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Rutherford County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Rutherford County
Rutherford County Courthouse in Rutherfordton
Rutherford County Courthouse in Rutherfordton
Official seal of Rutherford County
Seal
Motto(s): 
Small Town Friendly
Map of North Carolina highlighting Rutherford 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 1779
Named for Griffith Rutherford
Seat Rutherfordton
Largest town Forest City
Area
 • Total 566 sq mi (1,470 km2)
 • Land 564 sq mi (1,460 km2)
 • Water 1.7 sq mi (4 km2)  0.3%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2021)
64,586
 • Density 114.5/sq mi (44.2/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 10th, 11th

Rutherford County is a county in the southwestern area of the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2020 census, the population was 64,444. Its county seat is Rutherfordton.

Rutherford County comprises the Forest City, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area.

History

The county was formed in 1779 from the western part of the former Tryon County. It was named for Griffith Rutherford, leader of an expedition against the Cherokee in 1776 and a general in the American Revolutionary War.

In 1791 parts of Rutherford County and Burke County were combined to form Buncombe County. n 1841 parts of Rutherford and Lincoln counties were combined to form Cleveland County. In 1842 additional parts of Rutherford and Burke counties were combined to form McDowell County. Finally, in 1855 parts of Rutherford and Henderson counties were combined to form Polk County.

Geography

Rutherford nc elevation
Rutherford County Elevation

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 566 square miles (1,470 km2), of which 564 square miles (1,460 km2) is land and 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2) (0.3%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 64
  • US 74
  • US 74A
  • US 221
  • US 221A
  • NC 9
  • NC 108
  • NC 120
  • NC 226

Demography

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 7,808
1800 10,753 37.7%
1810 13,202 22.8%
1820 15,351 16.3%
1830 17,557 14.4%
1840 19,202 9.4%
1850 13,550 −29.4%
1860 11,573 −14.6%
1870 13,121 13.4%
1880 15,198 15.8%
1890 18,770 23.5%
1900 25,101 33.7%
1910 28,385 13.1%
1920 31,426 10.7%
1930 40,452 28.7%
1940 45,577 12.7%
1950 46,356 1.7%
1960 45,091 −2.7%
1970 47,337 5.0%
1980 53,787 13.6%
1990 56,918 5.8%
2000 62,899 10.5%
2010 67,810 7.8%
2020 64,444 −5.0%
2021 (est.) 64,586 −4.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Rutherford County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 52,026 80.73%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 5,836 9.06%
Native American 152 0.24%
Asian 343 0.53%
Pacific Islander 23 0.04%
Other/Mixed 2,778 4.31%
Hispanic or Latino 3,286 5.1%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 64,444 people, 27,970 households, and 18,874 families residing in the county.

Communities

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

Towns

Village

Census-designated places

Cities and towns

Rutherford County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Republican Democratic
2016 72.2% 21,870 24.8% 7,516
2012 66.0% 18,954 32.7% 9,374
2008 65.4% 18,769 33.6% 9,641
2004 66.3% 16,343 33.2% 8,184
2000 63.3% 13,755 35.4% 7,697
1996 52.7% 9,792 38.6% 7,162
1992 48.0% 9,748 38.6% 7,855
1988 59.7% 10,337 40.0% 6,926
1984 62.2% 11,369 37.6% 6,862
1980 49.3% 8,363 49.0% 8,315
1976 39.2% 6,718 60.5% 10,361
1972 68.8% 9,506 30.0% 4,140
1968 46.1% 7,785 27.4% 4,622
1964 42.7% 7,115 57.3% 9,541
1960 51.3% 8,993 48.7% 8,554

Townships

  • Camp Creek
  • Cliffside
  • Chimney Rock
  • Colfax, Cool Spring
  • Duncans Creek
  • Gilkey
  • Golden Valley
  • Green Hill
  • High Shoals
  • Mt. Vernon
  • Rutherfordton
  • Union Mills

Economy

In 2010, Rutherford County was selected as the location for a new $450 million data center for Facebook.

Horsehead Corporation announced the construction of its new, state-of-the-art zinc and diversified metals production facility in Rutherford County, NC, near the municipality of Forest City.

Camp Bud Scheile A Boy Scout camp run by the Piedmont Council BSA is located North of Forest City. It can accommodate as many as 1800 campers every summer.

Notable people

  • Smoky Burgess, record-setting major league baseball player
  • Bryan Coker, 12th President of Maryville College
  • Walter Dalton, former lieutenant governor of North Carolina (in office 2009–2013)
  • Tim Earley, American poet
  • Pleasant Daniel Gold (1833–1920), American publisher and clergyman
  • Kay Hooper, best-selling author
  • Robert McNair, Owner Houston Texans
  • Burl Noggle, American historian born in Rutherford County in 1924
  • Richard O'Sullivan, screenwriter and filmmaker
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