Wise County (Virginia)

Wise County is a county located in the state of Virginia in the United States. In 2000, the County had 40 123 inhabitants and a population density of 38 inhabitants per square kilometer. The administrative headquarters ( County Seat) is Wise. The county is one of the Dry counties, which means that the sale of alcohol is restricted or prohibited.

In Wise County, there are two universities, the four-year University of Virginia 's College at Wise and since 1972 the two-year Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap.


Wise County is located almost in the extreme southwest of Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. It is bordered on the west by Kentucky, is located in the south about 35 miles from Tennessee and has an area of 1050 square kilometers, of which four square kilometers of water surface. It is bordered clockwise to the following counties: Dickenson County, Russell County, Scott County and Lee County.

In the north of Wise County the rivers Powell River and Guest River. Although initially parallel but the rivers beat in the city Norton a different directions. The Powell River turns west, while the Guest River flows through the county in an easterly and southeasterly direction. It flows into the Clinch River, which forms the southeastern boundary of the Wise County.

Major parts of Wise County are dominated by the large-scale coal mining ( removal of entire hilltops, Mountaintop Removal mining).


Made it in 1856 from parts of Lee County, Russell County, and Scott County. It was named after Governor Henry A. Wise.

Demographic data

1900-1990 2000

According to the census in 2000 lived in Wise County 40 123 people in 16,013 households and 11,513 families. The population density was 38 people per square kilometer. The racial the population was made ​​up of 96.88 percent White, 1.78 percent African American, 0.16 percent Native American, 0.30 percent Asian, 0.01 percent of residents from the Pacific Islander, and 0.26 percent from other races groups; 0.61 percent were descended from two or more races. 0.73 percent of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 16,013 households out of which 31.0 percent have children under the age of 18 living with them. 56.2 percent were married couples living together, 12.0 percent were single mothers, 28.1 percent were non-families, 25.5 percent of all households and 11.2 percent lived in people aged 65 years or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.91.

Based on the county the population was spread out 23.0 percent of residents under the age of 18, 10.2 percent between 18 and 24 years, 28.0 percent between 25 and 44 years, 24.8 percent between 45 and 64 years and 13.9 percent were 65 years old or older. The average age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 men statistically.

The median income for a household was $ 26,149, and the median income for a family was $ 32,898. Males have a median income of $ 28,983, women $ 21,029. The per capita income was $ 14,271. 16.1 percent of families and 20.0 percent of the population lived below the poverty line. Of these, 27.3 percent were children or adolescents under age 18 and 12.3 percent of those 65 years.