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Hancock County, Mississippi facts for kids

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Hancock County
Hancock County courthouse in Bay St. Louis
Hancock County courthouse in Bay St. Louis
Map of Mississippi highlighting Hancock 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 1812
Named for John Hancock
Seat Bay St. Louis
Largest city Bay St. Louis
 • Total 553 sq mi (1,430 km2)
 • Land 474 sq mi (1,230 km2)
 • Water 79 sq mi (200 km2)  14%
 • Total 43,929
 • Estimate 
 • Density 100/sq mi (40/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 4th

Hancock County is the southernmost county of the U.S. state of Mississippi and is named for Founding Father John Hancock. As of the 2010 census, the population was 43,929. Its county seat is Bay St. Louis.

Hancock County is part of the GulfportBiloxi, MS Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is situated along the Gulf of Mexico and the state line with Louisiana. The area is home to the John C. Stennis Space Center, NASA's largest rocket engine test facility.

The county was severely damaged from Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, which caused a huge storm surge and catastrophic damage.


In 2005, the county was the scene of the final landfall of the eye of Hurricane Katrina, and its communities and infrastructure suffered some of the most intense damage inflicted by that storm. Over the entire 7-mile (11 km) beach front, not one building or home was left intact. This is true for nearly the entire 1st block off of the beach for the entire 7-mile (11 km) stretch.

Homes as far inland as 10 miles (16 km) were flooded by the historic storm surge which occurred during a full moon high tide. All rivers and waterways were inundated by the surge. Highway 603 south from Interstate 10 was completely submerged, and the Highway 90 - Bay St. Louis Bridge was left looking like a stack of dominoes. Houses were floated off their foundations. In Waveland and Bay St. Louis some homes were left atop the railroad tracks and others in the middle of streets. Towns like Pearlington, Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead, and Kiln suffered catastrophic damage.

Recovery from Hurricane Katrina

A loosely knit group of hippies called the "Rainbow Family" arrived in Hancock County soon after Hurricane Katrina. From early September 2005 to early December 2005, they ran the "New Waveland Cafe and Clinic" [1] [2] located in the parking lot of Fred's Dept Store on Highway 90. The café provided free hot meals three times a day. The clinic was staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses from around the United States who saw over 5000 patients during the duration, free of charge and dispensing free medications. Donations of medications and supplies came from a multitude of sources, with International Aid [3] arranging the most donations. This was the first experience of the counter-culture Rainbow Family in running a disaster relief center. The Bastrop Christian Outreach Center also volunteered with the Rainbow Family.

Local churches were central points of recovery in Bay St. Louis, Waveland, and Diamondhead. Some churches provided shelter, meals, clothing, and various clean-up supplies. The churches also provided distribution points where supplies could be donated and easily passed on to those who needed help. Other disaster relief agencies that were active in Hancock County include Samaritan's Purse, Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief, Red Cross, Rotary International and Salvation Army.

Businesses became operational as quickly as possible. The Waveland Wal-Mart operated out of a tent for 3 months following the storm; Diamondhead Discount Drug was opened within 2 days following Katrina despite the owner's store and home damages. Other business like Dairy Queen and Subway donated their foodstuffs, before it could spoil, for feeding survivors.


Coastal counties of Mississippi.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 553 square miles (1,430 km2), of which 474 square miles (1,230 km2) is land and 79 square miles (200 km2) (14%) is water.

Major highways

  • I-10.svg Interstate 10
  • US 90.svg U.S. Highway 90
  • Circle sign 43.svg Mississippi Highway 43
  • Circle sign 53.svg Mississippi Highway 53

Adjacent counties and parishes


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,594
1830 1,962 23.1%
1840 3,367 71.6%
1850 3,672 9.1%
1860 3,139 −14.5%
1870 4,239 35.0%
1880 6,439 51.9%
1890 8,318 29.2%
1900 11,886 42.9%
1910 11,207 −5.7%
1920 10,380 −7.4%
1930 11,415 10.0%
1940 11,328 −0.8%
1950 11,891 5.0%
1960 14,039 18.1%
1970 17,387 23.8%
1980 24,537 41.1%
1990 31,760 29.4%
2000 42,967 35.3%
2010 43,929 2.2%
2019 (est.) 47,632 8.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013 2019

2020 census

Hancock County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 37,341 81.08%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 3,911 8.49%
Native American 244 0.53%
Asian 424 0.92%
Pacific Islander 9 0.02%
Other/Mixed 2,206 4.79%
Hispanic or Latino 1,918 4.16%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 46,053 people, 20,036 households, and 13,081 families residing in the county.



Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Hancock (Misisipi) para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Notable Hispanic writers
Marie Arana
Sandra Cisneros
Sergio Troncoso
Nina Serrano
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