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Howard County, Missouri facts for kids

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Howard County
The Howard County Courthouse in Fayette
The Howard County Courthouse in Fayette
Map of Missouri highlighting Howard 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 January 23, 1816
Named for Benjamin Howard
Seat Fayette
Largest city Fayette
 • Total 472 sq mi (1,220 km2)
 • Land 464 sq mi (1,200 km2)
 • Water 7.7 sq mi (20 km2)  1.6%
 • Total 10,151
 • Estimate 
 • Density 21.506/sq mi (8.304/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 4th

Howard County is located in the U.S. state of Missouri, with its southern border formed by the Missouri River. As of the 2020 census, the population was 10,151. Its county seat is Fayette. The county was organized January 23, 1816, and named for Benjamin Howard, the first Governor of the Missouri Territory. Settled originally by migrants from the Upper South, it is part of the region historically known as Little Dixie. It is part of the Columbia, Missouri, metropolitan area.


Located on the north bank of the Missouri River, Howard County was settled primarily from the Upper Southern states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. They brought slaves and slaveholding traditions with them, and cultivated hemp and tobacco. Howard was one of several counties settled mainly by Southerners along the Missouri River in the center of the state. Because of this, this area became known as Little Dixie, and Howard County was at its heart. Following the 1848 revolutions in the German nations, many German immigrants also came to this region.

Because of the reliance on slave labor, by 1860 African American slaves composed at least 25 percent of the county's population. Many Howard County residents supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. After the end of Reconstruction, Jim Crow laws and segregation were enforced in the county.

The county continued to be developed for agriculture and is still largely rural. However, Howard has lost population since reaching its peak in 1900. The mechanization of farming reduced the demand for labor, and many left for jobs in the cities. In 2000 African-Americans in the county had declined to less than 7 percent of the total. Nearly one-third of the residents now identify themselves as of German ancestry.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 472 square miles (1,220 km2), of which 464 square miles (1,200 km2) is land and 7.7 square miles (20 km2) (1.6%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 13,426
1830 10,854 −19.2%
1840 13,108 20.8%
1850 13,969 6.6%
1860 15,946 14.2%
1870 17,233 8.1%
1880 18,428 6.9%
1890 17,371 −5.7%
1900 18,337 5.6%
1910 15,653 −14.6%
1920 13,997 −10.6%
1930 13,490 −3.6%
1940 13,026 −3.4%
1950 11,857 −9.0%
1960 10,859 −8.4%
1970 10,561 −2.7%
1980 10,008 −5.2%
1990 9,631 −3.8%
2000 10,212 6.0%
2010 10,144 −0.7%
2020 10,151 0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

As of the census of 2000, there were 10,212 people, 3,836 households, and 2,631 families residing in the county. The population density was 22 people per square mile (8/km2). There were 4,346 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 91.13% White, 6.84% Black or African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Approximately 0.86% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 32.4% were of German, 16.1% American, 8.9% English and 8.3% Irish ancestry.

There were 3,836 households, out of which 31.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.30% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.40% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 24.00% under the age of 18, 13.30% from 18 to 24, 25.20% from 25 to 44, 21.30% from 45 to 64, and 16.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,614, and the median income for a family was $40,167. Males had a median income of $26,369 versus $19,950 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,198. About 7.50% of families and 11.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.70% of those under age 18 and 14.40% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns


Public schools

  • Fayette R-III School District – Fayette
    • Laurence J. Daly Elementary School (PK-05)
    • William N. Clark Middle School (06-08)
    • Fayette High School (09-12)
  • Glasgow School District – Glasgow
    • Howard County Elementary School (PK-06)
    • Glasgow High School (07-12)
  • New Franklin R-I School District – New Franklin
    • New Franklin Elementary School (PK-05)
    • New Franklin Middle/High School (06-12)

Private schools


  • Central Methodist University – Fayette – A private, four-year Methodist university.

Public libraries

  • Howard County Library
  • Lewis Library of Glasgow

Notable people

Black History Month on Kiddle
African-American Ballerinas:
Precious Adams
Lauren Anderson (dancer)
Janet Collins
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