Caldwell County, North Carolina

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Caldwell County, North Carolina
Caldwell County Courthouse - Lenoir, NC.jpg
Caldwell County Courthouse in Lenoir
Seal of Caldwell County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Caldwell County
Location in the U.S. state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1841
Named for Joseph Caldwell
Seat Lenoir
Largest city Lenoir
 • Total 474 sq mi (1,228 km2)
 • Land 472 sq mi (1,222 km2)
 • Water 2.7 sq mi (7 km2), 0.6%
 • (2010) 83,029
 • Density 176/sq mi (68/km²)
Congressional district 11th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Caldwell County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. As of the 2010 census, the population was 83,029.[1] Its county seat is Lenoir.[2]

Caldwell County is part of the HickoryLenoirMorganton, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The county was formed in 1841 from parts of Burke County and Wilkes County. It was named for Joseph Caldwell, presiding professor (1796–1797, 1799–1804) and the first president (1804–1812, 1816–1835) of the University of North Carolina.

A series of reductions in the county's territory followed. In 1847 parts of Caldwell County, Iredell County, and Wilkes County were combined to form Alexander County. In 1849 parts of Caldwell County, Ashe County, Wilkes County, and Yancey County were combined to form Watauga County. In 1861, parts of Caldwell County, Burke County, McDowell County, Watauga County, and Yancey County were combined to form Mitchell County. Finally, in 1911 parts of Caldwell County, Mitchell County, and Watauga County were combined to form Avery County.


The rocky outcropping of Blowing Rock in the town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 474 square miles (1,230 km2), of which 472 square miles (1,220 km2) is land and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) (0.6%) is water.[3]

Caldwell County is divided into three distinct geographic sections: the Blue Ridge Mountains, which dominate the northern and western parts of the county; the gently rolling Piedmont country in the middle and southern parts of the county; and the Brushy Mountains, an isolated remnant of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The "Brushies", as they are often called, run across much of Caldwell County's eastern section. Hibriten Mountain, located within the city limits of Lenoir, the county's largest city, marks the western end of the Brushy Mountain range. In the western part of the county is the Wilson Creek area.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 6,317
1860 7,497 18.7%
1870 8,476 13.1%
1880 10,291 21.4%
1890 12,298 19.5%
1900 15,694 27.6%
1910 20,579 31.1%
1920 19,984 −2.9%
1930 28,016 40.2%
1940 35,795 27.8%
1950 43,352 21.1%
1960 49,552 14.3%
1970 56,699 14.4%
1980 67,746 19.5%
1990 70,709 4.4%
2000 77,415 9.5%
2010 83,029 7.3%
Est. 2015 81,287 [4] −2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
1790-1960[6] 1900-1990[7]
1990-2000[8] 2010-2014[1]

As of the census of 2010,[9] there were 83,029 people, 33,388 households, and 23,456 families residing in the county. The population density was 176.1 people per square mile (109.4/km²). There were 37,659 housing units at an average density of 79.9 per square mile (49.6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.24% White, 4.92% Black or African American, 0.52% Asian, 0.31% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.47% from other races, and 1.51% from two or more races. The Hispanic or Latino (of any race) population was 4.57%.

There were 33,388 households of which 32.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.16% were married couples living together, 12.52% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.75% were non-families. 25.39% of all households were made up of individuals living alone and 41.16% of those households had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.91.

Of the county's entire population, 22.63% was under the age of 18, 18.33% were 18 to 34, 22.44% were 35 to 49, 21.17% were 50 to 64, and 15.44% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.3 years. For every 100 females there were 96.84 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.06 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,853, and the median income for a family was $47,028. Males had a median income of $36,429 versus $31,221 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,397. About 15.3% of families and 20.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 51.8% of single mothers and 13.2% of people age 65 or over.

Law and government[edit]

The county is governed by a five-member Board of Commissioners, who appoint a County Manager. The members of the Board of Commissioners are Clay Bollinger, Jeff Branch, Randy Church, Mike LaBrose, and Donnie Potter.[10] Caldwell County is a member of the regional Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

Caldwell County is part of North Carolina's 11th congressional district, represented by Republican Mark Meadows in the United States House of Representatives.[11]

In the North Carolina General Assembly, the county is represented by Republican Deanna Ballard in the North Carolina Senate, as part of N.C. Senate District 45, and by Republican George Robinson in the North Carolina House of Representatives.[12][13] However, this is the final term for George Robinson who was defeated in the Republican primary. That N.C. House seat will be filled by Destin Hall, who won the Republican primary and is unopposed in November's general election.[14] Deanna Ballard was appointed to her N.C. Senate seat after former N.C. Senator Dan Soucek resigned.[15] She will face Democrat Art Sherwood in the general election.[16]

Caldwell County's sheriff is Alan C. Jones.[17]


Elementary Schools[edit]

  • Baton
  • Davenport
  • Dudley Shoals
  • Gamewell
  • Granite Falls
  • Hudson
  • Lower Creek
  • Sawmills
  • Valmead
  • West Lenoir
  • Whitnel

K-8 Schools[edit]

  • Collettsville
  • Happy Valley
  • Kings Creek
  • Oak Hill

Middle Schools[edit]

  • Gamewell
  • Granite Falls
  • Hudson
  • William Lenoir

High Schools[edit]

Alternative Schools[edit]

  • Horizons Elementary
  • Gateway School



Major highways[edit]

US 321 is the busiest highway in the county with an annual average daily traffic count of 39,000.[20]

Other major highways include:

The Blue Ridge Parkway also crosses the northern tip of the county.


Caldwell County has one railroad, the Caldwell County Railroad which interchanges with the Norfolk Southern Railway in Hickory, North Carolina.[21]


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




Census-designated place[edit]

Other unincorporated communities[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  4. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  7. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Caldwell County North Carolina Quickfacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  10. ^ "Commissioners". Caldwell County Government. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "Congressman Mark Meadows". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  12. ^ "Soucek replacement joins NC Senate". WXII 12 News. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  13. ^ "Representative George S. Robinson". North Carolina General Assembly. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Destin Hall Ready to Serve". Caldwell Journal. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "Republican party elects Deanna Ballard to replace Soucek". The Avery Journal Times. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "March 15 Election Results". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  17. ^ "Sheriff's Office". Caldwell County Government. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  18. ^ "Caldwell County Schools - School Directory". Caldwell County Schools. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  19. ^ "ASU Center at Caldwell (located on the Hudson Campus of Caldwell Community College and Tech Institute)". Appalachian State University. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  20. ^ "2014 AADT PDF Report" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  21. ^ Infrastructure, Caldwell County Economic Development Commission (retrieved 16 June 2014)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°57′N 81°33′W / 35.95°N 81.55°W / 35.95; -81.55