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Wayne County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Wayne County
Wayne County Courthouse in Goldsboro, 1948
Wayne County Courthouse in Goldsboro, 1948
Official seal of Wayne County
Map of North Carolina highlighting Wayne 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 Anthony Wayne
Seat Goldsboro
Largest city Goldsboro
 • Total 557 sq mi (1,440 km2)
 • Land 553 sq mi (1,430 km2)
 • Water 3.8 sq mi (10 km2)  0.7%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 221.3/sq mi (85.4/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 3rd, 13th

Wayne County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 117,333. Its county seat is Goldsboro and it is home to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Wayne County comprises the Goldsboro, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Prior to 1730, Native Americans were the only known occupants of the territory now known as Wayne county. Settlers trickled into the territory, but there was no general movement of immigration until after 1750. Wayne County was established on November 2, 1779 from the western part of Dobbs County. It was named for "Mad Anthony" Wayne, a general in the American Revolutionary War. The act, establishing the County, provided the first court should be held at the home of Josiah Sasser at which time the justices were to decide on a place for all subsequent courts until a courthouse could be erected. By 1782 the commissioners were named. In 1787 an act was passed establishing Waynesborough on the west side of the Neuse River on the land of Doctor Andrew Bass where the courthouse now stands.

In 1855 parts of Wayne County, Edgecombe County, Johnston County, and Nash County were combined to form Wilson County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 557 square miles (1,440 km2), of which 553 square miles (1,430 km2) is land and 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) (0.7%) is water.

Wayne County's surface is level to gently rolling uplands with broad bottoms along the rivers and some creeks. Elevations are predominantly 120 to 145 feet above sea level. The largest waterway, the Neuse River, bisects the lower central portion of the county and cuts a deep channel 20 to 40 feet deep as it flows in an eastward direction. Unusual river bluffs occur in the vicinity of Seven Springs. In addition to the Neuse River, the county is drained by the Little River, the Northeast Cape Fear River and numerous creeks.

Wayne County is underlain by unconsolidated beds of sand, clay and gravel. For the most part, these beds were deposited in seawater as the sea advanced and retreated during the geologic development of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. To a much lesser extent, streams deposited layers of sediment which mixed with that deposited on the sea floor.

The climate in Wayne County is characterized by warm summers and moderate winters. The average temperature is about 62 degrees. Annual precipitation is about 50 inches of rainfall per year, with the major portion occurring in the late spring and summer.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 6,115
1800 6,772 10.7%
1810 8,687 28.3%
1820 9,040 4.1%
1830 10,331 14.3%
1840 10,891 5.4%
1850 13,486 23.8%
1860 14,905 10.5%
1870 18,144 21.7%
1880 24,951 37.5%
1890 26,100 4.6%
1900 31,356 20.1%
1910 35,698 13.8%
1920 43,640 22.2%
1930 53,013 21.5%
1940 58,328 10.0%
1950 64,267 10.2%
1960 82,059 27.7%
1970 85,408 4.1%
1980 97,054 13.6%
1990 104,666 7.8%
2000 113,329 8.3%
2010 122,623 8.2%
Est. 2021 116,835 −4.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019

2020 census

Wayne County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 60,199 51.31%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 35,329 30.11%
Native American 335 0.29%
Asian 1,542 1.31%
Pacific Islander 71 0.06%
Other/Mixed 4,930 4.2%
Hispanic or Latino 14,927 12.72%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 117,333 people, 48,482 households, and 30,990 families residing in the county.



  • Air: Wayne County is served through nearby Kinston Regional Jetport (IATA: ISOICAO: KISO) with service to Orlando, Florida. Raleigh-Durham International Airport is the closest major airport with service to more than 45 domestic and international destinations. Wayne Executive Jetport is an airport located in Wayne County, but is only used for general aviation.
  • Interstate Highway: Interstate 795 (I-795) links Goldsboro to Interstate 95 near Wilson, NC in Wilson County.
  • Wayne County is not served directly by passenger trains. The closest Amtrak station is located in Selma, NC.
  • Bus: The county is served by Greyhound with a location in Goldsboro.


