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Davidson County, North Carolina
Seal of Davidson County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Davidson County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the USA highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1822
Seat Lexington
Largest City Thomasville
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

567 sq mi (1,469 km²)
553 sq mi (1,432 km²)
14 sq mi (36 km²), 2.5%
 - (2010)
 - Density

295/sq mi (114/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Named for: William Lee Davidson

Davidson County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 162,878. Its county seat is Lexington, and its largest city is Thomasville.

Davidson County is included in the Winston-Salem, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, NC Combined Statistical Area.

Parts of Davidson County are in the Yadkin Valley wine region.


The original North Carolina county of this name was created in 1786 what was then the far western portion of North Carolina, with its county seat at Nashville and a territory covering most of what is now Middle Tennessee. When Tennessee was established as a separate state in 1796, this county became Davidson County, Tennessee.

The current North Carolina county was formed in 1822 from Rowan County. It was named after Brigadier General William Lee Davidson, an American Revolutionary War general killed at the Battle of Cowan's Ford on the Catawba River in 1781.

In 1911, a new county called Piedmont County was proposed, with High Point as its county seat, to be created from Guilford, Davidson and Randolph Counties. Many people appeared at the Guilford County courthouse to oppose the plan, vowing to go to the state legislature to protest. The state legislature voted down the plan in February 1911.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 567 square miles (1,470 km2), of which 553 square miles (1,430 km2) is land and 14 square miles (36 km2) (2.5%) is water.

Davidson County is located entirely within the Piedmont region of central North Carolina. The Piedmont consists of gently rolling terrain frequently broken by hills or shallow valleys formed by rivers and streams. An exception to this terrain are the Uwharrie Mountains in the county's western and southwestern sections. The Uwharries are the oldest mountain range in North America, above sea level.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Uwharrie National Forest (part)

Major highways

  • I-85
  • I-85 Bus.
  • US 29
  • US 52
  • US 64
  • US 70
  • NC 8
  • NC 47
  • NC 49
  • NC 62
  • NC 68
  • NC 109
  • NC 150


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 13,389
1840 14,606 9.1%
1850 15,320 4.9%
1860 16,601 8.4%
1870 17,414 4.9%
1880 20,333 16.8%
1890 21,702 6.7%
1900 23,403 7.8%
1910 29,404 25.6%
1920 35,201 19.7%
1930 47,865 36.0%
1940 53,377 11.5%
1950 62,244 16.6%
1960 79,493 27.7%
1970 95,627 20.3%
1980 113,162 18.3%
1990 126,677 11.9%
2000 147,246 16.2%
2010 162,878 10.6%
Est. 2015 164,622 1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013
Lexington NC Arts United of Davidson County
Arts United of Davidson County

As of the census of 2010, there were 149,331 people, 58,156 households, and 42,512 families residing in the county. The population density was 267 people per square mile (103/km²). There were 62,432 housing units at an average density of 113 per square mile (44/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.05% White, 11.14% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.82% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.66% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. 3.24% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 58,156 households out of which 32.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.00% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.90% were non-families. 22.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.30% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 31.20% from 25 to 44, 24.10% from 45 to 64, and 12.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,640, and the median income for a family was $46,241. Males had a median income of $31,287 versus $23,622 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,703. About 7.00% of families and 10.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.30% of people under age 18 and 12.10% of those age 65 or over.


Old Davidson County Courthouse 1
Old Davidson County Courthouse in Lexington, NC


One of the county's most famous attractions is the yearly Lexington Barbecue Festival, held in the city of Lexington during the month of October, bringing in over 100,000 visitors from all over the southeastern U.S. There is also a yearly Davidson County Agriculture Fair held in September. Thomasville hosts an annual "Everybody's Day Festival", the longest running festival in the state. The "Southeastern Old Threshers Reunion" is held every year at the Denton Farmpark.


In addition, there are many year-long attractions in Davidson County. Some of which include Historic Uptown Lexington, which consists of the Davidson County Historical Museum located in the old courthouse and Boone's Cave Park (where legend says an adolescent Daniel Boone hid from Indians). Other attractions include Denton Farm Park, Walter Johnson Camp and Conference Center, and the North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Big Chair in Thomasville is also a major landmark.


Lexington Barbecue Festival - more pigs
Pigs on Parade during the Lexington Barbecue Festival

Pigs in the City in an art initiative held each summer in Lexington, and attracts tens of thousands of visitors.

In 2005, Davidson County Community College and the City of Thomasville formed a partnership for the creation of the Thomasville Artisan Center. This art studio allowed the College to reinvigorate its Associate in Fine Arts Degree and offer both university transfer classes as well as adult community interest classes in painting, drawing, and sculpting. The Artisan Center is part of the College's Thomasville Education Center complex which is part of the College's outreach to the community. The College has a second campus in Davie County in the city of Mocksville, as well as the Uptown Lexington Education Center, located within a few blocks of the Arts Center of Davidson County and the historic Court House.


A bottle of Classic White Table Wine by Childress Vineyards

One of the two major styles of North Carolina barbecue originated in Lexington, the county seat and home to the annual Lexington Barbecue Festival. Therefore, many Lexington-style barbecue restaurants are found throughout the county. Some include Lexington BBQ ("Honeymonk's"), The BBQ Center, Jimmy's, Whitley's BBQ Restaurant, Smokey Joe's, Backcountry, Speedy's, Smiley's, Tarheel Q, Stamey's, Kerley's, Welcome BBQ, and Cook's.

Richard Childress

Davidson County is home to many supporting race fans and the famous Richard Childress. Here you will find his personal Childress Vineyards and Richard Childress Racing Museum.

The Big Chair

Finally, Davidson County is known for its oversized chair, "The Big Chair." This chair is located in central Thomasville and is a symbol of Davidson County's furniture industry.

High Rock Lake

High Rock Lake

High Rock Lake is the northernmost of the Uwharrie Lakes and the second largest lake in North Carolina behind Lake Norman. Its water surface covers 15,180 acres (61.4 km2) and there are 365 miles (587 km) of shoreline. It begins at the confluence of the Yadkin River and the South Yadkin River. It has been the host of the Bassmaster Classic in 1994, 1995 and 1998. and is the site of frequent other local angling competitions. Lexington is just north of the Abbotts Creek section of the lake.


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




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

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