New Hanover County, North Carolina

Coordinates: 34°11′N 77°52′W / 34.18°N 77.86°W / 34.18; -77.86
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Hanover County
New Hanover County Courthouse
Flag of New Hanover County
Official seal of New Hanover County
Motto: 
"The model of good governance"
Map of North Carolina highlighting New Hanover 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: 34°11′N 77°52′W / 34.18°N 77.86°W / 34.18; -77.86
Country United States
State North Carolina
Founded1729
Named forHouse of Hanover
SeatWilmington
Largest communityWilmington
Area
 • Total328.86 sq mi (851.7 km2)
 • Land192.26 sq mi (498.0 km2)
 • Water136.60 sq mi (353.8 km2)  41.54%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total225,702
 • Estimate 
(2023)
238,852
 • Density1,173.94/sq mi (453.26/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district7th
Websitewww.nhcgov.com

New Hanover County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2020 census, the population was 225,702.[1] Though the second-smallest county in North Carolina by land area,[2] it is one of the most populous, as its county seat, Wilmington,[3] is one of the state's largest communities. The county was created in 1729 as New Hanover Precinct and gained county status in 1739.[4] New Hanover County is included in the Wilmington, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area, which also includes neighboring Pender and Brunswick counties.

History[edit]

Located in the Low Country or Tidewater of North Carolina, the county was formed in 1729 as New Hanover Precinct of Bath County, from Craven Precinct. It was named for the House of Hanover, a German royal family then ruling Great Britain.[5]

In 1734 parts of New Hanover Precinct became Bladen Precinct and Onslow Precinct. With the abolition of Bath County in 1739, all of its constituent precincts became counties.

In 1750 the northern part of New Hanover County became Duplin County. In 1764 another part of New Hanover County was combined with part of Bladen County to form Brunswick County. Finally, in 1875 the separation of northern New Hanover County to form Pender County reduced it to its present dimensions. The county was developed as plantations, largely for the cultivation of tobacco and other commodity crops by enslaved African Americans.[6]

By 1860, the county seat and county were majority-black in population, with most of those people enslaved. Some of the closing battles of the American Civil War took place in this county, including the Second Battle of Fort Fisher (the last major coastal stronghold of the Confederacy) and the Battle of Wilmington. White Democrats were resentful when freedmen were given the vote.

Following the Reconstruction era, white Democrats regained control of the state legislature and continued to impose white supremacy across the state through Jim Crow laws. Violence by whites against blacks increased in the late 19th century, with 22 lynching deaths of African Americans recorded before the mid-20th century.[7][8]

Racial terrorism on a larger scale took place in the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898, when a group of white Democrats rejected a duly elected, biracial city government. After overthrowing the Fusionist government, the mayor and city council, they led mobs that rioted and attacked the city's black neighborhoods and residents. A total of 60 to 300 blacks are believed to have been killed in the rioting, leaders were driven out of the city, and the presses of a black-owned newspaper were destroyed, along with many houses and businesses.[9][10]

The insurrection was planned by a group of nine conspirators, who included Hugh MacRae. He later donated land to New Hanover County for a park; it was named in his honor. A plaque was installed there explaining the donation and his life; it does not refer to his role in the 1898 coup d'état.[11] However, in July 2020, the name of the park was changed from "Hugh McRae Park" to "Long Leaf Park" due to his role in the insurrection.[12]

Soon after, the state passed a new constitution raising barriers to voter registration: this effectively disenfranchised most blacks and imposed Jim Crow laws, forcing blacks out of the political system and into legal second-class status. These civil rights injustices were largely maintained into the 1960s, three generations later.[13]

Geography[edit]

Map
Interactive map of New Hanover County
Intersection of South College Road, South 17th Street, and Waltmoor Road from the air
The surf at Carolina Beach

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 328.86 square miles (851.7 km2), of which 192.26 square miles (498.0 km2) is land and 136.60 square miles (353.8 km2) (41.54%) is water.[14] It is the second-smallest county in North Carolina by land area (ahead of only Chowan County).

State and local protected areas/sites[edit]

Major water bodies[edit]

Major islands[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Major infrastructure[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
17906,837
18007,0603.3%
181011,46562.4%
182010,866−5.2%
183010,9590.9%
184013,31221.5%
185017,66832.7%
186021,71522.9%
187027,97828.8%
188021,376−23.6%
189024,02612.4%
190025,7857.3%
191032,03724.2%
192040,62026.8%
193043,0105.9%
194047,93511.5%
195063,27232.0%
196071,74213.4%
197082,99615.7%
1980103,47124.7%
1990120,28416.2%
2000160,30733.3%
2010202,66726.4%
2020225,70211.4%
2023 (est.)238,852[1]5.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[21]
1790–1960[22] 1900–1990[23]
1990–2000[24] 2010[25] 2020[1]

2020 census[edit]

New Hanover County racial composition[26]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 167,150 74.06%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 26,974 11.95%
Native American 678 0.3%
Asian 3,468 1.54%
Pacific Islander 148 0.07%
Other/Mixed 9,984 4.42%
Hispanic or Latino 17,300 7.66%

As of the 2020 census, there were 225,702 people, 100,189 households, and 56,160 families residing in the county.

