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Bolivar County, Mississippi facts for kids

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Bolivar County
Grover Hotel in Downtown Cleveland Historic District.
Map of Mississippi highlighting Bolivar County
Location within the U.S. state of Mississippi
Map of the United States highlighting Mississippi
Mississippi's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Mississippi
Founded 1836
Named for Simón Bolívar
Seat Rosedale and Cleveland
Largest city Cleveland
 • Total 906 sq mi (2,350 km2)
 • Land 877 sq mi (2,270 km2)
 • Water 29 sq mi (80 km2)  3.2%
 • Total 34,145
 • Estimate 
 • Density 37.688/sq mi (14.551/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Bolivar County ( BOL-i-vər) is a county located on the western border of the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 34,145. Its county seats are Rosedale and Cleveland. The county is named in honor of Simón Bolívar, early 19th-century leader of the liberation of several South American colonies from Spain.

The Cleveland, Mississippi, Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Bolivar County. It is located in the Mississippi Delta, or Yazoo Basin, of Mississippi. This area was first developed for cotton plantations. Large industrial-scale agricultural operations have reduced the number of farm workers needed, and the population is half of its peak in 1930. Today, soybeans, corn, and rice are also commodity crops.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 906 square miles (2,350 km2), of which 877 square miles (2,270 km2) is land and 29 square miles (75 km2) (3.2%) is water. It is the second-largest county in Mississippi by land area and fourth-largest by total area.

Major highways

  • I-69.svg Future Interstate 69
  • US 61.svg U.S. Route 61
  • Circle sign 1.svg Mississippi Highway 1
  • Circle sign 8.svg Mississippi Highway 8
  • Circle sign 32.svg Mississippi Highway 32

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,356
1850 2,577 90.0%
1860 10,471 306.3%
1870 9,732 −7.1%
1880 18,652 91.7%
1890 29,980 60.7%
1900 35,427 18.2%
1910 48,905 38.0%
1920 57,669 17.9%
1930 71,051 23.2%
1940 67,564 −4.9%
1950 63,004 −6.7%
1960 54,464 −13.6%
1970 49,409 −9.3%
1980 45,965 −7.0%
1990 41,875 −8.9%
2000 40,633 −3.0%
2010 34,145 −16.0%
2018 (est.) 31,333 −8.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Bolivar County Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 9,946 32.1%
Black or African American 19,257 62.15%
Native American 22 0.07%
Asian 262 0.85%
Other/Mixed 704 2.27%
Hispanic or Latino 794 2.56%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 30,985 people, 12,111 households, and 7,719 families residing in the county.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 34,145 people living in the county. 64.5% were Black or African American, 33.5% White, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Native American, 0.9% of some other race and 0.6% of two or more races. 1.9% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

Life expectancy

According to the most recent data on U.S. life expectancy, published in 2010 by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a male in Bolivar County could expect to live 65.0 years, the second shortest for any county in the United States, following McDowell County, West Virginia. The national average is 76.1 years for a male.

Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Joseph S. Clark, Jr. had visited "pockets of poverty" in the Mississippi Delta 40 years earlier. In Cleveland, they observed barefoot, underfed African-American children in tattered clothing, with vacant expressions and distended bellies. Kennedy stated that he thought he had seen the worst poverty in the nation in West Virginia, but it paled in comparison to the poverty he observed in Cleveland.




Unincorporated places

Ghost towns


Colleges and universities

  • Delta State University (Cleveland)

The county is within the boundaries of two community college districts: Coahoma Community College and Mississippi Delta Community College. CCC's main campus is in rural Coahoma County outside of Clarksdale, and MDCC's campus is in Moorhead in Sunflower County.


As recently as the 1960s the school board of Bolivar County censored what black children were allowed to learn, and mandated that "Neither foreign languages nor civics shall be taught in Negro schools. Nor shall American history from 1860 to 1875 be taught.”

Public School Districts

School districts:

  • Cleveland School District (Cleveland)
  • North Bolivar Consolidated School District (Mound Bayou; previously in Shelby)
  • West Bolivar Consolidated School District (Rosedale, Shaw, and Benoit)

Former school districts:

  • Benoit School District (Benoit)
  • Mound Bayou School District (Mound Bayou)
  • Shaw School District (Shaw)

The five school districts, other than the Cleveland School District, are among the 20 smallest of the 152 school districts in the State of Mississippi. In the State of Mississippi, Bolivar County was the only county that had six school districts. Consolidation was urged to save money and facilitate cooperation. In 2012 the Mississippi Senate Education Committee passed a bill asking the State of Mississippi to consolidate the six school districts in Bolivar County to three or two. The Mississippi Senate passed the bill 37–11.

Private School

  • Bayou Academy (Cleveland)

Notable people

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Bolivar para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Famous Hispanic actresses
Zoe Saldaña
Rosa Salazar
Sofía Vergara
Rita Hayworth
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