Jacksonville is a city in Onslow County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 72,723, which makes Jacksonville the 14th-largest city in North Carolina. Jacksonville is the county seat and most populous community of Onslow County, which is coterminous with the Jacksonville, North Carolina metropolitan area. Demographically, Jacksonville is the youngest city in the United States, with an average age of 22.8 years old, which can be attributed to the large military presence. The low age may also be in part due to the population drastically going up over the past 80 years, from 783 in the 1930 census to 72,876 in the 2021 Census estimate.
It is the home of the United States Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station. Jacksonville is located adjacent to North Carolina's Crystal Coast area.
After the end of the Tuscarora wars in 1713 and the forced removal of Native American tribes was followed by permanent settlement of the regions between New Bern and Wilmington. The New River became a major production center for naval stores like turpentine. The downtown waterfront park is built on the site original site of Wantland's Ferry.
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