Census: Watauga Saw More Growth Than Other High Country Counties

Census: Watauga Saw More Growth Than Other High Country Counties

2:24pm Aug 26, 2021
Downtown West Jefferson in Ashe County. KERI BROWN/WFDD

North Carolina’s High Country counties got mixed results for growth, according to recently released 2020 Census figures. 

Overall, the combined seven counties that make up the High Country — Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Wilkes, Watauga and Yancey — lost a small amount of overall population as four counties lost residents. 

Yancey and Avery counties saw small increases. Watauga County grew by about 3,000 people. Resort towns like Beech Mountain seem to be flourishing, says Jessica Welborn. She’s in the planning department for the High Country Council of Governments. 

She says some of the growth is coming from residents who used to only live in the area part-time deciding to call the mountains home.  

“People are moving and becoming year-round permanent residents in these homes whereas before it was more of a seasonal home,” she says. 

Welborn says a local real-estate boom began just as the 2020 Census was underway, and much of that growth was not counted in time to be reflected in the latest figures.

Support your
public radio station