|County of Alexander|
"A wonderful place to live, work and play."
|Named for||William Julius Alexander|
|• Total||264 sq mi (680 km2)|
|• Land||260 sq mi (700 km2)|
|• Water||3.7 sq mi (10 km2) 1.4%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||141/sq mi (54/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Alexander County is a county established in the U.S. state of North Carolina in 1847. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 36,444. Its county seat is Taylorsville. Alexander County is part of the Hickory–Lenoir–Morganton, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Alexander County was formed in 1847 from portions of what were then Iredell (formed in 1788 from Rowan County), Caldwell (formed from Burke County in 1841), and Wilkes (formed from Surry County and Washington District in 1771) counties.
Alexander County was named for William Julius Alexander who was a Speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons. This Piedmont area was settled primarily by farmers, many of Scots-Irish descent, as well as German descent in the southern section of Alexander County.
The county was established by two acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, one ratified on January 15 and one ratified on January 18, 1847. These acts were not to take effect until it was determined that Caldwell County would have 5,000 people in it. On August 10–11, 1847, the first sale of land in the county seat (Taylorsville) took place. Taylorsville is the namesake of either John Louis Taylor, Carolina agriculturist and political philosopher, or General Zachary Taylor, the twelfth president of the United States. With the proceeds from the sale, the county built the first courthouse on the present site.
When the American Civil War began in 1861, Alexander County was fourteen years old. The court house records in Taylorsville were destroyed by troops under Major General George Stoneman in a raid on Easter Sunday in 1865.
The Alexander Railroad based in Taylorsville began in 1946, with one connection to Norfolk Southern in Statesville, North Carolina. The short line rail system operates between Taylorsville and Statesville.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 264 square miles (680 km2), of which 260 square miles (670 km2) is land and 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2) (1.4%) is water.
Alexander County is located within the Foothills region of western North Carolina. The county's main geographic feature is the Brushy Mountains, a deeply eroded spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. The "Brushies," as they are called locally, rise from 300 to 1,000 feet (300 m) above the surrounding countryside, and dominate the county's northern horizon. The highest point in Alexander County is Hickory Knob in the Brushies; it has an elevation of 2,560 feet (780 m) above sea level. Barrett Mountain, an isolated mountain ridge, is in the western part of the county. The remainder of Alexander County's terrain consists of gently rolling countryside. The county's largest river, the Catawba, forms its southern border.
Within Alexander County is the unincorporated town of Hiddenite, the location of a mine that yields emeralds, sapphires, and its namesake stone "hiddenite," a variety of spodumene.
The county is served by US Highway 64, a controlled-access roadway connecting Taylorsville with Lenoir and Statesville. NC Highways 90, 16, and 127 also serve the county. Interstate 40 and 77 are 30 minutes from the majority of county residents. The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is an hour's drive from most parts of the county. The area is also served by the Hickory Regional Airport (30 minutes) and the Statesville Airport (20 minutes). The Alexander Railroad Company is an active short-line rail system operating between Taylorsville and Statesville, and connecting with Norfolk Southern.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||1,919||5.27%|
|Hispanic or Latino||1,836||5.04%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 36,444 people, 14,169 households, and 10,232 families residing in the county.
As of the census of 2000, there were 33,603 people, 13,137 households, and 9,747 families residing in the county. The population density was 129 people per square mile (50/km2). There were 14,098 housing units at an average density of 54 per square mile (21/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.00% White, 4.63% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 1.04% Asian, 1.34% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 2.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 13,137 households, out of which 32.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.50% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.80% were non-families. 21.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 24.50% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 11.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 99.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $38,684, and the median income for a family was $45,691. Males had a median income of $29,857 versus $21,868 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,507. About 5.90% of families and 8.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.20% of those under age 18 and 14.60% of those age 65 or over.
Alexander is currently a powerfully Republican county in Presidential elections. The only Democrat to carry the county in the past nineteen Presidential contests has been Jimmy Carter in 1976, although Barry Goldwater won the county by a mere thirty-eight votes in 1964. In contrast, Hillary Clinton in 2016 obtained barely twenty percent of the county's vote. The county did vote mainly Democratic during the Third Party System, but Populist sentiments in the 1890s have meant the county has supported the party only five times since 1896.
Alexander County is a member of the regional Western Piedmont Council of Governments.
By the requirements of the North Carolina Constitution of 1868, counties were divided into non-functioning county subdivisions called townships. There are eight townships in Alexander County:
Unincorporated communities in Alexander County include:
The population of cities, towns, and Census Designated Places (CDP) is shown in the following table is based on the 2021 Estimates of Alexander County.
|Population Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2021 Estimate)|
|2||Taylorsville (county seat)||Town||2,298|
|3||Stony Point (partially in Iredell County)||CDP||1,296|
Historical post offices that were part of Alexander County include: