Goldsboro, NC

Goldsboro, situated in Wayne County, is a small town made up of 24.8 square miles.

2018 Best Guide to Goldsboro, NC

April 10, 2018

Goldsboro was settled around 1787. During the Civil War, the Battle of Goldsborough Bridge took place in the town, in which the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad was burned to the ground in a strategic operation.  

Goldsboro NC is the seat of Wayne County and is the main city of the Goldsboro Metro Statistical Area. There are about 37,000 people living here. The town was incorporated in 1847, and is located in the Piedmont region (eastern NC) about 50 miles from Raleigh, the state capital. The famous Seymour Johnson Air Force Base calls Goldsboro NC home. 

The city of Goldsboro NC started, like many eastern North Carolina towns, as a railroad junction. Wayne County was created in the late 1780s and the small town of Waynesborough grew within, eventually becoming the county seat. 

In the 1840s, the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad was built and passed nearby. As a result, the population quickly relocated from Waynesborough to the area of New Bern Road, where the railroad station called passengers. The small community was named Goldsborough's Junction, in honor of Major Matthew T. Goldsborough, who was a senior engineer with the railroad. By 1847 the town was granted incorporation and labeled as the new seat of Wayne County. The name was also changed simply to Goldsborough.

Goldsboro continued to thrive after an additional rail line connected Beaufort to Charlotte. The town's location was of central significance during the Civil War. Confederate soldiers and their supplies passed through Goldsboro, while troops were housed and cared for in the local hospitals.

The December, 1862 Battle of Goldsborough Bridge saw the Union Army burn the vital bridge used by the railroad for supply requisitions from Wilmington. Three years later when General Sherman came to town, about 100,000 Union soldiers occupied Goldsborough through the end of the war.

In 1869, Goldsborough became Goldsboro.
Perhaps the largest industry - and the common subject of Goldsboro - is the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, which has been active since 1942. In fact, the base has been vital to the growth and sustainability of Goldsboro NC.

The Goldsboro area is also known for its pickles, as the Mt. Olive Pickle Company is located in nearby Mt. Olive. Each year in April the town holds the Picklefest, and on New Year's Eve a large pickle is lowered into a pickle vat - a local rendition of the apple drop in New York City each year.

Goldsboro Nuclear Accident

One of the scares of the Cold War involved the accidental dropping of two nearly 4 megaton hydrogen bombs from a B-52 Strato-fortress in the area of Faro, a small community about 12 miles from Goldsboro NC on January 24, 1961. Five of the eight crewmembers survived the incident when the giant B-52 U.S. Air Force bomber broke apart in flight. The disintegration of the plane caused the fusing sequence to initiate for both bombs.

The Mark 39 was a thermonuclear bomb common in the American arsenal in the late 1950s and 1960s. It is 35 inches wide and about 9 feet long. Compared to the Japan bombs (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) of .01 and .02 megatons, the 6,000-pound "MK39" bombs were dropped after the aircraft started to break up in flight. Three of four safety devices on one of these bombs did not work properly. Only a single electrical "ready-safe" switch prevented disaster.

One bomb was located and recovered after its parachute deployed, while the second was only partially intake. It was determined that the generator's safety pins in the recovered bomb had been pulled during the incident, averting an explosion.

The uranium core in the other bomb had apparently gone so deep into the murky swamp that it could not be salvaged. This bomb went into an armed mode after impacting the ground, but also did not explode.


The median resident age in Goldsboro is 34 years. The median estimated household income is about $35,000 making it about $13,000 less than the North Carolina average. The estimated per capita is about $20,000. The average price for a home in Goldsboro is about $125,000 (2015) which is $35,000 less than the North Carolina Average. Expect to pay about $700 a month for rent.

The racial makeup of Goldsboro is 36% White, 54% Black, 3% Two or more races, and 7% other. 86% of the population are high school graduates, with 21% holding a Bachelor's Degree or higher. 39% are married, 10% are divorced, 4% are separated, 8% are widowed, leaving 39% that have never been married.

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Wayne County

Goldsboro belongs to Wayne County in the eastern part of North Carolina. The County, named after one of George Washington's generals, Anthony Wayne, is a part of the Goldsboro, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area, and has a population of 122,700. Its largest city and county seat, Goldsboro, has a population of 36,400.

Wayne County borders Wilson, Greene, Lenoir, Duplin, Sampson, and Johnston counties.

Wayne County is made up of 557 square miles. 553 of which is land with the remaining 3.8 as water.


The population of Goldsboro, NC is about 36,000. The population had been steadily increasing until after the 1990's.


The elevation of Goldsboro, NC is 108 feet above sea level.

Zip Code

The zip codes for Goldsboro are 27530 and 27534.

Area Code

The area codes for Goldsboro, NC are 919 and 984.

Politics and Religion

Historically speaking Goldsboro and Wayne County have voted mostly Republican, with 54% going to Mitt Romney during the 2012 Presidential Election. This represents the trend for the previous four or five elections.

As of 2010, 60% of the population are religiously unafiliated (Nones). About 36% are Protestants with Catholics and other religions making up around 4%.


The unemployment rate for Goldsboro is about 8% (2015), making it higher than the state average of around 5%. Manufacturing, public administration, and retail make nearly 50% of the most common industries in the town.

Newspaper & Obituaries

Goldsboro News-Argus and Goldsboro Daily News are the primary newspapers that cover the Wayne County area.


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City of Goldsboro NC
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