Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

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Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Flag of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Seal of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Mecklenburg 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 November 6, 1762
Named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Seat Charlotte
Largest city Charlotte
 • Total 546 sq mi (1,414 km2)
 • Land 524 sq mi (1,357 km2)
 • Water 22 sq mi (57 km2), 4.0%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 1,012,539
 • Density 1,932.3/sq mi (746/km²)
Demonym(s) Mecklenburger
Congressional districts 8th, 9th, 12th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Mecklenburg County is a county located in the state of North Carolina, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 919,628, which increased to 1,012,539 as of the 2014 estimate,[1] making it both the most populated and densely populated county in North Carolina. Its county seat and largest city is Charlotte.[2]

Mecklenburg County is included in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

On September 12, 2013, the county welcomed its one millionth resident.[3]


Mecklenburg County was formed in 1762 from the western part of Anson County. It was named in commemoration of the marriage of King George III to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz,[4] for whom the county seat Charlotte is named. Due to unsure boundaries, a large part of south and western Mecklenburg County extended into areas that would later form part of the state of South Carolina. In 1768, most of this area (the part of Mecklenburg County west of the Catawba River) was designated Tryon County, North Carolina. Determining the final boundaries of these "western" areas between North and South Carolina was a decades-long process. In 1792 the northeastern part of Mecklenburg County was taken for Cabarrus County. Finally, in 1842 the southeastern part of Mecklenburg County was combined with the western part of Anson County to become Union County.

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was allegedly signed on May 20, 1775; if the document is genuine, Mecklenburg County was the first part of the Thirteen Colonies to declare independence from Great Britain.

From 1945 to 1972, Mecklenburg county sterilized 403 people, far more than any other county in North Carolina, in an experiment in genetic engineering called eugenics.[5]

In 1971, Mecklenburg County was the site of an important case in the American civil rights movement with Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.[6]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 546 square miles (1,410 km2), of which 524 square miles (1,360 km2) is land and 22 square miles (57 km2) (4.0%) is water.[7]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 11,395
1800 10,439 −8.4%
1810 14,272 36.7%
1820 16,895 18.4%
1830 20,073 18.8%
1840 18,273 −9.0%
1850 13,914 −23.9%
1860 17,374 24.9%
1870 24,299 39.9%
1880 34,175 40.6%
1890 42,673 24.9%
1900 55,268 29.5%
1910 67,031 21.3%
1920 80,695 20.4%
1930 127,971 58.6%
1940 151,826 18.6%
1950 197,052 29.8%
1960 272,111 38.1%
1970 354,656 30.3%
1980 404,270 14.0%
1990 511,433 26.5%
2000 695,454 36.0%
2010 919,628 32.2%
Est. 2014 1,012,539 [8] 10.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2013[1]
Population grew 2.5% per year from 1970 to 2008

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 695,454 people, 273,416 households, and 174,986 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,322 people per square mile (510/km²). There were 292,780 housing units at an average density of 556 per square mile (215/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 64.02% White, 27.87% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 3.15% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.01% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 6.45% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race .

There were 273,416 households out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.70% were married couples living together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.00% were non-families. 27.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.10% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 36.40% from 25 to 44, 20.30% from 45 to 64, and 8.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 96.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $50,579, and the median income for a family was $60,608. Males had a median income of $40,934 versus $30,100 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,352. About 6.60% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.50% of those under age 18 and 9.30% of those age 65 or over.

Law, government and politics[edit]

Presidential Election Results 1960-2008[14]
Year Democratic Republican
2012 60.7% 272,262 38.2% 171,668
2008 61.8% 253,958 37.4% 153,848
2004 51.6% 166,828 48.0% 155,084
2000 48.2%126,911 51.0% 134,068
1996 48.6% 103,429 45.9% 97,719
1992 42.5% 97.065 43.6% 99,496
1988 40.2% 71,907 59.4% 106,236
1984 37.1% 63,190 62.7% 106,754
1980 46.8% 66.995 47.8% 68,384
1976 50.4% 63,198 49.2% 61,715
1972 29.8% 33,730 68.5% 77,546
1968 28.9% 31,102 52.4% 56,325
1964 51.6% 49,582 48.4% 46,589
1960 44.9% 39,362 55.1% 48,250

Mecklenburg County is a member of the regional Centralina Council of Governments.

