Kanawha County, West Virginia

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Kanawha County
Kanawha County Courthouse in Charleston
Flag of Kanawha County
Official seal of Kanawha County
Map of West Virginia highlighting Kanawha County
Location within the U.S. state of West Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting West Virginia
West Virginia's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 38°20′N 81°32′W / 38.34°N 81.53°W / 38.34; -81.53
Country United States
State West Virginia
FoundedOctober 5, 1789
Named forKanawha River
SeatCharleston
Largest cityCharleston
Area
 • Total911 sq mi (2,360 km2)
 • Land902 sq mi (2,340 km2)
 • Water9.3 sq mi (24 km2)  1.0%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total180,745
 • Estimate 
(2021)
177,952 Decrease
 • Density200/sq mi (77/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district1st
Websitewww.kanawha.us

Kanawha County (/kəˈnɔːə/ kə-NAW) is a county in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2020 census, the population was 180,745,[1] making it West Virginia's most populous county.[2] The county seat is Charleston,[3] which is also the state capital. Kanawha County is part of the Charleston, WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

The county began taking formation on November 14, 1788, under the authorization of the Virginia General Assembly and was founded on October 5, 1789. The county was named for the Kanawha River, which in turn was named after a Native American tribe that lived in the area.[4] During the American Civil War, a number of state infantry and cavalry regiments were organized in the county for both Confederate Army and Union Army service.

In 1863 West Virginia's counties were divided into civil townships, with the intention of encouraging local government. This proved impractical in the heavily rural state, and in 1872 the townships were converted into magisterial districts.[5] Kanawha County was divided into ten districts: Big Sandy, Cabin Creek, Charleston, Elk, Jefferson, Loudon, Malden, Poca,[i] Union, and Washington. In the 1970s the historic districts were consolidated into five new magisterial districts: District 1, District 2, District 3, District 4, and District 5. A District 6 was created in the 1980s, but in the 1990s the county was redistricted again, reducing the number of magisterial districts to four: District 1, District 2, District 3, and District 4.[6]

Kanawha County was the site of a bloody miners' strike in 1912, and a school textbook controversy in 1974, that resulted in bombings, and received national attention.

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 911 square miles (2,360 km2), of which 902 square miles (2,340 km2) is land and 9.3 square miles (24 km2) (1.0%) is water.[7] It is the fourth-largest county in West Virginia by area.

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18003,239
18103,86619.4%
18206,39965.5%
18309,32645.7%
184013,56745.5%
185015,35313.2%
186016,1505.2%
187022,34938.4%
188032,46645.3%
189042,75631.7%
190054,69627.9%
191081,45748.9%
1920119,65046.9%
1930157,66731.8%
1940195,61924.1%
1950239,62922.5%
1960252,9255.5%
1970229,515−9.3%
1980231,4140.8%
1990207,619−10.3%
2000200,073−3.6%
2010193,063−3.5%
2020180,745−6.4%
2021 (est.)177,952[8]−1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790–1960[10] 1900–1990[11]
1990–2000[12] 2010–2020[1]

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 200,073 people, 86,226 households, and 55,960 families living in the county. The population density was 222 people per square mile (86/km2). There were 93,788 housing units at an average density of 104 per square mile (40/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 90.46% White, 6.97% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

There were 86,226 households, out of which 26.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.00% were married couples living together, 12.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.10% were non-families. 30.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.84.

The age distribution was 21.30% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 16.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,766, and the median income for a family was $42,568. Males had a median income of $33,842 versus $24,188 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,354. About 11.20% of families and 14.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.60% of those under age 18 and 10.50% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 United States census, there were 193,063 people, 84,201 households, and 52,172 families living in the county.[14] The population density was 214.1 inhabitants per square mile (82.7/km2). There were 92,618 housing units at an average density of 102.7 per square mile (39.7/km2).[15] The racial makeup of the county was 89.1% white, 7.3% black or African American, 1.0% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.3% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.9% of the population.[14] In terms of ancestry, 14.8% were German, 14.2% were Irish, 13.9% were English, and 13.4% were American.[16]

Of the 84,201 households, 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 38.0% were non-families, and 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.84. The median age was 42.4 years.[14]

The median income for a household in the county was $42,669 and the median income for a family was $54,203. Males had a median income of $42,522 versus $31,754 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,439. About 9.7% of families and 13.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.[17]

Politics[edit]

Kanawha County was dominated by the Democratic Party for much of the 20th century, albeit to a lesser extent than much of West Virginia. Since 2004 it has been won by Republicans in presidential elections, although, as an urban county, the swing to the Republicans has not been as vast as in much of the rest of the state. The county seat and state capital of Charleston is heavily Democratic.

