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Alexander County, North Carolina
Seal of Alexander County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Alexander County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the USA highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1847
Seat Taylorsville
Largest town Taylorsville
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

264 sq mi (684 km²)
260 sq mi (673 km²)
3.7 sq mi (10 km²), 1.4%
 - (2010)
 - Density

143/sq mi (55/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Named for: William Julius Alexander

Alexander County is a county in North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,198. Its county seat is Taylorsville.

Alexander County is part of the HickoryLenoirMorganton, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Alexander County was chartered in 1847 by the North Carolina General Assembly. It was formed from portions of what were then Iredell, Caldwell, Wilkes counties. The county was named for William Julius Alexander who was a Speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons. This Piedmont area was settled primarily by farmers, many of Scots-Irish descent.

Alexander County was established in 1847, the year of the first sale of land in the county seat (Taylorsville). With the proceeds from the sale, the county built the first courthouse on the present site. When the Civil War began, Alexander County was 14 years old. The 1860 population was 5,837; yet Alexander County ranked high per capita in the number of Confederate soldiers it sent to the war. Taylorsville is the namesake of either John Louis Taylor, Carolina agriculturist and political philosopher, or General Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the United States.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 264 square miles (680 km2), of which 260 square miles (670 km2) is land and 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2) (1.4%) is water.

Alexander County is located within the Piedmont region of western North Carolina. The county's main geographic feature is the Brushy Mountains, a deeply eroded spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. The "Brushies," as they are called locally, rise from 300 to 1,000 feet (300 m) above the surrounding countryside, and dominate the county's northern horizon. The highest point in Alexander County is Hickory Knob in the Brushies; it has an elevation of 2,560 feet (780 m) above sea level. Barrett Mountain, an isolated mountain ridge, is in the western part of the county. The remainder of Alexander County's terrain consists of gently rolling countryside. The county's largest river, the Catawba, forms its southern border.

Within Alexander County is the unincorporated town of Hiddenite, the location of a mine that yields emeralds, sapphires, and its namesake stone "hiddenite," a variety of spodumene.

The county is served by US Highway 64, a controlled-access roadway connecting Taylorsville with Lenoir and Statesville. NC Highways 90, 16, and 127 also serve the county. Interstate 40 and 77 are 30 minutes from the majority of county residents. The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is an hour's drive from most parts of the county. The area is also served by the Hickory Regional Airport (30 minutes) and the Statesville Airport (20 minutes). The Alexander Railroad Company is an active short-line rail system operating between Taylorsville and Statesville, and connecting with Norfolk Southern.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 5,220
1860 6,022 15.4%
1870 6,868 14.0%
1880 8,355 21.7%
1890 9,430 12.9%
1900 10,960 16.2%
1910 11,592 5.8%
1920 12,212 5.3%
1930 12,922 5.8%
1940 13,454 4.1%
1950 14,554 8.2%
1960 15,625 7.4%
1970 19,466 24.6%
1980 24,999 28.4%
1990 27,544 10.2%
2000 33,603 22.0%
2010 37,198 10.7%
Est. 2015 37,325 0.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2014

As of the census of 2000, there were 33,603 people, 13,137 households, and 9,747 families residing in the county. The population density was 129 people per square mile (50/km²). There were 14,098 housing units at an average density of 54 per square mile (21/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.00% White, 4.63% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 1.04% Asian, 1.34% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 2.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 13,137 households out of which 32.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.50% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.80% were non-families. 21.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.50% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 11.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 99.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,684, and the median income for a family was $45,691. Males had a median income of $29,857 versus $21,868 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,507. About 5.90% of families and 8.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.20% of those under age 18 and 14.60% of those age 65 or over.


Major highways

  • US 64
  • NC 16
  • NC 90
  • NC 127


The county is served by one railroad, the Alexander Railroad Company.


Map of Alexander County North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Alexander County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels



The county is divided into eight townships: Bethelehem, Ellendale, Gwaltney, Little River, Sugar Loaf, Taylorsville, Wittenburg, and Stony Point.

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

  • Drumstand
  • Vashti
  • Ellendale
  • Wittenburg
  • Sugar Loaf
  • Little River
  • Millersville

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Alexander County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Bethlehem CDP 4,214
2 Taylorsville Town 2,098
3 Stony Point (partially in Iredell County) CDP 1,317
4 Hiddenite CDP 536
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