Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

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Mecklenburg County
Charlotte collage.jpg
Downtown Charlotte in Mecklenburg County
Flag of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.svg
Seal of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.svg
Map of North Carolina highlighting Mecklenburg County.svg
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
North Carolina in United States.svg
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 35°15′N80°50′W / 35.25°N 80.83°W / 35.25; -80.83
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of North Carolina.svg  North Carolina
FoundedNovember 6, 1762
Named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Seat Charlotte
Largest cityCharlotte
  Total546 sq mi (1,410 km2)
  Land524 sq mi (1,360 km2)
  Water22 sq mi (60 km2)  4.0%%
  Density2,013.0/sq mi (777.2/km2)
Demonym(s) Mecklenburger
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 9th, 12th

Mecklenburg County is a county located in the southwestern region of the state of North Carolina, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 919,618. It increased to 1,093,901 as of the 2018 estimate, making it the most populous county in North Carolina and the first county in the Carolinas to surpass 1 million in population. [1] Its county seat and largest city is Charlotte. [2]


Mecklenburg County is included in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. On September 12, 2013, the county welcomed its one millionth resident. [3]

Like its seat, the county is named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen of the United Kingdom, whose name is derived from the region of Mecklenburg in Germany, itself deriving its name from Mecklenburg Castle (Mecklenburg meaning "large castle" in Low German) in the village of Dorf Mecklenburg.


Mecklenburg County was formed in 1762 from the western part of Anson County, both in the Piedmont section of the state. It was named in commemoration of the marriage of King George III to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, [4] for whom the county seat Charlotte is named. Due to unsure boundaries, a large part of south and western Mecklenburg County extended into areas that would later form part of the state of South Carolina. In 1768, most of this area (the part of Mecklenburg County west of the Catawba River) was designated Tryon County, North Carolina.

Determining the final boundaries of these "western" areas between North and South Carolina was a decades-long process. As population increased in the area following the American Revolutionary War, in 1792 the northeastern part of Mecklenburg County was taken by the North Carolina legislature for Cabarrus County. Finally, in 1842 the southeastern part of Mecklenburg County was combined with the western part of Anson County to become Union County.

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was allegedly signed on May 20, 1775; if the document is genuine, Mecklenburg County was the first part of the Thirteen Colonies to declare independence from Great Britain. [5] The "Mecklenburg Resolves" were adopted on May 31, 1775. Mecklenburg continues to celebrate the Meck Dec each year in May. [6] The date of the Mecklenburg Declaration is also listed on the flag of North Carolina, represented by the date of May 20, 1775 as one of two dates on the flag of the old North State.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 546 square miles (1,410 km2), of which 524 square miles (1,360 km2) is land and 22 square miles (57 km2) (4.0%) is water. [7]

Adjacent counties


Historical population
1790 11,395
1800 10,439−8.4%
1810 14,27236.7%
1820 16,89518.4%
1830 20,07318.8%
1840 18,273−9.0%
1850 13,914−23.9%
1860 17,37424.9%
1870 24,29939.9%
1880 34,17540.6%
1890 42,67324.9%
1900 55,26829.5%
1910 67,03121.3%
1920 80,69520.4%
1930 127,97158.6%
1940 151,82618.6%
1950 197,05229.8%
1960 272,11138.1%
1970 354,65630.3%
1980 404,27014.0%
1990 511,43326.5%
2000 695,45436.0%
2010 919,62832.2%
Est. 20181,093,901 [8] 19.0%
U.S. Decennial Census [9]
1790-1960 [10] 1900-1990 [11]
1990-2000 [12] 2010-2013 [1]
Population grew 2.5% per year from 1970 to 2008 Mecklenburg county population.png
Population grew 2.5% per year from 1970 to 2008

As of the census [13] of 2000, there were 695,454 people, 273,416 households, and 174,986 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,322 people per square mile (510/km²). There were 292,780 housing units at an average density of 556 per square mile (215/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 64.02% White, 27.87% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 3.15% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.01% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 6.45% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 273,416 households out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.70% were married couples living together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.00% were non-families. 27.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.10% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 36.40% from 25 to 44, 20.30% from 45 to 64, and 8.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 96.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $50,579, and the median income for a family was $60,608. Males had a median income of $40,934 versus $30,100 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,352. About 6.60% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.50% of those under age 18 and 9.30% of those age 65 or over.

Mecklenburg County Government

Mecklenburg County is a member of the regional Centralina Council of Governments. [14]

The County is governed by the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The BOCC is a nine-member board made up of representatives from each of the six county districts and three at-large representatives elected by the entire county. This electoral structure favors candidates in the at-large positions who will be elected by the majority population of the county. Each District has a population of approximately 165,000 individuals. All seats are partisan and are for 2-year terms (elections occur in even years). The current chairman of the Mecklenburg BOCC is George Dunlap (D, District 3). The Current Vice-Chair is Elaine Powell (D, District 1).

