Guilford County


Guilford County has a storied political lineage: former Governor Jim Hunt (born in Greensboro), the late Senator Kay Hagan, legendary Congressman Howard Coble, former presidential nominee Jesse Jackson, and former First Lady Dolley Madison, to name a few. In fact, Guilford’s own formation was political. In 1771, the county was formed out of portions of Orange and Rowan as a measure to “quell the insurgents.” In 1781, the Battle of Guilford Courthouse proved a turning point in the American Revolution. While the British managed to win the battle, they suffered irrecoverable casualties and were forced to retreat, handing Americans a new advantage. The county seat, Greensboro, is named after Nathanael Green, who led the Americans during the Courthouse battle.

Guilford has an old and diverse history in higher education. The Quakers established what is now known as Guilford College in 1837. It was the third co-ed institution in the country and the first in the South. Guilford was also home to the state’s first and only public college for women, which at one time was the third-largest university for women in the world. Woman’s College UNC became UNCG in 1963.

Like last week’s county of Catawba, Guilford’s early economy was heavily predicated on manufacturing, notably furniture. High Point is known as “the furniture capital of the world” and hosts a biennial market that attracts buyers and exhibitors within the trade on a global scale. Guilford was also home to one of the earliest cotton mills in the state and one of the first to utilize steam for manufacturing.

Guilford is North Carolina’s third most populous county, with more than half a million residents. Home to the Wyndham Championship, Greensboro hosts the seventh-oldest event on the PGA tour excluding the majors, as well as the NCAA and, before the merger with the Big East killed college hoops as we knew it, the ACC Basketball Tournament in Greensboro was an annual holiday. American Idol winner and contestant Fantasia Barrino and Chris Daughtry called Guilford County Home, as well as former BET CEO Debra Lee, billionaire Ronald Perelman, Author Nicholas Sparks and Stanley Tanger, founder of Tanger Outlets.

Politically, Guilford follows the registration trends of many of the counties highlighted in this week’s analysis. While GOP and DEM registrations have declined over the past decade, the county has seen more than a 10% uptick in Unaffiliated registrations. It is a reliably Democratic county in statewide races, though Guilford’s suburbs still send a few Republican members to the State House and Senate.


County Seat: Greensboro
Biggest Cities:

Greensboro, High Point, Archdale, Reidsville, Summerfield, Gibsonville, Forest Oaks

Media Market: Greensboro

Elected Officials

County Data