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Lenoir County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Lenoir County
Lenoir County Courthouse located at 130 S Queen Street, Kinston.
Lenoir County Courthouse located at 130 S Queen Street, Kinston.
Official seal of Lenoir County
Map of North Carolina highlighting Lenoir 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 1791
Named for William Lenoir
Seat Kinston
Largest city Kinston
 • Total 403 sq mi (1,040 km2)
 • Land 401 sq mi (1,040 km2)
 • Water 2.2 sq mi (6 km2)  0.6%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 136.4/sq mi (52.7/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Lenoir County is a county in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2020 Census, its population was 55,122. Its county seat is Kinston, located on the Neuse River, across which the county has its territory.

Lenoir County comprises the Kinston Micropolitan statistical area.


The county was formed by European Americans in 1791 from the southern part of Dobbs County. It was named for William Lenoir (1751-1839), an officer in the American Revolutionary War who took part in the Battle of Kings Mountain. He was a prominent political leader; when the county was established, he was serving as Speaker of the North Carolina Senate.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 403 square miles (1,040 km2), of which 401 square miles (1,040 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (0.6%) is water.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 4,005
1810 5,572 39.1%
1820 6,799 22.0%
1830 7,723 13.6%
1840 7,605 −1.5%
1850 7,828 2.9%
1860 10,220 30.6%
1870 10,434 2.1%
1880 15,344 47.1%
1890 14,879 −3.0%
1900 18,639 25.3%
1910 22,769 22.2%
1920 29,555 29.8%
1930 35,716 20.8%
1940 41,211 15.4%
1950 45,953 11.5%
1960 55,276 20.3%
1970 55,204 −0.1%
1980 59,819 8.4%
1990 57,274 −4.3%
2000 59,648 4.1%
2010 59,495 −0.3%
2020 55,122 −7.4%
2021 (est.) 54,702 −8.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Lenoir County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 26,582 48.22%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 22,034 39.97%
Native American 134 0.24%
Asian 332 0.6%
Pacific Islander 22 0.04%
Other/Mixed 1,653 3.0%
Hispanic or Latino 4,365 7.92%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 55,122 people, 23,148 households, and 14,863 families residing in the county.

2010 census

The United States Census Bureau's most recent census, taken on April 1, 2010, estimated there were 59,495 residents with 24,327 households and 15,993 families residing within the county. The population density was 149 people per square mile (58/km2). There were 27,184 housing units at an average density of 68 per square mile (26/km2). The county's racial makeup was 56.47% White, 40.43% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.88% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. 3.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 23,862 households, out of which 31.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.40% were married couples living together, 17.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.20% were non-families. 28.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 25.30% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 27.60% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,191, and the median income for a family was $38,815. Males had a median income of $28,879 versus $21,536 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,744. About 12.60% of families and 16.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.00% of those under age 18 and 18.40% of those age 65 or over.


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


  • Kinston (county seat and largest city)


Census-designated places

Other unincorporated community

Voting districts

  • Contentnea Neck
  • Falling Creek
  • Institute
  • Kinston (with nine precincts)
  • Moseley Hall
  • Neuse
  • Pink Hill (with two precincts)
  • Sand Hill
  • Southwest
  • Trent
  • Vance
  • Woodington



Lenoir County is served by the Kinston Regional Jetport (IATA: ISOICAO: KISO) with service to Orlando, Florida. Raleigh-Durham International Airport is the closest major airport with service to more than 45 domestic and international destinations.

Major highways

  • US 70
  • US 258
  • NC 11
  • NC 55
  • NC 58
  • NC 118
  • NC 148
  • NC 241
  • NC 903

The main highway in the county is US 70, which offers access to the North Carolina coast and I-95. Other highways that run through the county include US 258, NC 11, NC 58, NC 903 and NC 55. Interstate 95 is the closest Interstate Highway to the county, located 50 miles west in Selma.


The county is served by Greyhound with a location in Kinston.


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



Census-designated place

Other unincorporated communities


  • Contentnea Neck
  • Falling Creek
  • Institute
  • Kinston
  • Moseley Hall
  • Neuse
  • Pink Hill
  • Sand Hill
  • Southwest
  • Trent
  • Vance
  • Woodington


Higher Education

Lenoir County is home to one higher learning institution, Lenoir Community College - which is located at 231 NC HWY 58 South, Kinston and is part of the North Carolina Community College System. The college offers associate degrees, diplomas, or certificates for educational programs in college transfer, business, industry, public services, health sciences, and continuing education. Programs and support services are accessible through traditional and distance learning options.

Primary and Secondary Education

Public education in Lenoir County is administered and supported by the Lenoir County Public School Board, which formed from a merge of the City of Kinston and Lenoir County school systems in 1992. There are four public high schools in Lenoir County: Lenoir County Early College, North Lenoir, South Lenoir, and Kinston High School. Three public middle schools: E.B. Frink, Rochelle, and Woodington. There are also eight public elementary schools: Banks, La Grange, Moss Hill, Northeast, Northwest, Pink Hill, Southeast and Southwood. Additionally, Contentnea-Savannah is a K-8 school.

Lenoir County is also home to two private academies - Arendell Parrott Academy and Bethel Christian Academy - and two charter academies - Kinston Charter Academy and Children's Village Academy.


Neuse Regional Library serves the residents of Lenoir, Greene, and Jones counties. With eight different locations, the library system offers services such as 3D printing and an inter-library loan system, as well as an eLibrary.

Notable people

  • Brandon Ingram (NBA player)
  • Larry Beck (professional golfer)
  • Jocelyn Brown (R&B singer)
  • Reggie Bullock (NBA player)
  • Dwight Clark (49ers wide receiver)
  • David Christopher Hatcher (MLB pitcher)
  • Donna Horton White (professional golfer)
  • Malcolm Howard (U.S. Judge appointed by Ronald Reagan)
  • Susan Owens (the seventh woman to serve on Washington Supreme Court)
  • Maceo and Melvin Parker (Jazz musicians)
  • Jamie Pressley (U.S. actor)
  • Frank Snepp (journalist)
  • Jerry Stackhouse (NBA player)
  • Quinton Coples (NFL defensive end)
  • Frank Lucas (American mobster)
  • Vivian Howard (American chef)
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