United States presidential election results for Kanawha County, West Virginia[18][19]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 46,398 56.41% 34,344 41.76% 1,508 1.83%
2016 43,850 57.03% 28,263 36.76% 4,775 6.21%
2012 41,364 55.10% 32,480 43.26% 1,233 1.64%
2008 40,952 49.65% 40,594 49.22% 934 1.13%
2004 44,430 50.53% 43,010 48.92% 488 0.55%
2000 36,809 48.01% 38,524 50.25% 1,337 1.74%
1996 29,311 38.32% 40,357 52.76% 6,827 8.92%
1992 31,358 38.40% 38,315 46.91% 11,998 14.69%
1988 38,140 47.95% 41,144 51.73% 258 0.32%
1984 51,499 57.51% 37,832 42.25% 211 0.24%
1980 42,604 46.43% 42,829 46.68% 6,327 6.90%
1976 42,213 44.06% 53,602 55.94% 0 0.00%
1972 65,021 63.09% 38,032 36.91% 0 0.00%
1968 41,712 41.76% 46,650 46.70% 11,524 11.54%
1964 38,383 35.25% 70,511 64.75% 0 0.00%
1960 57,130 51.19% 54,484 48.81% 0 0.00%
1956 58,597 53.81% 50,289 46.19% 0 0.00%
1952 56,861 51.04% 54,540 48.96% 0 0.00%
1948 41,144 43.45% 53,213 56.19% 338 0.36%
1944 36,488 43.50% 47,400 56.50% 0 0.00%
1940 40,113 40.91% 57,932 59.09% 0 0.00%
1936 35,387 41.00% 50,801 58.86% 113 0.13%
1932 35,455 47.39% 38,617 51.61% 749 1.00%
1928 35,788 58.16% 25,563 41.54% 184 0.30%
1924 26,018 49.14% 22,726 42.92% 4,207 7.95%
1920 23,781 54.33% 19,284 44.06% 704 1.61%
1916 10,096 48.14% 10,276 49.00% 598 2.85%
1912 1,780 9.96% 6,658 37.26% 9,431 52.78%

Elected officials[edit]

Agency Elected Official
Kanawha County Commission Commissioner W. Kent Carper, President
Commissioner Ben Salango
Commissioner Lance Wheeler
Kanawha County Assessor Sallie Robinson
Kanawha County Circuit Clerk Cathy Gatson
Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick
Kanawha County Prosecutor Charles "Chuck" Miller
Kanawha County Sheriff Michael Y. Rutherford

Economy[edit]

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are approximately 5,481 private sector businesses within Kanawha County. There are 89,768 people who are currently employed who live in Kanawha County.[20]

Recreation[edit]

Parks Golf
Coonskin Park Coonskin Golf Course
Shawnee Park Shawnee Golf Course
Meadowood Park Edgewood Country Club
Pioneer Park Little Creek Golf Course
Wallace Hartman Nature Preserve Sleepy Hollow Golf Club
Cato Park Sandy Brae Golf Course
Ridenour Park Berry Hills Country Club
Big Bend Park Big Bend Golf Course
Kanawha State Forest
Saint Albans City Park

Events[edit]

Attractions[edit]

Sports[edit]

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Magisterial districts[edit]

  • District 1
  • District 2
  • District 3
  • District 4

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Originally "Pocatalico".

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  2. ^ Johnson, Shauna (March 25, 2016). "West Virginia losing more people than any other state". WV MetroNews. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "West Virginia Counties". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Archived from the original on September 23, 2001. Retrieved February 24, 2014. (WV County Etymology)
  5. ^ Otis K. Rice & Stephen W. Brown, West Virginia: A History, 2nd ed., University Press of Kentucky, Lexington (1993), p. 240.
  6. ^ United States Census Bureau, U.S. Decennial Census, Tables of Minor Civil Divisions in West Virginia, 1870–2010.
  7. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021". Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  14. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  15. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  17. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  18. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  19. ^ The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 3,071 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 1,780 votes.
  20. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". Archived from the original on June 7, 2011.
  21. ^ "Home | FestivAll". www.festivallcharleston.com. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  22. ^ "Live on the Levee". liveontheleveecharleston.com. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  23. ^ "Vandalia Gathering". www.wvculture.org. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  24. ^ "South Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau | 18th Annual Barbecue Ribfest". southcharlestonwv.org. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  25. ^ "2017 Charleston Rod Run & Doo Wop". www.charlestonwvcarshow.com. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  26. ^ "WV MetroNews – Pinch Lays Claim To Oldest Reunion". wvmetronews.com. August 10, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  27. ^ "Saint Albans Festival of Lights". Archived from the original on December 26, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Scott A. MacKenzie. "The Slaveholders' War: The Secession Crisis in Kanawha County, Western Virginia, 1860-1861," West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies - New Series, Volume 4, Number 1, Spring 2010, pp. 33–57 in Project MUSE

External links[edit]

Convention & Visitors Bureau

Coordinates: 38°20′N 81°32′W / 38.34°N 81.53°W / 38.34; -81.53