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Raleigh County, West Virginia facts for kids

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Raleigh County
The Raleigh County Courthouse in Beckley
The Raleigh County Courthouse in Beckley
Official seal of Raleigh County
Seal
Map of West Virginia highlighting Raleigh County
Location within the U.S. state of West Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting West Virginia
West Virginia's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  West Virginia
Founded January 23, 1850
Named for Sir Walter Raleigh
Seat Beckley
Largest city Beckley
Area
 • Total 609 sq mi (1,580 km2)
 • Land 605 sq mi (1,570 km2)
 • Water 4.0 sq mi (10 km2)  0.7%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 78,859
 • Estimate 
(2019)
73,361
 • Density 129.49/sq mi (50.00/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Raleigh County is a county in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 78,859. Its county seat is Beckley. The county was founded in 1850 and is named for Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh County is included in the Beckley, West Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

Raleigh County was formed on January 23, 1850 from portions of Fayette County, then a part of Virginia.

Alfred Beckley (1802–1888) said he gave Raleigh County its name in honor of Sir Walter Raleigh (1552–1618), the "enterprising and far-seeing patron of the earliest attempts to colonize our old Mother State of Virginia", according to Raleigh County: West Virginia by Jim Wood.

The county was the scene in 1914 of the Eccles Mine Disaster, the second-worst coal mining disaster in West Virginia history. The death toll was at least 180. More recently, the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster of 2010, which killed 29, also occurred in Raleigh County.

Longtime Senator Robert Byrd's home town was Sophia.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 609 square miles (1,580 km2), of which 605 square miles (1,570 km2) is land and 4.0 square miles (10 km2) (0.7%) is water.

Major highways

  • I-64.svg Interstate 64
  • I-77.svg Interstate 77
  • US 19.svg U.S. Highway 19
  • WV-3.svg West Virginia Route 3
  • WV-16.svg West Virginia Route 16
  • WV-41.svg West Virginia Route 41
  • WV-54.svg West Virginia Route 54
  • WV-61.svg West Virginia Route 61
  • WV-97.svg West Virginia Route 97
  • WV-99.svg West Virginia Route 99
  • WV-210.svg West Virginia Route 210
  • WV-307.svg West Virginia Route 307

Adjacent counties

National protected area

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,765
1860 3,367 90.8%
1870 3,673 9.1%
1880 7,367 100.6%
1890 9,597 30.3%
1900 12,436 29.6%
1910 25,633 106.1%
1920 42,482 65.7%
1930 68,072 60.2%
1940 86,687 27.3%
1950 96,273 11.1%
1960 77,826 −19.2%
1970 70,080 −10.0%
1980 86,821 23.9%
1990 76,819 −11.5%
2000 79,220 3.1%
2010 78,859 −0.5%
2019 (est.) 73,361 −7.0%
US Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2019
Raleigh County, West Virginia Flag
The Flag Of Raleigh County in Beckley

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 78,859 people, 31,831 households, and 21,322 families in the county. The population density was 130/sqmi (50.3/km2). There were 35,931 housing units at an average density of 59.4/sqmi (22.9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.5% white, 8.2% black or African American, 0.9% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.3% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 41.8% were American, 9.1% were English, 8.6% were German, and 8.5% were Irish.

Of the 31,831 households, 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.2% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.0% were non-families, and 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.87. The median age was 41.1 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,036 and the median income for a family was $49,837. Males had a median income of $42,405 versus $27,347 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,457. About 14.5% of families and 17.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.1% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

City

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

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