Members of the Mecklenburg County Commission are required by North Carolina State law to choose a Chair and Vice-Chair once a year (at the first meeting of December). Historically, the individual elected was the 'top-vote-getter' which was one of three (3) at-large members. In 2014 this unofficial rule was changed by the Board to allow any member to serve as Chair or Vice-chair as long as they received support from 4 members plus their own vote.

The nine members of the Board of County Commissioners are: [15]

Law, government and politics

Prior to 1928, Mecklenburg County was strongly Democratic similar to most counties in the Solid South. 1928 marked the start of a long stretch where the county was a national bellwether in most elections up through 2000, only voting against the national winner in 1960 & 1992. From 2004 on, the county has returned to being solidly Democratic as a diverse urban county, with John Kerry's narrow win in 2004 being a prelude to Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton's landslide wins in the county in the following elections.

Presidential election results
Presidential election results [16]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2016 32.9% 155,51862.3%294,5624.8% 22,777
2012 38.2% 171,66860.7%272,2621.1% 4,970
2008 37.5% 153,84861.8%253,9580.7% 3,011
2004 48.0% 155,08451.6%166,8280.4% 1,190
2000 51.0%134,06848.3% 126,9110.8% 2,057
1996 45.9% 97,71948.6%103,4295.5% 11,697
1992 43.6%99,49642.5% 97,06513.9% 31,814
1988 59.4%106,23640.2% 71,9070.4% 653
1984 62.7%106,75437.1% 63,1900.2% 393
1980 47.8%68,38446.8% 66,9955.4% 7,679
1976 49.2% 61,71550.4%63,1980.4% 486
1972 68.5%77,54629.8% 33,7301.7% 1,900
1968 52.4%56,32528.9% 31,10218.7% 20,070
1964 48.4% 46,58951.6%49,582
1960 55.1%48,25044.9% 39,362
1956 62.0%44,46938.0% 27,227
1952 57.3%44,33442.7% 33,044
1948 34.7% 11,51843.3%14,35322.0% 7,314
1944 26.7% 9,43473.3%25,950
1940 19.6% 7,01380.4%28,768
1936 15.3% 4,70984.8%26,169
1932 21.3% 4,97377.9%18,1670.8% 181
1928 55.4%12,04144.6% 9,690
1924 22.5% 2,57273.7%8,4433.8% 437
1920 23.2% 3,42176.8%11,313
1916 21.8% 1,25778.1%4,5080.1% 6
1912 5.9% 28482.3%3,96711.8% 571

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS)

The second largest school system in North Carolina behind Wake County Public Schools. The current Chairman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School board is Mary T. McCray (At-Large). The Vice Chair is Ericka Ellis-Stewart (At-Large). The members of the Board of Education are:

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School board is non-partisan, and staggered elections are held every two years (in odd years).


The residents of Mecklenburg County are provided emergency medical service by MEDIC, the Mecklenburg EMS Agency. All emergency ambulance service is provided by MEDIC. No other emergency transport companies are allowed to operate within Mecklenburg County. While MEDIC is a division of Mecklenburg County Government, a board guides and directs MEDIC that consists of members affiliated with Carolinas Medical Center (CMC), Novant Presbyterian Hospital and a swing vote provided by the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners. CMC and Novant are the two major medical institutions in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Data represents January 1990 to November 2009 Mecklenburg county unemployment.png
Data represents January 1990 to November 2009
Data represents January 1990 to November 2009 Mecklenburg county labor force.png
Data represents January 1990 to November 2009

The major industries of Mecklenburg County are banking, manufacturing, and professional services, especially those supporting banking and medicine. Mecklenburg County is home to six Fortune 500 companies. [17]

Fortune 500 companies
with headquarters in Mecklenburg County
1. Bank of America Banking$100.1 billion21 [18]
2. Duke Energy Utilities$19.6 billion145 [19]
3. Nucor Metals$19.4 billion146 [20]
4. Family Dollar Retail$9.3 billion287 [21]
5. Sonic Automotive Automotive retailing$8.5 billion307 [22]
6. SPX Electronics$5.9 billion431 [23]

Wachovia, a former Fortune 500 company, had its headquarters in Charlotte until it was acquired by Wells Fargo for $15.1 billion. Wells Fargo maintains the majority of the former company's operations in Charlotte. [24]

Goodrich Corporation, a former Fortune 500 company, had its headquarters in Charlotte until it was acquired by United Technologies Corporation for $18.4 billion. Charlotte is now the headquarters for UTC Aerospace Systems. [25]

