"Serving the County of Wise, the City of Norton, and the Towns of Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Coeburn, Pound, St. Paul, and Wise."

Demographic Data

Table of Contents 

Population IDA Support Government
Education Transportation Services
Distance Banking Labor Force
Unemployment Rates Public Safety Planning & Zoning
Tax Rates Health Care Mail Service
Major Employers Media Shopping & Dining
Leisure Wise County Map


In the heart of the beautiful Appalachian mountains, you will find a community that doesn't long for days of yesteryear--less crime, less violence, less traffic, less stress. Our community never lost those attributes.

Located adjacent to the majestic Jefferson National Forest, Wise County is a progressive community in Southwest Virginia that still embraces traditional values.

The lay of the land is more than 407 square miles of acreage with a low elevation of 1,400 feet and a high elevation of 4,200 feet.

While celebrating four distinct seasons, the area is fortunate to have mild weather year-round. The county's mean temperature in January is 34.2 degrees Fahrenheit and 71.8 in July. An average rainfall is nearly 47 inches, while snowfall is approximately 30 inches annually.



 Community Totals  
Wise County 41,452
*Appalachia 1,754
*Big Stone Gap 5,614
*Coeburn 2,139
*Pound 1,037
*St. Paul 970
*Wise 3,286
City of Norton 3,958
Total of Wise County & Norton City 45,410
* within corporation limits only
Age Percent
Under 5 5.9%
Under 18 21.4%
Persons 65 years old and over 14.0%
White 92.9%
African American 5.6%
Other 2.6%

Source: 2010 Census Bureau Report

Click here for more information on our population!

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IDA Support

Wise County, the City of Norton, and the Town of St. Paul all have active Industrial Development Authorities.

Additionally, the County and City are both participants in the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority. The VCEDA provides flexible, low-interest loans to enhance industrial growth and development.



Public School System

Elementary Schools 7
Middle Schools 3
High Schools 4
Non-Secular Schools 2


K-7 4695
8-12 2059

Student/Teacher Ratio

Elementary 20:1
High School 15:1

Vocational/Technical Schools

Wise County Vocational & Technical Center provides a wide range of traditional and non-traditional vocational opportunities. Its Electronic Classroom sends advanced placement courses via satellite to schools throughout Virginia.

Source: Wise County/Norton City Schools

Higher Education

The University of Virginia's College at Wise

A four-year, liberal arts, state-supported college offering Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.

Mountain Empire Community College, Big Stone Gap

A member of the Virginia Community College System, MECC offers associate degrees, certificate programs and specialized training for business and industry.

Other institutions within three hours include: Virginia Highlands Community College, Southwest Virginia Community College, Virginia Tech, Radford University, University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee, East Tennessee State University, Old Dominion University at MECC, and Emory & Henry College.

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Strong road systems intersect the county to provide quick access to the entire region.

United States Highways

  • US 23 North-South (4-lane divided)
  • US 58A East-West (4-lane divided)
  • US 19 North-South (4-lane divided)

Regional Interstates

  • I-75 North-South
  • I-81 North/East-South/West
  • I-77 North-South
  • I-26 North-South

Freight Service

  • Thirty trucking lines
  • Federal Express (FedEx)
  • United Parcel Service
  • Purolator Courier
  • Norfolk Southern Railway
  • CSX Railroad

Scheduled Air Service

Tri-Cities Regional Airport, Blountville, TN

  • Allegiant Air
  • Delta Connection
  • US Airways Express

Lonesome Pine Regional Airport, Wise, VA

This regional facility has a 5,280 foot lighted runway with hangers, AV gas, and jet fuel.

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Natural Gas

  • Amvest Oil & Gas
  • EQT

Water, Sewer and Solid Waste

Water is provided through water systems operated by each of the towns, the City of Norton, and the Wise County Public Service Authority. Total combined capacity for all of the systems serving the County, as permitted by the Virginia Department of Health, is 11.8 mgd (million gallons per day). At this time, total combined production in Wise County is 6.0 mgd, leaving 5.8 mgd available for economic growth.

