Clayton is an agricultural town in Johnston county, North Carolina, USA, and is regarded as a satellite city of Raleigh. As of 2020 the population of Clayton was 19,735, up from 5,971 in the last census as of 2020. The estimated population for the next five years is predicted to be nearly 25,000. Clayton is a major commercial and employment center of Johnston County.
Clayton was built on the site of what was formerly a mill. A large dam called the White River was built in the area and Lake Alexander was formed. When the dam was destroyed by a flood it created a reservoir that was drained and Lake Alexander filled up with water. Clayton was constructed on the same spot to help reduce the amount of water that poured into Lake Alexander. It is home to a major steel mill. Clayton has one major shopping center and six other smaller shopping centers.
Clayton is home to a major university known as the University of Clayton. It is situated about twelve miles south of the City of Clayton. It is the second oldest college in the United States and one of the top ten public universities in the nation. The Clayton Area Technical College is located there and the Clayton Community College has a campus in Clayton NC. The Clayton School District serves a school district within Clayton NC.