Dare County, North Carolina

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Dare County
Dare County Administration Building in Manteo
Dare County Administration Building in Manteo
Flag of Dare County
Official seal of Dare County
Official logo of Dare County
Motto: 
"Land of Beginnings"
Map of North Carolina highlighting Dare County
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 35°41′N 75°44′W / 35.69°N 75.73°W / 35.69; -75.73
Country United States
State North Carolina
Founded1870
Named forVirginia Dare
SeatManteo
Largest townKill Devil Hills
Area
 • Total1,563 sq mi (4,050 km2)
 • Land383 sq mi (990 km2)
 • Water1,179 sq mi (3,050 km2)  75%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total36,915
 • Estimate 
(2021)
37,826 Increase
 • Density24/sq mi (9.1/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district3rd
Websitewww.darenc.com

Dare County is the easternmost county in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2020 census, the population was 36,915.[1] Its county seat is Manteo.[2] Dare County is named after Virginia Dare, the first child born in the Americas to English parents, who was born within the county's current borders.[3] Founded in 1870 from parts of Tyrrell, Currituck and Hyde counties, it consists of a large segment of the Outer Banks of North Carolina,[4] along with Roanoke Island and a peninsula of land attached to the mainland. Most of the county consists of a string of resort communities along the Outer Banks. While lightly populated by year-round residents, the population swells during the summer with vacationers.[5]

Dare County is included in the Kill Devil Hills, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC Combined Statistical Area.

At one time, the now-abandoned town of Buffalo City was the largest community in the county.[6] Because it includes much of Pamlico Sound, Dare County is the largest county in North Carolina by total area, although if one were to consider land area only, it drops down to 68th in size among the state's 100 counties.[7]

Geography[edit]

Interactive map of Dare County
Dare County welcome center

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,563 square miles (4,050 km2), of which 383 square miles (990 km2) is land and 1,179 square miles (3,050 km2) (75%) is water.[8] It is the largest county in North Carolina by area.[7]

Dare County includes the middle part of the Outer Banks and contains Roanoke Island.

National protected areas[edit]

State and local protected areas/sites[edit]

Major water bodies[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Major Infrastructure[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18702,778
18803,24316.7%
18903,76816.2%
19004,75726.2%
19104,8411.8%
19205,1155.7%
19305,2021.7%
19406,40123.0%
19505,405−15.6%
19605,9359.8%
19706,99517.9%
198013,37791.2%
199022,74670.0%
200029,95931.7%
201033,92013.2%
202036,9158.8%
2021 (est.)37,826[9]2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790–1960[11] 1900–1990[12]
1990–2000[13] 2010–2013[14]
2020[15]

2020 census[edit]

Dare County racial composition[16]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 31,921 86.47%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 678 1.84%
Native American 99 0.27%
Asian 260 0.7%
Pacific Islander 10 0.03%
Other/Mixed 1,393 3.77%
Hispanic or Latino 2,554 6.92%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 36,915 people, 15,529 households, and 10,281 families residing in the county.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[17] of 2010, there were 33,920 people, 12,690 households, and 8,450 families residing in the county. The population density was 78 people per square mile (30/km2). There were 26,671 housing units at an average density of 70 per square mile (27/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.3% White, 2.5% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 2.4% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. 6.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,690 households, out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 21.4% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.2 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,411, and the median income for a family was $49,302. Males had a median income of $31,240 versus $24,318 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,614. About 5.5% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.9% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.

Ancestry[edit]

As of 2010, the largest self-reported ancestry groups in Dare County were:[18]

Largest ancestries (2010) Percent
English 22.0%
German 18.4%
Irish 15.3%
"American" 8.7%
Italian 6.2%
Scottish 4.8%
Scots-Irish 4.0%
Polish 3.0%
Dutch 1.8%
Welsh 1.2%

Government and politics[edit]

Dare County is presently a Republican county, having voted Republican since the 1980 election, though the Republican margins of victory are significantly smaller than most Southern largely-white counties. No Democratic presidential nominee has carried Dare County since Jimmy Carter did so in 1976. Before the 1950s, it was mostly a typical “Solid South” Democratic county, that did not vote Republican between 1900 and 1952, albeit by significantly smaller margins than much of the rest of the Solid South. Dare County is governed by the Dare County Board of Commissioners. Dare County is a part of the Albemarle Commission regional council of governments.

