Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill make up the three primary cities of the Research Triangle metropolitan region. 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.
The Research Triangle region encompasses the U.S. Census Bureau's Combined Statistical Area (CSA) of Raleigh-Durham-Cary in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina. As of Census 2010 the population of the Raleigh-Durham-Cary CSA was 1,749,525. The Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as of Census 2010 was 1,130,490.
Most of Raleigh is located within Wake County, with a very small portion extending into Durham County. The towns of Cary, Morrisville, Garner, Clayton, Wake Forest, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, and Rolesville are some of Raleigh's primary nearby suburbs and satellite towns.