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4 Cities and towns
The county was formed in 1774 from the southeastern part of Halifax County and the western part of Tyrrell County. It was named for Josiah Martin, the last royal governor of North Carolina (1771-1775). Whereas Dobbs County and Tryon County, named for Martin's predecessors Arthur Dobbs and William Tryon, were abolished after American independence, Martin County was neither abolished nor renamed, a fact which has been attributed to the popularity of Alexander Martin, twice governor of the state (1782-1784, 1789-1792).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,195 km² (461 mi²). 1,194 km² (461 mi²) of it is land and 1 km² (0 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.07% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 25,593 people, 10,020 households, and 7,194 families residing in the county. The population density is 21/km² (56/mi²). There are 10,930 housing units at an average density of 9/km² (24/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 52.54% White, 45.37% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.90% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 2.06% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 10,020 households out of which 31.60% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.30% are married couples living together, 17.60% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.20% are non-families. 25.70% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.90% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.53 and the average family size is 3.02.
In the county the population is spread out with 25.50% under the age of 18, 7.50% from 18 to 24, 26.80% from 25 to 44, 25.00% from 45 to 64, and 15.20% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 86.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 81.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $28,793, and the median income for a family is $35,428. Males have a median income of $29,818 versus $19,167 for females. The per capita income for the county is $15,102. 20.20% of the population and 16.30% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 27.50% are under the age of 18 and 25.70% are 65 or older.