United States presidential election results for Dare County, North Carolina[19]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 13,938 57.52% 9,936 41.00% 358 1.48%
2016 11,460 58.44% 7,222 36.83% 927 4.73%
2012 10,248 57.02% 7,393 41.13% 333 1.85%
2008 9,745 53.99% 8,074 44.74% 229 1.27%
2004 9,345 60.10% 6,136 39.46% 67 0.43%
2000 7,301 56.15% 5,589 42.99% 112 0.86%
1996 4,977 46.00% 4,522 41.79% 1,321 12.21%
1992 4,357 40.73% 3,925 36.70% 2,414 22.57%
1988 5,234 64.85% 2,806 34.77% 31 0.38%
1984 4,738 71.83% 1,839 27.88% 19 0.29%
1980 2,794 49.76% 2,497 44.47% 324 5.77%
1976 1,680 43.18% 2,191 56.31% 20 0.51%
1972 1,986 75.20% 634 24.01% 21 0.80%
1968 1,035 40.13% 700 27.14% 844 32.73%
1964 867 37.00% 1,476 63.00% 0 0.00%
1960 1,058 45.90% 1,247 54.10% 0 0.00%
1956 1,028 55.06% 839 44.94% 0 0.00%
1952 767 44.44% 959 55.56% 0 0.00%
1948 373 30.72% 802 66.06% 39 3.21%
1944 259 21.14% 966 78.86% 0 0.00%
1940 315 20.60% 1,214 79.40% 0 0.00%
1936 542 28.07% 1,389 71.93% 0 0.00%
1932 497 28.50% 1,241 71.16% 6 0.34%
1928 814 47.97% 883 52.03% 0 0.00%
1924 629 43.17% 826 56.69% 2 0.14%
1920 632 43.38% 825 56.62% 0 0.00%
1916 363 43.58% 470 56.42% 0 0.00%
1912 238 33.29% 397 55.52% 80 11.19%
1908 370 47.07% 416 52.93% 0 0.00%
1904 350 45.75% 415 54.25% 0 0.00%
1900 331 45.03% 404 54.97% 0 0.00%
1896 471 53.58% 408 46.42% 0 0.00%
1892 356 51.52% 335 48.48% 0 0.00%
1888 337 51.22% 321 48.78% 0 0.00%
1884 291 53.30% 255 46.70% 0 0.00%
1880 274 48.75% 288 51.25% 0 0.00%

Education[edit]

Public education is run by Dare County Schools. There are three public high schools/secondary schools with high school components:

College of The Albemarle is the local community college, with a Dare campus in Manteo.[20]

Dare County Library has branches in Manteo, Kill Devil Hills, and Hatteras.[21]

Lighthouses[edit]

Dare County is home to two popular lighthouses: The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Bodie Island Lighthouse. There is also a beacon atop the Wright Brothers Memorial. A third lighthouse was built by the Town of Manteo and dedicated on September 25, 2004. The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is an exterior recreation of the 1877 screwpile lighthouse of the same name and is located on the Manteo waterfront. It serves as exhibit space for the N.C. Maritime Museum on Roanoke Island.[22]

Communities[edit]

DuckKill Devil HillsKitty HawkManteoNags HeadSouthern ShoresCape Hatteras LighthouseAlligator River National Wildlife RefugeCape Hatteras National SeashorePea Island National Wildlife Refuge
Clickable map of the county. interactive map

Towns[edit]

Townships[edit]

  • Atlantic Township
  • Croatan Township
  • East Lake Township
  • Hatteras Township
  • Kinnekeet Township
  • Nags Head Township

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost Towns[edit]

  • Burptoe Village (est: 1892) (abandoned: 1950) highest population: 616 (1942)
  • Port Frenz (est: 1862 as Fort Frent) (abandoned: 1932) highest population: 602 (1924) (named as Fort Frent till 1865)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Dare County, North Carolina". www.census.gov. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "About Dare County". Dare County. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  4. ^ "Dare County | NCpedia". www.ncpedia.org. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
  5. ^ "Tourists flock to Outer Banks in record numbers". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
  6. ^ Degregory, Lane (October 2, 1994). "Buffalo City". The Virginian-Pilot. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved May 6, 2008.
  7. ^ a b "North Carolina Land Area County Rank". www.usa.com. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  9. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Dare County, North Carolina". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  11. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  12. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  13. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  14. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Dare County, North Carolina". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  16. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  18. ^ Bureau, U.S. Census. "American FactFinder - Results". factfinder.census.gov. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  19. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  20. ^ "Home". College of The Albemarle. Retrieved April 12, 2021. COA – Dare 132 Russell Twiford Rd Manteo, NC 27954
  21. ^ "Home". Dare County Library. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  22. ^ "Wright Brothers Monument (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved May 24, 2022.

Coordinates: 35°41′N 75°44′W / 35.69°N 75.73°W / 35.69; -75.73