|County of Dare|
"Land of Beginnings"
|Named for||Virginia Dare|
|Largest town||Kill Devil Hills|
|• Total||1,563 sq mi (4,050 km2)|
|• Land||383 sq mi (990 km2)|
|• Water||1,179 sq mi (3,050 km2) 75%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||98.8/sq mi (38.1/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Dare County is the easternmost county in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 36,915. Its county seat is Manteo. Dare County is named after Virginia Dare, the first child born in the Americas to English parents, who was born within the county's current borders. Founded in 1870 from parts of Tyrrell, Currituck and Hyde counties, it consists of a large segment of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, along with Roanoke Island and a peninsula of land attached to the mainland. Most of the county consists of a string of resort communities along the Outer Banks. While lightly populated by year-round residents, the population swells during the summer with vacationers.
Dare County is included in the Kill Devil Hills, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC Combined Statistical Area.
At one time, the now-abandoned town of Buffalo City was the largest community in the county. Because it includes much of Pamlico Sound, Dare County is the largest county in North Carolina by total area, although if one were to consider land area only, it drops down to 68th in size among the state's 100 counties.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,563 square miles (4,050 km2), of which 383 square miles (990 km2) is land and 1,179 square miles (3,050 km2) (75%) is water. It is the largest county in North Carolina by area.
Dare County includes the middle part of the Outer Banks and contains Roanoke Island.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||678||1.84%|
|Hispanic or Latino||2,554||6.92%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 36,915 people, 15,529 households, and 10,281 families residing in the county.
As of the census of 2010, there were 33,920 people, 12,690 households, and 8,450 families residing in the county. The population density was 78 people per square mile (30/km2). There were 26,671 housing units at an average density of 70 per square mile (27/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.3% White, 2.5% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 2.4% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. 6.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 12,690 households, out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.79.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 21.4% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.2 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $42,411, and the median income for a family was $49,302. Males had a median income of $31,240 versus $24,318 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,614. About 5.5% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.9% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2010, the largest self-reported ancestry groups in Dare County were:
|Largest ancestries (2010)||Percent|
Dare County is presently a Republican county, having voted Republican since the 1980 election, though the Republican margins of victory are significantly smaller than most Southern largely-white counties. No Democratic presidential nominee has carried Dare County since Jimmy Carter did so in 1976. Before the 1950s, it was mostly a typical “Solid South” Democratic county, that did not vote Republican between 1900 and 1952, albeit by significantly smaller margins than much of the rest of the Solid South.
Dare County is governed by the Dare County Board of Commissioners. Dare County is a part of the Albemarle Commission regional council of governments.
Dare County is home to two popular lighthouses: The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Bodie Island Lighthouse. There is also a beacon atop the Wright Brothers Memorial. A third lighthouse was built by the Town of Manteo and dedicated on September 25, 2004. The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is an exterior recreation of the 1877 screwpile lighthouse of the same name and is located on the Manteo waterfront. It serves as exhibit space for the N.C. Maritime Museum on Roanoke Island.
Public education is run by Dare County Schools. There are three public high schools/secondary schools with high school components:
College of The Albemarle is the local community college, with a Dare campus in Manteo.
Dare County Library has branches in Manteo, Kill Devil Hills, and Hatteras.
COA – Dare 132 Russell Twiford Rd Manteo, NC 27954