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Bladen County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Bladen County
Bladen County Courthouse, Elizabethtown
Bladen County Courthouse, Elizabethtown
Official seal of Bladen County
Seal
Map of North Carolina highlighting Bladen County
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  North Carolina
Founded 1739
Named for Martin Bladen
Seat Elizabethtown
Largest town Elizabethtown
Area
 • Total 887 sq mi (2,300 km2)
 • Land 874 sq mi (2,260 km2)
 • Water 13 sq mi (30 km2)  1.4%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2021)
29,525
 • Density 33.8/sq mi (13.1/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 7th

Bladen County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 29,606. Its county seat is Elizabethtown. The county was created in 1734 as Bladen Precinct and gained county status in 1739.

History

Bladen County was formed in 1734 as Bladen Precinct of Bath County, from New Hanover Precinct. It was named for Martin Bladen, a member of the Board of Trade. With the abolition of Bath County in 1739, all of its constituent precincts became counties.

Originally, Bladen was a vast territory with indefinite northern and western boundaries. Reductions in its extent began in 1750, when its western part became Anson County. In 1752 the northern part of Bladen County was combined with parts of Granville County and Johnston County to form Orange County. In 1754 the northern part of what was left of Bladen County became Cumberland County. In 1764 the southern part of what remained of Bladen County was combined with part of New Hanover County to form Brunswick County. In 1787 the western part of the now much smaller county became Robeson County. Finally, in 1808 the southern part of Bladen County was combined with part of Brunswick County to form Columbus County. Bladen County is considered the "mother county" of North Carolina because of the 100 counties in North Carolina, 55 of them at one point belonged to Bladen County. It is also the fourth largest county in North Carolina.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 887 square miles (2,300 km2), of which 874 square miles (2,260 km2) is land and 13 square miles (34 km2) (1.4%) is water. It is the fourth-largest county in North Carolina by land area.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 701
  • NC 11
  • NC 20
  • NC 41
  • NC 53
  • NC 87
  • NC 131
  • NC 210
  • NC 211
  • NC 242
  • NC 410

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 5,100
1800 7,028 37.8%
1810 5,671 −19.3%
1820 7,276 28.3%
1830 7,811 7.4%
1840 8,022 2.7%
1850 9,767 21.8%
1860 11,995 22.8%
1870 12,831 7.0%
1880 16,158 25.9%
1890 16,763 3.7%
1900 17,677 5.5%
1910 18,006 1.9%
1920 19,761 9.7%
1930 22,389 13.3%
1940 27,156 21.3%
1950 29,703 9.4%
1960 28,881 −2.8%
1970 26,477 −8.3%
1980 30,491 15.2%
1990 28,663 −6.0%
2000 32,278 12.6%
2010 35,190 9.0%
Est. 2021 29,525 −16.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Bladen County Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 15,830 53.47%
Black or African American 9,505 32.1%
Native American 701 2.37%
Asian 47 0.16%
Pacific Islander 8 0.03%
Other/Mixed 969 3.27%
Hispanic or Latino 2,546 8.6%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 29,606 people, 13,636 households, and 8,691 families residing in the county.

Communities

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

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Townships

  • Abbottsburg
  • Bethel
  • Bladenboro
  • Brown Marsh
  • Carvers Creek
  • Central
  • Clarkton
  • Colly
  • Cypress Creek
  • Elizabethtown
  • East Arcadia
  • Frenches Creek
  • Hollow
  • Lake Creek
  • Tarheel
  • Turnbull
  • White Oak
  • Dublin
  • Whites Creek

Population ranking

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

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Elizabethtown Town 3,583
2 Bladenboro Town 1,750
3 Clarkton Town 837
4 White Lake Town 802
5 Kelly CDP 544
6 East Arcadia Town 487
t-7 Dublin Town 338
t-7 White Oak CDP 338
8 Butters CDP 294
9 Tar Heel Town 117

Other notable information

Bladen County is also the home of the oldest documented Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) at 1622 years old.

Economy

Agriculture constitutes a major part of Bladen County's economy. Smithfield Foods employs over 5,000 workers at its pork processing facility north of the town of Tar Heel, the largest such plant in the world. The county is the largest producer of blueberries in the state. Area farmers also grow soybeans, peanuts, corn, wheat, and cotton.

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