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Ashley County, Arkansas facts for kids

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Ashley County
Ashley County Courthouse in Hamburg
Ashley County Courthouse in Hamburg
Official seal of Ashley County
Seal
Map of Arkansas highlighting Ashley County
Location within the U.S. state of Arkansas
Map of the United States highlighting Arkansas
Arkansas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
Founded November 30, 1848
Named for Chester Ashley
Seat Hamburg
Largest city Crossett
Area
 • Total 939.08 sq mi (1,511.31 km2)
 • Land 921.15 sq mi (1,482.45 km2)
 • Water 17.93 sq mi (28.86 km2)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 21,853
 • Estimate 
(2019)
19,657
 • Density 23.2706/sq mi (14.4596/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 4th

Ashley County is a rural South Arkansas county with a culture, economy, and history based on timber and agriculture. Created as Arkansas's 52nd county on November 30, 1848, Ashley County has seven incorporated municipalities, including Hamburg, the county seat and Crossett, the most populous city. The county is also the site of numerous unincorporated communities and ghost towns. The county is named for Chester Ashley, a prominent lawyer in the Arkansas Territory and U.S. senator from the state from 1844 to 1848.

The county is roughly divided into two halves by Bayou Bartholomew, with the rich, fertile, alluvial soils of the Arkansas Delta in the east, and the shortleaf pine forests of the Arkansas Timberlands in the west. The county contains six protected areas: Overflow National Wildlife Refuge, Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, three Wildlife Management Areas and the Crossett Experimental Forest. Other historical features such as log cabins, one-room school houses, community centers, and museums describe the history and culture of Ashley County.

Ashley County occupies 939.08 square miles (243,220 ha) and contained a population of 21,853 people in 8,765 households as of the 2010 Census, ranking it 6th in size and 34th in population among the state's 75 counties. The economy is largely based on agriculture and small manufacturing. Poverty and unemployment rates are above national averages, but steady. Household incomes are below state and national averages. Politically, Ashley County has transitioned from reliably Democratic to steadily Republican since the mid-20th century.

Ashley County is mostly served by two school districts, Hamburg School District and Crossett School District. Higher education is provided at University of Arkansas at Monticello College of Technology—Crossett, a public two-year community college in Crossett. Ashley County Medical Center in Crossett is a community hospital providing primary care in the county. Although no Interstate highways serve Ashley County, the county has access to three United States highways (U.S. Route 82 [US 82], US 165, and US 425) and eleven Arkansas state highways. Ashley County is also served by one public owned/public use general aviation airport, Z. M. Jack Stell Field, one electric cooperative (Ashley-Chicot Electric Cooperative), and ten community water systems provide potable water to customers in the county. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county.

History

Ashley County, the fifth-largest county in Arkansas in terms of land area, was formed on November 30, 1848 from portions of Drew, Chicot and Union Counties. It was named after Chester Ashley, a US Senator and land speculator. The final borders were laid in 1861. The courtroom in the courthouse has a one-of-a-kind architecture: it is round, and the seats are arranged so that members of the audience can always see each other.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 941 square miles (2,440 km2), of which 925 square miles (2,400 km2) is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (1.6%) is water. The lowest point in the state of Arkansas is located on the Ouachita River in Ashley County and Union County, where it flows out of Arkansas and into Louisiana.

Major highways

  • US 82.svg US Route 82
  • US 165.svg US Route 165
  • US 425.svg US Route 425
  • Arkansas 8.svg Highway 8
  • Arkansas 52.svg Highway 52
  • Arkansas 133.svg Highway 133
  • Arkansas 144.svg Highway 144
  • Arkansas 160.svg Highway 160
  • Arkansas 169.svg Highway 169
  • Arkansas 173.svg Highway 173
  • Arkansas 189.svg Highway 189
  • Arkansas 209.svg Highway 209
  • Arkansas 890.svg Highway 890
  • Arkansas 902.svg Highway 902

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,058
1860 8,590 317.4%
1870 8,042 −6.4%
1880 10,156 26.3%
1890 13,295 30.9%
1900 19,734 48.4%
1910 25,268 28.0%
1920 23,410 −7.4%
1930 25,151 7.4%
1940 26,785 6.5%
1950 25,660 −4.2%
1960 24,220 −5.6%
1970 24,976 3.1%
1980 26,538 6.3%
1990 24,319 −8.4%
2000 24,209 −0.5%
2010 21,853 −9.7%
2019 (est.) 19,657 −10.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2016

2020 Census

Ashley County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 12,685 66.55%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 4,644 24.36%
Native American 25 0.13%
Asian 41 0.22%
Pacific Islander 6 0.03%
Other/Mixed 547 2.87%
Hispanic or Latino 1,114 5.84%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 19,062 people, 7,757 households, and 5,454 families residing in the county.

