kids encyclopedia robot

Jackson County, Illinois facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Jackson County
Jackson County Courthouse in Murphysboro
Map of Illinois highlighting Jackson County
Location within the U.S. state of Illinois
Map of the United States highlighting Illinois
Illinois's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 610: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
Country  United States
State  Illinois
Founded 10 January 1816
Named for Andrew Jackson
Seat Murphysboro
Largest city Carbondale
 • Total 602 sq mi (1,560 km2)
 • Land 584 sq mi (1,510 km2)
 • Water 18 sq mi (50 km2)  3.0%
 • Total 52,974
 • Density 88.00/sq mi (33.976/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 12th

Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois with a population of 52,974 at the 2020 census. Its county seat is Murphysboro, and its most populous city is Carbondale, home to the main campus of Southern Illinois University. The county was incorporated on January 10, 1816 and named for Andrew Jackson. The community of Brownsville served as the fledgling county's first seat.

Jackson County is included in the Carbondale-Marion, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located in the southern portion of Illinois known locally as "Little Egypt".


Human occupation of Jackson County began about 11,500 years ago. Extensive documentation of the area's indigenous peoples has been conducted and is ongoing. Exploration from the European explorers began with the Joliet-Marquette exploration along the Mississippi River. It was not until the 18th and 19th century when pioneer farmers began to settle in the area's inexpensive land along the Mississippi River and in the forested Shawnee hills with its one-hundred-foot trees.

As early as 1813, Conrad Will, namesake of Will County, conducted a large salt extraction operation using slave labor on the banks of the Big Muddy River, south of today's Murphysboro. As this was in the "free" Northwest Territory, Will had to have a legal exemption to own slaves.

Jackson County was organized in 1816, having been carved out of Randolph County. It was named for Andrew Jackson, who had just defeated the British Army at the Battle of New Orleans.

Shortly after the American Civil War, General John A. Logan led a parade of veterans from Murphysboro to Carbondale, Illinois. General Logan, himself a Union veteran, invited the Confederate veterans, of which there were many in somewhat divided Jackson County, to march with him. What might have been another celebration of the Union victory became a memorial to the war dead on both sides. This is one possibility of the origin of the Memorial Day holiday.

In 1925 the great Tri-State Tornado ripped through Jackson County on March 18, leaving devastation in its path. The villages of Gorham and DeSoto and the city of Murphysboro were hit especially hard.

The county courthouse is in downtown Murphysboro. The current reinforced concrete courthouse replaced earlier wooden structures and was built during 1927-28. The original county seat was Brownsville along the Big Muddy River, but after the courthouse was destroyed by fire, the county government was moved upstream a few miles to Murphysboro. Few traces now remain of the old town of Brownsville. On February 27, 1843, the Illinois General Assembly created a commission to designate a new county seat for Jackson County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 602 square miles (1,560 km2), of which 584 square miles (1,510 km2) is land and 18 square miles (47 km2) (3.0%) is water. The average elevation is around 400 feet (120 m), except near the Mississippi River.

The first coal mine in Illinois was opened on the south bank of the Big Muddy River near the present-day Route 127 Bridge.

Climate and weather

Weather chart for Murphysboro, Illinois
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: The Weather Channel

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Murphysboro have ranged from a low of 21 °F (−6 °C) in January to a high of 88 °F (31 °C) in July, although a record low of −25 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1977 and a record high of 113 °F (45 °C) was recorded in August 1930. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.91 inches (74 mm) in January to 4.78 inches (121 mm) in May.

Major highways

  • US 51.svg U.S. Highway 51
  • Illinois 3.svg Illinois Route 3
  • Illinois 4.svg Illinois Route 4
  • Illinois 13.svg Illinois Route 13
  • Illinois 127.svg Illinois Route 127
  • Illinois 149.svg Illinois Route 149
  • Illinois 151.svg Illinois Route 151

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,542
1830 1,828 18.5%
1840 3,566 95.1%
1850 5,862 64.4%
1860 9,589 63.6%
1870 19,634 104.8%
1880 22,505 14.6%
1890 27,809 23.6%
1900 33,871 21.8%
1910 35,143 3.8%
1920 37,091 5.5%
1930 35,680 −3.8%
1940 37,920 6.3%
1950 38,124 0.5%
1960 42,151 10.6%
1970 55,008 30.5%
1980 61,522 11.8%
1990 61,067 −0.7%
2000 59,612 −2.4%
2010 60,218 1.0%
2020 52,974 −12.0%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013
USA Jackson County, Illinois age pyramid
2000 census age pyramid for Jackson County, skewed by Southern Illinois University

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 60,218 people, 25,538 households, and 12,621 families residing in the county. The population density was 103.1 inhabitants per square mile (39.8/km2). There were 28,578 housing units at an average density of 48.9 per square mile (18.9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 77.8% white, 14.3% black or African American, 3.2% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 1.6% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.0% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 26.0% were German, 14.5% were Irish, 10.6% were English, and 5.7% were American.

Of the 25,538 households, 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 50.6% were non-families, and 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.87. The median age was 29.1 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,169 and the median income for a family was $50,787. Males had a median income of $42,747 versus $31,244 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,294. About 17.4% of families and 28.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.1% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.




Census-designated place


Jackson County is divided into sixteen townships:

  • Bradley
  • Carbondale
  • DeSoto
  • Degognia
  • Elk
  • Fountain Bluff
  • Grand Tower
  • Kinkaid
  • Levan
  • Makanda
  • Murphysboro
  • Ora
  • Pomona
  • Sand Ridge
  • Somerset
  • Vergennes


Much of the county's economic situation is dependent upon Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the city of Carbondale. A rapidly developing city, it is part of the Metro Lakeland area consisting mainly of the major communities of Carbondale, Marion, Herrin, and Carterville. The outer regions of the Metro include Murphysboro, the rest of Jackson County, the rest of Williamson County, Perry County, and Saline County. Jackson County is also located near the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail.

kids search engine
Jackson County, Illinois Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.