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Mecklenburg County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Mecklenburg County
East Avenue Tabernacle Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
East Avenue Tabernacle Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
Flag of Mecklenburg County
Official seal of Mecklenburg County
Map of North Carolina highlighting Mecklenburg 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 November 6, 1762
Named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Seat Charlotte
Largest city Charlotte
 • Total 546 sq mi (1,410 km2)
 • Land 524 sq mi (1,360 km2)
 • Water 22 sq mi (60 km2)  4.0%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,932.3/sq mi (746.1/km2)
Demonym(s) Mecklenburger
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 9th, 12th

Mecklenburg County is a county located on the border in the southwestern part of the state of North Carolina, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 919,628. It increased to 1,034,070 as of the 2015 estimate, making it the most populous county in North Carolina and the first county in the Carolinas to surpass 1 million in population. Its county seat and largest city is Charlotte.

NOTE: To see information about the political body, the 'Mecklenburg County Commission' see this link: Mecklenburg County Commission.

Mecklenburg County is included in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

On September 12, 2013, the county welcomed its one millionth resident.


Mecklenburg County was formed in 1762 from the western part of Anson County, both in the Piedmont section of the state. It was named in commemoration of the marriage of King George III to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, for whom the county seat Charlotte is named. Due to unsure boundaries, a large part of south and western Mecklenburg County extended into areas that would later form part of the state of South Carolina. In 1768, most of this area (the part of Mecklenburg County west of the Catawba River) was designated Tryon County, North Carolina.

Determining the final boundaries of these "western" areas between North and South Carolina was a decades-long process. As population increased in the area following the American Revolutionary War, in 1792 the northeastern part of Mecklenburg County was taken by the North Carolina legislature for Cabarrus County. Finally, in 1842 the southeastern part of Mecklenburg County was combined with the western part of Anson County to become Union County.

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was allegedly signed on May 20, 1775; if the document is genuine, Mecklenburg County was the first part of the Thirteen Colonies to declare independence from Great Britain. The "Mecklenburg Resolves" were adopted on May 31, 1775. Mecklenburg continues to celebrate the Meck Dec each year in May. The Date of the Meck Dec is also listed on the Flag of North Carolina, represented by the date of May 20, 1775 as one of two dates on the flag of the old North State.

In 1971, Mecklenburg County was the site of an important case in the American civil rights movement. Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (CMS) was a suit filed to force the integration of the public schools in Charlotte.

In 1999, the Federal Courts effectively over-ruled the Swann decision and declared that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education was 'Unitary' and were then prohibited by then US Federal Judge Robert Potter from using race to assign students to schools. In a case initially brought by William Capacchione, on behalf of his minor daughter, CMS was sued for not allowing his daughter into a nearby (or neighborhood) school.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 546 square miles (1,410 km2), of which 524 square miles (1,360 km2) is land and 22 square miles (57 km2) (4.0%) is water.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 11,395
1800 10,439 −8.4%
1810 14,272 36.7%
1820 16,895 18.4%
1830 20,073 18.8%
1840 18,273 −9.0%
1850 13,914 −23.9%
1860 17,374 24.9%
1870 24,299 39.9%
1880 34,175 40.6%
1890 42,673 24.9%
1900 55,268 29.5%
1910 67,031 21.3%
1920 80,695 20.4%
1930 127,971 58.6%
1940 151,826 18.6%
1950 197,052 29.8%
1960 272,111 38.1%
1970 354,656 30.3%
1980 404,270 14.0%
1990 511,433 26.5%
2000 695,454 36.0%
2010 919,628 32.2%
Est. 2015 1,034,070 12.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013
Mecklenburg county population
Population grew 2.5% per year from 1970 to 2008

As of the census of 2000, there were 695,454 people, 273,416 households, and 174,986 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,322 people per square mile (510/km²). There were 292,780 housing units at an average density of 556 per square mile (215/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 64.02% White, 27.87% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 3.15% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.01% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 6.45% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race .

There were 273,416 households out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.70% were married couples living together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.00% were non-families. 27.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.10% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 36.40% from 25 to 44, 20.30% from 45 to 64, and 8.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 96.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $50,579, and the median income for a family was $60,608. Males had a median income of $40,934 versus $30,100 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,352. About 6.60% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.50% of those under age 18 and 9.30% of those age 65 or over.

Mecklenburg County Government

Mecklenburg County is a member of the regional Centralina Council of Governments.

The County is governed by the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The BOCC is a nine-member board made up of representatives from each of the six county districts and three at-large representatives elected by the entire county. This electoral structure favors candidates in the at-large positions who will be elected by the majority population of the county. Each District has a population of approximately 165,000 individuals. All seats are partisan and are for 2-year terms (elections occur in even years). The current chairman of the Mecklenburg BOCC is Ella B. Scarborough (D, At-large). The Current Vice-Chair is Jim Puckett(R, District 1).

Members of the Mecklenburg County Commission are required by North Carolina State law to choose a Chair and Vice-Chair once a year (at the first meeting of December). Historically, the individual elected was the 'top-vote-getter' which was one of thee (3) at-large members. In 2014 this unofficial rule was changed by the Board to allow any member to serve as Chair or Vice-chair as long as they received support from 4 members plus their own vote.