The County has two governing bodies: the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. Both are nine-member boards. Each elects six district representatives and three at-large representatives elected by the entire county.

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners consists of nine (9) members. 3 are elected at-large (County wide) and 6 are elected from Districts. Each District has a population of approximately 165,000 individuals. All seats are partisan and are for 2-year terms (elections occur in even years). The current chairman of the Mecklenburg BOCC is Trevor Fuller (D, At-large). The Current Vice-Chair is Dumont Clarke (D, District 4).

The nine (9) members of the Board of County Commissioners are:

Trevor Fuller (D, At-Large - Chairman) Pat Cotham (D, At-Large), Ella Scarborough (D, At-Large), Jim Puckett (R, District 1), Vilma leake (D, District 2), George Dunlap (D, District 3), Dumont Clarke (D, District 4 - Vice-Chairman), Matthew Ridenhour (R, District 5), and Bill James (R, District 6).

The current Chairman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School board is Mary T. McCray (At-Large). The Vice Chair is Timothy S. Morgan (At-Large). The members of the Board of Education are: Rhonda Lennon (District 1), Thelma Byers-Bailey (District 2), Joyce Davis Waddell (District 3), Tom Tate (District 4), Eric C. Davis (District 5), Paul Bailey (District 6), and Ericka Ellis-Stewart (At-Large). The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School board is non-partisan, and staggered elections are held every two years (in odd years).

The residents of Mecklenburg County are provided emergency medical service by MEDIC, the Mecklenburg EMS Agency.

Mecklenburg County voted for Obama/Biden in the 2012 United States presidential election by 60.65% to Romney/Ryan 38.24%.[15]


Data represents January 1990 to November 2009
Data represents January 1990 to November 2009

The major industries of Mecklenburg County are banking, manufacturing, and professional services, especially those supporting banking and medicine. Mecklenburg County is home to six Fortune 500 companies,[16] including 21st-ranked Bank of America.

Fortune 500 Companies with headquarters in Mecklenburg County

Name Industry Revenue Rank
1. Bank of America Banking $100.1 billion 21[17]
2. Duke Energy Utilities $19.6 billion 145[18]
3. Nucor Metals $19.4 billion 146[19]
4. Family Dollar Retail $9.3 billion 287[20]
5. Sonic Automotive Automotive Retailing $8.5 billion 307[21]
6. SPX Electronics $5.9 billion 431[22]

Wachovia, a former Fortune 500 Company had its headquarters in Charlotte until it was acquired by Wells Fargo for $15.1 billion. Wells Fargo maintains the majority of the former company's operations in Charlotte. The Federal Reserve approved the merger on October 12, 2008.[23]

Goodrich Corporation, a former Fortune 500 Company had its headquarters in Charlotte until it was acquired by United Technologies Corporation for $18.4 billion. Charlotte is now the headquarters for UTC Aerospace Systems.[24]

Mecklenburg County's largest employer is Carolinas Healthcare System, with 26,283 employees, followed closely by Wells Fargo (20,000) and Bank of America (13,960).[25]


School system[edit]

One common school district, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), serves the entire county; however, the State of North Carolina has a number of Charter Schools in Mecklenburg County (independently operated schools financed with tax dollars).

Colleges and universities[edit]


The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County serves residents of Mecklenburg County. Library cards from any branch can be used at all 20 locations. The library has an extensive collection (over 1.5 million items) of reference and popular materials including DVDs, Books on CD, best sellers, downloadable media, and books.

The Billy Graham Library contains the papers and memorabilia related to the career of the well-known 20th century evangelist, Billy Graham.



The county's primary commercial aviation airport is Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte.

Intercity rail[edit]

With twenty-five freight trains a day, Mecklenburg is a freight railroad transportation center, largely due to its place on the NS main line between Washington and Atlanta and the large volumes of freight moving in and out of the county via truck.

Mecklenburg County is served daily by three Amtrak routes.

The Crescent train connects Charlotte with New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlottesville, and Greensboro to the north, and Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans to the south.