  • The main highway in Wayne County is US 70, which offers access to the North Carolina coast, the capital city of Raleigh and I-95. The only interstate in Wayne County is I-795, which is a direct connector with I-95 and US 264.
  • Other highways that run through the county include US 13, US 117, and NC 111, NC 222, and NC 581.

Work is currently being done on NC 44, which will become the Goldsboro Bypass upon completion.


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




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities


  • Brogden
  • Buck Swamp
  • Fork
  • Goldsboro
  • Grantham
  • Hood Swamp
  • Indian Springs
  • Nahunta
  • New Hope
  • Pikeville
  • Saulston
  • Stoney Creek


Wayne County's local industries are involved in a range of operations from simple assembly to complex manufacturing processes resulting in products ranging from bread and poultry feed to automobile parts and electric transformers. Substantial technological improvements in recent years involving modernization of plant facilities and the addition of sophisticated manufacturing equipment have resulted in enhanced profitability and productivity for many of the local manufacturing firms.

The combination of a mild climate, a freeze-free growing season of about 225 days and a wide range of soil types contribute to a highly productive agricultural area. Total gross farm sales in Wayne County in 2006 was approximately US$329,082,138. Field crops, including the primary crops of tobacco, corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat accounted for nearly 12% of the farm income or US$38,583,389.

Income from livestock and poultry production was US$236,287,547 in 2006 and derived primarily from swine operations. Swine production has increased rapidly, making it the single largest source of farm income. In 2006 farm income from swine production was US$75,409,690 or 23% of all farm income. Wayne County ranks 7th in the nation for production of swine.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is home to the 4th Fighter Wing and 916th Air Refueling Wing. The annual civilian and military payroll is over $282 millionUSD. In fiscal year 2006 the economic impact at the base totaled over $460 millionUSD.


Wayne County is home to three colleges: Wayne Community College, University of Mount Olive (formerly known as Mount Olive College), and the Goldsboro campus of the North Carolina Wesleyan College.

Public schools are administered by the Wayne County Public Schools system. The public schools include nine high schools and college preparation schools, nine middle schools, fourteen elementary schools and one special education school. The county is also home to one charter public school and six private schools.

High schools

  • Charles B. Aycock High School
  • Eastern Wayne High School
  • Goldsboro High School
  • Rosewood High School
  • Southern Wayne High School
  • Wayne School of Engineering

Middle schools

  • Brogden Middle School
  • Dillard Middle School
  • Eastern Wayne Middle School
  • Grantham Middle School
  • Greenwood Middle School
  • Mount Olive Middle School
  • Norwayne Middle School
  • Rosewood Middle School
  • Spring Creek Middle School

Elementary schools

  • Brogden Primary School
  • Carver Elementary School
  • Carver Heights Elementary School
  • Eastern Wayne Elementary School
  • Fremont Stars Elementary School
  • Grantham Elementary School
  • Meadow Lane Elementary School
  • North Drive Elementary School
  • Northeast Elementary School
  • Northwest Elementary School
  • Rosewood Elementary School
  • School Street Early Learning Center
  • Spring Creek Elementary School
  • Tommy's Road Elementary School

Special Education Schools

  • Edgewood Community Developmental School

Private schools

  • Faith Christian Academy
  • Pathway Christian Academy
  • Wayne Christian School
  • Wayne Country Day School
  • St. Mary Catholic School
  • Wayne Preparatory Academy

Notable residents

  • Charles Brantley Aycock, politician
  • Bob Boyd, golfer
  • Moira Crone, author
  • Ava Gardner, actress
  • Anne Jeffreys, actress
  • Carl Kasell, radio personality
  • Martin Lancaster, former President of the North Carolina Community College System
  • Manny Lawson, NFL linebacker
  • Jerry Narron, MLB player, coach, and manager
  • Tony Schiffman, jeweler
  • John R. Smith, politician
  • Michale Spicer, NFL defensive end
  • Greg Warren, NFL long snapper
  • James B. Whitfield, lawyer
  • Cadmus M. Wilcox, Confederate general
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