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Alleghany County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Alleghany County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Alleghany County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the USA highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1859
Seat Sparta
Largest town Sparta
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

237 sq mi (614 km²)
235 sq mi (609 km²)
1.5 sq mi (4 km²), 0.6%
 - (2010)
 - Density

47/sq mi (18/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Named for: Alleghany Mountains
Piney Creek Methodist Church
Piney Creek Methodist Church Piney Creek, NC

Alleghany /ælɪˈɡn/ County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,155. Its county seat is Sparta.


The county was formed in 1859 from the eastern part of Ashe County, North Carolina. It was named for the Allegheny Mountains. Numerous boundary adjustments have been made since it was established, but none have resulted in new counties.

Geography and climate

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 235 square miles (610 km2), of which 235 square miles (610 km2) is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) (0.6%) is water. It is the fifth-smallest county in North Carolina by total area with just over 235 square miles, ranking 95 out of 100 total counties in the state.

Alleghany County is located in northwestern North Carolina, and its northern border is with the State of Virginia. The county is located entirely within the Appalachian Mountains region of western North Carolina. Most of the county is located atop a rolling plateau that ranges from 2,500 feet (760 m) to 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level. The southern border of the county drops abruptly nearly 1,500 feet (460 m) to the Foothills region of North Carolina. The plateau is crossed by numerous hills and mountains. The highest point in the county is Peach Bottom Mountain - Catherine Knob at 4,175 feet (1,273 m) above sea level. The major rivers of Alleghany County are the New River, and the Little River; the latter flows through the town of Sparta, the county seat.

Due to its elevation, Alleghany County enjoys slightly cooler summers than the lowland areas to the east and south, with temperatures seldom rising over 90 °F (32 °C). In the winter, however, temperatures can frequently be colder than would be expected in a southern state. Daytime highs can fall into the teens or lower, and snowfall can be extremely heavy at times. According to, the average temperature is 52.85 °F (11.58 °C).

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 21
  • US 221
  • NC 18
  • NC 88
  • NC 93
  • NC 113

National protected area

  • Blue Ridge Parkway (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 3,590
1870 3,691 2.8%
1880 5,486 48.6%
1890 6,523 18.9%
1900 7,759 18.9%
1910 7,745 −0.2%
1920 7,403 −4.4%
1930 7,186 −2.9%
1940 8,341 16.1%
1950 8,155 −2.2%
1960 7,734 −5.2%
1970 8,134 5.2%
1980 9,587 17.9%
1990 9,590 0.0%
2000 10,677 11.3%
2010 11,155 4.5%
Est. 2015 10,837 −2.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2000, there were 10,677 people, 4,593 households, and 3,169 families residing in the county. The population density was 46 people per square mile (18/km²). There were 6,412 housing units at an average density of 27 per square mile (11/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.69% White, 1.23% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.75% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 4.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,593 households out of which 24.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.30% were married couples living together, 7.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.00% were non-families. 27.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.75.

In the county, the population was spread out with 19.40% under the age of 18, 7.40% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 27.70% from 45 to 64, and 19.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 97.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,244, and the median income for a family was $38,473. Males had a median income of $25,462 versus $18,851 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,691. About 11.30% of families and 17.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.80% of those under age 18 and 25.00% of those age 65 or over.


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



  • Cherry Lane
  • Cranberry
  • Gap Civil
  • Glade Creek
  • Piney Creek
  • Prathers Creek
  • Whitehead

Unincorporated communities

Population ranking

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

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
only incorporated community Sparta Town 1,770
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