Kanawha County, West Virginia

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Kanawha County, West Virginia
Kanawha County Courthouse.jpg
Kanawha County Courthouse
Seal of Kanawha County, West Virginia
Map of West Virginia highlighting Kanawha County
Location in the U.S. state of West Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting West Virginia
West Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded October 5, 1789
Named for Kanawha River
Seat Charleston
Largest city Charleston
 • Total 911 sq mi (2,359 km2)
 • Land 902 sq mi (2,336 km2)
 • Water 9.3 sq mi (24 km2), 1.0%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 190,223
 • Density 211/sq mi (81/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.kanawha.us

Kanawha County (/kəˈnɔː/ kə-NAW or /kəˈnɔːə/ kə-NAW) is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 193,063,[1] making it the most populous county in West Virginia. Its county seat is Charleston,[2] the state capital.

Kanawha County is included in the Charleston, West Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The county began taking formation on November 14, 1788 under authorization of the Virginia General Assembly, and was founded on October 5, 1789. The county was named for the Kanawha River, which in turn was named after the Indian tribe that lived in the area.[3] The county was the site of a major Textbook controversy in 1974 that included bombings and received national attention.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 911 square miles (2,360 km2), of which 902 square miles (2,340 km2) is land and 9.3 square miles (24 km2) (1.0%) is water.[4] It is the fourth-largest county in West Virginia by area.

Adjacent counties

Major highways


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 3,239
1810 3,866 19.4%
1820 6,399 65.5%
1830 9,326 45.7%
1840 13,567 45.5%
1850 15,353 13.2%
1860 16,150 5.2%
1870 22,349 38.4%
1880 32,466 45.3%
1890 42,756 31.7%
1900 54,696 27.9%
1910 81,457 48.9%
1920 119,650 46.9%
1930 157,667 31.8%
1940 195,619 24.1%
1950 239,629 22.5%
1960 252,925 5.5%
1970 229,515 −9.3%
1980 231,414 0.8%
1990 207,619 −10.3%
2000 200,073 −3.6%
2010 193,063 −3.5%
Est. 2014 190,223 [5] −1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790–1960[7] 1900–1990[8]
1990–2000[9] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 200,073 people, 86,226 households, and 55,960 families residing in the county. The population density was 222 people per square mile (86/km²). There were 93,788 housing units at an average density of 104 per square mile (40/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.46% White, 6.97% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

There were 86,226 households out of which 26.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.00% were married couples living together, 12.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.10% were non-families. 30.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.84.

The age distribution was 21.30% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 16.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 90.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,766, and the median income for a family was $42,568. Males had a median income of $33,842 versus $24,188 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,354. About 11.20% of families and 14.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.60% of those under age 18 and 10.50% of those age 65 or over.


Location Web Site
Kanawha County http://www.kanawha.us
Cedar Grove
Charleston (County Seat) http://www.cityofcharleston.org
Clendenin http://www.clendeninwv.org
Dunbar http://www.cityofdunbarwv.com
East Bank
Nitro http://www.cityofnitro.org
South Charleston http://www.cityofsouthcharleston.com
St. Albans http://www.stalbanswv.com

Elected officials

Agency Elected Official
Kanawha County Commission Commissioner W. Kent Carper, President
Commissioner Dave Hardy
Commissioner Henry "Hoppy" Shores
Kanawha County Assessor Sallie Robinson
Kanawha County Circuit Clerk Cathy Gatson
Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick
Kanawha County Prosecutor Charles "Chuck" Miller
Kanawha County Sheriff Johnny Rutherford


According to the 2010 U.S. Census there are approximately 5,481 private sector businesses within Kanawha County. There are 89,768 people that are currently employed that live in Kanawha County.[11] The most notable businesses throughout Kanawha County; Tech Park in South Charleston, Gestamp in South Charleston, Mardi Gras Casino, Chesapeake Energy in Charleston, Walker Machinery in Belle, Charleston Area Medical Center throughout Charleston, Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston, Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston, C&O Motors in Saint Albans, Bert Wolf Ford in Charleston, Smith Motor Company in Charleston, and Joe Holland Chevrolet in South Charleston to name a few. Kanawha County also well known for many businesses in the chemical industry with presence from Dow Chemical Company, Clearon Corporation, and FMC Corporation all located in South Charleston and DuPont in Belle.


Parks Golf
Coonskin Park Coonskin Golf Course
Shawnee Park Shawnee Golf Course
Meadowood Park Edgewood Country Club
Pioneer Park Little Creek Golf Course
Wallace Hartman Nature Preserve Sleepy Hollow Golf Club
Cato Park Sandy Brae Golf Course
Ridenour Park Berry Hills Country Club
Big Bend Park Big Bend Golf Course
Kanawha State Forest
Saint Albans City Park







Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Notable people

  • Kristen Ruhlin - Actress, best known from film and TV roles opposite Charlie Sheen in "She Wants Me", Hilary Duff in "Gossip Girl" and daytime drama "One Life to Live".
  • George Crumb - American composer
  • Conchata Ferrell - Actress, best known for her role as Berta on "Two and Half Men"
  • Jennifer Garner - Actress
  • Hot Rod Hundley - NBA star; TV announcer for Utah Jazz; All-American at West Virginia University
  • Kathy Mattea - Country Singer / Song Writer
  • Earl Lloyd - One of the first African American NBA Players, who also played for West Virginia State College (University)
  • Randy Moss - NFL Football Player
  • Lou Myers - Actor, best known for his role as Mr. Gaines on "A Different World"
  • Les Palmer - NFL Football Player
  • Phil Pfister - Strongman Champion
  • Jerry West - NBA superstar, All-American at West Virginia University
  • Dustin Kerns - Actor, played Ben Jenner in "The Wolf of Wallstreet"

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "West Virginia Counties". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Retrieved February 24, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (WV County Etymology)
  4. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "State & County QuickFacts".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Scott A. MacKenzie. "The Slaveholders' War: The Secession Crisis in Kanawha County, Western Virginia, 1860-1861," West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies - New Series, Volume 4, Number 1, Spring 2010, pp. 33–57 in Project MUSE

External links

Convention & Visitors Bureau

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