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Cape Girardeau County, Missouri facts for kids

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Cape Girardeau County, Missouri
Map of Missouri highlighting Cape Girardeau County
Location in the state of Missouri
Map of the USA highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Founded October 1, 1812
Seat Jackson
Largest City Cape Girardeau
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

586 sq mi (1,518 km²)
579 sq mi (1,500 km²)
7.8 sq mi (20 km²), 1.3
 - (2015)
 - Density

131/sq mi (51/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Named for: Ensign Sieur Jean Baptiste de Girardot (also spelled Girardeau or Girardat) and a rock

Cape Girardeau County is a county located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Missouri; its eastern border is formed by the Mississippi River. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 75,674. The county seat is Jackson, the first city in the US to be named in honor of President Andrew Jackson. Officially organized on October 1, 1812, the county is named after Ensign Sieur Jean Baptiste de Giradot, an official of the French colonial years. The "cape" in the county's name is named after a former promontory rock overlooking the Mississippi River; this feature was demolished during railroad construction.

Cape Girardeau County is the central hub of the Cape Girardeau–Jackson, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its largest city is Cape Girardeau.


Cape Girardeau County was organized on October 1, 1812, as one of five original counties in the Missouri Territory after the US made the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. It is named after Ensign Sieur Jean Baptiste de Girardot (also spelled Girardeau or Girardat), a French officer stationed 1704–1720 at Kaskaskia in what the French called the Illinois Country. In 1733 he founded a trading post on the Mississippi River, which developed as the present-day city of Cape Girardeau. The "cape" in the county name was a rock promontory overlooking the Mississippi River and Claire's house; the original cape rock was destroyed by railroad construction.

Jackson, Missouri is the county seat. The first Cape Girardeau County Courthouse was constructed in 1818 by John Davis. This courthouse burned in 1870. The present courthouse in Jackson was completed in 1908 and was designed by P.H. Weathers.

Cape Girardeau is referenced in Dave Van Ronk's song "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me," which has found a place in the folk canon since its release in 1962. The song was featured prominently in the 2013 film Inside Llewyn Davis. In the second verse, the singer refers to having "been all around Cape Girardeau and parts of Arkansas...poor boy, I've been all around this world."


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 586 square miles (1,520 km2), of which 579 square miles (1,500 km2) is land and 7.8 square miles (20 km2) (1.3%) is water.

The geography of Cape Girardeau County varies greatly. The areas around the towns of Delta and Dutchtown are flood plains, which were cultivated as cotton plantations. Western and northern areas are hilly and forested.

Adjacent counties

Major highways


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 5,968
1830 7,445 24.7%
1840 9,359 25.7%
1850 13,912 48.6%
1860 15,547 11.8%
1870 17,558 12.9%
1880 20,998 19.6%
1890 22,060 5.1%
1900 24,315 10.2%
1910 27,621 13.6%
1920 29,839 8.0%
1930 33,203 11.3%
1940 37,775 13.8%
1950 38,397 1.6%
1960 42,020 9.4%
1970 49,350 17.4%
1980 58,837 19.2%
1990 61,633 4.8%
2000 68,693 11.5%
2010 75,674 10.2%
Est. 2015 78,572 3.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

As of the census of 2000, there were 68,693 people, 26,980 households, and 17,941 families residing in the county. The population density was 119 people per square mile (46/km²). There were 29,434 housing units at an average density of 51 per square mile (20/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.13% White, 5.28% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.75% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. Approximately 0.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 26,980 households out of which 31.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.80% were married couples living together, 9.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.50% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.40% under the age of 18, 13.40% from 18 to 24, 27.80% from 25 to 44, 21.60% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 93.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,862, and the median income for a family was $58,037. Males had a median income of $32,371 versus $20,833 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,303. About 6.70% of families and 11.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.40% of those under age 18 and 10.10% of those age 65 or over.


According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2010), most residents (76.88%) in Cape Girardeau County adhere to a religion, while 23.12% do not.

Among those who do adhere to a religion, Cape Girardeau County residents' religious affiliations are:

The main religious denominations among all adherents in Cape Girardeau County are:




Unincorporated communities

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