Historical population as enumerated and corrected from 1790 through 2020. North Carolina was one of the 13 original States and by the time of the 1790 census had essentially its current boundaries. The Census is mandated by the United States Constitution and was first completed for 1790. The population has been counted every ten years hence, with some limitations. In 1790 census coverage included most of the State, except for areas in the west, parts of which were not enumerated until 1840. The population for 1810 includes Walton County, enumerated as part of Georgia although actually within North Carolina.
Historical populations shown here reflect the population of the respective named county and not necessarily the population of the area of the county as it was defined for a particular census. County boundaries shown in maps reflect boundaries as defined in 2020. Historic boundaries for some counties may include additional geographic areas or may be smaller than the current geographic boundaries. Notes below list the county or counties with which the population of a currently defined county were enumerated historically (Current County: Population counted in). The current 100 counties have been in place since the 1920 Census, although some modifications to the county boundaries have occurred since that time. For historical county boundaries see: Atlas of Historical County Boundaries Project (newberry.org)
Note 1: Total for 1810 includes population (1,026) of Walton County, reported as a Georgia county but later determined to be situated in western North Carolina. Total for 1890 includes 2 Indians in prison, not reported by county.
Note 2: Alexander: *Iredell, Burke, Wilkes.
Note 3: Avery: *Caldwell, Mitchell, Watauga.
Note 4: Buncombe: *Burke, Rutherford; see also note 22.
Note 5: Caldwell: *Burke, Wilkes, Yancey.
Note 6: Cleveland: *Rutherford, Lincoln.
Note 7: Columbus: *Bladen, Brunswick.
Note 8: Dare: *Tyrrell, Currituck, Hyde.
Note 9: Hoke: *Cumberland, Robeson.
Note 10: Jackson: *Macon, Haywood.
Note 11: Lee: *Moore, Chatham.
Note 12: Lenoir: *Dobbs (Greene); Craven.
Note 13: McDowell: *Burke, Rutherford.
Note 14: Madison: *Buncombe, Yancey.
Note 15: Mitchell: *Yancey, Watauga.
Note 16: Pamlico: *Craven, Beaufort.
Note 17: Polk: *Rutherford, Henderson.
Note 18: Swain: *Jackson, Macon.
Note 19: Transylvania: *Henderson, Jackson.
Note 20: Union: *Mecklenburg, Anson.
Note 21: Vance: *Granville, Warren, Franklin.
Note 22: Walton: Created in 1803 as a Georgia county and reported in 1810 as part of Georgia; abolished after a review of the State boundary determined that its area was located in North Carolina. By 1820 it was part of Buncombe County.
Note 23: Watauga: *Ashe, Yancey, Wilkes; Burke.
Note 24: Wilson: *Edgecombe, Nash, Wayne, Johnston.
Note 25: Yancey: *Burke, Buncombe.
Note 26: Alleghany: *Ashe.
Note 27: Haywood: *Buncombe.
Note 28: Henderson: *Buncombe.
Note 29: Person: Caswell.
Note 30: Clay: Cherokee.
Note 31: Graham: Cherokee.
Note 32: Harnett: Cumberland.
Note 33: Macon: Haywood.
Note 34: Catawba: Lincoln.
Note 35: Gaston: Lincoln.
Note 36: Cabarrus: Mecklenburg.
Note 37: Stanly: Montgomery.
Note 38: Pender: New Hanover.
Note 39: Alamance: Orange.
Note 40: Durham: Orange, Wake.
Note 41: Scotland: Richmond.
Note 42: Davidson: Rowan.
Note 43: Davie: Rowan.
Note 44: Forsyth: Stokes.
Note 45: Yadkin: Surry.
Note 46: Washington: Tyrrell.
Note 47: Ashe: Wilkes.
Part III. Population of Counties, Earliest Census to 1990
The 1840 population of Person County, NC should be 9,790. The 1840 population of Perquimans County, NC should be 7,346.