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Mercer County, West Virginia

Mercer County, West Virginia
The Mercer County Courthouse in Princeton in 2007
Map of West Virginia highlighting Mercer County
Location in the state of West Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting West Virginia
West Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded March 17, 1837
Seat Princeton
Largest city Bluefield
 • Total 421 sq mi (1,090 km2)
 • Land 419 sq mi (1,085 km2)
 • Water 1.7 sq mi (4 km2), 0.4%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 61,785
 • Density 147/sq mi (57/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website .gov.wv.mercercountywww

Mercer County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. At the 2010 census, the population was 62,264.[1] Its county seat is Princeton.[2] The county was originally established in the state of Virginia by act of its General Assembly on 17 March 1837,[3][4] using lands taken from Giles and Tazewell counties.

Mercer County is included in the Bluefield, WV-VA Micropolitan Statistical Area.


  • Geography 1
    • Major highways 1.1
    • Adjacent counties 1.2
    • National protected area 1.3
  • Demographics 2
  • Education 3
  • Law enforcement 4
  • Communities 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 421 square miles (1,090 km2), of which 419 square miles (1,090 km2) is land and 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2) (0.4%) is water.[5]

Major highways

The West Virginia Turnpike, now part of Interstate 77, begins in Princeton.

Adjacent counties

National protected area


At the census[11] of 2000, there were 62,980 people, 26,509 households, and 17,946 families residing in the county. The population density was 150 people per square mile (58/km²). There were 30,143 housing units at an average density of 72 per square mile (28/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.56% White, 5.82% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.10% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. 0.45% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 26,509 households out of which 26.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.00% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 28.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the county, the population was spread out with 21.10% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 26.20% from 25 to 44, 25.50% from 45 to 64, and 17.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 91.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,628, and the median income for a family was $33,524. Males had a median income of $29,243 versus $19,013 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,564. About 14.70% of families and 19.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.90% of those under age 18 and 12.70% of those age 65 or over.

The county is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area which, with its population of 107,578, is the thirty-third largest micropolitan area in the United States.


The Mercer County Public School System has nineteen elementary schools, including Athens, Bluefield Intermediate, Bluewell, Brushfork, Ceres, Glenwood Elementary, Lashmeet-Matoaka, Melrose, Memorial, Mercer County Early Learning - Bluefield and Princeton sites, Mercer, Montcalm, Oakvale (funding for constructing a new Oakvale school has been approved), Princeton Primary, Spanishburg, Straley, Sun Valley and Whitethorne. There are six middle school facilities including Princeton Middle, Bluefield Middle, Montcalm Middle, PikeView Middle, and Glenwood Middle. There are also four high school facilities including Princeton Senior (AAA), Bluefield High (AA), Montcalm High (A) and PikeView High (AA). There is also the Mercer County Technical Education Center, which is currently being transitioned into a comprehensive technical high school. Mercer County Schools educates approximately 9200 students. The professional and service staff are about 1200.

Higher educational institutions include Bluefield State College, located in Bluefield, Concord University, located in Athens and New River Community and Technical College, located in Princeton, WV.

Law enforcement

Mercer County is protected by seven agencies. Five agencies protect the incorporated area of the county but the non-incorporated area is the primary responsibility of the Mercer County Sheriff's Department. The Mercer County Sheriff's Department consists of 30 sworn law enforcement officers and a number of civilian employees. Within the Mercer County Sheriff's Department are several specialized units to better serve the citizens.

K-9 Unit: Deputy Ballard (Quando), Deputy Parks (Arrow), Deputy Rose (Mitis), & Deputy Ellsion (Max).

Detective Bureau: Cpl. Murphy, Detective Sparks, & Detective Combs.

SWAT: Sgt. G. W. Woods, Cpl. J. J. Ruble, Cpl. S. A. Sommers, & Detective Combs; The rest of the team consists of other agencies within the County, excluding the State Police.

The Sheriff's Department has one dedicated Deputy who serves on the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

Mercer County is also home to the Princeton Detachment of the West Virginia State Police and a Turnpike Detachment (Highway Patrol).


See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ (WV County Etymology)
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links

  • Community Foundation of the Virginias, Inc.
  • Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Mercer County Public Schools
  • Bluefield State College
  • Concord University
  • Mercer County
  • Early History of Mercer County

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