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Clay Information/Profile
Clay County is the second fastest growing county in western North Carolina, according to U.S. Census data. And there are plenty of good reasons for our growth: quality education and healthcare, plus a multitude of recreational and leisure activities. Indeed, our quality of life is beyond compare.



  Population % Growth
2019 Projected Total Population 11,199 .4%
2014 Estimated Total Population 10,968 2.1%
2010 Census Total Population 10,587 17.2%
2000 Census Total Population 8,775 --


Business needs are met by a business-friendly and responsive local government, as well as by a progressive environment that includes a state-of-the-art fiber optics network and multiple broadband communications providers.

Businesses in Clay County can enjoy a high-quality, educated workforce. Clay County Schools were ranked as the #1 "Parent-Friendly" school system in North Carolina in a recent report by the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh. Additionally, student test scores are consistently in the top 10% of all schools in North Carolina, and the system recently was acknowledged as having the third highest graduation rate of all districts in North Carolina. After graduation, students can pursue higher education and technical training close to home, at Young Harris College or at Tri-County Community College.

2014 Labor Force 4,575
2014 Employment 4,037
2014 Unemployment Rate 5.1%
At Least High School Graduate 86.9%
At Least Bachelor's Degree 20.6%
2014 Average SAT Score 1503 (vs. 1500 U.S. Average)


Healthcare needs are met by the 57-bed Murphy Medical Center in nearby Murphy, NC, which received the Outstanding Patient Experience AwardTM 2010/2011 from healthcare ratings organization HealthGrades. A network of quality local physicians treat residents’ routine healthcare issues, and a progressive health department constantly monitors the health of our community to quickly identify and address problems.

It’s easy to live a healthy life here in Clay County thanks to a multitude of fitness resources, such as the Clay County Recreation Center’s gym, tennis courts, walking trail, six softball fields, and a fitness room with cardio and weight training equipment that is free to residents; golf and swimming facilities; horseback riding; Chatuge Shores Golf Course; and even free exercise classes offered at local churches. The Clay County Recreation Park at Lake Chatuge consists of the Clay County Recreation Campground, a playground, lake access for swimming, fishing, and boating, and a portion of a walking trail that begins at the Chatuge Dam. Topping it all off are the miles of hiking and mountain biking trails throughout the area which can lead you on an adventure seven days a week in Clay County’s clean mountain air.

Mountain
culture weaves
the agrarian and fine arts into a unique, nature-based lifestyle..
 

The good life continues with nature’s bounty.
Clay County farmers sell an assortment of organic foods, fruits, crafts, locally grown vegetables, and specialty items at the weekly Mountain Valley Farmers Market on the Courthouse Square in Hayesville. Or head out into the countryside to a roadside market or pick-your-own farm. One of the “newest” crops making inroads into Clay County is the wine grape, grown at Eagle Fork Vineyards, which opens its winery in 2012, and Fiddlers Ridge Winery.
 

Culture in Clay County doesn’t stop with agriculture.
The fine arts and folk arts are well represented, from theater performed by the local Licklog Players at the Peacock Playhouse to classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School. And those interested in Appalachian and Native American history will find plenty to engage them at The Clay County Historical Museum, the Historic Clay County Courthouse, the Cherokee Winter House, and the Spikebuck Mound and Village site.
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