Hickory–Lenoir–Morganton metropolitan area

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The Hickory–Lenoir–Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of four counties in the Catawba Valley region of western North Carolina. Local residents often refer to the area as the Unifour, although this name is largely unknown outside of the region.

The Census Bureau has also defined a larger Hickory–Lenoir Combined Statistical Area that includes the Unifour and McDowell County.

Hickory Metro
Hickory–Lenoir–Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of North Carolina.svg North Carolina
Principal cities - Hickory
 - Lenoir
 - Morganton
 • MSA1,666 sq mi (4,310 km2)
 • Land1,637.72 sq mi (4,241.7 km2)
 • Water34.28 sq mi (88.8 km2)
 • Urban
116.174 sq mi (300.89 km2)
305−2,560 ft (93−780 m)
 (2012 Census estimate)
 • Density220/sq mi (80/km2)
 • Urban
 • Metro
Time zoneEST
 • Summer (DST)EDT
Area code(s)704,828

The 2000 census gives the MSA's population as 341,851, with a July 1, 2009, estimate placing the population at 365,364.[1]



Anchor city[edit]

  • Hickory Catawba/Burke/Caldwell 43,490

Principal cities[edit]

Suburban cities over 5,000 in population[edit]

(Including county and 2010 census bureau population)

Suburban towns and cities under 5,000 in population[edit]

(Including county and 2010 census bureau population)

Unincorporated communities[edit]

(2010 Census figures)


Mass transit[edit]

Greenway Public Transportation offers bus service to the cities of Conover, Hickory, Morganton, and Newton.


The Hickory region is served by Interstate 40 which passes through the center of Catawba and Burke counties.

Other important US highways in the region include: US 70 (east to Morehead City, west to Asheville), and US 321 (through Catawba and Caldwell Counties).

Primary state routes include NC 10, NC 16, NC 18, NC 90, NC 127, and NC 150.


The region's primary general aviation airport is Hickory Regional Airport. The closest commercial airports are Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and Asheville Regional Airport.


With approximately twenty freight trains a day, Catawba County is a freight railroad transportation center. This is largely due to the areas strong manufacturing based economy, and its placement along the Norfolk Southern Railway line. The Caldwell County Railroad also serves the county and interchanges with Norfolk Southern in Hickory. Conover has been designated a stop on the future Western NC Rail service.[2]

Higher education[edit]


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 341,851 people, 133,966 households, and 95,583 families residing within the MSA. The racial makeup of the MSA was 87.47% White, 6.91% African American, 0.25% Native American, 2.31% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.95% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.05% of the population.

The median income for a household in the MSA was $37,647, and the median income for a family was $44,236. Males had a median income of $29,273 versus $22,266 for females. The per capita income for the MSA was $18,404.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (CBSA-EST2009-01)". 2009 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2010-03-23. Archived from the original (CSV) on June 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  2. ^ Infrastructure, Caldwell County Economic Development Commission (retrieved 16 June 2014)
  3. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.