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Jefferson County, Arkansas facts for kids

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Jefferson County
County of Jefferson
Jefferson County Courthouse, Pine Bluff
Jefferson County Courthouse, Pine Bluff
Map of Arkansas highlighting Jefferson 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; 191 years ago (1829-11-02)
Named for Thomas Jefferson
Seat Pine Bluff
Largest city Pine Bluff
 • Total 914 sq mi (2,370 km2)
 • Land 871 sq mi (2,260 km2)
 • Water 43 sq mi (110 km2)  4.7%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 89/sq mi (34/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
71601, 71602, 71603, 71644, 71659, 72004, 72046, 72073, 72079, 72132, 72150, 72152, 72160, 72168, 72175
Area code 501, 870
Congressional districts 1st, 4th

Jefferson County, Arkansas is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas in the area known as the Arkansas Delta, that extends west of the Mississippi River. As of the 2010 census, the population was 77,435. Its county seat and largest city is Pine Bluff. Jefferson County is Arkansas's 21st county, formed on November 2, 1829, from portions of Arkansas and Pulaski counties, and named for Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States. Jefferson County is included in the Pine Bluff, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. The county is bisected by the Arkansas River, which was critical to its development and long the chief transportation byway.


The area that would later become Jefferson County was occupied by the Quapaw when French explorers established the Arkansas Post in the 17th century; the foreigners claimed this area as Louisiana, part of New France.

In March 1819, Robert Crittenden was appointed secretary of Arkansas Territory. That same year, Joseph Bonne, traveling upstream on the Arkansas River from Arkansas Post, built a cabin on a “high bluff covered with pine trees” on the river’s south bank. Several years later, James Scull, also from Arkansas Post, established a tavern and small inn on the river's north bank, across from what would become the site of Pine Bluff.

Five years later, Crittenden convinced the remaining Quapaw to sign the November 15, 1824 treaty relinquishing what remained of their tribal lands. Steamboat travel led to expanding settlement, "bringing to the area such men as French-born Napoleonic soldier Antoine Barraque (Pine Bluff’s principal east-west street was named for him) and brothers James T. and John Pullen (main thoroughfares were named for them)."

On November 2, 1829, Territorial Governor John Pope—Crittenden's successor—approved the establishment of Jefferson County. Bonne’s cabin was used as the county seat; by August 1832, "Pine Bluff Town" became the county seat." The land in the county was developed as large cotton plantations, with fronts on the river for transportation. The plantations were dependent on the labor of enslaved African Americans, who comprised a majority of the population in the county well before the American Civil War.

After the war, planters in Jefferson County gradually resumed cotton cultivation and processing. The economy was driven by cotton and the Delta area was highly productive. In 1886, Jefferson County produced 55,120 bales of cotton, the most in Arkansas, and the second-most throughout the South. Transportation companies serving the county at the time included the Cotton Belt Route, the St. Louis – San Francisco Railway, Missouri Pacific, the Arkansas River Packet Company, the Wiley Jones Street Car Lines, and the Citizens Street Railway Company. The street car lines operated primarily in Pine Bluff.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 914 square miles (2,370 km2), of which 871 square miles (2,260 km2) is land and 43 square miles (110 km2) (4.7%) is water. About 75% of the county including the largest city, Pine Bluff, is located in the Arkansas Delta with the remaining portion in the Arkansas Timberlands. Consequently, it is largely low-lying flatland to the east used primarily for agriculture and expanses of trees used for timber to the west.

Major highways

  • I-530 (AR).svg Interstate 530
  • US 65.svg U.S. Highway 65
  • US 79.svg U.S. Highway 79
  • US 270.svg U.S. Highway 270
  • US 425.svg U.S. Highway 425
  • Arkansas 15.svg Highway 15
  • Arkansas 31.svg Highway 31
  • Arkansas 46.svg Highway 46
  • Arkansas 58.svg Highway 58
  • Arkansas 81.svg Highway 81
  • Arkansas 88.svg Highway 88

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 772
1840 2,566 232.4%
1850 5,834 127.4%
1860 14,971 156.6%
1870 15,733 5.1%
1880 22,386 42.3%
1890 40,881 82.6%
1900 40,972 0.2%
1910 52,734 28.7%
1920 60,330 14.4%
1930 64,154 6.3%
1940 65,101 1.5%
1950 76,075 16.9%
1960 81,373 7.0%
1970 85,329 4.9%
1980 90,718 6.3%
1990 85,487 −5.8%
2000 84,278 −1.4%
2010 77,435 −8.1%
Est. 2015 71,565 −7.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015
USA Jefferson County, Arkansas age pyramid
Age pyramid for Jefferson County (as of 2000).

As of the 2010 census, there were 77,435 people residing in the county. 55.1% were Black or African American, 42.0% White, 0.8% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 0.7% of some other race and 1.2% of two or more races. 1.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census of 2000, there were 84,278 people, 30,555 households, and 21,510 families residing in the county. The population density was 95 people per square mile (37/km²). There were 34,350 housing units at an average density of 39 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 49.58% Black or African American, 48.46% White, 0.24% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.26% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 0.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. By comparison, the county had 15,714 residents in 1870, 20% of whom were White.

In the county, there were 30,555 households out of which 33.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.40% were married couples living together, 18.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.60% were non-families. 26.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.13. The population was spread out with 26.30% under the age of 18, 10.80% from 18 to 24, 27.80% from 25 to 44, 22.10% from 45 to 64, and 12.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.40 males.

Jefferson County experienced a decline in population between 2000 and 2010 of 8.1%. The county has continued to decline in population since 2010, showing a 3.5% decrease in population to 74,723 between the 2010 census and the 2012 (-3.5%) census estimates.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,327, and the median income for a family was $38,252. Males had a median income of $31,848 versus $21,867 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,417. About 16.00% of families and 20.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.60% of those under age 18 and 17.80% of those age 65 or over.




Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Historical towns

  • Anrep
  • Bruce
  • Byrd's Spring
  • Clements
  • College Park
  • Diantha
  • Dolton
  • Fairfield
  • Kratnek
  • Lamb
  • Lamberts
  • Linn
  • Noble's Lake
  • Plum Bayou
  • Ray Station
  • Red Bluff
  • Samples
  • Secrest
  • Sleeth
  • Walden
  • Waldstein


Jefferson County Arkansas 2010 Township Map large
Townships in Jefferson 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 Jefferson 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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