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Avery County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population is 17,167. Its county seat is Newland.

Avery County Courthouse in Newland of Western North Carolina
Avery County Courthouse


The county was formed in 1911 from parts of Caldwell County, Mitchell County, and Watauga County. It was named for Waightstill Avery, a colonel in the American Revolutionary War and the first Attorney General of North Carolina (1777-1779). Avery County was the last county created in North Carolina. It is often noted for the large amount of Christmas trees that the county produces. "A History of Avery County" was published in 1972 by Horton Edward Cooper

In it he noted:

Because people make history, our citizens show an intense interest in the events of the past and are displaying an eagerness more than ever in local history; too, they have become eagerly interested in genealogy. All mountaineers enjoy a good anecdote. The people of Avery County are not all descendants of pioneers who came into this rugged land a good many generations ago, but we are proud of those and their descendants who can trace their ancestry to the four points of the compass... As a rule, our families are close-knit units and family pride exists no higher on earth than here. No stronger love for America and the American flag can be found anywhere in our country. We are proud of our inheritance, which for our rugged pioneer ancestors and several generations meant hardship, often disappointing toil, loneliness, self-sufficiency and a struggle for survival.

Law and government

Alleghany County is a member of the regional High Country Council of Governments.


The county is known for its production of Fraser Fir Christmas Trees.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 247 square miles. Avery County is extremely rural and mountainous with all of the county's terrain is located within the Appalachian Mountains range. The highest point in the county is Grassy Ridge Bald, which rises to 6,165 feet above sea level. Most of Grandfather Mountain (whose highest point is Calloway Peak 5,964 feet shared with Watauga and Caldwell counties) is within Avery county. At an elevation of 5,506 feet above sea level, Beech Mountain (also shared with Watauga county) is the highest incorporated community east of the Mississippi River. At an elevation of 3,606 feet. Newland is the highest county seat in the Eastern United States.


As a result of its relatively high elevation, Avery County enjoys considerably cooler summers than most of the rest of the Eastern US. Likewise, winters are longer, colder and snowier than most other locations in the region. This can be evidenced by the snow skiing areas which operate in the area.


The county is divided into nine townships:

  • Banner Elk
  • Beech Mountain
  • Crossnore
  • Elk Park
  • Grandfather
  • Minneapolis
  • Newland
  • Seven Devils
  • Sugar Mountain

Township Locations of Avery County of Western North Carolina


As of the census of 2010, there were 17,797 people, 7,067 households residing in the county out of which 4.8% had children under the age of 5, 18.2% had children under the age of 18 and 17.6% were over the age of 65. The average persons per household was 2.28. The population density was 72 per square mile. There were 13,855 housing units at an average density of 56 per square mile.

  • White persons - 91.9%
  • Black persons - 4.0%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native persons - 0.4%
  • Asian persons - 0.3%
  • Persons reporting two or more races - 0.8%
  • Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 4.5%

The median income for a household in the county was $33,919. The per capita income for the county was $24,915. 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line.

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