|Founded||January 20, 1827|
|Named for||Thomas Jefferson|
|• Total||637 sq mi (1,650 km2)|
|• Land||598 sq mi (1,550 km2)|
|• Water||38 sq mi (100 km2) 6.0%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||23.7/sq mi (9.2/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Congressional districts||2nd, 5th|
Jefferson County is a county located in the Big Bend region in the northern part of the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,761. Its county seat is Monticello.
Jefferson County is part of the Tallahassee, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area but is the 3rd most rural county in Florida. There are no traffic signals within the entire county.
Jefferson County was created in 1827. It was named for Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, who had died the year before the county's establishment.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 637 square miles (1,650 km2), of which 598 square miles (1,550 km2) is land and 38 square miles (98 km2) (6.0%) is water.
Jefferson County is the only county in Florida which borders both the state of Georgia and the Gulf of Mexico.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Race||Pop 2010||Pop 2020||% 2010||% 2020|
|Black or African American (NH)||5,293||4,600||35.86%||31.7%|
|Native American or Alaska Native (NH)||33||36||0.22%||0.25%|
|Pacific Islander (NH)||4||3||0.03%||0.02%|
|Some Other Race (NH)||9||54||0.06%||0.37%|
|Hispanic or Latino||546||658||3.7%||4.53%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 14,510 people, 5,770 households, and 3,761 families residing in the county.
As of the census of 2010, there were 14,761 people, 5,646 households, and 3,798 families residing in the county. The population density was 25 people per square mile (8/km2). There were 5,251 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 60.4% White, 36.2% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.50% from other races, and 1.30% from two or more races. 3.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 5,646 households, out of which 26.9% had individuals under the age of 18 living with them, 47.30% were married couples living together, 15.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.70% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 18.6% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 32.30% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 109.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 110.00 males age 18 and over.
The following income information is from the 2000 census. The median income for a household in the county was $32,998, and the median income for a family was $40,407. Males had a median income of $26,271 versus $25,748 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,006. About 13.30% of families and 17.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.70% of those under age 18 and 17.00% of those age 65 or over.
Jefferson County was one of only a handful of counties in the Florida Panhandle that usually favored the Democratic Party; in recent elections it is trending toward the Republicans. In 2008, Barack Obama won it by a smaller margin than John Kerry had in the 2004 presidential race, one of the few non-Ozark, non-Appalachian, or non-Arizona counties to do so.
In 2016 it flipped and Donald Trump won the county. In 2018, it voted for both the winning Republican candidates in the governor's race (Ron DeSantis) and the Senate race (Rick Scott).
On April 23, 2009, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) took over financial oversight of the district to rescue it from a declared financial emergency due to budget deficits. In June 2011, the district exited financial emergency one year sooner than expected due to efforts from District faculty and staff; subsequently, it operated for two years with a fund balance well over the mandated 3%.
The state DOE again took financial control in 2017 due to missing money, low school grades and questionable staffing decisions. Control was delegated to Somerset Academy Inc. which operates a Charter school in Monticello. Jefferson County is the only Florida school district to ever be controlled by a charter school. The FDOE returned control to the local school board on February 9, 2022 but the district must submit a monthly budget report to the state for one year and maintain a minimum 5% unassigned fund balance.
Career Academies have been introduced on the campus of Jefferson County Middle High School offering students options in career areas connected to the local economy.
The Jefferson County Tigers won the state championship in football in 2011.
Jefferson County's library is the R.J. Bailar Public Library, which works with the Wilderness Coast Public Libraries.
The sole existing railroad line is a CSX line once owned by the Seaboard Air Line Railroad that was used by Amtrak's Sunset Limited until 2005, when the service was truncated to New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. No Amtrak trains stopped anywhere in Jefferson County.