Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Wilson, North Carolina

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49,628 (2013)

North Carolina

Local time
Monday 3:52 PM

Black CreekOld FieldsStantonsburgTaylorsToisnotWilson

January 29, 1849; 168 years ago (1849-01-29)

Zip Codes
27822, 27880, 27893, 27896

24°C, Wind SE at 19 km/h, 63% Humidity

Colleges and Universities
Barton College, Wilson Community College, Mitchells Hairstyling Academy

Holiday inn express and suites wilson i 95 wilson north carolina

Wilson is a city in and the county seat of Wilson County, North Carolina, United States. Situated in the heart of eastern North Carolina, around 40 miles east of the capital city of Raleigh, it lies at the interchange of Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 264 in the state's Coastal Plain region. Wilson had a population of 49,610 in 2012, according to the Census Bureau.


Map of Wilson, NC, USA

Wilson is now ranked 18th in size among North Carolina’s 500-plus municipalities. The city has added more than 40 percent in population since 1990, primarily due to a construction of new subdivisions and an influx of new residents. This has attracted new retail and shopping construction, primarily in the northwestern parts of the city. Wilson is a diverse community with African-Americans making up 48% of the population and White 43%; the remaining 9% includes many nationalities, including Latinos, Vietnamese, Chinese and other groups. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that nearly 5,000 county residents (7.5 percent) were foreign-born. Of those, nearly 3,000 people, or 62 percent, had entered the U.S. since 2000.

Once widely known as "The World’s Greatest Tobacco Market", Wilson enjoys a diverse economy today, with a healthy mix of agriculture, manufacturing, commercial, and service businesses.


Wilson is located at 35°43′52″N 77°55′25″W (35.731093, -77.923509).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.4 square miles (61 km2), of which, 23.3 square miles (60 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (0.64%) is water.

Wilson is located at the intersection of Interstate 95 and US 264; approximately 45 minutes east of Raleigh, the state capital. It also is at the northern terminus of Interstate 795, which provides a route to Interstate 40 and the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina.


The history of the city of Wilson dates back to a community that formed around Toisnot Primitive Baptist Church, built in the early 1800s. The community was originally called Toisnot. In 1836, the Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad Co. began building a Wilmington-to-Weldon line. The railline reached the community in 1839, and by 1840 Toisnot had both north-and-south service. That led to the growth of the community.

On January 29, 1849, the North Carolina General Assembly chartered the Town of Wilson. It was named for Colonel Louis D. Wilson, U.S. Volunteers, who died of fever while on leave from the State senate during the Mexican-American War. Messrs. Joshua Barnes, John W. Farmer, James D. Barnes, Dylan Dieterle, Jonathan D. Rountree, and Arthur Farmer were named as the first town commissioners.

Wilson currently operates under a City Council-City Manager form of government. The City Council includes seven members who are elected by districts and a mayor who is elected at large. All terms are four years. The City Council makes policy and budget decisions, which are enacted by the city manager, whom they appoint, and the staff.

C. Bruce Rose is the longest-serving mayor, having served continuously since 1992. Prior to that, he was a city firefighter for 30 years and fire chief for seven years.

The Gen. Joshua Barnes House, Branch Banking, Broad-Kenan Streets Historic District, Cherry Hotel, Davis-Whitehead-Harriss House, East Wilson Historic District, Old Wilson Historic District, Joseph John Pender House, Moses Rountree House, Upper Town Creek Rural Historic District, West Nash Street Historic District, Olzie Whitehead Williams House, Wilson Central Business-Tobacco Warehouse Historic District, Wilson County Courthouse, and Woodard Family Rural Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


As of the census of 2000, there were 44,405 people, 17,296 households, and 11,328 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,906.9 people per square mile (736.1/km²). There were 18,660 housing units at an average density of 801.3 per square mile (309.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 46.67% White, 47.53% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.89% from other races, and 1.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.29% of the population *this does not include the non citizen Latino race (which are on work visas) which factors in to account for over 40% of Wilson's population.

There were 17,296 households out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 19.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 88.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,169, and the median income for a family was $41,041. Males had a median income of $30,682 versus $22,363 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,813. About 16.5% of families and 21.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.5% of those under the age of 18 and 20.4% ages 65 or older.

United States census data from 2012 report a population of 49,610 people and 19,413 households in the city. The population density was 1,710 inhabitants per square mile. There were 21,870 housing units, and the percentage of homeownership was 49.5%. The racial makeup of the city was 47.9% African American, 42.9% White, 0.3% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.4% of the population. The percentage of homes where another language than English was the primary language was 10.4%.

The median income for a household in the city from 2008-2012 was $36,469. About 26% of the population were below the poverty line.


The city has built its own Government-access television (GATV) municipal cable TV provider known as Greenlight which provides cable TV, digital phone and internet to its residents. Greenlight was formed in 2008 to provide an independent, locally owned and operated option for television, telephone and Internet broadband connectivity for Wilson residents. Since then, Greenlight has grown to provide its services to more than 6,000 residential customers and businesses and the Wilson County School System. In addition, Greenlight provides free wireless Internet access throughout the downtown Wilson area. Wilson was the first city in North Carolina to offer gigabit Internet connectivity service to its residents in 2013. That service allows Internet users to upload or download data at speeds up to one billion bits per second.


Wilson is served by two airports: Wilson Industrial Airport and Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport (RWI), and by the Wilson Amtrak Station.

The following highways travel through Wilson: I-95, I-795, U.S. 301, U.S. Route 264, U.S. 117, N.C. 42, and N.C. 58. Five-lane roads include Hines Street, Tarboro Street, and Ward Boulevard.

The city has a bus system.


Wilson Medical Center is a 330-bed hospital.


Wilson is the birthplace of Branch Banking and Trust Corporation (BB&T), which is among the nation's top financial-holding companies with $182 billion in assets, as of spring 2014. Although headquartered now in Winston-Salem, N.C., BB&T remains among Wilson County’s top employers with around 2,000 people working in various financial services.

Bridgestone Americas operates a plant in Wilson that employs more than 1,800 people who make radial tires for cars and light trucks. Bridgestone recently completed a 6-year, $250 million renovation of the plant, which was retooled to make run-flat passenger car tires that are sold in both the USA and Japan. It recently marked 1 million man-hours without a losttime accident.

Other large employers include Wilson County Schools; Wilson Medical Center; Smithfield Packing Co., pork products; UTC Aerospace Systems (formerly Kidde Aerospace and Defense before UTC's acquisition), aircraft fire protection systems; Sandoz, generic prescription drugs; Merck Manufacturing Division, pharmaceutical drugs; and Ardagh Group, glass containers.

Largest employers

According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:


Wilson is home to the Wilson Tobs of the Coastal Plain League, a collegiate summer baseball league. The Tobs play at Fleming Stadium in Wilson. The Tobs began play for the league's inaugural 1997 season.


Wilson's chief source of news is the Wilson Times, established in 1896.

Charter schools

Youth Enrichment Program of Wilson, Inc. operates Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts and Education. Wilson Preparatory Academy also serves Wilson and surrounding counties as a charter school.

State-operated schools

The Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf is operated by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Office of Education Services.

Private schools

Wilson is home to several private schools:

  • Community Christian School (Daycare - Pre-K -12)
  • Garnett Christian Academy
  • Wilson Christian Academy (Daycare - Pre-K -12)
  • Greenfield School (Pre-K-12) (non-sectarian)
  • Charis Prep (Christian, 9-12)
  • Colleges

  • Barton College, a liberal arts college
  • Wilson Community College.
  • References

    Wilson, North Carolina Wikipedia

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