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Pender County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Pender County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Pender County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the USA highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1875
Seat Burgaw
Largest town Burgaw
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

933 sq mi (2,416 km²)
870 sq mi (2,253 km²)
63 sq mi (163 km²), 6.8%
 - (2010)
 - Density

60/sq mi (23/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Named for: William Dorsey Pender

Pender County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 52,217. Its county seat is Burgaw.

Pender County is part of the Wilmington, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The county was formed in 1875 from New Hanover County. It was named for William Dorsey Pender of Edgecombe County, a Confederate general mortally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg. It is in the southeastern section of the State and is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen, Sampson, Duplin and Onslow counties. The present land area is 870.76 square miles (2,255.3 km2) and the 1990 population was 28,855. The county commissioners were ordered to hold their first meeting at Rocky Point. The act provided for the establishment of the town of Cowan as the county seat. In 1877 an act was passed repealing that section of the law relative to the town, and another law was enacted whereby the qualified voters were to vote on the question of moving the county seat to South Washington or any other place which the majority of the voters designated. Whatever place was selected, the town should be called Stanford. In 1879 Stanford was changed to Burgaw, which was by that law incorporated. It is the county seat.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 933 square miles (2,420 km2), of which 870 square miles (2,300 km2) is land and 63 square miles (160 km2) (6.8%) is water. It is the fifth-largest county in North Carolina by land area.

Adjacent counties

Protected areas

Major highways

  • I-40
  • US 17
  • US 117
  • US 421
  • NC 11
  • NC 50
  • NC 53
  • NC 133
  • NC 210


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 12,468
1890 12,514 0.4%
1900 13,381 6.9%
1910 15,471 15.6%
1920 14,788 −4.4%
1930 15,686 6.1%
1940 17,710 12.9%
1950 18,423 4.0%
1960 18,508 0.5%
1970 18,149 −1.9%
1980 22,215 22.4%
1990 28,855 29.9%
2000 41,082 42.4%
2010 52,217 27.1%
Est. 2015 57,611 10.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2000, there were 41,082 people, 16,054 households, and 11,719 families residing in the county. The population density was 47 people per square mile (18/km²). There were 20,798 housing units at an average density of 24 per square mile (9/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 72.74% White, 23.58% Black or African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.03% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. 3.64% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,054 households out of which 29.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.90% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.00% were non-families. 22.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.50% 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 2.90.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.20% under the age of 18, 7.40% from 18 to 24, 29.50% from 25 to 44, 25.80% from 45 to 64, and 14.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 101.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,902, and the median income for a family was $41,633. Males had a median income of $31,424 versus $21,623 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,882. About 9.50% of families and 13.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.60% of those under age 18 and 14.40% of those age 65 or over.


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



  • St. Helena

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities


  • Burgaw
  • Canetuck
  • Caswell
  • Columbia
  • Grady
  • Holly
  • Long Creek
  • Rocky Point
  • Topsail
  • Union
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