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Warren County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Warren County
Warren County Courthouse in Warrenton
Warren County Courthouse in Warrenton
Official seal of Warren County
Map of North Carolina highlighting Warren 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 Joseph Warren
Seat Warrenton
Largest town Warrenton
 • Total 444 sq mi (1,150 km2)
 • Land 428 sq mi (1,110 km2)
 • Water 15 sq mi (40 km2)  3.4%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 49/sq mi (19/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 1st

Warren County is a county located in the northeastern Piedmont region of the U.S. state of North Carolina, on the northern border with Virginia, made famous for a landfill and birthplace of the environmental justice movement. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 18,642. Its county seat is Warrenton. It was a center of tobacco and cotton plantations, education, and later textile mills.


The county was formed in 1779 from the northern half of Bute County. It was named for Joseph Warren of Massachusetts, a physician and general in the American Revolutionary War who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Developed as tobacco and cotton plantations, the county generated considerable wealth for white planters in the antebellum years, wealth built on the labor of slaves. Its county seat of Warrenton became a center of commerce and was one of the wealthiest towns in the state from 1840 to 1860. Many planters built fine homes there.

In the later nineteenth century, the county developed textile mills. In 1881, parts of Warren County, Franklin County, and Granville County were combined to form Vance County. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Warren County's continued reliance on agriculture slowed its development. Many residents migrated to cities for work.

Since the late 20th century, county residents have worked to attract other industrial and business development. Soul City, a "planned community" development, was funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It has not been successful in attracting business and industry, and has not developed as much housing as intended.

Beginning in 1982, Warren County was the site of the Warren County PCB Landfill. Residents of the county have pursued a long environmental justice struggle to remove dangerous pollutants from the site, to improve the health of citizens. The site was not made safe until 2004.


North Carolina State Line- Warren County
Entering Warren County from Virginia

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 444 square miles (1,150 km2), of which 428 square miles (1,110 km2) is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (3.4%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • I-85
  • US 1
  • US 158
  • US 401
  • NC 4
  • NC 43
  • NC 58
  • NC 903


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 9,379
1800 11,284 20.3%
1810 11,004 −2.5%
1820 11,158 1.4%
1830 11,877 6.4%
1840 12,919 8.8%
1850 13,912 7.7%
1860 15,726 13.0%
1870 17,768 13.0%
1880 22,619 27.3%
1890 19,360 −14.4%
1900 19,151 −1.1%
1910 20,266 5.8%
1920 21,593 6.5%
1930 23,364 8.2%
1940 23,145 −0.9%
1950 23,539 1.7%
1960 19,652 −16.5%
1970 15,810 −19.6%
1980 16,232 2.7%
1990 17,265 6.4%
2000 19,972 15.7%
2010 20,972 5.0%
Est. 2021 18,762 −10.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Warren County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 7,209 38.67%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 9,049 48.54%
Native American 953 5.11%
Asian 62 0.33%
Pacific Islander 4 0.02%
Other/Mixed 626 3.36%
Hispanic or Latino 739 3.96%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 18,642 people, 7,786 households, and 4,589 families residing in the county.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 20,972 people living in the county. 52.3% were Black or African American, 38.8% White, 5.0% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 2.0% of some other race and 1.6% of two or more races. 3.3% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).


Map of Warren County North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Warren County showing municipalities and townships


Unincorporated communities

Notable people

  • Braxton Bragg, Confederate General
  • Thomas Bragg, Confederate Attorney General, North Carolina governor
  • Eva Clayton, Congresswoman
  • Kirkland Donald, United States Navy Admiral, fifth Director of the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program
  • Benjamin Hawkins, U.S. senator, Superintendent for Indian Affairs (1798-1818)
  • John H. Kerr, Congressman
  • Nathaniel Macon, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. senator
  • William Miller, North Carolina governor
  • Reynolds Price, professor emeritus of English at Duke University, major author and essayist of the South
  • Matt Ransom, US senator, Confederate general
  • Robert Ransom, Confederate general
  • Gladys Smithwick, physician, medical missionary in China and the Belgian Congo
  • James Turner, North Carolina governor
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