20 largest employers in Mecklenburg County, by number of employees in region (Q2 2018)
NameIndustryNumber of employees
1. Atrium Health Health Care and Social Assistance35,700
2. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Educational Services18,495
3. Bank of America Finance and Insurance15,000
4. American Airlines Transportation and Warehousing11,000
5. Harris Teeter Retail Trade8,239
6. Duke Energy Utilities7,900
7. City of CharlottePublic Administration6,800
8. Mecklenburg County GovernmentPublic Administration5,512
9. YMCA of Greater CharlotteArts, Entertainment and Recreation4,436
10. Carowinds Arts, Entertainment and Recreation4,100
11. University of North Carolina at Charlotte Educational Services4,000
11. United States Postal Service Transportation and Warehousing4,000
11. TIAA Finance and Insurance4,000
14. LPL Financial Finance and Insurance2,850
15. Central Piedmont Community College Educational Services2,700
16. Belk Retail Trade2,300
17. DMSITransportation and Warehousing2,175
18. IBM Professional Services2,100
19. Robert Half International Administrative and Support Services2,000
19. Allstate Insurance Finance and Insurance2,000



School system

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) serves the entire county; however, the State of North Carolina also has approved a number of charter schools in Mecklenburg County (independently operated schools financed with tax dollars).

Colleges and universities


The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County serves residents of Mecklenburg County. Library cards from any branch can be used at all 20 locations. The library has an extensive collection (over 1.5 million items) of reference and popular materials including DVDs, books on CD, best sellers, downloadable media, and books.

The Billy Graham Library contains the papers and memorabilia related to the career of the well-known 20th century evangelist, Billy Graham.



The county's primary commercial aviation airport is Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte.

Intercity rail

With twenty-five freight trains a day, Mecklenburg is a freight railroad transportation center, largely due to its place on the NS main line between Washington and Atlanta and the large volumes of freight moving in and out of the county via truck.

Mecklenburg County is served daily by three Amtrak routes.

The Crescent train connects Charlotte with New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlottesville, and Greensboro to the north, and Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans to the south.

The Carolinian train connects Charlotte with New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro.

The Piedmont train connects Charlotte with Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro.

The Amtrak station is located at 1914 North Tryon Street. A new centralized multimodal train station, Gateway Station, has been planned for the city. It is expected to house the future LYNX Purple Line, the new Greyhound bus station, and the Crescent line that passes through Uptown Charlotte.

Mecklenburg County is the proposed southern terminus for the initial segment of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor operating between Charlotte and Washington, D.C. Currently in conceptual design, the SEHSR would eventually run from Washington, D.C. to Macon, Georgia.

Light rail and mass transit

Light rail service in Mecklenburg County is provided by LYNX Rapid Transit Services. Currently a 9.6-mile (15.4 km) line running from Uptown to Pineville; build-out is expected to be complete by 2034.

Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus service serves all of Mecklenburg County, including Charlotte, and the municipalities of Davidson, Huntersville, Cornelius, Matthews, Pineville, and Mint Hill.

The vintage Charlotte Trolley also operates in partnership with CATS. On July 14, 2015, the Goldrush Streetcar was revived to operate in Uptown after several decades of absence. The line runs from Trade Street, near Charlotte Transportation and Convention Center, to Elizabeth Avenue. In addition to several restaurants, this line also serves Central Piedmont Community College and Novant Health Presbyterian Hospital. The city is applying for a $50 million Federal Transportation Grant to gain funding to construct expansion of a line to serve Johnson C. Smith University to the West and East along Central Avenue.


Mecklenburg's manufacturing base, its central location on the Eastern Seaboard, and the intersection of two major interstates in the county have made it a hub for the trucking industry.

Major roadways

Arts and culture

Museums and libraries

Sports and entertainment

Music and performing arts venues

Amusement parks

Other attractions


Map of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels Map of Mecklenburg County North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels.PNG
Map of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
1923 Map of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina showing original Township boundaries Meck1923.jpg
1923 Map of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina showing original Township boundaries

Mecklenburg County contains seven municipalities including the City of Charlotte and the towns of Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville (north of Charlotte); and the towns of Matthews, Mint Hill, and Pineville (south and southeast of Charlotte). Small portions of Stallings and Weddington are also in Mecklenburg County, though most of those towns are in Union County. Extraterritorial jurisdictions within the county are annexed by municipalities as soon as they reach sufficient concentrations.



Unincorporated communities


  • Berryhill
  • Charlotte
  • Clear Creek
  • Crab Orchard
  • Deweese
  • Huntersville
  • Lemley
  • Long Creek
  • Mallard Creek
  • Morning Star
  • Paw Creek
  • Pineville
  • Providence
  • Sharon (extinct)
  • Steele Creek

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

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The following is a timeline of the history of Charlotte, North Carolina, United States.

Pat Cotham, At Large, is serving her third term on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. During her first term she served as Chair of the Board. She earned a BA in Spanish and a BJ in journalism from the University of Missouri.


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Coordinates: 35°15′N80°50′W / 35.25°N 80.83°W / 35.25; -80.83