Cleveland County, North Carolina

Not to be confused with Cleveland, North Carolina.
Cleveland County, North Carolina

The west side of the old Cleveland County Courthouse, Shelby

Map of North Carolina highlighting Cleveland County
Location in the U.S. state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1841
Named for Colonel Benjamin Cleveland
Seat Shelby
Largest city Shelby
  Total 468 sq mi (1,212 km2)
  Land 464 sq mi (1,202 km2)
  Water 4.0 sq mi (10 km2), 0.9%
  (2010) 98,078
  Density 211/sq mi (81/km²)
Congressional district 10th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Cleveland County is a county located in the western Piedmont and on the southern border of the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 98,078.[1] Its county seat is Shelby.[2]

Cleveland County comprises the Shelby, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area. This is included in the Charlotte-Concord, NC-SC Combined Statistical Area. In the late 19th and early 20th century, this was an area of textile mills.


The county was formed in 1841 from parts of Lincoln and Rutherford counties. It was named for Benjamin Cleveland, a colonel in the American Revolutionary War, who took part in the Battle of King's Mountain. From 1841 to 1887 "Cleaveland" was the spelling used; the present spelling was adopted in 1887.[3]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 468 square miles (1,210 km2), of which 464 square miles (1,200 km2) is land and 4.0 square miles (10 km2) (0.9%) is water.[4]

Adjacent counties

Major highways


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201596,879[5]−1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2014[1]

As of the census[10] of 2010, there were 98,078 people, 37,046 households, and 27,006 families residing in the county. The population density was 207 people per square mile (80/km²). There were 40,317 housing units at an average density of 87 per square mile (34/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 74% White, 21% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.69% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.68% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. Of any race, 3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino.

There were 37,046 households out of which 32.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.00% were married couples living together, 13.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.10% were non-families. 23.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.20% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 28.80% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 13.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,283, and the median income for a family was $41,733. Males had a median income of $30,882 versus $21,995 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,395. About 10.10% of families and 13.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.90% of those under age 18 and 14.00% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government

Cleveland County is a member of the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission[11][12] regional council of governments.



Cleveland County Schools

Cleveland County Schools has 29 schools ranging from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade. Those 29 schools are separated into five high schools, two alternative schools, four middle schools, and four elementary schools.[14][15] It was formed from the 2004 merger of Kings Mountain City Schools, Shelby City Schools and the former Cleveland County Schools.[16][17]


Map of Cleveland County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels



Census-designated place

Unincorporated community

In popular culture

The 2000 disappearance of Asha Degree, a Shelby girl, was discussed on television shows including America’s Most Wanted, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, and The Montel Williams Show.[18][19]

Parts of the 2012 movie The Hunger Games were filmed in Cleveland County.[20]

Notable people

See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. "Cleaveland County, North Carolina",, Retrieved 2010-12-30.
  4. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  5. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  6. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  7. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  8. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  9. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  11. Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (regional council)
  12. Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (NC Tomorrow)
  13. "Contact ABC". Ambassador Bible College. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  14. "Cleveland County Schools". NC School Report Cards. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  15. "Schools". Cleveland County Schools. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  16. "Court affirms school merger approved by the State Board of Education". University of North Carolina School of Government. Summer 2003. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  17. "Moore Will Head Merged Schools, Parents Await First Changes to Cleveland County School System". The Charlotte Observer. January 14, 2004. p. 2B.
  18. Pickens, Jessica. "Cleveland County, NC, a popular spot for filming movies, TV shows". Halifax Media Group. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  19. "Bill Champion's career statistics". Retrieved 2009-03-29.
  20. "About Kay Hagan". United States Senate. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  21. "Tom Wright's career statistics". Retrieved 2008-09-08.

External links

Coordinates: 35°20′N 81°34′W / 35.34°N 81.56°W / 35.34; -81.56

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