The Carolinian train connects Charlotte with New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro.

The Piedmont train connects Charlotte with Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro.

The Amtrak station is located at 1914 North Tryon Street.

A new centralized multimodial train station, Gateway Station, has been planned. It is expected to house the future LYNX Purple Line, the new Greyhound bus station, and the Crescent line that passes through Uptown Charlotte.

Mecklenburg County is also the proposed southern terminus for the initial segment of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor operating between Charlotte and Washington, D.C. Currently in conceptual design, the SEHSR would eventually run from Washington, D.C. to Macon, Georgia.

Light rail and mass transit[edit]

Light rail service in Mecklenburg County is provided by LYNX Rapid Transit Services. Currently a 9.6-mile (15.4 km) line running from Uptown to Pineville, build-out is expected to be complete by 2034.

Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus service serves all of Mecklenburg County, including Charlotte, and the municipalities of Davidson, Huntersville, Cornelius, Matthews, Pineville, and Mint Hill.

The vintage Charlotte Trolley also operates in partnership with CATS. On July 14, 2015, the Goldrush Streetcar, became operable in Uptown once again after several decades of departure. The line currently runs from Trade Street, near Charlotte Transportation and Convention Center to Elizabeth Avenue. In addition to several restaurants, this line also services Central Piedmont Community College and Novant Health Presbyterian Hospital. The city is currently in the process of applying for a $50,000,000 Federal Transportation Grant, which will achieve an expansion servicing John C. Smith University to the West and East along Central Avenue.


Mecklenburg's manufacturing base, its central location on the Eastern Seaboard and the intersection of two major interstates in the county have made it a hub for the trucking industry.

Major roadways[edit]

Arts and culture[edit]

Museums and libraries[edit]

Sports and entertainment[edit]

Music and performing arts venues[edit]

Amusement parks[edit]

Other attractions[edit]


Map of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
1923 Map of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina showing original Township boundaries

Mecklenburg County contains seven municipalities including the City of Charlotte and the towns of Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville (north of Charlotte); and the towns of Matthews, Mint Hill, and Pineville (south and southeast of Charlotte). Small portions of Stallings and Weddington are also in Mecklenburg County, though most of those towns are in Union County. Extraterritorial jurisdictions within the county are annexed by municipalities as soon as they reach sufficient concentrations.



Unincorporated communities[edit]


  • Berryhill
  • Charlotte
  • Clear Creek
  • Crab Orchard
  • Deweese
  • Huntersville
  • Lemley
  • Long Creek
  • Mallard Creek
  • Morning Star
  • Paw Creek
  • Pineville
  • Providence
  • Sharon (extinct)
  • Steele Creek

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 204. 
  5. ^ Helms, Ann Doss and Tomlinson, Tommy (26 September 2011). "Wallace Kuralt's era of sterilization: Mecklenburg's impoverished had few, if any, rights in the '50s and '60s as he oversaw one of the most aggressive efforts to sterilize certain populations". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Green, Robert P. Jr. (2002). Historic US Court Cases : An Encyclopedia, Volume II Second Edition. Routledge. p. 666. ISBN 978-0-415-93756-6. 
  7. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  11. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Fortune 500 Companies". Charlotte Chamber Web Site. Retrieved 2013-07-15. 
  17. ^ Bank of America Corp. - Fortune 500 2013 - Fortune. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  18. ^ Duke Energy - Fortune 500 2013 - Fortune. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  19. ^ Nucor - Fortune 500 2013 - Fortune. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  20. ^ Family Dollar Stores - Fortune 500 2013 - Fortune. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  21. ^ Sonic Automotive - Fortune 500 2013 - Fortune. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  22. ^ SPX - Fortune 500 2013 - Fortune. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  23. ^ "FRB: Press Release--Approval of proposal by Wells Fargo & Company to acquire Wachovia Corporation". Federal Reserve Board. 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  24. ^ United Technologies completes Goodrich acquisition
  25. ^ "Largest Employers". Charlotte Chamber Web Site. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  26. ^ a b c Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 
  27. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°15′N 80°50′W / 35.25°N 80.83°W / 35.25; -80.83