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Cape Girardeau County, Missouri facts for kids

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Cape Girardeau County
Cape Girardeau County Courthouse in Jackson
Cape Girardeau County Courthouse in Jackson
Map of Missouri highlighting Cape Girardeau County
Location within the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Missouri
Founded October 1, 1812
Named for A rock promontory over the Mississippi River and Ensign Sieur Jean Baptiste de Girardot (also spelled Girardeau or Girardat)
Seat Jackson
Largest city Cape Girardeau
 • Total 586 sq mi (1,520 km2)
 • Land 579 sq mi (1,500 km2)
 • Water 7.8 sq mi (20 km2)
 • Total 81,710
 • Density 139.44/sq mi (53.84/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 8th

Cape Girardeau County is located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Missouri; its eastern border is formed by the Mississippi River. At the 2020 census, the population was 81,710. 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 Girardot, 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 hub of the Cape Girardeau–Jackson metropolitan 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%
2020 81,710 8.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

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), Cape Girardeau County is part of the Bible Belt, with evangelical Protestantism being the most predominant religion. The most predominant denominations among residents in Cape Girardeau County who adhere to a religion are Roman Catholics (19.19%), Assemblies of God (19.13%), and Lutherans (LCMS) (16.58%).




Unincorporated communities


Of adults 25 years of age and older in Cape Girardeau County, 81.1% possess a high school diploma or higher while 24.2% hold a bachelor's degree as their highest educational attainment.

Public schools

  • Delta R-V School District—Delta
    • Delta Elementary School (K–6)
    • Delta High School (7–12)
  • Oak Ridge R-VI School District—Oak Ridge
    • Oak Ridge Elementary School (K–6)
    • Oak Ridge High School (7–12)
  • Nell Holcomb R-IV School District—Egypt Mills
    • Nell Holcomb Elementary School (K–8)
  • Jackson R-II School District—Jackson
    • Gordonville Attendance Center (K–3)—Gordonville
    • Millersville Attendance Center (K–3)—Millersville
    • North Elementary School (K–5)
    • Orchard Drive Elementary School (K–3)
    • South Elementary School (PK–5)
    • West Lane Elementary School (3–5)
    • Jackson Middle School (6–7)
    • Russell Hawkins Jr. High School (8–9)
    • Jackson High School (10–12)
  • Cape Girardeau Public Schools No. 63—Cape Girardeau
    • Alma Schrader Elementary School (K–4)
    • Blanchard Elementary School (K–4)
    • Clippard Elementary School (K–4)
    • Franklin Elementary School (K–4)
    • Jefferson Elementary School (K–4)
    • Cape Central Middle School (5–6)
    • Cape Central Jr. High School (7–8)
    • Cape Central High School (9–12)
    • Cape Girardeau Career & Technology Center (10–12)

Private schools

  • Cape Christian School (K–8)—Cape Girardeau; Assembly of God/Pentecostal
  • St. Mary Cathedral School (K–8)—Cape Girardeau; Roman Catholic
  • St. Vincent De Paul Elementary School (K–8)—Cape Girardeau; Roman Catholic
  • Trinity Lutheran School (PK–8)—Cape Girardeau; Lutheran
  • Immaculate Conception School (PK–8)—Jackson; Roman Catholic
  • St. Paul Lutheran School (PK–8)—Jackson; Lutheran
  • Eagle Ridge Christian School (PK–12)—Cape Girardeau; Non-denominational Christian
  • Notre Dame Regional High School (9–12)—Cape Girardeau; Roman Catholic
  • Saxony Lutheran High School (9–12)—Jackson/Fruitland; Lutheran

Post-secondary education

  • Metro Business College—Cape Girardeau (Permanently Closed)
  • Southeast Missouri State University—Cape Girardeau

Public libraries

  • Cape Girardeau Public Library
  • Jackson Public Library
  • Riverside Regional Library

Notable people

  • Jacob M. Appel, novelist
  • William F. Barnes, former head football coach for UCLA
  • Leon Brinkopf, former professional baseball player
  • Joseph Cable, a Medal of Honor recipient during the American Indian Wars
  • Shirley Crites, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player
  • Dale Dye, Actor and retired U.S. Marine
  • A.J. Ellis, former Major League Baseball catcher
  • John Thomson Faris, clergyman
  • Gary Friedrich, writer of the comic book Ghost Rider
  • Linda M. Godwin, NASA astronaut and scientist
  • Chic Hecht, U.S. Senator from Nevada (1983-1989) and Ambassador to the Bahamas (1989-1993)
  • Edwin C. Horrell, American football player and coach
  • Andrew Conway Ivy, President of the American Physiological Society (1939–1941)
  • Terry Jones, fundamentalist pastor of Dove World Outreach Center
  • Peter Kinder, 46th Lieutenant Governor of Missouri (2005–2017)
  • Richard Kinder, businessman and co-founder and executive chairman of Kinder Morgan, Inc.
  • The Limbaugh family, including political commentators, brothers David and Rush Limbaugh
  • Mark Littell, Former professional baseball pitcher
  • Fred Henry McGuire, Medal of Honor recipient for his role in the Philippine–American War
  • Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver, "the Betsy Ross of Missouri," designer and creator of the Missouri State Flag
  • Stephanie O'Sullivan, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence
  • Susan Beth Scott, 2008 and 2012 U.S. Paralympic Medalist Swimmer
  • John Locke Scripps, journalist and biographer
  • Tony Spinner, guitarist and singer
  • Jess Stacy, jazz pianist
  • William S. Stone, former Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Billy Swan, singer of #1 hit song "I Can Help" in 1974
  • Terry Teachout, writer
  • Roy Thomas, comic book writer (Marvel and DC Comics) and editor (Marvel), screenwriter
  • Louis C. Wagner, Jr., United States Army four-star general
  • Robert Henry Whitelaw, U.S. Congressman from Missouri (1890-1891)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Cape Girardeau para niños

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