2000 census[edit]

At the 2000 census,[27] there were 160,307 people, 68,183 households, and 41,591 families residing in the county. The population density was 806 people per square mile (311 people/km2). There were 79,616 housing units at an average density of 400 units per square mile (150 units/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 79.91% White, 16.97% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.79% from other races, and 1.05% from two or more races. 2.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14.3% were of English, 13.0% United States or American, 10.6% German and 10.2% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 68,183 households, out of which 26.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.50% were married couples living together, 11.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.00% were non-families. 28.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size were 2.29 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 21.00% under the age of 18, 12.00% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 12.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,172, and the median income for a family was $50,861. Males had a median income of $35,801 versus $25,305 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,123. About 8.30% of families and 13.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.70% of those under age 18 and 9.00% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government[edit]

W. Allen Cobb Judicial Annex in Wilmington
New Hanover County Jail and Sheriff's Office in unincorporated Castle Hayne

New Hanover County is governed by a county commission. The commission comprises five members elected at-large in four-year staggered terms. The body elects its own chairman and vice-chairman. It sets policy for county administration within the confines of state law, adopts local ordinances, appoints advisory committees, and enacts an annual county budget.[28]

New Hanover County is represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Republican David Rouzer, who is the representative for North Carolina's 7th congressional district. From 2012 to 2017, a portion of northwestern and central New Hanover County was redistricted to North Carolina's 3rd congressional district, which was represented by Republican Walter B. Jones Jr. before his death. The county is also in the 9th district of the North Carolina Senate, represented by Republican Michael V. Lee, and the 18th, 19th, and 20th districts of the North Carolina House of Representatives, represented by two Republicans and one Democrat.

New Hanover County is a member of the regional Cape Fear Council of Governments.

New Hanover County Sheriff's Office (NHCSO) serves as the county's primary law enforcement agency. NHCSO is responsible for patrolling the county (primarily outside the Wilmington city limits), staffing the juvenile and adult correctional facilities and, proving court security for the W. Allen Cobb Judicial Annex in Wilmington.

Politics[edit]

New Hanover County is politically competitive.[29][30] It favored Republican presidential candidates every election between 1968 and 2016, except in 1976, with county favoring Democrat Joe Biden in 2020. The county has also favored Democratic U.S. Senate candidates in recent elections, though Republicans still tend to perform better in local contests.[29]

United States presidential election results for New Hanover County, North Carolina[31]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 63,331 48.04% 66,138 50.17% 2,361 1.79%
2016 55,344 49.46% 50,979 45.56% 5,582 4.99%
2012 53,385 51.52% 48,668 46.96% 1,575 1.52%
2008 50,544 50.21% 49,145 48.82% 976 0.97%
2004 45,351 55.82% 35,572 43.78% 324 0.40%
2000 36,503 55.04% 29,292 44.17% 524 0.79%
1996 27,889 50.92% 22,839 41.70% 4,041 7.38%
1992 24,338 46.67% 20,291 38.91% 7,525 14.43%
1988 23,807 60.56% 15,401 39.18% 105 0.27%
1984 23,771 65.21% 12,591 34.54% 90 0.25%
1980 17,243 53.48% 13,670 42.40% 1,331 4.13%
1976 13,687 48.06% 14,504 50.93% 286 1.00%
1972 19,060 74.41% 5,894 23.01% 661 2.58%
1968 10,020 37.03% 7,750 28.64% 9,291 34.33%
1964 12,140 49.10% 12,584 50.90% 0 0.00%
1960 9,775 42.58% 13,182 57.42% 0 0.00%
1956 9,470 48.03% 10,247 51.97% 0 0.00%
1952 9,330 47.46% 10,330 52.54% 0 0.00%
1948 3,162 28.25% 5,364 47.92% 2,667 23.83%
1944 2,829 23.01% 9,467 76.99% 0 0.00%
1940 1,635 15.97% 8,600 84.03% 0 0.00%
1936 1,306 15.04% 7,379 84.96% 0 0.00%
1932 1,430 18.81% 6,030 79.33% 141 1.86%
1928 4,248 60.62% 2,760 39.38% 0 0.00%
1924 1,190 18.80% 4,735 74.80% 405 6.40%
1920 712 14.79% 4,102 85.21% 0 0.00%
1916 492 17.28% 2,355 82.72% 0 0.00%
1912 140 6.17% 2,021 89.11% 107 4.72%
1908 511 21.58% 1,857 78.42% 0 0.00%
1904 91 6.77% 1,254 93.23% 0 0.00%
1900 60 2.60% 2,247 97.40% 0 0.00%
1896 3,183 58.17% 2,100 38.38% 189 3.45%
1892 1,500 38.01% 2,408 61.02% 38 0.96%
1888 2,856 60.43% 1,870 39.57% 0 0.00%
1884 2,894 62.38% 1,745 37.62% 0 0.00%
1880 2,200 55.88% 1,438 36.53% 299 7.59%

Education[edit]

The county is served by New Hanover County Schools.

