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4 Cities and towns
5 External links
The county was formed in 1808 from parts of Bladen County and Brunswick County. It was named for Christopher Columbus.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,470 km² (954 mi²). 2,426 km² (937 mi²) of it is land and 44 km² (17 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.76% water.
The county is divided into fifteen townships: Bogue, Bolton, Bug Hill, Cerro Gordo, Chadbourn, Fair Bluff, Lees, Ransom, South Williams, Tatums, Waccamaw, Welch Creek, Western Prong, Whiteville, and Williams.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 54,749 people, 21,308 households, and 15,043 families residing in the county. The population density is 23/km² (58/mi²). There are 24,060 housing units at an average density of 10/km² (26/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 63.45% White, 30.93% Black or African American, 3.12% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.48% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. 2.32% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 21,308 households out of which 31.50% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.80% are married couples living together, 15.80% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.40% are non-families. 26.50% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.70% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.50 and the average family size is 3.01.
In the county the population is spread out with 25.70% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 27.40% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 92.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $26,805, and the median income for a family is $33,849. Males have a median income of $28,494 versus $19,867 for females. The per capita income for the county is $14,415. 22.70% of the population and 17.60% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 30.00% are under the age of 18 and 25.50% are 65 or older.