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Buncombe County, North Carolina
Seal of Buncombe County, North Carolina
Seal
Map of North Carolina highlighting Buncombe County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the U.S. highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1791
Seat Asheville
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

660 sq mi (1,709 km²)
656 sq mi (1,699 km²)
4 sq mi (10 km²), 0.58%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

269,452
313/sq mi (121/km²)
Website www.buncombecounty.org

Buncombe County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is part of the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population as of the 2020 census was 269,452.[1] Its county seat is AshevilleGR6.

History[]

The county was formed in 1791 from parts of Burke County and Rutherford County. It was named for Edward Buncombe, a colonel in the American Revolutionary War, who was captured at the Battle of Germantown.

In 1808 the western part of Buncombe County became Haywood County. In 1833 parts of Burke County and Buncombe County were combined to form Yancey County, and in 1838 the southern part of what was left of Buncombe County became Henderson County. In 1851 parts of Buncombe County and Yancey County were combined to form Madison County. Finally, in 1925 the Broad River township of McDowell County was transferred to Buncombe County.

In 1820, a U.S. Congressman, whose district included Buncombe County, unintentionally contributed a word to the English language. In the Sixteenth Congress, after lengthy debate on the Missouri Compromise, members of the House called for an immediate vote on that important question. Instead, Felix Walker rose to address his colleagues, insisting that his constituents expected him to make a speech "for Buncombe." It was later remarked that Walker's untimely and irrelevant oration was not just for Buncombe--it "was Buncombe." Thus, buncombe, afterwards spelled bunkum and then shortened to bunk, became a term for empty, nonsensical talk.

Law and government[]

Buncombe had long been a bellwether county in presidential elections. It voted for the winning candidate in every election from 1928 to 2012, except for that of 1960.

Since 2008, the county has trended strongly toward the Democratic Party. It swung from a 0.6 point win for George W. Bush to a 14-point win for Barack Obama in 2008, and has gone Democratic by double-digit margins at every election since then. This includes 2016, when it voted for Hillary Clinton. When Donald Trump won the electoral college (and the election) after losing the popular vote, the county lost its bellwether status. In 2020, Joe Biden's performance in the county was the best by a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson's 1964 landslide.

North Carolina is represented in the United States Senate by Republicans Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, from Winston-Salem and Greensboro, respectively. All of the county is located in North Carolina's 11th congressional district, which is currently held by Republican Madison Cawthorn.

United States presidential election results for Buncombe County, North Carolina[2]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 62,412 38.63% 96,515 59.74% 2,642 1.64%
2016 55,716 40.10% 75,452 54.30% 7,779 5.60%
2012 54,701 42.84% 70,625 55.31% 2,370 1.86%
2008 52,494 42.40% 69,716 56.32% 1,585 1.28%
2004 52,491 49.99% 51,868 49.39% 654 0.62%
2000 46,101 53.93% 38,545 45.09% 830 0.97%
1996 30,518 44.19% 31,658 45.84% 6,891 9.98%
1992 30,892 40.92% 32,955 43.65% 11,645 15.43%
1988 36,828 57.55% 26,964 42.14% 200 0.31%
1984 37,698 61.62% 23,337 38.14% 148 0.24%
1980 26,124 48.80% 24,837 46.40% 2,569 4.80%
1976 22,461 45.49% 26,633 53.94% 285 0.58%
1972 32,091 70.38% 12,626 27.69% 877 1.92%
1968 21,031 44.23% 14,624 30.76% 11,889 25.01%
1964 19,372 37.99% 31,623 62.01% 0 0.00%
1960 28,040 54.61% 23,303 45.39% 0 0.00%
1956 22,655 54.33% 19,044 45.67% 0 0.00%
1952 24,444 52.15% 22,425 47.85% 0 0.00%
1948 11,460 37.15% 17,072 55.34% 2,319 7.52%
1944 9,398 31.04% 20,878 68.96% 0 0.00%
1940 8,723 25.96% 24,878 74.04% 0 0.00%
1936 9,470 28.60% 23,646 71.40% 0 0.00%
1932 8,745 31.97% 18,241 66.69% 367 1.34%
1928 16,590 57.22% 12,405 42.78% 0 0.00%
1924 6,285 37.30% 10,098 59.93% 467 2.77%
1920 8,017 44.09% 10,167 55.91% 0 0.00%
1916 3,830 47.52% 4,229 52.48% 0 0.00%
1912 426 6.53% 3,716 56.92% 2,386 36.55%
1908 3,572 50.03% 3,506 49.10% 62 0.87%
1904 2,591 44.70% 3,181 54.88% 24 0.41%
1900 4,140 52.41% 3,724 47.15% 35 0.44%
1896 4,611 52.80% 4,098 46.93% 24 0.27%
1892 3,125 44.18% 3,588 50.73% 360 5.09%
1888 2,873 48.29% 2,956 49.68% 121 2.03%
1884 2,007 42.87% 2,649 56.58% 26 0.56%
1880 1,591 44.37% 1,995 55.63% 0 0.00%



Geography[]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,709 km² (660 sq mi). 1,699 km² (656 sq mi) of it is land and 10 km² (4 sq mi) of it (0.58%) is water.

The French Broad River enters the county at its border with Henderson County to the south and flows north into Madison County. The source of the Swannanoa River, which joins the French Broad River in Asheville, is in northeast Buncombe County at Mount Mitchell. A milestone was achieved in 2003 when Interstate 26 was extended from Mars Hill (north of Asheville) to Johnson City completing a 20-year half-billion dollar construction project through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Major Highways[]

Townships[]

The county is divided into fifteen townships: Asheville, Avery Creek, Black Mountain, Broad River, Fairview, Flat Creek, French Broad, Ivy, Leicester, Limestone, Lower Hominy, Reems Creek, Sandy Mush, Swannanoa, and Upper Hominy.

Adjacent Counties[]

Demographics[]

As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 206,330 people, 85,776 households, and 55,668 families residing in the county. The population density was 121/km² (314/sq mi). There were 93,973 housing units at an average density of 55/km² (143/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 89.06% White, 7.48% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.15% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. 2.78% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 85,776 households out of which 27.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.50% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.10% were non-families. 28.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the county the population was spread out with 21.90% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 29.30% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 15.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 92.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,666, and the median income for a family was $45,011. Males had a median income of $30,705 versus $23,870 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,384. About 7.80% of families and 11.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.30% of those under age 18 and 9.80% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns[]

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

Census-designated places[]

References[]

See also[]

External links[]

Coordinates: 35°37′N 82°32′W / 35.61, -82.53

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Buncombe County, North Carolina. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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