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Oak Island, North Carolina facts for kids

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Oak Island, North Carolina
Oak Island Beach
Oak Island Beach
Oak Island, North Carolina is located in North Carolina
Oak Island, North Carolina
Oak Island, North Carolina
Location in North Carolina
Oak Island, North Carolina is located in the United States
Oak Island, North Carolina
Oak Island, North Carolina
Location in the United States
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Brunswick
 • Total 20.63 sq mi (53.43 km2)
 • Land 19.27 sq mi (49.91 km2)
 • Water 1.36 sq mi (3.52 km2)
14 ft (4 m)
 • Total 6,783
 • Estimate 
 • Density 435.18/sq mi (168.03/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 910
FIPS code 37-48345
GNIS feature ID 1848160

Oak Island is a seaside town located in the southeastern corner of North Carolina, United States. Part of Brunswick County, the major portion of the town is on Oak Island which it shares with Caswell Beach. Founded in 1999 as the result of the consolidation of two existing towns, Oak Island's main industry is tourism. Per the 2010 census, it had a permanent population of 6,783, which in 2019 was estimated to be 8,386. Its average summer population ranges from 30 to 50,000 and the town is considered to be a part of the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area.


The island has been inhabited since the early 19th century; Fort Caswell was built on its eastern end in 1838. The remainder of the island was developed beginning in the late 1930s, attracting people from nearby Southport. Fox hunting was popular in the northern area near the Intracoastal Waterway. The island was nearly wiped out by Hurricane Hazel in 1954; only five buildings were left standing on Long Beach in the hurricane's wake. The island quickly recovered, and the towns of Long Beach and Yaupon Beach were incorporated in 1955. Other hurricanes, such as Diana in 1984, Bertha and Fran in 1996 and Floyd in 1999, have caused damage to the island, nearly as catastrophic as that of Hazel.

Construction began on a $64 million 980-foot (300 m) bridge project in November 2007, with a December 2009 completion date. Two lanes of traffic opened in November 2010, and a formal dedication took place January 27, 2011. Four lanes of traffic began using the bridge that same month. The new bridge will likely result in increased development of the town.

In June 2015, two separate shark attacks occurred two miles and two hours apart from each other on the beachfront south side of the town. Both victims lost an arm and were in critical condition, but were quickly stabilized due to fast civilian and rescue responses. The beach was promptly closed for the remainder of the day but reopened the following morning.


Oak Island is located in southeastern Brunswick County at 33°54′59″N 78°7′50″W / 33.91639°N 78.13056°W / 33.91639; -78.13056 (33.916262, -78.130468). It is bordered to the south by the Atlantic Ocean, to the east by Caswell Beach, to the north in part by the town of St. James, and to the west by the town of Holden Beach across Lockwoods Folly Inlet. A significant addition to the town's area has been made since the 2000 census on the North Carolina mainland, west of St. James and extending north to border the city of Boiling Spring Lakes.

Via North Carolina Highway 133, Oak Island is 30 miles (48 km) south of downtown Wilmington.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 19.9 square miles (51.6 km2). 18.5 square miles (48.0 km2) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) of it (7.02%) is water. Oak Island has approximately 12 miles (19 km) of coastline.

Major highways

  • NC 133
  • NC 906
  • NC 211
  • Oak Island Drive


Historical population
Census Pop.
2000 6,571
2010 6,783 3.2%
2019 (est.) 8,386 23.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Oak Island racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 7,782 92.69%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 68 0.81%
Native American 34 0.4%
Asian 43 0.51%
Pacific Islander 3 0.04%
Other/Mixed 320 3.81%
Hispanic or Latino 146 1.74%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 8,396 people, 3,662 households, and 2,395 families residing in the town.


As of 2017, the Census Bureau estimated 7,789 people lived in the town, roughly a 14% increase from 2010. The town's racial makeup was 97% White, 0.4% African American, 0.4% Native American, 2% Hispanic or Latino and 0.2% from two or more races. There were 3,605 households with the average size 2.05 persons. As for household income, the Census Bureau's 2017 estimate was $57,670, with the per capita income being $38,176. About 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line. That same year, the town's estimated population by age is as shown in the chart below. The ratio of women to men is 52.3% to 47.7%.

Age Group Percent of Population By Age
< 18 12.5%
18 to 65 56.8%
> 65 30.7%

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Oak Island (Carolina del Norte) para niños

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