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Ayden, North Carolina
Ayden, North Carolina.jpg
Flag of Ayden, North Carolina
Official seal of Ayden, North Carolina
"A Vibrant Community...With Hometown Charm"
Location of Ayden, North Carolina
Location of Ayden, North Carolina
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Pitt
 • Total 3.84 sq mi (9.95 km2)
 • Land 3.84 sq mi (9.95 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
66 ft (20 m)
 • Total 4,932
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,338.11/sq mi (516.64/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 252
FIPS code 37-02840
GNIS feature ID 1018886

Ayden is a town in Pitt County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 4,932 at the 2010 Census. The town is a part of the Greenville Metropolitan Area of North Carolina's Inner Banks region. The town holds an annual Collard Festival, is home to many local businesses, and currently considered one of North Carolina's smallest towns.


Ayden is located at 35°28′16″N 77°25′15″W / 35.47111°N 77.42083°W / 35.47111; -77.42083 (35.470973, -77.420740).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2), all of it land.


In 1891, William Henry Harris asked the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad to build a railroad depot on a portion of his farm in order to create a village. A 40-acre (160,000 m2) parcel of land was divided into residential lots surrounding the depot in "Harristown", with Harris owning every other lot. Within the next several years, lots were sold and homes built. Businesses began to open up to support the new residents, and on February 3, 1891, the town was incorporated as "Ayden." Within a few years, the Carolina Christian College and the Free Will Baptist Seminary were established. By 1919, Ayden had full-time electricity supplied by the Ayden municipal light plant. In 1922, the Mutual Building and Loan Association of Ayden was organized to help families obtain mortgages to build homes in Ayden.

After experiencing tough times during the Great Depression, and after the Second World War, the town began to grow. To accommodate the growth, commercial, cultural, religious, and other establishments were opened within and around Ayden. The community is still growing today thanks to the continued development of Greenville as an industrial and economic center for eastern North Carolina.

The Ayden Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 557
1910 990 77.7%
1920 1,673 69.0%
1930 1,607 −3.9%
1940 1,884 17.2%
1950 2,282 21.1%
1960 3,108 36.2%
1970 3,450 11.0%
1980 4,361 26.4%
1990 4,740 8.7%
2000 4,622 −2.5%
2010 4,932 6.7%
2019 (est.) 5,141 4.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,622 people, 1,936 households, and 1,217 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,994.5 people per square mile (769.2/km2). There were 2,067 housing units at an average density of 892.0 per square mile (344.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 47.64% White, 49.52% African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.32% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.21% of the population.

There were 1,936 households, out of which 7.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 12% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.4% were married couples living together, 20.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 12.6% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.6% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females, there were 78.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 70.3 males.

Caution needed
While Ayden is known to being open to all people, alive or dead, caution is still needed

The median income for a household in the town was $24,004, and the median income for a family was $34,808. Males had a median income of $30,991 versus $22,305 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,505. About 21.0% of families and 26.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.4% of those under age 18 and 34.1% of those age 65 or over.

Local events

The Ayden Collard Festival is held the week immediately following Labor Day in September. The annual event started in 1975 and includes a Collard Queen contest which has been renamed as the Miss Ayden contest, sporting events, rides, live music, food, and a parade.


Education in Ayden is administered by the Pitt County Public School System. The three schools located in Ayden include Ayden Elementary School, Ayden Middle School and Ayden-Grifton High School.

Higher education is provided by Pitt Community College, located between Ayden and Greenville. East Carolina University is located in downtown Greenville.

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