Catawba is a town in Catawba County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 603 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Hickory–Lenoir–Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area. As with the county, the name recalls the Catawba people, the indigenous people who once inhabited the area.
The Catawba Historic District, Alexander Moore Farm, Murray's Mill Historic District, and Powell–Trollinger Lime Kilns are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Catawba is located on the northeastern border of Catawba County at 35°42′35″N 81°4′33″W (35.709853, -81.075734). Its northeastern boundary is the shore of the Catawba River in Lake Norman.
North Carolina Highway 10 passes through the center of the town, leading north 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to Exit 138 on Interstate 40 and southwest 10 miles (16 km) to Newton. U.S. Route 70 crosses NC 10 north of the center of Catawba and leads east 12 miles (19 km) to Statesville and west 16 miles (26 km) to Hickory.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Catawba has a total area of 4.0 square miles (10.3 km2), of which 3.9 square miles (10.2 km2) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.2 km2), or 1.60%, is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 604 people, 270 households, and 208 families residing in the town. The population density was 262.6 people per square mile (117.7/km2).