2010 Census


Circle frame-1.svg

Racial/Ethnic Makeup of Ashley County treating Hispanics as a Separate Category (2010)      White Non-Hispanic (68.2%)     Black Non-Hispanic (25.7%)     Native American Non-Hispanic (0.2%)     Asian Non-Hispanic (0.2%)     Pacific Islander Non-Hispanic (0.0%)     Other Non-Hispanic (0.0%)     Two or more races Non-Hispanic (0.8%)     Hispanic Any Race (4.9%)

As of the 2010 census, there were 21,853 people, 8,765 households, and 6,227 families residing in the county. The population density was 23 people per square mile (9/km2). There were 10,137 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 69.3% White, 25.8% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 3.2% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. 4.9% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,765 households, out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 21.4% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.3 years. For every 100 females there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.7 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $23,673, and the median income for a family was $34,934. Males had a median income of $43,594 versus $21,897 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,779. About 14.3% of families and 18.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Cities

Town

Census-designated places

Unincorporated community

  • Petersburg
  • Milo
  • Old Milo
  • Mist
  • Sulphur Springs
  • Meridian
  • Bovine
  • Pugh
  • Berlin
  • Gulledge
  • Snyder
  • Thebes
  • Sunshine

Townships

Ashley County Arkansas 2010 Township Map large
Townships in Ashley County, Arkansas as of 2010

Townships in Arkansas are the divisions of a county. Each township includes unincorporated areas; some may have incorporated cities or towns within part of their boundaries. Arkansas townships have limited purposes in modern times. However, the United States Census does list Arkansas population based on townships (sometimes referred to as "county subdivisions" or "minor civil divisions"). Townships are also of value for historical purposes in terms of genealogical research. Each town or city is within one or more townships in an Arkansas county based on census maps and publications. The townships of Ashley County are listed below; listed in parentheses are the cities, towns, and/or census-designated places that are fully or partially inside the township.

Source:

Infrastructure

Aviation

The county contains one public owned/public use airport: Z. M. Jack Stell Field, a small, rural airport east of Crossett with over 16,000 annual operations, almost entirely agricultural spraying operations. Ashley County also contains five private airfields in the eastern part of the county.

Major highways

Hamburg, AR 001
US 82/US 425/AR 8 overlap as Main Street in Hamburg

Ashley County is not served by any Interstate highways; the nearest access to the Interstate system is Interstate 20 (I-20) in Monroe, Louisiana. The county serves as a junction point for several US highways: US Highway 82 (US 82) crosses the county from west to east. This highway runs across South Arkansas, providing access to population centers including El Dorado, Magnolia, and Texarkana. The highway also has two special routes in Ashley County: a spur route to Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge and business route in Montrose. US 165 and US 425 cross the county from south to north, both run south into Louisiana, with the former running north through the Arkansas Delta to North Little Rock and the latter providing northbound connections to Monticello and Pine Bluff.

Eleven state highway designations serve the traveling public in the county, ranging from short connector routes to long highways traversing the entire county. Highway 8 east-west across the southern part of the state, entering Ashley County from Warren, passing through from northwest to southeast through Hamburg, and exiting Ashley County running east to Eudora. Highway 133 serves north–south traffic around Crossett. Highway 144, two segments of Highway 160, and three segments of Highway 52 provide east–west connectivity. Highway 169 and Highway 189 connect rural areas to Crossett and Hamburg, respectively. Highway 173 connects Overflow NWR to the state highway system. Highway 209 is a minor route in Parkdale.

Utilities

The Ashley-Chicot Electric Cooperative, based in Hamburg, is a non-profit electric utility cooperative serving the rural areas of Ashley County with electric service, as well as parts of adjacent counties. Entergy Arkansas provides electricity for the cities of Hamburg and Crossett and nearby populated outlying areas, and to the small communities along US 165.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is responsible for the regulation and oversight of public water systems throughout the state. Ten community water systems are based in Ashley County: the Crossett Water Commission, Fountain Hill Waterworks, Hamburg Waterworks, Montrose/Boydell Water System, North Crossett Utilities, Northeast Crossett Water Association, Parkdale Waterworks, Portland Waterworks, Wilmot Waterworks, and the West Ashley County Water Association. All use groundwater as the source. The Crossett Water Commission has the largest direct retail population served (8,038, all in Ashley County), followed by Hamburg (5,481), and North Crossett Utilities (2,924). The remaining water systems have under 1,000 retail population served.

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