Vance County, North Carolina

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Vance County, North Carolina
Seal of Vance County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Vance County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1881
Named for Zebulon Baird Vance
Seat Henderson
Largest city Henderson
 • Total 270 sq mi (699 km2)
 • Land 254 sq mi (658 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (41 km2), 6.04%
 • (2010) 45,422
 • Density 168/sq mi (65/km²)
Congressional districts 1st, 13th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Vance County flag.

Vance County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 45,422.[1] Its county seat is Henderson.[2]

Vance County comprises the Henderson, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Combined Statistical Area, which had a 2012 estimated population of 1,998,808.


The county was formed in 1881 from parts of Franklin County, Granville County, and Warren County. According to the 1955 book, Zeb's Black Baby, by Samuel Thomas Peace Sr.:

The formation of Vance County was accomplished largely as a political expediency. It was in 1881 when Blacks in large numbers were voting solidly Republican. Granville and Franklin Counties were nip and tuck, Democratic or Republican. From the Democratic standpoint, Warren County was hopelessly Republican. But by taking from Granville, Franklin and Warren, those sections that were heavily Republican and out of these sections forming the new county of Vance, the Democratic party could lose Vance to the Republicans and save Granville and Franklin for the Democrats [see gerrymandering]. [U.S.] Senator [Zebulon Baird] Vance was a Democrat. He took kindly to this move and thanked the [North Carolina] Legislature for honoring him with naming the new county after him. At the same time...Vance showed his humor by always referring to Vance County as 'Zeb's Black Baby.'

In the 1890 Census, Vance County was more than 63 percent African American.[1]

The county is named after Zebulon Baird Vance, a Governor of North Carolina (1862–1865, 1877–1879) and United States senator (1879–1894).

Law and government[edit]

Vance County is governed by a seven-member board of Commissioners, who appoint a county manager [2]. Vance County is a member of the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments.[3]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 270 square miles (699 km²), of which 254 square miles (657 km²) is land and 16 square miles (42 km²) (6.04%) is water.[4]

Kerr Lake and Kerr Lake State Recreation Area are partially located in Vance County.

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 17,581
1900 16,684 −5.1%
1910 19,425 16.4%
1920 22,799 17.4%
1930 27,294 19.7%
1940 29,961 9.8%
1950 32,101 7.1%
1960 32,002 −0.3%
1970 32,691 2.2%
1980 36,748 12.4%
1990 38,892 5.8%
2000 42,954 10.4%
2010 45,422 5.7%
Est. 2012 45,132 −0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 42,954 people, 16,199 households, and 11,647 families residing in the county. The population density was 169 people per square mile (65/km²). There were 18,196 housing units at an average density of 72 per square mile (28/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 48.21% White, 48.31% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.03% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 4.56% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,199 households out of which 33.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.00% were married couples living together, 20.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.10% were non-families. 24.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.06.

The county had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the state for the year 2005 as researched by the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition of North Carolina. The rate was 110.4 per 1000 teens, significantly above the state average of 61.7 per 1000 teens.

In the county the population was spread out with 27.10% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 28.80% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 12.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 89.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,301, and the median income for a family was $36,389. Males had a median income of $28,284 versus $21,433 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,897. About 16.30% of families and 20.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.70% of those under age 18 and 19.30% of those age 65 or over.


Cities and towns[edit]

Map of Vance County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels


The county is divided into eight townships: Dabney, Henderson, Kittrell, Middleburg, Sandy Creek, Townsville, Watkins, and Williamsboro.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°22′N 78°25′W / 36.36°N 78.41°W / 36.36; -78.41