Sewer service is provided by Norton and the individual towns, in cooperation with the Coeburn-Norton-Wise Waste Water Authority. Total capacity is 6.9 mgd.

Wise County provides landfill services for residents and industry. Contract collection service will be provided for industries located outside municipal corporate limits. Norton and each town provide residential and commercial service.


Television Cable

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Atlanta, GA 327
Baltimore, MD 448
Birmingham, AL 415
Charleston, SC 413
Chicago, IL 562
Columbia, SC 324
Columbus, OH 259
Detroit, MI 472
Indianapolis, IN 390
Jackson, MS 630
Lexington, KY 180
Memphis, TN 518
Myrtle Beach, SC 420
Nashville, TN 308
New Orleans, LA 754
New York, NY 632
Norfolk, VA 450
Philadelphia, PA 576
Pittsburgh, PA 393
Raleigh, NC 297
Richmond, VA 361
St. Louis, MO 531
Tallahassee, FL 622
Virginia Beach, VA 462


Source: AAA


Wise County/City of Norton 

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Labor Force

Civilian Labor Force


2012 Annual Average - 23,317

Estimated Labor Potential


2012 Unemployment  1,478
Annual New Entrants 700
Residents Commuting Outside County to Work 2,500


Distribution of Employment


Private 78
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing 0
Mining 11
Construction 10
Manufacturing 2
Transportation, Communication & Utilities 2
Trade 17
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate 2
Information 2
Services 32
Unclassified 0
Government 22



Unemployment Rates

Click here for the latest unemployment rates for Wise County/City of Norton!

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Public Safety

Law Enforcement

The number of sworn officers in each of the departments in the city and county is as follows:


Appalachia  6
Big Stone Gap 16
Coeburn 8
Norton (Police) 16
Norton (Sheriff) 3
Pound 4
St. Paul 4
Wise 13
Wise County Sheriff's Department 60
Total 130


Fire Protection

The six incorporated towns, Norton and Powell Valley District all operate fire departments. Within the County, there are 39 fire fighting vehicles and 190 fire fighters.

The Wise Fire Department, in conjunction with the Coeburn Fire Department, maintains a regional 2E Hazardous Materials Team.

Rescue Squads & Ambulance

Wise County has five volunteer rescue squads and three private ambulance services.

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Planning & Zoning

Norton, the County, and each of the towns have an existing zoning and subdivision ordinance. Each jurisdiction has a land use plan. Each has an appointed planning commission.

In addition, Wise County and the City of Norton belong to the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission. LENOWISCO provides comprehensive planning and technical assistance services to each local government within the Commonwealth's Planning District One.

Tax Rates


 Jurisdiction Real Estate* Meals**+ Personal Property* Lodging**+ Machinery & Tools*
Wise County .57 NA 1.49 5% 1.41
Norton City .80 7% 1.85 4% 1.85
Appalachia .35 3% .70 0% .70
Big Stone Gap .44 6% .62 5% .62
Coeburn .15 7% .40 0% .40
Pound .40 4% .44 0% .44
St. Paul .18 5% .31 5% .31
Wise .245 6% .53 5% .53


*Rate Per $100 Value
**Percent of Gross Receipts
+Plus Applicable State Sales Tax

Tax information was provided by local municipalities and the Wise County and City of Norton Commissioners of the Revenue.

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Health Care

Hospitals, Bed-size


Medical Clinics 

    • VA Clinic, Wise
    • Wise County Health Department, Wise

      There are numerous area medical clinics owned by local hospitals and/or private physicians

Nursing Homes 

Home Health Agencies

There are several home health agencies serving Wise County and City of Norton. Services provided are skilled nursing care, personal care aids, physical therapy, speech therapy, hospice care, and case management through a social worker. All providers have 24-hour emergency services.

