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Mercer County, West Virginia
Mercer County Courthouse West Virginia.jpg
The Mercer County Courthouse in Princeton in 2007
Map of West Virginia highlighting Mercer County
Location in the state of West Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting West Virginia
West Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded March 17, 1837
Seat Princeton
Largest city Bluefield
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

421 sq mi (1,090 km²)
419 sq mi (1,085 km²)
1.7 sq mi (4 km²), 0.4%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

59,664
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.mercercounty.wv.gov/

Mercer County is a county on the southeastern border of the U.S. state of West Virginia. At the 2020 census, the population was 59,664.[1] Its county seat is Princeton.[2] The county was originally established in the State of Virginia by act of its General Assembly on March 17, 1837,[3][4] using lands taken from Giles and Tazewell counties.

Mercer County is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Geography[]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 421 square miles (1,090 km2), of which 419 square miles (1,090 km2) is land and 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2) (0.4%) is water.[5]

In 1863, West Virginia's counties were divided into civil townships, with the intention of encouraging local government. This proved impractical in the heavily rural state, and in 1872 the townships were converted into magisterial districts.[6] Mercer County was divided into five districts: Beaver Pond, East River, Jumping Branch, Plymouth, and Rock. In the 1970s, Mercer County's five historic districts were consolidated into three new magisterial districts: District 1, District 2, and District 3. The new districts were renamed "District I", "District II" and "District III" during the 1980s.[7]

Major highways[]

  • I-73 (future)
  • I-74 (future)
  • I-77 (WV).svg Interstate 77
  • US 19.svg U.S. Highway 19
  • US 52.svg U.S. Highway 52
  • US 460.svg U.S. Highway 460
  • WV-10.svg West Virginia Route 10
  • WV-20.svg West Virginia Route 20
  • WV-44.svg West Virginia Route 44
  • WV-71.svg West Virginia Route 71
  • WV-112.svg West Virginia Route 112

The West Virginia Turnpike, now part of Interstate 77, begins in Princeton.

Adjacent counties[]

National protected area[]

  • Bluestone National Scenic River (part)

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 2,233
1850 4,222 89.1%
1860 6,819 61.5%
1870 7,064 3.6%
1880 7,467 5.7%
1890 16,002 114.3%
1900 23,023 43.9%
1910 38,371 66.7%
1920 49,558 29.2%
1930 61,323 23.7%
1940 68,289 11.4%
1950 75,013 9.8%
1960 68,206 −9.1%
1970 63,206 −7.3%
1980 73,942 17.0%
1990 64,980 −12.1%
2000 62,980 −3.1%
2010 62,264 −1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790–1960[9] 1900–1990[10]
1990–2000[11] 2010–2020[1]

2000 census[]

At the census[12] of 2000, there were 62,980 people, 26,509 households, and 17,946 families living in the county. The population density was 150 people per square mile (58/km2). There were 30,143 housing units at an average density of 72 per square mile (28/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.56% White, 5.82% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.10% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. 0.45% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 26,509 households, out of which 26.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.00% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 28.70% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.60% 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 2.85.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 21.10% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 26.20% from 25 to 44, 25.50% from 45 to 64, and 17.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,628, and the median income for a family was $33,524. Males had a median income of $29,243 versus $19,013 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,564. About 14.70% of families and 19.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.90% of those under age 18 and 12.70% of those age 65 or over.

The county is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area.

