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Gastonia, North Carolina facts for kids

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City of Gastonia
Downtown Gastonia from the northwest
Downtown Gastonia from the northwest
Great Place. Great People. Great Promise.
Location in the U.S. state of North Carolina
Location in the U.S. state of North Carolina
Country  United States
State  North Carolina
County Gaston
 • Total 50.7 sq mi (131.4 km2)
 • Land 50.5 sq mi (130.8 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)
797 ft (243 m)
 • Total 71,741
 • Density 1,421/sq mi (548.5/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 704, 980
FIPS code 37-25580
GNIS feature ID 0985606

Gastonia is the largest city and county seat of Gaston County, North Carolina, United States. It is also the second largest satellite city of the Charlotte area, behind Concord. The population was 71,741 at the 2010 Census. Gastonia is the 13th largest city in North Carolina. It is part of the Charlotte metropolitan area, officially designated the Charlotte Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Gastonia has experienced steady growth, with a population increase between 2000 and 2010 of nearly 8.2%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


Gastonia is named for William Gaston, member of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The City Hospital-Gaston Memorial Hospital, Craig Farmstead, Downtown Gastonia Historic District, First National Bank Building, Gaston County Courthouse, Gastonia High School, David Jenkins House, Loray Mill Historic District, Robinson-Gardner Building, Third National Bank Building, and William J. Wilson House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Loray Mill strike of 1929 in Gastonia, was one of the most notable strikes in the labor history of the United States. Though largely unsuccessful in attaining its goals of better working conditions and wages, the strike was considered very successful in a lasting way; it caused an immense controversy which gave the labor movement momentum, propelling the movement in its national development.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 50.7 square miles (131.4 km2), of which 50.5 square miles (130.8 km2) is land and 0.23 square miles (0.6 km2), or 0.45%, is water. Gastonia occupies 14% of the total area of Gaston County.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 236
1890 1,033 337.7%
1900 4,610 346.3%
1910 5,759 24.9%
1920 12,871 123.5%
1930 17,093 32.8%
1940 21,313 24.7%
1950 23,069 8.2%
1960 37,276 61.6%
1970 47,322 27.0%
1980 47,218 −0.2%
1990 54,732 15.9%
2000 66,277 21.1%
2010 71,741 8.2%
2015 (est.) 74,543 3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census


Gastonia City Plaza
Gastonia City Plaza

As of 2010, there were 71,741 people, 27,770 households, and 18,599 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,420.6 people per square mile (548.5/km²). There were 31,238 housing units at an average density of 618.6 per square mile (238.8/km²). The racial composition of the city was 63.0% White, 27.8% Black or African American, 1.3% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 5.2% some other race, and 2.2% two or more races. 9.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino American of any race.

As of the 2010 census, there were 27,770 households, out of which 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were headed by married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52, and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city, the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.0 years. For every 100 females there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.6 males.

In 2011 the estimated median income for a household in the city was $36,881, and the median income for a family was $44,576. Male full-time workers had a median income of $38,151 versus $29,590 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,277. 20.9% of the population and 18.3% of families were below the poverty line. 32.5% of those under the age of 18 and 6.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Arts and culture

Crowdersmtn July07
Crowder's Mountain, located just inside Gastonia City limits

Gastonia and the surrounding areas feature several notable attractions.

The Schiele Museum of Natural History features a number of permanent exhibits, including the Hall of North Carolina Natural History and the Henry Hall of the American Indian. The museum is also home to the James H. Lynn Planetarium, the only planetarium in the Charlotte area.

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is located just southeast of the city in Belmont on NC 279.

The U.S. National Whitewater Center (on the Catawba River) is located east of the city in neighboring Mecklenburg County.

Crowders Mountain State Park is located west of the city, near Kings Mountain. The park offers a number of hiking trails, as well as campgrounds, picnic areas, rock climbing, and fishing.


Eastridge Mall, located at exit 20 on North New Hope Road, is the only indoor regional mall in the area; it is anchored by Belk, Dillard's, and JCPenney. The mall is also home to over 80 specialty stores including Victoria's Secret, Aeropostale, PacSun, Footlocker, Hibbet Sports, Claires, Charlotte Russe, New York & Co., Best Buy Mobile, Radio Shack, Hat Fantatic, Encore by Shoe Department, a full-service food court, Red Lobster and other services.

Franklin Square, a series of strip centers, is divided into three Phases. Phase I features a Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Ross Dress for Less, and Michaels. Phase II is home to Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse and Sam's Club. Phase III is where Kohl's, Old Navy, Books-A-Million, Gander Mountain, Shoe Carnival, Pier 1 Imports, PetSmart and a 14-screen movie theater are located.

There are also a few more shopping centers across the city with other well-known national and local retailers.

Sister cities

Gastonia has two sister cities:

Gotha was Gastonia's first sister city in 1994. Santiago de Surco became an official partner in March 2004. Mayor Jennie Stultz visited Gotha in 2007. In December 2007, the mayor of Santiago de Surco visited for the annual lighting of the Christmas tree in the Rotary Pavilion. He was invited to light the tree along with one of the city's councilmen.

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