|Alleghany County, North Carolina|
Location in the state of North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
236 sq mi (611 km²)
1 sq mi (3 km²), 0.37%
47/sq mi (18/km²)
The county was formed in 1859 from the eastern part of Ashe County. It was named for the Allegheny River. Numerous boundary adjustments have been made since it was established, but none have resulted in new counties.
Law and government
Alleghany County is a member of the regional High Country Council of Governments.
Geography and Climate
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 610 km² (236 sq mi). 608 km² (235 sq mi) of it is land and 2 km² (1 sq mi) of it (0.37%) is water. Alleghany County is located in northwestern North Carolina, and its northern border is with the State of Virginia. The county is located entirely within the Appalachian Mountains region of western North Carolina. Most of the county is located atop a rolling plateau that ranges from 2,500 feet to 3,000 feet above sea level. The southern border of the county drops abruptly nearly 2,000 feet to the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The plateau is crossed by numerous hills and mountains. The major rivers of Alleghany County are the New River, and the Little River, which flows through the town of Sparta, the county seat.
Due to its elevation, Alleghany County enjoys considerably cooler summers than the lowland areas to the east and south, with temperatures rarely rising over 85 F. In the winter, however, temperatures are much colder than would be expected in a southern state. Daytime highs can fall into the teens or lower, and snowfall can be substantial.
- Robert L. Doughton: Bob Doughton (1863-1954) was a powerful United States Congressman from Alleghany County from 1911-1953. From 1933-1947 he was the Chairman of the influential House Ways and Means Committee. He used his influence as Chairman to create the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs along the county's eastern and southern borders. Doughton Park, the largest and most popular park on the Parkway, is named in his honor. He also played a major role in the passage of the Social Security Act. His former home is currently a popular bed-and-breakfast in Alleghany County.
- Rufus A. Doughton: Born in 1857, he was the older brother of Robert Doughton. A prominent politician in his own right, he served as the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, and was North Carolina's Lieutenant Governor from 1893-1897. He died in 1946.
- Zach Galifianakis (born 1969), a popular stand-up comedian and actor, lives on a farm near Sparta, the county seat. He splits his time between the farm and his work in New York City.
As of the census2 of 2000, there were 10,677 people, 4,593 households, and 3,169 families residing in the county. The population density was 18/km² (46/sq mi). There were 6,412 housing units at an average density of 11/km² (27/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 95.69% White, 1.23% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.75% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 4.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 4,593 households out of which 24.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.30% were married couples living together, 7.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.00% were non-families. 27.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.75.
In the county the population was spread out with 19.40% under the age of 18, 7.40% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 27.70% from 45 to 64, and 19.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 97.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $29,244, and the median income for a family was $38,473. Males had a median income of $25,462 versus $18,851 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,691. About 11.30% of families and 17.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.80% of those under age 18 and 25.00% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns