Another very old thread, but with its question unanswered still. I do not live on the Outer Banks, but I have vacationed there for the last 11 years running, taken a few additional trips down there and am moving there in January 2016.
Yes, people actually live out there. LOL From my experience it's fairly quiet during the off-season most everywhere on the Outer Banks, from Corolla at the northern end to Hatteras and Ocracoke (sp?) on the southern end. However, from Memorial Day to Labor Day its population swells immensely with tourism. And traffic gets pretty nuts.
The northern end is Currituck County, the middle and southern end of the northern island is Dare County. My apologies but I do not know what county or counties are on Hatteras Island.
On the northern island, some of the towns are Corolla, (something, something), Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills (where the Wright Brothers launched the first-ever plane in flight), Nags Head, Manteo and Wanchese on Roanoke Island etc.