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Fayette County, Tennessee facts for kids

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Fayette County
County Courthouse, Town of Somerville, seat of Fayette County
County Courthouse, Town of Somerville, seat of Fayette County
Official seal of Fayette County
Map of Tennessee highlighting Fayette County
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Tennessee
Founded September 29, 1824
Named for Marquis de Lafayette
Seat Somerville
Largest town Oakland
 • Total 706 sq mi (1,830 km2)
 • Land 705 sq mi (1,830 km2)
 • Water 1.5 sq mi (4 km2)  0.2%%
 • Total 41,990 Increase
 • Density 56.8/sq mi (21.9/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 8th

Fayette County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2020 census, the population was 41,990. Its county seat is Somerville. The county was named after the Marquis de la Fayette, French hero of the American Revolution. A part of the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area, Fayette County is culturally alike to the Mississippi Delta and was a major area of cotton plantations dependent on slave labor in the nineteenth century.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 706 square miles (1,830 km2), of which 705 square miles (1,830 km2) is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) (0.2%) is water. It is the third-largest county in Tennessee by area.

Adjacent counties

State protected areas

  • William B. Clark Conservation Area
  • Ghost River State Natural Area
  • Piperton Wetland Complex Wildlife Management Area (part)
  • Wolf River Wildlife Management Area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 8,652
1840 21,501 148.5%
1850 26,719 24.3%
1860 24,327 −9.0%
1870 26,145 7.5%
1880 31,871 21.9%
1890 28,878 −9.4%
1900 29,701 2.8%
1910 30,257 1.9%
1920 31,499 4.1%
1930 28,891 −8.3%
1940 30,322 5.0%
1950 27,535 −9.2%
1960 24,577 −10.7%
1970 22,692 −7.7%
1980 25,305 11.5%
1990 25,559 1.0%
2000 28,806 12.7%
2010 38,413 33.4%
2020 41,990 9.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2014 2017
USA Fayette County, Tennessee.csv age pyramid
Age pyramid Fayette County

Since the four-lane expansion of Highway 64 in the early 1990s, western Fayette County has had a population explosion. Although the county seat is still in Somerville, the population of Oakland has far surpassed it because of the influx of people working in Shelby County and seeking more affordable housing.

Although Fayette County is growing on its western side, the county's economy is still based on agriculture. Historically it was a site of cotton plantations as part of the Mississippi Delta. Several of the county's largest farmers control the vast majority of the county's wealth. Some of these families have been farming for generations dating back to plantations before the Civil War. Others are younger farmers who have used their skill, business savvy, and work ethic to develop large farming operations.

Fayette County has become a destination for people of the Memphis metro area. This group is known by Fayette County natives as "Shelby County Spillover" or "White Flight Memphonites". The total value for building permits in June 2007 was close to that of the much larger Memphis suburban area of DeSoto County, Mississippi.

2020 census

Fayette County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 27,558 65.63%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 11,038 26.29%
Native American 59 0.14%
Asian 269 0.64%
Pacific Islander 18 0.04%
Other/Mixed 1,618 3.85%
Hispanic or Latino 1,430 3.41%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 41,990 people, 15,596 households, and 11,567 families residing in the county.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010 there were 38,413 people, 14,505 households, and 11,029 families residing in the county. The population density was 54.49 persons per square mile and the housing unit density was 20.57 units per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 69.19% White, 28.07% Black or African American, 0.48% Asian, 0.28% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.08% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origins were 2.23% of the population.

Of the 14,505 households, 32.58% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 58.24% were married couples living together, 4.64% had a male householder with no wife present, 13.15% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.96% were non-families. 20.77% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.71% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.02

Of the 38,413 residents, 23.11% were under the age of 18, 62.01% were between the ages of 18 and 64, and 14.88% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.9 years. 50.42% of the residents were female, and 49.58% were male.

The median household income in the county was $57,919 and the median family income was $68,159. Males had a median income of $50,560 versus $40,412 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,471. About 9.9% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.1% of those under the age of 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 and over.




Unincorporated communities


  • Fayette Ware Comprehensive High
  • Rossville Christian Academy
  • West Jr High
  • East Jr High
  • Buckley-Carpenter Elementary School
  • Southwest Elementary
  • Oakland Elementary
  • LaGrange-Moscow Elementary
  • University of Tennessee at Martin (Somerville Campus)

Fayette County has the 3rd largest school district in the state of Tennessee.

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