Asheville is a city located in the state of North Carolina. It serves as the county seat of Buncombe County and is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville has an estimated population of 91,902 people, making it the 12th most populous city in the state. The larger metropolitan area has a population of over 400,000 people.
The region that is now known as Asheville was first inhabited by Cherokees. The European explorer Hernando de Soto first arrived in 1540 and brought diseases which killed many of the natives. The region was primarily used for hunting by these visitors.
In 1784, Asheville was settled by Colonel Samuel Davidson after redeeming a land grant. However, he was killed, and his wife, child, and slave fled. His twin brother and his brother-in-law returned to retrieve the body and avenge the murder. At the end of the expedition, the men and their extended family settled in the area. The nearby county seat was incorporated with the land and renamed as Asheville after the governor of North Carolina.
It was during the 1880s that the Western North Carolina Railroad constructed a line running from Salisbury to Asheville. It was at this time that the population began to increase, although it was quite slow. Industrial plants were being erected during this time, attracting more residents.
By 1900, Asheville was the third largest city in North Carolina. The city was quite prosperous in the decades that followed. It was during the early 1900s that the Burton Street Community for African Americans was developed and a sanitary district was established in West Asheville, which later incorporated within Asheville’s borders. As with other cities around the nation, the Great Depression had a significant impact on Asheville, with eight of its banks closing and the city debt reaching the highest in the nation. The city didn’t default on its obligations that were used to build infrastructure and buildings but instead paid it off. Because of this, economic growth was, and much of the downtown area was left as it originally was.
The positive thing about this is that the city has retained much of its buildings constructed in the Art Deco style, including its city hall. There is other noteworthy architecture located throughout the city, including the Grove Park Inn, which is a luxurious hotel and spa situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Today, Asheville is a beautiful mountainous city that offers modern attractions, many restaurants, and hotels, as well as historic landmarks and sights, including the popular Biltmore House, the largest private residence in the country that draws in visitors from all around the world.
City Size and Population Density
Recent estimates show that the city’s population is over 89,000. The city of Asheville covers over 45 square miles, giving it a population density of 2,000 people per square mile. It is the most populous city in Western North Carolina and the 12th most populous in the state.
Asheville Age and Gender Statistics
The largest age group is the 25 to 44 group, making up 28.7% of the population. Data show that 19.6% of the population is under the age of 18, while 18.3% are at least 65 years old. Approximately 19% of Asheville’s population lives below the federal poverty line.
The largest employers in the area include Mission Health System, Buncombe County Schools System and Ingles Markets. Each of these companies employs over 3,000 people. The State of North Carolina and Buncombe County also use thousands of people.
Asheville Population Growth
Though Asheville’s growth was quite slow during its earliest years, it has seen steady growth according to data from censuses dating back to the 1800s. The city did lose inhabitants during the 1970s and 1980s but quickly rebounded to again post strong growth at the time of the census in 1990. Between 2000 and 2010m the city saw 21.1% growth as the city continues to grow and modernize. Recent estimates show that the population is up almost 9% since the last census was taken in 2010, indicating that this mountain city still has much growing to do in its future.