The nine (9) members of the Board of County Commissioners are:

  • Ella Scarborough (D, At-Large - Chairman)
  • Trevor Fuller (D, At-Large)
  • Pat Cotham (D, At-Large)
  • Jim Puckett (R, District 1, Vice Chairman)
  • Vilma Leake (D, District 2)
  • George Dunlap (D, District 3)
  • Dumont Clarke (D, District 4)
  • Matthew Ridenhour (R, District 5)
  • Bill James (R, District 6)

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS)

The current Chairman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School board is Mary T. McCray (At-Large). The Vice Chair is Ericka Ellis-Stewart (At-Large). The members of the Board of Education are:

  • Mary T. McCray (At-Large - Chairman)
  • Elyse C. Dashew (At-Large - Vice Chair)
  • Ericka Ellis-Stewart (At-Large)
  • Rhonda Lennon (District 1)
  • Thelma Byers-Bailey (District 2)
  • Ruby M. Jones(District 3)
  • Tom Tate (District 4)
  • Eric C. Davis (District 5)
  • Paul Bailey (District 6)

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School board is non-partisan, and staggered elections are held every two years (in odd years).


The residents of Mecklenburg County are provided emergency medical service by MEDICMEDIC, the Mecklenburg EMS Agency. All emergency ambulance service is provided by MEDIC. No other emergency transport companies are allowed to operate within Mecklenburg County. While MEDIC is a division of Mecklenburg County Government, a board guides and directs MEDIC that consists of members affiliated with Carolinas Medical Center (CMC), Novant Presbyterian Hospital and a swing vote provided by the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners. CMC and Novant are the two major medical institutions in Charlotte, North Carolina.



The county's primary commercial aviation airport is Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte.

Intercity rail

With twenty-five freight trains a day, Mecklenburg is a freight railroad transportation center, largely due to its place on the NS main line between Washington and Atlanta and the large volumes of freight moving in and out of the county via truck.

Mecklenburg County is served daily by three Amtrak routes.

The Crescent train connects Charlotte with New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlottesville, and Greensboro to the north, and Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans to the south.

The Carolinian train connects Charlotte with New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro.

The Piedmont train connects Charlotte with Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro.

The Amtrak station is located at 1914 North Tryon Street. A new centralized multimodal train station, Gateway Station, has been planned for the city. It is expected to house the future LYNX Purple Line, the new Greyhound bus station, and the Crescent line that passes through Uptown Charlotte.

Mecklenburg County is the proposed southern terminus for the initial segment of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor operating between Charlotte and Washington, D.C. Currently in conceptual design, the SEHSR would eventually run from Washington, D.C. to Macon, Georgia.

Light rail and mass transit

Light rail service in Mecklenburg County is provided by LYNX Rapid Transit Services. Currently a 9.6-mile (15.4 km) line running from Uptown to Pineville; build-out is expected to be complete by 2034.

Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus service serves all of Mecklenburg County, including Charlotte, and the municipalities of Davidson, Huntersville, Cornelius, Matthews, Pineville, and Mint Hill.

The vintage Charlotte Trolley also operates in partnership with CATS. On July 14, 2015, the Goldrush Streetcar was revived to operate in Uptown after several decades of absence. The line runs from Trade Street, near Charlotte Transportation and Convention Center, to Elizabeth Avenue. In addition to several restaurants, this line also serves Central Piedmont Community College and Novant Health Presbyterian Hospital. The city is applying for a $50,000,000 Federal Transportation Grant, to gain funding to construct expansion of a line to serve Johnson C. Smith University to the West and East along Central Avenue.


Mecklenburg's manufacturing base, its central location on the Eastern Seaboard, and the intersection of two major interstates in the county have made it a hub for the trucking industry.

Major roadways

  • I-77
  • I-85
  • I-277
  • I-485
  • US 21
  • US 29
  • US 74
  • US 521
  • NC 16
  • NC 24
  • NC 27
  • NC 49
  • NC 51
  • NC 73
  • NC 115
  • NC 160
  • NC 218
  • Charlotte Route 4 shield.svg Route 4

Arts and culture

Museums and libraries

Sports and entertainment

Music and performing arts venues

Amusement parks

Other attractions


Map of Mecklenburg County North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
1923 Map of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina showing original Township boundaries

Mecklenburg County contains seven municipalities including the City of Charlotte and the towns of Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville (north of Charlotte); and the towns of Matthews, Mint Hill, and Pineville (south and southeast of Charlotte). Small portions of Stallings and Weddington are also in Mecklenburg County, though most of those towns are in Union County. Extraterritorial jurisdictions within the county are annexed by municipalities as soon as they reach sufficient concentrations.



Unincorporated communities


  • Berryhill
  • Charlotte
  • Clear Creek
  • Crab Orchard
  • Deweese
  • Huntersville
  • Lemley
  • Long Creek
  • Mallard Creek
  • Morning Star
  • Paw Creek
  • Pineville
  • Providence
  • Sharon (extinct)
  • Steele Creek

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