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% 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 2017 State-certified population is 8,601 and continues the rapid growth shown by the City of Marion in recent decades. Since 1970, Marion has increased in population by 158%.

Total Population


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

Micropolitan Statistical Area

Because of Marion's growth in recent years, Marion was designated by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013 as a Micropolitan Statistical Area. Micropolitan Areas are a fairly recent designation of the U.S. Census Bureau and are defined as areas with an urban core of at least 10,000 residents but less than 50,000 total population plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the urban core. The Marion Micropolitan Area includes a population of approximately 45,000 people. The Marion Urban Core has a population of 13,363, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, representing approximately 30% of the population of the Marion Micropolitan Area.

Marion is one of 25 designated Micropolitan Areas in North Carolina and one of 536 such areas in the United States. The Marion Micropolitan Area ranks in the top half in population among the 536 Micropolitan Areas in the United States. Marion was named one of the Top 100 Micropolitan Areas in the United States, in terms of economic growth, in 2014 by Site Selection magazine.

Past trends and its excellent location indicate that Marion and its Micropolitan Area are poised for additional growth in the future.


The City of Marion, approximately 6.3 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, U.S. Highway 70, U.S. Highway 221, NC Highway 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 and 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.

Request More Information 

To request more information about Marion please call City Hall at 828-652-3551.