Swain County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Swain County, North Carolina
Seal of Swain County, North Carolina
Map

Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the USA highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded 1871
Seat Bryson City
Largest town Bryson City
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

541 sq mi (1,401 km²)
528 sq mi (1,368 km²)
13 sq mi (34 km²), 2.3%
Population
 - (2010)
 - Density

13,981
26/sq mi (10/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: www.swaincountync.gov
Named for: David L. Swain
Oconaluftee River in Swain Co., NC IMG 4884
Oconaluftee River in Cherokee, North Carolina

Swain County is a county located in the western portion of the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,981. Its county seat is Bryson City.

Swain County is home of the Nantahala River (along with Macon County, North Carolina). The Nantahala is one of the most popular whitewater rafting rivers in the nation. In 2010, it was announced that the Nantahala River would host the 2013 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships. The Oconaluftee River also flows through Swain County in the town of Cherokee.

History

The county was formed in 1871 from parts of Jackson County and Macon County. It was named for David L. Swain, governor of North Carolina from 1832 to 1835, and president of the University of North Carolina from 1835 to 1868.

In 2011, the Swain County High School football team captured its eighth state football championship, winning the state 1A championships by a score of 20-14 over the Ayden-Grifton Chargers. The Maroon Devils as a team won three consecutive state championships (1988, 1989, 1990); several noteworthy players were on this team while being led by former University of Tennessee and National Football League quarterback and departing U.S. Representative Heath Shuler (Source: North Carolina High School Athletic Association). The school has also won one state championship in volleyball (2008) and two team state championships in cross country (1999 and 2000).

In 2006, the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NC-200610) was established at Swain County High School. The unit was created to educate and train high school cadets in citizenship, promote community service, instill responsibility, character, and self-discipline, and provide instruction in air and space fundamentals.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 541 square miles (1,400 km2), of which 528 square miles (1,370 km2) is land and 13 square miles (34 km2) (2.3%) is water.

The county is located in the western part of North Carolina in the Great Smoky Mountains and has a larger proportion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park than any other county in North Carolina or Tennessee.

The highest point in the county is Clingmans Dome, elevation 6,643 feet, located on the NC/TN border. This mountain is the third highest peak in North Carolina, and an observation tower is located on its summit.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 3,784
1890 6,577 73.8%
1900 8,401 27.7%
1910 10,403 23.8%
1920 13,224 27.1%
1930 11,568 −12.5%
1940 12,177 5.3%
1950 9,921 −18.5%
1960 8,387 −15.5%
1970 7,861 −6.3%
1980 10,283 30.8%
1990 11,268 9.6%
2000 12,968 15.1%
2010 13,981 7.8%
Est. 2015 14,434 3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2000, there were 12,968 people, 5,137 households, and 3,631 families residing in the county. The population density was 25 people per square mile (9/km²). There were 7,105 housing units at an average density of 14 per square mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 66.33% White, 1.70% Black or African American, 29.03% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.49% from other races, and 2.28% from two or more races. 1.47% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.3% were of American, 8.0% Irish, 7.6% Scots-Irish, 6.9% German and 6.6% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.2% spoke English, 2.9% Cherokee and 1.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 5,137 households out of which 30.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.30% were married couples living together, 13.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.30% were non-families. 25.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.30% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 25.40% from 45 to 64, and 15.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 94.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,608, and the median income for a family was $33,786. Males had a median income of $26,570 versus $20,722 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,647. About 13.30% of families and 18.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.60% of those under age 18 and 19.10% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Major highways

  • US 19
  • US 74
  • US 129
  • US 441
  • NC 28

Railroads

Swain County has one railroad, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which has its headquarters in Bryson City.

Communities

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

Town

Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Townships

  • Charleston
  • Forney Creek
  • Nantahala

Swain County, North Carolina Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.