2010 census[]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 62,264 people, 26,603 households, and 17,313 families living in the county.[13] The population density was 148.6 inhabitants per square mile (57.4 /km2). There were 30,115 housing units at an average density of 71.9 per square mile (27.8 /km2).[14] The racial makeup of the county was 91.6% white, 6.1% black or African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.8% of the population.[13] In terms of ancestry, 16.4% were Irish, 14.2% were German, 12.0% were English, and 11.2% were American.[15]

Of the 26,603 households, 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.6% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.9% were non-families, and 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.83. The median age was 42.5 years.[13]

The median income for a household in the county was $32,131 and the median income for a family was $42,517. Males had a median income of $37,423 versus $25,778 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,431. About 16.0% of families and 22.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.5% of those under age 18 and 11.4% of those age 65 or over.[16]

Politics[]

Mercer County's political history is largely typical of West Virginia. It was supportive of remaining with Confederate Virginia when the state was created and voted Democratic in the first few post-Civil War elections.[17] However, the influence of coal industry executives turned the county towards the GOP during the "System of 1896".[18] As with most of West Virginia, extensive unionization caused the county to swing to the Democratic Party during most of the twentieth century, but an extremely rapid swing towards the Republican Party has occurred since 2000, due to declining unionization,[19] along with regional views on environmental, social and cultural issues that are increasingly at odds with the national Democratic Party.[20]

Political Party Number of registered voters (March 31, 2022)[21] %
Template:Party color cell Republican 14,120 39.57
Template:Party color cell Democratic 10,861 30.43
Template:Party color cell Independent 9,266 25.96
Template:Party color cell Libertarian 222 0.62
Template:Party color cell Mountain 78 0.22
Other 1,141 3.20
Total 35,688 100.00
United States presidential election results for Mercer County, West Virginia[22]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 19,237 76.53% 5,556 22.10% 342 1.36%
2016 17,404 75.03% 4,704 20.28% 1,089 4.69%
2012 15,450 72.49% 5,432 25.49% 431 2.02%
2008 13,246 62.81% 7,450 35.33% 393 1.86%
2004 13,057 58.34% 9,178 41.01% 144 0.64%
2000 10,206 54.07% 8,347 44.22% 322 1.71%
1996 7,768 41.54% 8,721 46.64% 2,211 11.82%
1992 7,888 38.91% 9,511 46.91% 2,876 14.18%
1988 10,221 50.03% 10,152 49.69% 57 0.28%
1984 13,910 60.07% 9,164 39.58% 81 0.35%
1980 12,273 49.61% 11,804 47.71% 664 2.68%
1976 10,791 42.23% 14,761 57.77% 0 0.00%
1972 17,846 69.52% 7,826 30.48% 0 0.00%
1968 9,985 38.28% 12,739 48.83% 3,363 12.89%
1964 8,905 32.74% 18,298 67.26% 0 0.00%
1960 11,719 40.40% 17,289 59.60% 0 0.00%
1956 14,648 52.53% 13,236 47.47% 0 0.00%
1952 14,267 46.08% 16,694 53.92% 0 0.00%
1948 10,065 39.71% 15,201 59.97% 82 0.32%
1944 10,034 40.31% 14,861 59.69% 0 0.00%
1940 11,395 38.55% 18,163 61.45% 0 0.00%
1936 10,762 36.88% 18,391 63.02% 30 0.10%
1932 11,088 40.93% 15,900 58.69% 105 0.39%
1928 12,887 55.52% 10,273 44.26% 50 0.22%
1924 9,159 42.86% 10,058 47.07% 2,153 10.07%
1920 8,613 51.73% 7,981 47.93% 56 0.34%
1916 4,788 49.47% 4,836 49.96% 55 0.57%
1912 1,507 18.56% 3,497 43.07% 3,116 38.37%



Education[]

The Mercer County Public School System has nineteen elementary schools, including Athens, Bluefield Intermediate, Bluewell, Brushfork, Ceres, Glenwood Elementary, Lashmeet-Matoaka, Melrose, Memorial, Mercer County Early Learning - Bluefield and Princeton sites, Mercer, Montcalm, Oakvale (funding for constructing a new Oakvale school has been approved), Princeton Primary, Spanishburg, Straley, Sun Valley and Whitethorn. There are six middle school facilities including Princeton Middle, Bluefield Middle, Montcalm Middle, PikeView Middle, and Glenwood Middle. There are also four high school facilities, including Princeton Senior (AAA), Bluefield High (AA), Montcalm High (A) and PikeView High (AA). The Mercer County Technical Education Center, which is being transitioned into a comprehensive technical high school. Mercer County Schools educates approximately 9200 students. The professional and service staff number about 1200.

