Benton County
The Old Benton County courthouse in Ashland
The Old Benton County courthouse in Ashland
Map of Mississippi highlighting Benton County
Location within the U.S. state of Mississippi
Map of the United States highlighting Mississippi
Mississippi's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 34°49′N 89°11′W / 34.82°N 89.19°W / 34.82; -89.19
Country United States
State Mississippi
Founded1870
Named forSamuel Benton
SeatAshland
Largest townHickory Flat
Area
 • Total409 sq mi (1,060 km2)
 • Land407 sq mi (1,050 km2)
 • Water2.0 sq mi (5 km2)  0.5%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total8,729
 • Estimate 
(2018)
8,271
 • Density21/sq mi (8.2/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district1st
Websitebentoncountyms.gov

Benton County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,729.[1] Its county seat is Ashland.[2]

It is locally believed that residents convinced the post-Civil War Reconstruction government that Benton County was named after U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton, but the name actually honored Confederate Brigadier General Samuel Benton of nearby Holly Springs in Marshall County, nephew of the senator.

Benton County is included in the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Geography

Bottomland hardwood swamp near Ashland, Mississippi
Bottomland hardwood swamp near Ashland, Mississippi

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 409 square miles (1,060 km2), of which 407 square miles (1,050 km2) is land and 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2) (0.5%) is water.[3] It is the fifth-smallest county by area in Mississippi.

The headwaters of the Wolf River meander and braid their way north and west across northern Benton County from Baker's Pond, the river's source spring (highest origin of continuous flow) in the Holly Springs National Forest approximately one mile southwest of where U.S. Highway 72 passes into Tippah County, Mississippi. The Wolf River passes into Fayette County, Tennessee between Michigan City (on the Mississippi side) and La Grange, Tennessee.

Major highways

Adjacent counties

National protected area

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
188011,023
189010,585−4.0%
190010,510−0.7%
191010,245−2.5%
19209,851−3.8%
19309,813−0.4%
194010,4296.3%
19508,793−15.7%
19607,723−12.2%
19707,505−2.8%
19808,1538.6%
19908,046−1.3%
20008,026−0.2%
20108,7298.8%
2018 (est.)8,271[4]−5.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
1790-1960[6] 1900-1990[7]
1990-2000[8] 2010-2013[1]

2020 census

Benton County Racial Composition[9]
Race Num. Perc.
White 4,565 59.7%
Black or African American 2,654 34.71%
Native American 6 0.08%
Asian 1 0.01%
Other/Mixed 275 3.6%
Hispanic or Latino 145 1.9%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 7,646 people, 3,149 households, and 2,082 families residing in the county.

2000 census

At the 2000 census,[10] there were 8,026 people, 2,999 households and 2,216 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 per square mile (8/km2). There were 3,456 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 57.12% White (non-Hispanic), 39.76% Black or African American, 0.59% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. 3.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,999 households, of which 33.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% were married couples living together, 14.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.10% were non-families. 23.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.12.

Age distribution was 26.90% under the age of 18, 10.00% from 18 to 24, 25.80% from 25 to 44, 22.00% from 45 to 64, and 15.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.80 males.

The median household income was $24,149, and the median family income was $29,907. Males had a median income of $26,291 versus $19,519 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,212. About 19.20% of families and 23.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.00% of those under age 18 and 24.80% of those age 65 or over.


Communities

Benton County MS sign 002.jpg

Towns

Census-designated place

Unincorporated places

Extinct town

Education

Benton County School District operates public schools.

From 1965 to the late 1980s, Benton County was also home to Gray's Academy, a private segregation school located in Ashland.

Notable people

Politics

United States presidential election results for Benton County, Mississippi[14]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 2,570 59.92% 1,679 39.15% 40 0.93%
2016 2,251 55.97% 1,719 42.74% 52 1.29%
2012 2,041 49.59% 2,051 49.83% 24 0.58%
2008 2,329 50.22% 2,227 48.02% 82 1.77%
2004 1,969 46.36% 2,245 52.86% 33 0.78%
2000 1,561 44.84% 1,886 54.18% 34 0.98%
1996 993 31.36% 1,944 61.40% 229 7.23%
1992 1,253 31.68% 2,402 60.73% 300 7.59%
1988 1,565 47.30% 1,718 51.92% 26 0.79%
1984 1,737 50.12% 1,715 49.48% 14 0.40%
1980 1,254 36.59% 2,094 61.10% 79 2.31%
1976 790 24.62% 2,375 74.01% 44 1.37%
1972 1,483 66.35% 701 31.36% 51 2.28%
1968 185 6.94% 850 31.89% 1,630 61.16%
1964 934 79.83% 236 20.17% 0 0.00%
1960 175 16.04% 568 52.06% 348 31.90%
1956 108 11.44% 786 83.26% 50 5.30%
1952 216 18.32% 963 81.68% 0 0.00%
1948 11 1.36% 118 14.57% 681 84.07%
1944 42 4.70% 852 95.30% 0 0.00%
1940 24 2.50% 935 97.50% 0 0.00%
1936 10 0.58% 1,717 99.42% 0 0.00%
1932 8 0.97% 814 98.91% 1 0.12%
1928 47 5.60% 793 94.40% 0 0.00%
1924 35 6.04% 541 93.44% 3 0.52%
1920 124 23.18% 405 75.70% 6 1.12%
1916 38 5.03% 718 94.97% 0 0.00%
1912 18 3.33% 489 90.39% 34 6.28%


In presidential elections, Benton County was historically a 'Solid South' county for most of the 20th century, voting Republican only in the Nixon and Reagan landslides of 1972 and 1984, as well as for Goldwater in 1964. It also voted for third-party candidates Strom Thurmond in 1948 and George Wallace in 1968, instead of for the regular Democratic tickets. In the 21st century, it has trended Republican. In 2008, it was one of forty-four counties to switch from John Kerry to John McCain.[15] It was the only one of these forty-four to flip back to Obama in 2012, in kind with a scattering of counties in or near the Black Belt, but Trump carried it in 2016 with 56%, the highest vote share the county had given any nominee since 1996. In 2020, Trump improved his vote share in the county by 3.9%, approaching 60% even as he lost nationally.


See also

Further reading

References

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  4. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  6. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  7. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  8. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  9. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  11. ^ Benton County profile, genealogytrails.com;accessed May 2, 2020.
  12. ^ "Georgia Pinkston, A Place to Remember". eastcarrollparishlouisianagenealogy.blogspot.com. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  13. ^ "FLOYD LEE 1933 - 2020 - Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  14. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  15. ^ "Them Changes: The Counties That Switched Parties in 2008". Daily Yonder. November 14, 2008. Retrieved January 29, 2021.

Coordinates: 34°49′N 89°11′W / 34.82°N 89.19°W / 34.82; -89.19