Clayton is a town in Johnston County, North Carolina, United States, and is considered a satellite town of Raleigh. As of 2010, Clayton's population was 16,116, up from 6,973 at the 2000 census. By 2019 the town's estimated population was 24,887. Much of that growth can be attributed to the town's proximity to the Research Triangle area and access to major highways such as I-40 and US 70.
The Clayton Banking Company Building, Clayton Graded School and Clayton Grammar School-Municipal Auditorium, Clayton Historic District, Cleveland School, Ellington-Ellis Farm, Walter R. and Eliza Smith Moore House, Sanders-Hairr House, and Stallings-Carpenter House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Clayton is in northern Johnston County, with a small portion extending northwest along US 70 Business into Wake County. In 2006, construction began on the Highway 70 Clayton Bypass, a 10.5-mile (16.9 km) stretch from Interstate 40 along the southern portion of Clayton to Highway 70 business southeast of town. It was completed in June 2008. US 70 leads southeast 13 miles (21 km) to Interstate 95 at Smithfield. Downtown Raleigh is 16 miles (26 km) northwest of Clayton via US 70 Business and Interstate 40. Many local unincorporated communities outside of the town limits use Clayton mailing addresses, including Cleveland, Powhatan, and Flowers.