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Roanoke County, Virginia facts for kids

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Roanoke County
Roanoke County Courthouse
Roanoke County Courthouse
Official seal of Roanoke County
Map of Virginia highlighting Roanoke County
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Virginia
Founded March 30, 1838
Named for Roanoke River
Seat Salem
Largest town Vinton
 • Total 251 sq mi (650 km2)
 • Land 251 sq mi (650 km2)
 • Water 0.7 sq mi (2 km2)  0.3%
 • Total 92,376
 • Estimate 
 • Density 368.0/sq mi (142.10/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 6th, 9th

Roanoke County is a county located in the U.S. state of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 92,376. Its county seat is Salem, but the chief administrative offices are located in the unincorporated Cave Spring area of the county.

Roanoke County is part of the Roanoke, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area and located within the Roanoke Region of Virginia.

The independent cities of Roanoke and Salem (incorporated as such in 1884 and 1968 respectively) are located within the boundaries of Roanoke County, but are not a part of the county. The town of Vinton is the only municipality within the county. While significant areas of the county are rural and mountainous, most residents live in the suburbs near Roanoke and Salem in the Roanoke Valley.


Roanoke County Virginia state historical marker
State historical marker for Roanoke County, Virginia

The county was established by an act of the Virginia Legislature on March 30, 1838 from the southern part of Botetourt County. It was named for the Roanoke River, which in turn was derived from a Native American term for money. Additional territory was transferred to Roanoke County from Montgomery County in 1845. Salem was originally the county seat. When Salem became an independent city, by agreement with the county the Roanoke County Courthouse remained in Salem and the two localities share a jail. However, the County Administrative Offices were moved to the Cave Spring District.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 251.3 square miles (650.9 km2), of which 250.6 square miles (649.1 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (0.3%) is water.


The county is governed by a Board of Supervisors with one representative elected from each of the five magisterial districts: Catawba, Cave Spring, Hollins, Vinton, and Windsor Hills. Vinton is an incorporated town with an elected town council and town manager.

Adjacent Counties and Cities

Nationally Protected Areas

Major highways

  • I-73 (future)
  • I-81
  • I-581
  • US 11
  • US 220
  • US 221
  • US 460
  • SR 24
  • SR 115
  • SR 116
  • SR 117
  • SR 118
  • SR 311
  • SR 419


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 5,499
1850 8,477 54.2%
1860 8,048 −5.1%
1870 9,350 16.2%
1880 13,105 40.2%
1890 30,101 129.7%
1900 15,837 −47.4%
1910 19,623 23.9%
1920 22,395 14.1%
1930 35,289 57.6%
1940 42,897 21.6%
1950 41,486 −3.3%
1960 61,693 48.7%
1970 67,339 9.2%
1980 72,945 8.3%
1990 79,332 8.8%
2000 85,778 8.1%
2010 92,376 7.7%
2018 (est.) 94,073 1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2000, there were 85,778 people, 34,686 households, and 24,696 families residing in the county. The population density was 342 people per square mile (132/km2). There were 36,121 housing units at an average density of 144 per square mile (56/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.63% White, 3.35% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 1.61% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. 1.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 34,686 households, out of which 30.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.90% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.80% were non-families. 25.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.70% under the age of 18, 6.60% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 27.20% from 45 to 64, and 15.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 89.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $47,689, and the median income for a family was $56,450. Males had a median income of $39,126 versus $26,690 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,637. About 2.70% of families and 4.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.20% of those under age 18 and 4.90% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities


There are five high schools located in Roanoke County:

  • Cave Spring
  • Glenvar
  • Hidden Valley
  • Northside
  • William Byrd

Hollins University, a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, is located in northern Roanoke County, near the Botetourt County border. Roanoke College, also a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, is located in the independent city of Salem within the boundaries of Roanoke County; the former county courthouse on Main Street is now a college academic building.

Notable people

Notable sports figures from Roanoke County include Tiki Barber, Ronde Barber, J. J. Redick, all of whom attended and graduated from Cave Spring High School in Southwest Roanoke County.

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