Gastonia, North Carolina
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2011)|
|— Satellite city —|
|City of Gastonia|
|Motto: Great Place. Great People. Great Promise.|
|• Mayor||John Bridgeman (D)|
|• Total||50.7 sq mi (131.4 km2)|
|• Land||50.5 sq mi (130.8 km2)|
|• Water||0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)|
|Elevation||797 ft (243 m)|
|• Density||1,421/sq mi (548.5/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||704, 980|
|GNIS feature ID||0985606|
Gastonia is the largest city and county seat of Gaston County, North Carolina, United States. It is also the second largest satellite city of the Charlotte area, behind Concord. The population was 71,741 at the 2010 Census. Gastonia is the 13th largest city in North Carolina. It is part of the Charlotte metropolitan area, officially designated the Charlotte Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Gastonia has experienced steady growth, with a population increase between 2000 and 2010 of nearly 8.2%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Gastonia is located at  at the geographic center of Gaston County.(35.255220, -81.180249).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 50.7 square miles (131.4 km2), of which 50.5 square miles (130.8 km2) is land and 0.23 square miles (0.6 km2), or 0.45%, is water. Gastonia occupies 14% of the total area of Gaston County.
As of 2010, there were 71,741 people, 27,770 households, and 18,599 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,420.6 people per square mile (548.5/km²). There were 31,238 housing units at an average density of 618.6 per square mile (238.8/km²). The racial composition of the city was 63.0% White, 27.8% Black or African American, 1.3% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 5.2% some other race, and 2.2% two or more races. 9.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino American of any race.
As of the 2010 census, there were 27,770 households, out of which 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were headed by married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52, and the average family size was 3.05.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.0 years. For every 100 females there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.6 males.
In 2011 the estimated median income for a household in the city was $36,881, and the median income for a family was $44,576. Male full-time workers had a median income of $38,151 versus $29,590 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,277. 20.9% of the population and 18.3% of families were below the poverty line. 32.5% of those under the age of 18 and 6.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Many shutdowns and job losses have plagued Gastonia over the past decade. Gastonia maintains a relatively strong manufacturing workforce, but many workers are laid off and many more are facing job losses. The city had an unemployment rate of 7.9% as of 2010; 12,536 of the 71,341 residents lived and worked in the city, with a daytime population change of +10,610. The city was the international corporate headquarters for textile company Parkdale Mills, the number one manufacturer of spun yarn in the world. The company also operated two production facilities in Gastonia and several in surrounding communities. Parkdale, like many other companies, has closed plants and moved production to other countries.
Other manufacturers in Gastonia include Wix Filtration Corp., Freightliner LLC, Stabilus, Danaher Tool Group (Easco Hand Tools), Curtiss-Wright Controls Engineered Systems and Radici Group. Other major employers include the City of Gastonia and Gaston County governments, the Gaston County Schools system, Caromont Healthcare (Gaston Memorial Hospital), and retailers Walmart and Advance Auto Parts, with two and six stores (plus a distribution center) respectively.
The following table shows Gastonia's crime rate in 6 crimes that Morgan Quitno uses in their calculations for "America's most dangerous cities" rankings, in comparison to a city of 100,000 people. The statistics provided are not for the actual number of crimes committed, but for the number of crimes committed per capita.
|Crime||Gastonia (2009)||per 100,000 people|
Public services 
Police force: Gastonia is home to the Gastonia Police Department, the Gaston County Police Department, and the Gaston County Sheriff's Office.
Gaston County EMS (GEMS) is the county ambulance service.
Public works: This includes road maintenance and sanitation as well as water, wastewater, stormwater and electrical power to the city.
Attractions and institutions 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2012)|
Gastonia and the surrounding areas feature several notable attractions.
The Schiele Museum of Natural History features a number of permanent exhibits, including the Hall of North Carolina Natural History and the Henry Hall of the American Indian. The museum is also home to the James H. Lynn Planetarium, the only planetarium in the Charlotte area.
Notable people 
- Ernest Angley, televangelist, born in Gastonia and grew up in the surrounding area
- Darrell Armstrong, NBA star, attended Ashbrook High School
- John T. Biggers, African-American muralist born in Gastonia
- Clyde Caldwell, fantasy artist
- Rufus Crawford, NFL and CFL player
- Glenn Dunaway, NASCAR driver
- Harold Dunaway, NASCAR driver
- Fred Durst of the nu metal group Limp Bizkit, attended Hunter Huss High School and Ashbrook High School
- Eric "Sleepy" Floyd, NBA star, attended Hunter Huss High School
- Leonard Hamilton, Florida State University men's basketball head coach; born in Gastonia and attended Gaston College
- Sylvia Hatchell, women's basketball coach (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
- Wesley Ray "Wes" Helms, Major League Baseball player who attended Ashbrook High School
- Lamar Holmes, NFL player who attended Hunter Huss High School
- Billy James, of radio talk show The John Boy and Billy Show
- Evan Karagias, wrestler and actor
- Kevin Millwood, Major League Baseball pitcher
- Dave Robbins, college basketball coach and NCAA Hall of Fame member; attended Ashley High School.
- Lionel Shriver, author of We Need to Talk About Kevin
- Thomas Sowell, political commentator and economist; born in Gastonia, raised in New York City
- Melvin Stewart, former world record-holder who won two Olympic gold medals and one bronze
- Hassan Whiteside, NBA player born in Gastonia
- James Worthy, NBA star, attended Ashbrook High School
All public K–12 schools in Gaston County, including the city of Gastonia, are part of the Gaston County Schools (GCS). GCS operates schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Private schools are also available in the city. Gaston Day School, Gaston Christian School and First Assembly Christian Academy (FACA) are among various private schools offered in the Gastonia area.
