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4 Cities and towns
In 1799 the northern and western parts of Wilkes County became Ashe County. In 1841 parts of Wilkes County and Burke County were combined to form Caldwell County. In 1847 another part of Wilkes County was combined with parts of Caldwell County and Iredell County to become Alexander County. In 1849 additional parts of Wilkes County and Caldwell County were combined with parts of Ashe County and Yancey County to form Watauga County. Numerous boundary adjustments were made thereafter, but none resulted in new counties.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,968 km² (760 mi²). 1,961 km² (757 mi²) of it is land and 7 km² (3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.36% water.
The county is divided into twenty-one townships: Antioch, Beaver Creek, Boomer, Brushy Mountains, Edwards, Elk, Jobs Cabin, Lewis Fork, Lovelace, Moravian Falls, Mulberry, New Castle, North Wilkesboro, Reddies River, Rock Creek, Somers, Stanton, Trap Hill, Union, Walnut Grove, and Wilkesboro.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 65,632 people, 26,650 households, and 19,321 families residing in the county. The population density is 33/km² (87/mi²). There are 29,261 housing units at an average density of 15/km² (39/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 92.95% White, 4.16% Black or African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.71% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. 3.45% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 26,650 households out of which 30.20% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.10% are married couples living together, 9.40% have a female householder with no husband present, and 27.50% are non-families. 24.50% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.00% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.43 and the average family size is 2.87.
In the county the population is spread out with 22.60% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 29.70% from 25 to 44, 25.70% from 45 to 64, and 14.10% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 97.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 95.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $34,258, and the median income for a family is $40,607. Males have a median income of $27,346 versus $21,089 for females. The per capita income for the county is $17,516. 11.90% of the population and 8.80% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 13.20% are under the age of 18 and 17.20% are 65 or older.