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Hot Spring County, Arkansas facts for kids

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Not to be confused with Hot Springs, Arkansas.
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Hot Spring County
County of Hot Spring
Hot Spring County Courthouse in Malvern
Hot Spring County Courthouse in Malvern
Map of Arkansas highlighting Hot Spring County
Location within the U.S. state of Arkansas
Map of the United States highlighting Arkansas
Arkansas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
Founded November 2, 1829
Named for hot springs at Hot Springs, Arkansas
Seat Malvern
Largest city Malvern
 • Total 622.16 sq mi (1,611.4 km2)
 • Land 614.94 sq mi (1,592.7 km2)
 • Water 7.22 sq mi (18.7 km2)  1.16%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 54/sq mi (21/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
71901, 71913, 71921, 71923, 71929, 71933, 71941, 71943, 71964, 72084, 72104, 72167
Congressional district 4th

Hot Spring County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 32,923. The county seat is Malvern. Hot Spring County was formed on November 2, 1829, from a portion of Clark County. It was named for the hot springs at Hot Springs, Arkansas, which were within its boundaries until Garland County was formed in 1874. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county.

Hot Spring County comprises the Malvern, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Hot Springs-Malvern, AR Combined Statistical Area.


See also: Geography of Arkansas and Ouachita Mountains

Hot Spring County is located in Southwest Arkansas, a region composed of the Ouachita Mountains, deep valleys, and the Arkansas Timberlands. Hot Spring County is mostly within the mountainous segment of the region, mostly covered in hardwood and pine forests. One of the six primary geographic regions of Arkansas, the Ouachitas are a mountainous subdivision of the U.S. Interior Highlands. The Ouachita River roughly divides the county. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 622.16 square miles (1,611.4 km2), of which 614.94 square miles (1,592.7 km2) is land and 7.22 square miles (18.7 km2) (1.16%) is water.

The county is located approximately 47 miles (76 km) southwest of Little Rock, 170 miles (270 km) northeast of Shreveport, Louisiana, and 277 miles (446 km) northeast of Dallas, Texas. Hot Spring County is surrounded by six counties, including the Ouachitas, Central Arkansas, and Lower Arkansas Delta, due to its short and wide shape. The county neighbors Garland County to the north, Saline County in the northeast corner, Grant County to the east, Dallas County to the southeast, Clark County to the south, and a small portion with Montgomery County in the northwest.

Protected areas

Hot Spring County contains two state parks, DeGray Lake Resort State Park and Lake Catherine State Park, and one Wildlife Management Area (WMA), DeGray Lake WMA, maintained by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The county also contains 320 acres (130 ha) of Ouachita National Forest managed by the National Forest Service.

DeGray Lake, Arkansas
DeGray Lake

DeGray Lake Resort State Park is a 984-acre (398 ha) in southwest Hot Spring County, and Arkansas's only resort state park. The 94-room DeGray Lodge and Convention Center includes a restaurant and 18-hole championship rated golf course. Traditional state park amentities for camping, hiking, fishing, boating, picnic tables, and horseback riding are also offered. The park is owned and operated by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (ADPT). DeGray Lake WMA essentially bounds the portions of lake shoreline not bounded by the state park. The land is owned by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and extends into Clark County.

Near Malvern, Lake Catherine State Park is a small state park on the west side of Lake Catherine. The park offers twenty cabins, including five Civilian Conservation Corps cabins of natural wood and stone built in the 1930s, and 70 campsites. In summer, the parks offers a marina, boat rental, visitor center, guided tours, nature center and horseback trail rides.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 458
1840 1,907 316.4%
1850 3,609 89.3%
1860 5,635 56.1%
1870 5,877 4.3%
1880 7,775 32.3%
1890 11,603 49.2%
1900 12,748 9.9%
1910 15,022 17.8%
1920 17,784 18.4%
1930 18,105 1.8%
1940 18,916 4.5%
1950 22,181 17.3%
1960 21,893 −1.3%
1970 21,963 0.3%
1980 26,819 22.1%
1990 26,115 −2.6%
2000 30,353 16.2%
2010 32,923 8.5%
Est. 2015 33,426 1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015
USA Hot Spring County, Arkansas age pyramid
Age pyramid Hot Spring County