Mail Service


Postal Office  Classification
Andover 3
Appalachia 2
Big Stone Gap 1
Coeburn 1
East Stone Gap 3
Pound 2
Norton 1
St. Paul 2
Wise 1


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Major Employers 

    • Austin Powder Company
    • Carter Machinery Company
    • Coca-Cola Consolidated
    • Comcast
    • Crutchfield Corporation
    • Fasmart Convenience Stores
    • Food City
    • Greater Wise, Inc./Humphrey's Enterprises
    • Hardee's
    • Holiday Inn
    • Ingle's Super Market
    • Joy Manufacturing
    • Lonesome Pine Hospital, a Member of Wellmont Health System
    • Lowe's of Wise County
    • McDonald's
    • Mountain Empire Community College
    • Mountain Empire Older Citizens
    • Mountain View Regional Medical Center, a Member of Wellmont Health System
    • Mullican Flooring
    • Norton City Public Schools
    • Norton Community Hospital & Mountain States Health Alliance
    • Norton Press, Inc.
    • Old Dominion Power Company
    • Paramont Coal Company Virginia, LLC
    • PayLess Super Markets
    • Peebles Department Store
    • Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company
    • Atria Inn & Suites
    • Quesenberry's
    • Red Onion State Prison

    • Sykes Enterprises, Inc.
    • TeleMed
    • Thompson & Litton
    • The University of Virginia's College at Wise
    • Verizon
    • Virginia Dept. of Transportation
    • Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center
    • Vulcan Materials Company
    • Wal-Mart Stores
    • Wallen's Ridge State Prison
    • Wise County Public Schools

Source: Wise County Virginia Chamber of Commerce

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    • WKPT - ABC - Kingsport, TN
    • WDBJ - CBS - Roanoke, VA
    • WJHL - CBS - Johnson City, TN
    • WYMT - CBS - Hazard, KY
    • WEMT - FOX - Greeneville, TN
    • WCYB - NBC - Bristol, VA
    • WETP - PBS - Sneedville, TN
    • WSBN - PBS - Norton, VA


    • WAXM - FM 93.5 & AM 1220
    • WDXC - FM 102.3
    • WEZC - FM 99.7
    • WIFX - FM 94.3
    • WKVG - AM 1000
    • WVTF - FM 90.5



    • Bristol Herald-Courier
    • Kingsport Times-News
    • Roanoke Times-News


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Shopping & Dining

Shopping Centers 

    • Cloverleaf, Big Stone Gap
    • Powell Valley Shopping Center (Wal-Mart, etc.), Big Stone Gap
    • Marty Shopping Center, Coeburn
    • Norton Commons (Wal-Mart Supercenter, Burkes Outlet, etc.), Norton
    • Norton Plaza, Norton
    • Norton Square Shopping Center, Norton
    • VA-KY Regional Shopping Center (Ingles, etc.), Norton
    • Indian Creek Shopping Center, Pound
    • Pound Shopping Center, Pound
    • Riverside Shopping Center, (Rose's Store) St. Paul
    • Ridgeview Centre (Ollies, Dollar Tree, Belk, etc.), Wise
    • Wise County Plaza, (Tractor Supply, Peebles, ect.) Wise
    • Wise Shopping Center, (Payless) Wise


Wise County and City of Norton residents are fortunate to have several restaurants featuring steak, seafood, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, and classic American menus.

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Recreation/Fitness Activities 

    • CrossFit Stone Mountain
    • Elite Fitness and Nutrition
    • Fit One (Norton Community Hospital)
    • Lonesome Pine Country Club
    • Regional Rehab
    • Municipal swimming pools
    • Community parks


Cultural Arts 

Family Entertainment 

Festivals, Events & Fairs 

*Denotes activity or site in the region but outside the County


The County and the region are served by several libraries-- 

Holdings for these libraries number approximately 502,313 volumes, including audio/visual materials.

NEED MORE INFORMATION? Contact the Wise County Chamber of Commerce at wisecountycoc@verizon.net.

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