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Clay County, Florida facts for kids

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Clay County, Florida
Seal of Clay County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Clay County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the USA highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Founded December 31, 1858
Seat Green Cove Springs
Largest community Lakeside
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

644 sq mi (1,668 km²)
604 sq mi (1,564 km²)
39 sq mi (101 km²), 6.1%
 - (2015)
 - Density

331/sq mi (128/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Named for: Henry Clay
County flag Flag of Clay County, Florida

Clay County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 190,895. Its county seat is Green Cove Springs.

Clay County is included in the Jacksonville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Clay County was created on December 31, 1858, from a section of Duval County. Its name is in honor of Henry Clay, a famous American statesman, member of the United States Senate from Kentucky, and United States Secretary of State in the 19th century.

Clay County was once a popular destination for tourists visiting from the northern states. The therapeutic, warm springs and mild climate were major draws for visitors. Steamboats brought them to various hotels in Green Cove Springs - the St. Elmo, Clarendon and the Oakland. President Grover Cleveland was the most prominent of such tourists; he had spring water shipped to the White House. Clay County's popularity among tourists peaked during the last three decades of the 19th century. It was later eclipsed by Henry Flagler's extension of the Florida East Coast Railway to points south such as Palm Beach and Miami.

The military has also played an important role in Clay County history. In 1939, Camp Blanding opened on Kingsley Lake in southwest Clay County. The Florida National Guard developed this 28,000 acres (110 km2) complex. During World War II, it trained over 90,000 troops and became the fourth largest "city" in the state. In Green Cove Springs, Lee Field was a flight training center. After World War II, Lee Field became a base for the mothball fleet. Although Lee Field closed in the early 1960s, Camp Blanding continues to operate today as a base for military training. Clay County is also a popular choice of residence for military personnel stationed on bases in nearby Duval County (NAS Jacksonville, NS Mayport, and, before it closed, NAS Cecil Field).


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 644 square miles (1,670 km2), of which 604 square miles (1,560 km2) is land and 39 square miles (100 km2) (6.1%) is water.

Adjacent counties



  • Keystone Heights Airport

Major highways

  • US 17
  • US 301
  • SR 16
  • SR 21
  • SR 23
  • SR 100


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,914
1870 2,098 9.6%
1880 2,838 35.3%
1890 5,154 81.6%
1900 5,635 9.3%
1910 6,116 8.5%
1920 5,621 −8.1%
1930 6,859 22.0%
1940 6,468 −5.7%
1950 14,323 121.4%
1960 19,535 36.4%
1970 32,059 64.1%
1980 67,052 109.2%
1990 105,986 58.1%
2000 140,814 32.9%
2010 190,865 35.5%
Est. 2015 203,967 6.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

As of the census of 2010, there were 190,865 people, 65,356 households, and 39,390 families residing in the county. The majority of Clay County's population is located in the northeastern part where large suburban communities have been built. Orange Park, Middleburg, and the surrounding area respectively share the majority of the population. Green Cove Springs area has the lower population spread west and south, along with the small city of Keystone Heights, which lies at the southwestern end of the county. Although the population of Clay County is relatively high, the majority of the county is still rural and consists of many farms and county roads less maintained. The population density was 234 people per square mile (90/km²). There were 73,208 housing units at an average density of 89 per square mile (35/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 81.8% White, 9.9% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 2.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.1% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. 7.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino, with Puerto Ricans being the majority of the Hispanic population.

There were 50,243 households, out of which 39.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.80% were married couples living together, 10.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.60% were non-families. 16.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the county, the population was spread out with 28.00% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 30.30% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 9.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $48,854, and the median income for a family was $53,814. Males had a median income of $36,683 versus $25,488 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,868. About 5.10% of families and 6.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.90% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over.

According to the Florida Times-Union, in October 2004, there were 106,114 registered voters in Clay County.


  • Clay County Historical and Railroad Museum, Green Cove Springs.
  • Middleburg Historical Museum, Middleburg.
  • Black Heritage Museum, Middleburg.
  • Camp Blanding Museum, Camp Blanding.




Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

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