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 30,353 people, 12,004 households, and 8,834 families residing in the county. The population density was 49 people per square mile (19/km²). There were 13,384 housing units at an average density of 22 per square mile (8/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 87.33% White, 10.26% Black or African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.44% from other races, and 1.26% from two or more races. 1.27% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,004 households out of which 31.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.20% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.40% were non-families. 23.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.10% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 26.50% from 25 to 44, 24.50% from 45 to 64, and 15.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,543, and the median income for a family was $37,077. Males had a median income of $27,800 versus $19,461 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,216. About 10.30% of families and 14.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.00% of those under age 18 and 14.20% of those age 65 or over.

Human resources


See also: Education in Arkansas

Educational attainment in Hot Spring County is typical for a rural Arkansas county, with an 2011-2015 American Community Survey study finding 84.8% of Hot Spring County residents over age 25 held a high school degree. This ratio is in line with the state average of 84.8% and slightly below the national average of 86.7%. The county's percentage of residents holding a bachelor's degree or higher is 13.0%, significantly below state and national averages of 21.1% and 29.8%, respectively.

Primary and secondary education

Map of Hot Spring County School Districts
Public school district boundaries in Hot Spring County as of July 2016

Four public school districts are based in Hot Spring County: Malvern School District is the largest school district in Hot Spring County, with the Bismarck School District serving the western portion of the county, Ouachita School District serving a small area around Donaldson, and Magnet Cove School District around Magnet Cove. Successful completion of the curriculum of these schools leads to graduation from Malvern High School, Bismarck High School, Ouachita High School, and Magnet Cove High School respectively. All four high schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses and are accredited by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE).

Residents outside the three Hot Spring County-based districts are within either the Centerpoint School District, Glen Rose School District, or Poyen School District.

Higher education

Hot Spring County contains one institution of higher education, College of the Ouachitas, a public community college in Malvern. Other higher education institutions in the region include National Park College, a public two-year college in Hot Springs, and two four-year liberal arts universities in Arkadelphia, Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University.

Library system

The Malvern-Hot Spring County Library at 202 East Third Street in downtown Malvern was founded in 1928 and became a member library of the Mid-Arkansas Regional Library System in 1974. The facility offers books, e-books, media, reference, youth, business and genealogy services.

Public safety

The Hot Spring County Sheriff's Office is the primary law enforcement agency in the county. The agency is led by the Hot Spring County Sheriff, an official elected by countywide vote every four years.

The county is under the jurisdiction of the Hot Spring County District Court, a state district court. State district courts in Arkansas are courts of original jurisdiction for criminal, civil (up to $25,000), small claims, and traffic matters. State district courts are presided over by a full-time District Judge elected to a four-year term by a districtwide election. Hot Spring County District Court is located at 410 Locust Street in Malvern.

Superseding district court jurisdiction is the 7th Judicial Circuit Court, which covers Hot Spring and Grant counties. The 7th Circuit contains two circuit judges, elected to six-year terms circuitwide. Circuit courts have the right to refer some matters to state district court at their discretion.




Census-designated place

Other unincorporated communities


Hot Spring County Arkansas 2010 Township Map large
Townships in Hot Spring County, Arkansas as of 2010

Townships in Arkansas are the divisions of a county. Each township includes unincorporated areas; some may have incorporated cities or towns within part of their boundaries. Arkansas townships have limited purposes in modern times. However, the United States Census does list Arkansas population based on townships (sometimes referred to as "county subdivisions" or "minor civil divisions"). Townships are also of value for historical purposes in terms of genealogical research. Each town or city is within one or more townships in an Arkansas county based on census maps and publications. The townships of Hot Spring County are listed below; listed in parentheses are the cities, towns, and/or census-designated places that are fully or partially inside the township.

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