Demographics Profile

While most visitors are familiar with the mountains of Western North Carolina, some may not be as familiar with our growing community and the business friendly climate offered in Marion.  Since its incorporation in 1844, Marion has grown in an orderly and efficient manner due in part to the efforts of private citizens and city leaders working together to build an ideal community that is conducive to business, the entrepreneurial spirit, and a high quality of life for residents.  Whether you are a resident, a business, or a visitor the community has something to offer for everyone, and that is why people enjoy calling Marion home.


In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Marion had a permanent population of 7,838 residents, as of the April 1, 2010 Census, an increase of 58.6 percent over the 2000 Census figure of 4,943 for Marion. This considerable increase places Marion among the fastest growing communities in North Carolina over the past years. The City's 2013 State certified population is 8,200 and continues the rapid growth shown by the City of Marion in recent decades. Since 1970, Marion has increased in population by 146 percent.

Table One: Total Population













Source: U.S. Census Bureau and NC Office of State Budget and  Management


The City of Marion, approximately 5.7 square miles in size, is ideally situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Marion is located just 30 miles east of Asheville, which is well known for being the home of the Biltmore Estate and a destination for arts, culture, and recreation enthusiasts; and just an hour’s drive from Charlotte International Airport.  Major highways serving Marion include Interstate 40, US Hwy 70, US Hwy 221, NC Hwy 226, and the Blue Ridge Parkway which offer convenient access between the mountains and piedmont regions of North Carolina and locations beyond.   

The City of Marion, serving as the county seat of government for McDowell County, offers convenient access to year-round outdoor recreational activities including water sports and fishing on Lake James & the Catawba River, hiking trails to scenic waterfalls and wildlife observation areas, golfing, snow skiing, gem and mineral  mining, historical and cultural destinations, and so much more.  To learn more about activities and events in and around Marion please visit the McDowell Tourism Authority.


At an average elevation of 1,400 feet, Marion offers a comfortable climate throughout the year.  Temperatures during the summer months average between 70 and 80 degrees, while winter months average between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  The mild climate makes Marion an ideal community for participating in many outdoor activities, as well as the added benefit of low energy costs typically associated with heating and cooling homes and businesses. 

The total annual precipitation in Marion is approximately 56 inches, with roughly half this amount falling between the months of April and September.  Marion’s average seasonal snowfall is about 13 inches, but the number of average snow days varies greatly from year to year.   Access to fertile soils and bountiful water make the area ideal for gardening enthusiasts, horticulturalists, and other water dependent enterprises.

To request more information about Marion please contact City Hall at (828) 652-3551.

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