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4 Cities and towns
5 External links
The county was formed in 1734 as Bladen Precinct of Bath County, from New Hanover Precinct. It was named for Martin Bladen, a member of the Board of Trade. With the abolition of Bath County in 1739, all of its constituent precincts became counties.
Originally, Bladen was a vast territory with indefinite northern and western boundaries. Reductions in its extent began in 1750, when its western part became Anson County. In 1752 the northern part of Bladen County was combined with parts of Granville County and Johnston County to form Orange County. In 1754 the northern part of what was left of Bladen County became Cumberland County. In 1764 the southern part of what remained of Bladen County was combined with part of New Hanover County to form Brunswick County. In 1787 the western part of the now much smaller county became Robeson County. Finally, in 1808 the southern part of Bladen County was combined with part of Brunswick County to form Columbus County.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,298 km² (887 mi²). 2,266 km² (875 mi²) of it is land and 32 km² (12 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.37% water.
The county is divided into fifteen townships: Abbotts, Bethel, Bladenboro, Brown Marsh, Carvers Creek, Central, Colly, Cypress Creek, Elizabethtown, Frenches Creek, Hollow, Lake Creek, Turnbull, White Oak, and Whites Creek.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 32,278 people, 12,897 households, and 8,937 families residing in the county. The population density is 14/km² (37/mi²). There are 15,316 housing units at an average density of 7/km² (18/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 57.22% White, 37.91% Black or African American, 2.04% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.97% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. 3.71% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 12,897 households out of which 30.40% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.90% are married couples living together, 15.70% have a female householder with no husband present, and 30.70% are non-families. 27.70% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.50% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.45 and the average family size is 2.97.
In the county the population is spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 25.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.20% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 92.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 88.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $26,877, and the median income for a family is $33,974. Males have a median income of $27,799 versus $21,973 for females. The per capita income for the county is $14,735. 21.00% of the population and 16.60% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 28.70% are under the age of 18 and 24.20% are 65 or older.