Gastonia also has a charter school, Piedmont Community Charter School, that serves K–12 grade students.
College and university 
Although there are no colleges or universities within the city limits of Gastonia, higher education is well represented in the greater Gastonia area. Gaston County is home to Belmont Abbey College (Belmont; 4-year) and Gaston College (Dallas, Lincolnton (Lincoln County), and Belmont; 2-year).
Public library 
Sister cities 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2009)|
Gastonia has two sister cities:
Gotha was Gastonia's first sister city in 1994. Santiago de Surco became an official partner in March 2004. Mayor Jennie Stultz visited Gotha in 2007. In December 2007, the mayor of Santiago de Surco visited for the annual lighting of the Christmas tree in the Rotary Pavilion. He was invited to light the tree along with one of the city's councilmen.
Franklin Square is another one of Gastonia's premier shopping centers. The complex is divided into three Phases. Phase I features a Wal-Mart (one of two in the city), Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Ross Dress for Less, and Michaels. Phase II is home to Kmart, Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, and Sam's Club. Phase III is where Kohl's, Old Navy, Books-A-Million, Sports Authority, Shoe Carnival, Pier 1 Imports, PetSmart and a 14-screen movie theater are located.
There are also a few more shopping centers across the city with other well-known national and local retailers.
The Gastonia Gargoyles play rugby at Gaston County's North Belmont Park. The team is part of the North Carolina Rugby Union (NCRU) and plays Division III men's rugby. The club plays in the fall (August - November) and spring (Feb - May) seasons. The club also hosts an annual rugby 7's tournament in Clover, South Carolina, during the Clover Scottish Games on the first Saturday in June.
The Gaston Gazette is Gastonia's main newspaper. It is published daily, and covers Gastonia city, Gaston County, and surrounding areas. The Charlotte Observer (North Carolina's largest newspaper) is also available and formerly featured a Gaston/Lincoln section on Wednesdays and Sundays, though it has scaled back its coverage of Gaston County dramatically in recent years.
Gastonia has no broadcast television stations licensed in the city, but is served by network affiliates and independent stations broadcasting from nearby Charlotte. Cable television service in Gastonia is provided primarily by Time Warner Cable.
Highways and major city thoroughfares 
Interstate 85 (I-85) links Gastonia directly with Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, and Petersburg/Richmond (to the northeast) and Spartanburg, Greenville, Atlanta and Montgomery (to the southwest). Gastonia's transportation network is supplemented by one additional freeway (US 321), the freeway portion of which directly connects Gastonia with transcontinental I-40 and the city of Hickory, North Carolina, 35 miles (56 km) north of Gastonia. An additional limited-access highway, the toll Garden Parkway, is planned as a loop that would encircle Gastonia to the west, while also adding a direct southeastern connection to Charlotte, I-485 and the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
Gastonia is also served by three US highways: US 29; US 74 (US 29 and 74 are multiplexed together through Gaston County); and US 321. US 29 parallels I-85 through the Carolinas, while US 74 provides direct east-west links to Charlotte and Wilmington (east), and Asheville and Cherokee (to the west). US 321 links Gastonia to central South Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwest North Carolina.
Franklin Blvd., Garrison Blvd., Hudson Blvd., and Ozark/Long/Airline/Gaston Aves. are major east-west city thoroughfares. New Hope Rd., Chester St./York Rd., and Marietta St., are major north-south city thoroughfares.
Bus (local) 
Gastonia Transit (GT) is Gastonia's city transit provider. The bus service operates on a fixed-route system covering most of the city. GT has a new fleet of seven buses and stops are clearly visible around town. Buses run Monday-Saturday, and transfer downtown Gastonia at the Bradley Station. Regular fare is $1.00, transfers are free.
Bus (regional) 
Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is Gastonia's commuter provider to Charlotte. The Gastonia Express (Route 85X) offers Monday-Friday bus service to/from uptown Charlotte, via the Bradley Station. One-way fare to/from uptown Charlotte is $3.00; transfer is free when transferring to any other CATS services.
Rail (Amtrak) 
Amtrak's Crescent (trains 19, 20) connects Gastonia (GAS) with the cities of (to the north) New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and Charlotte, and (to the south) Atlanta, Birmingham, and New Orleans. The unmanned Amtrak station is situated at 350 Hancock Street.
The Gastonia area is served by two airports. The Gastonia Municipal Airport (AKH) handles most of the city's private air service needs. It is located in the southeast part of the city, off NC 274. The Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (CLT) provides Gastonia with a major domestic/international gateway and is located 18 miles (29 km) east of Gastonia in Charlotte. CLT is US Airways' largest airline hub.
See also 
- Gaston County, North Carolina
- Charlotte metropolitan area
- Garden Parkway
- I-85 Corridor
- Loray Mill Strike
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): All Places within North Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Gastonia city, North Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Gastonia city, North Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- "Selected Economic Characteristics: 2011 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates (DP03): Gastonia city, North Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- Gaston County Employers - 4th Quarter 2007. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
- Permanent exhibits at the Schiele Museum of Natural History, accessed 06-15-2012.
- James H. Lynn Planetarium at the Schiele Museum of Natural History, accessed 06-15-2012.
- Activities available at Crowder's Mountain State Park, accessed 06-15-2012.
- Gaston County Public Library branches, accessed 06-15-2012.
- Official website
- Gastonia Transit
- Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Gaston County, North Carolina
- Gaston County Schools
- Gaston-Lincoln Regional Library
- Gastonia, North Carolina, demographics and maps
- The Gaston Gazette