Location of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area in North Carolina

Counties included in the Cape Fear Council of Governments.

Cape Fear is a coastal plain and tidewater region of North Carolina centered about the city of Wilmington.[1] The region takes its name from the adjacent Cape Fear headland, as does the Cape Fear River which flows through the region and empties into the Atlantic Ocean near the cape. Much of the region's populated areas are found along the Atlantic beaches and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway while the rural areas are dominated by farms and swampland like that of the Green Swamp. The general area can be also identified by the titles Lower Cape Fear, Wilmington Metropolitan Area, Southeastern North Carolina, and Azalea Coast. The latter name is derived from the North Carolina Azalea Festival held annually in Wilmington. Municipalities in the area belong to the Cape Fear Council of Governments.

The region is home to the Port of Wilmington, the busiest port in North Carolina, operated by the North Carolina State Ports Authority. It is also the location of Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, the largest ammunition port in the nation, and the Army's primary east coast deep-water port. Plans are underway for the construction of the North Carolina International Port in the region on the west bank of the Cape Fear River as an expansion of the Port of Wilmington.

Three counties form the core of the Cape Fear region: New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender. These three counties are also included in the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which as of the 2000 census, had a population of 274,532. A July 1, 2008 census estimate puts the population total at 347,012.[2] The coastal communities boast a large, seasonal tourism industry leading to much higher populations in the summer months and lower populations in the winter months.

Two additional counties, Bladen County and Columbus, are occasionally included as part of the Cape Fear region, as are Duplin, Onslow, and Sampson counties, but to a lesser extent.


The Cape Fear region is situated on the Atlantic Coastal Plain. A large portion of the region is low-lying wetlands, most notably the Green Swamp, which is one of the rare habitats of the Venus Flytrap. The Cape Fear River and the Northeast Cape Fear River are the deeper prominent rivers that flow through the region, with minor rivers like Lockwood Folly River, Brunswick River, and Shallotte River providing access for small watercraft of small communities.


These are communities found in the metropolitan statistical area.


  • Wilmington (Principal city)
  • Southport
  • Boiling Spring Lakes


  • Atkinson
  • Belville
  • Bolivia
  • Burgaw
  • Calabash
  • Carolina Beach
  • Carolina Shores
  • Caswell Beach
  • Holden Beach
  • Kure Beach
  • Leland
  • Navassa
  • Oak Island
  • Ocean Isle Beach
  • Sandy Creek
  • Shallotte
  • St. Helena
  • St. James
  • Sunset Beach
  • Surf City (partial)
  • Topsail Beach
  • Varnamtown
  • Wallace (partial)
  • Watha
  • Wrightsville Beach

Former towns[]

  • Brunswick Town
  • Long Beach
  • Yaupon Beach


  • Bald Head Island

Census-designated places[]

  • Bayshore
  • Castle Hayne
  • Hightsville
  • Kings Grant
  • Kirkland
  • Masonboro
  • Murraysville
  • Myrtle Grove
  • Ogden
  • Sea Breeze
  • Seagate
  • Silver Lake
  • Skippers Corner
  • Wrightsboro

Unincorporated places[]

  • Ash
  • Charity
  • Currie
  • Hampstead
  • Montague
  • Murphey
  • Piney Grove
  • Register
  • Sloop Point
  • Supply
  • Winnabow
  • Yamacraw


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 274,532 people, 114,675 households, and 75,347 families residing within the MSA. The racial makeup of the MSA was 79.47% White, 17.27% African American, 0.48% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.12% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.45% of the population.

The median income for a household in the MSA was $37,321, and the median income for a family was $44,844. Males had a median income of $32,454 versus $22,998 for females. The per capita income for the MSA was $20,287.

See also[]

  • North Carolina census statistical areas
  • Orton Plantation
  • St. Philip's Church Ruins


External links[]

Coordinates: 34°14′N 77°58′W / 34.23, -77.97

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Cape Fear (region). 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.