Warren County, North Carolina

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Warren County, North Carolina
Seal of Warren County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Warren 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 1779
Named for Joseph Warren
Seat Warrenton
Largest town Norlina
 • Total 444 sq mi (1,150 km2)
 • Land 428 sq mi (1,109 km2)
 • Water 15 sq mi (39 km2), 3.4%
 • (2010) 20,972
 • Density 49/sq mi (19/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.warrencountync.com

Warren County is a county located in the Northeastern Piedmont region of North Carolina, on the northern border with Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,972.[1] Its county seat is Warrenton.[2] It was a center of tobacco and cotton plantations, and later textile mills.

The county is home to the historic Haliwa-Saponi tribe, which has received state recognition.


The county was formed in 1779 from the northern half of Bute County. It was named for Joseph Warren of Massachusetts, a physician and general in the American Revolutionary War who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Developed as tobacco and cotton plantations, the county generated considerable wealth for white planters in the antebellum years, wealth built on the labor of slaves. Its county seat of Warrenton became a center of commerce and was one of the wealthiest towns in the state from 1840 to 1860. Many planters built fine homes there.

In the later nineteenth century, the county developed textile mills. In 1881, parts of Warren County, Franklin County, and Granville County were combined to form Vance County. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Warren County's continued reliance on agriculture slowed its development. Many residents migrated to cities for work.

Since the late 20th century, county residents have worked to attract other industrial and business development. Soul City, a "planned community" development, was funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It has not been successful in attracting business and industry, and has not developed as much housing as intended.

Beginning in 1982, Warren County was the site of the Warren County PCB Landfill. Residents of the county have pursued a long environmental justice struggle to remove dangerous pollutants from the site, to improve the health of citizens. The site was not made safe until 2004.


Entering Warren County from Virginia

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 444 square miles (1,150 km2), of which 428 square miles (1,110 km2) is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (3.4%) is water.[3]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 9,379
1800 11,284 20.3%
1810 11,004 −2.5%
1820 11,158 1.4%
1830 11,877 6.4%
1840 12,919 8.8%
1850 13,912 7.7%
1860 15,726 13.0%
1870 17,768 13.0%
1880 22,619 27.3%
1890 19,360 −14.4%
1900 19,151 −1.1%
1910 20,266 5.8%
1920 21,593 6.5%
1930 23,364 8.2%
1940 23,145 −0.9%
1950 23,539 1.7%
1960 19,652 −16.5%
1970 15,810 −19.6%
1980 16,232 2.7%
1990 17,265 6.4%
2000 19,972 15.7%
2010 20,972 5.0%
Est. 2014 20,231 [4] −3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
1790-1960[6] 1900-1990[7]
1990-2000[8] 2010-2013[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 20,972 people residing in the county. 52.3% were Black or African American, 38.8% White, 5.0% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 2.0% of some other race and 1.6% of two or more races. 3.3% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 19,972 people, 7,708 households, and 5,449 families residing in the county. The population density was 47 people per square mile (18/km²). There were 10,548 housing units at an average density of 25 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 38.90% White, 54.49% Black or African American, 4.79% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.79% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. 1.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 7,708 households out of which 28.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.20% were married couples living together, 17.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.30% were non-families. 26.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.50% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 17.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 96.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,351, and the median income for a family was $33,602. Males had a median income of $26,928 versus $20,787 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,716. About 15.70% of families and 19.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.90% of those under age 18 and 20.80% of those age 65 or over.

Warren County is heavily populated by the Haliwa-Saponi, descendants of a long existing tri-racial isolate deeply rooted in the area.

Law and government[edit]

Warren County has a council-manager government, governed by a five-member Board of Commissioners. County commissioners are elected to staggered four-year terms and represent one of five single-member districts of roughly equal population. The council hires a county manager for daily administration.

District Name First
1 Barry Richardson 2004 2012 Chairman
2 Ulysses S. Ross 2002 2010 Vice Chairman
3 Ernest Fleming 2006 2010
4 Bill Davis 2006 2010
5 Jennifer Jordan 2008 2012

Since the Democratic Party supported civil rights legislation in the 1960s that helped African Americans regain their constitutional rights and has supported programs of interest to them, it has retained the loyalty of black voters. In addition, some white voters also vote Democratic. The county favors Democratic candidates over Republicans. In the 2004 election, the county's voters favored Democrat John F. Kerry over Republican George W. Bush by 65% to 35%.[10] In the 2004 governor's race, Warren County supported Democrat Mike Easley by 74% to 25% over Republican Patrick J. Ballantine.[11]

Warren County is represented in the North Carolina House of Representatives by Rep. Michael H. Wray (D-Gaston) and in the North Carolina Senate by Sen. Doug Berger (D-Youngsville). It also forms part of the 1st congressional district, which seat is held by U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D).

Warren County is a member of the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments.


Map of Warren County showing municipalities and townships


Unincorporated communities[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  7. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ Election 2004, CNN.com
  11. ^ 2004 Governor's Race, State Board of Elections
  12. ^ Leadership Biographies. Navy.mil. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°24′N 78°06′W / 36.40°N 78.10°W / 36.40; -78.10