Higher educational institutions include Bluefield State College, located in Bluefield; Concord University, located in Athens; and New River Community and Technical College, located in Princeton, West Virginia.

Law enforcement[]

Mercer County is protected by seven agencies. Five agencies protect the incorporated areas of the county, but the non-incorporated area is the primary responsibility of the Mercer County Sheriff's Department. The Mercer County Sheriff's Department consists of 30 sworn law enforcement officers and a number of civilian employees. Within the Mercer County Sheriff's Department are several specialized units to better serve the citizens.

K-9 Unit: Deputy Ballard (Quando), Deputy Parks (Arrow), Deputy Rose (Mitis), & Deputy Ellsion (Max).

Detective Bureau: Cpl. Murphy, Detective Sparks, & Detective Combs.

SWAT: Sgt. G. W. Woods, Cpl. J. J. Ruble, Cpl. S. A. Sommers, & Detective Combs. The rest of the team consists of other agencies within the county, excluding the State Police.

The Sheriff's Department has one dedicated Deputy who serves on the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

Mercer County is also home to the Princeton Detachment of the West Virginia State Police and a Turnpike Detachment (Highway Patrol).

Communities[]

Cities[]

  • Bluefield (largest city)
  • Princeton (county seat)

Towns[]

  • Athens
  • Bramwell
  • Oakvale
  • Rock

Magisterial districts[]

  • District I
  • District II
  • District III

Census-designated places[]

  • Bluewell
  • Brush Fork
  • Lashmeet
  • Montcalm
  • Matoaka

See also[]

  • Camp Creek State Park
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Mercer County, West Virginia
  • Pinnacle Rock State Park
  • Pipestem Resort State Park
  • Pocahontas coalfield
  • Tate Lohr Wildlife Management Area

References[]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/54/54055.html. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. 
  3. ^ "West Virginia Counties". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. http://www.wvculture.org/history/wvcounties.html.  (WV County Etymology)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". http://www.wvculture.org/history/wvcounties.html. 
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. http://www2.census.gov/geo/docs/maps-data/data/gazetteer/counties_list_54.txt. 
  6. ^ Otis K. Rice & Stephen W. Brown, West Virginia: A History, 2nd ed., University Press of Kentucky, Lexington (1993), p. 240.
  7. ^ United States Census Bureau, U.S. Decennial Census, Tables of Minor Civil Divisions in West Virginia, 1870–2010.
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census.html. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/wv190090.txt. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  12. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  13. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/DEC/10_DP/DPDP1/0500000US54055. 
  14. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/DEC/10_SF1/GCTPH1.CY07/0500000US54055. 
  15. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_5YR/DP02/0500000US54055. 
  16. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_5YR/DP03/0500000US54055. 
  17. ^ Johnston, David E., A History of Middle New River Settlements and Contiguous Territory, Standard Ptg. & Pub. Co., 1908, pg. 187
  18. ^ Drake, Richard B.; A History of Appalachia ISBN 0813137934
  19. ^ Schwartzman, Gabe; ‘How Central Appalachia Went Right’; Daily Yonder, January 13, 2015
  20. ^ Cohn, Nate; "Demographic Shift: Southern Whites’ Loyalty to G.O.P. Nearing That of Blacks to Democrats", The New York Times, April 24, 2014
  21. ^ "Mar2022". March 31, 2022. https://sos.wv.gov/elections/Documents/VoterRegistrationTotals/2022/Mar2022.pdf. 
  22. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS. 

External links[]

Coordinates: 37°25′N 81°07′W / 37.41, -81.11

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Mercer County, West Virginia. 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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