Healthcare[edit]

New Hanover Regional Medical Center is a hospital in Wilmington. It was established in 1967 as a public hospital, and it was the first hospital in the city to admit patients of all races.[32] It was operated by New Hanover County.[33] In February 2021 Novant Health, a nonprofit private organization, acquired the hospital.[34]

Communities[edit]

Map of New Hanover County with municipal and township labels

City[edit]

Towns[edit]

Townships[edit]

  • Cape Fear
  • Federal Point
  • Harnett
  • Masonboro
  • Wilmington

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated community[edit]

Former communities[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "QuickFacts: New Hanover County, North Carolina". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  2. ^ "North Carolina Land Area County Rank". USA.com. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "North Carolina: Individual County Chronologies". North Carolina Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2009. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  5. ^ Proffitt, Martie (April 17, 1983). "Local history offers tasty tidbits". Star-News. pp. 8C. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  6. ^ Lennon, Donald R.; SLNC Government and Heritage Library (2006). Powell, William S. (ed.). "Cape Fear River Settlements". NCpedia. University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  7. ^ "Lynching in America/Supplement: Lynching by County, 3rd edition" Archived 2017-10-23 at the Wayback Machine, 2017, Montgomery, Alabama: Equal Justice Initiative, p. 7
  8. ^ Johnson, Allen. "Allen Johnson: Lynching memorial a stark reminder of terrorism in America". Greensboro News and Record. Retrieved March 12, 2023.
  9. ^ "1898 Wilmington Coup". www.dncr.nc.gov. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  10. ^ Zucchino, David (July 1, 2020). "The 1898 Wilmington Massacre Is an Essential Lesson in How State Violence Has Targeted Black Americans". Time. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  11. ^ Still, Johanna F. (June 22, 2020). "County quietly removed at least three Hugh MacRae Park signs after they were vandalized". Port City Daily. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  12. ^ Weller, Frances (July 14, 2020). "Hugh MacRae Park name change to take place immediately, signs removed". WECT. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  13. ^ Medlin, Eric. "Jim Crow". NCpedia. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  14. ^ "2020 County Gazetteer Files – North Carolina". United States Census Bureau. August 23, 2022. Retrieved September 9, 2023.
  15. ^ a b "NCWRC Game Lands". www.ncpaws.org. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  16. ^ "Freeman Park". www.carolinabeach.org. Retrieved June 14, 2023.
  17. ^ "Pages Creek Park Preserve". www.nhcgov.com. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  18. ^ Wood, Andy; Shew, Roger (March 30, 2023). "Island Creek Basin Ecosystems: An Imperiled Biodiversity Hotspot". newhanoversheriff.com. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  19. ^ "Prince George Creek Near Wrightsboro, NC (USGS-02108622)". www.waterqualitydata.us. April 23, 2023. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  20. ^ Nunn, Scott (January 4, 2022). "Eagles Island is mostly undeveloped. That wasn't always the case". WHQR. Retrieved April 15, 2024.
  21. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  22. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  23. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  24. ^ "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 18, 2015.
  25. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 27, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  27. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  28. ^ "County Commissioners & Clerk : About Us". New Hanover County. Retrieved October 27, 2023.
  29. ^ a b Still, Johanna; Cunningham, Eric (October 25, 2023). "Battle for the 'Burbs". The Assembly. Archived from the original on October 26, 2023.
  30. ^ Still, Johanna F. (November 6, 2020). "With polarization seemingly reaching all-time highs, New Hanover, N.C. still purple". Port City Daily. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  31. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  32. ^ Rau, Jordan (January 28, 2021). "In the midst of the pandemic, a public hospital is gobbled up". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  33. ^ "Annual Financial Report New Hanover Regional Medical Center Wilmington, North Carolina (A Component Unit of New Hanover County, North Carolina) Years Ended September 30, 2019 and 2018 With Report of Independent Auditor" (PDF). New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 30, 2021. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  34. ^ Paavola, Alia (February 1, 2021). "Novant buys North Carolina health system". Beckers Hospital Review. Retrieved November 19, 2021.

External links[edit]