combined Statistical area has a population of over 2 million residents.
Smithfield is in central Johnston County and is bordered to the northeast by Selma. Interstate 95 runs along the southeastern edge of the town, with access from Exits 93, 95, and 97. I-95 leads northeast 46 miles (74 km) to Rocky Mount and southwest the same distance to Fayetteville. U.S. Route 301 passes through Selma on Brightleaf Boulevard, leading northeast 4 miles (6 km) to the center of Selma and southwest 15 miles (24 km) to Benson. U.S. Route 70 passes just northeast of Smithfield, leading northwest 30 miles (48 km) to Raleigh, and southeast 22 miles (35 km) to Goldsboro. U.S. Route 70 Business passes through the center of Smithfield as Market Street.
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,510 people, 4,417 households, and 2,676 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,007.6 inhabitants per square mile (389.1/km²). There were 4,674 housing units at an average density of 409.2 per square mile (158.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 62.66% White, 30.99% African American, 0.43% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 4.14% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.90% of the population.
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