Pitt County


Situated halfway between Raleigh and the Outer Banks, Pitt County was formed in 1760 out of Beaufort. The county is named after William Pitt, then leader of the British House of Commons who would go on to serve as prime minister of Britain from 1766-68. The county seat of Greenville was originally incorporated as Martinsborough. It wasn’t until 1786 that the county seat changed its name to Greenville in honor of Revolutionary War hero, General Nathanael Greene.

Pitt County is perhaps best known as the home of East Carolina University located in Greenville. Founded in 1907, ECU is the fourth-largest university in the state and has nine undergraduate colleges, a graduate school, and four professional schools, including the Brody School of Medicine. The county is also home to Pitt County Community College in Winterville.

While the university contributes heavily to the county’s economy, so does agriculture – the county is ranked 10th for the most farmland in the state with over 137,000 acres. Last year, the North Carolina Department of Commerce moved Pitt County from a Tier 2 to a Tier 1, or more economically distressed, county. The explanation for the movement was the decline in the county’s median household income rank.

The county hosts several festivals, including Piratefest in April which takes place along the Tar River, the Farmville Dogwood Festival (also held in April), Oktoberfest in the fall, and the Festival of Trees in December.

Politically, the county was a Southern Democratic stronghold until 1968, when third party candidate George Wallace won a plurality in the county with 41%. With the exception of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, the county favored Republicans from 1972 until 2004. Since Barack Obama won the county in 2012 by a margin of 7 points, the county has favored Democrats. But in 2022, Pitt County was competitive – Cheri Beasley only won the county by a margin of 2.9% against now U.S. Senator Ted Budd in 2022.


County Seat: Greenville
Biggest Cities:
  • Greenville
  • Winterville Town
  • Ayden Town
  • Farmville Town
Media Market: Greenville/New Bern

Elected Officials

County Data