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 2018 the town's estimated population was 22,850. 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 community which has grown into the town of Clayton was built on a road cut by Governor Tryon's troops around 1770 as they marched northwest from New Bern to Hillsborough against the Regulators. Nearly 100 years later the railroad came through and the community had its first name—Stallings' Station, since the depot for the North Carolina Railroad was in the home of Mrs. Sarah Stallings. The name lasted only three years, however, before officially becoming Clayton. Incorporation followed in 1869.
The new town was far from prosperous, and the Civil War made a depressed local economy even worse.