Wayne County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population was 113,329 and in 2006 the population was estimated at 113,847. It is included in the Goldsboro, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat is Goldsboro and it is home to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Wayne County is a member of the regional Eastern Carolina Council of Governments.
Wayne County’s surface is level to gently rolling uplands with broad bottoms along the rivers and some creeks. Elevations are predominately 120 to 145 feet above sea level. The largest waterway, the Neuse River, bisects the lower central portion of the county and cuts a deep channel 20 to 40 feet deep as it flows in an eastward direction. Unusual river bluffs occur in the vicinity of Seven Springs. In addition to the Neuse River, the county is drained by the Little River, the Northeast Cape Fear River and numerous creeks.
Wayne County is underlain by unconsolidated beds of sand, clay and gravel. For the most part, these beds were deposited in seawater as the sea advanced and retreated during the geologic development of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. To a much lesser extent, streams deposited layers of sediment which mixed with that deposited on the sea floor.
The climate in Wayne County is characterized by warm summers and moderate winters. The average temperature is about 62 degrees. Annual precipitation is about 50 inches of rainfall per year, with the major portion occurring in the late spring and summer.
There were 42,612 households out of which 34.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.60% were married couples living together, 15.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.00% were non-families. 24.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the county the population was spread out with 26.20% under the age of 18, 9.90% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 21.90% from 45 to 64, and 11.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 97.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $33,942, and the median income for a family was $40,492. Males had a median income of $28,396 versus $21,854 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,010. About 10.20% of families and 13.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.60% of those under age 18 and 15.20% of those age 65 or over.
The combination of a mild climate, a freeze-free growing season of about 225 days and a wide range of soil types contribute to a highly productive agricultural area. Total gross farm sales in Wayne County in 2006 was approximately $329,082,138 USD. Field crops, including the primary crops of tobacco, corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat accounted for nearly 12% of the farm income or $38,583,389USD.
Income from livestock and poultry production was $236,287,547USD in 2006 and derived primarily from swine operations. Swine production has increased rapidly, making it the single largest source of farm income. In 2006 farm income from swine production was $75,409,690USD or 23% of all farm income. Wayne County ranks 7th in the nation for production of swine.
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is home to the 4th Fighter Wing and 916th Air Refueling Wing. The annual civilian and military payroll is over $282 millionUSD. In fiscal year 2006 the economic impact at the base totaled over $460 millionUSD.
Public schools are administered by the Wayne County Public School system. The public schools include nine high schools and college preparation schools, eight middle schools and fourteen elementary schools. The county is also home to four private schools.