Johnson County, Tennessee facts for kids

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Johnson County, Tennessee

Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the USA highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded 1836
Seat Mountain City
Largest town Mountain City
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

303 sq mi (785 km²)
298 sq mi (772 km²)
4.2 sq mi (11 km²), 1.4%
 - (2010)
 - Density

61/sq mi (24/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Named for: Thomas Johnson, early settler

Johnson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,244. Its county seat is Mountain City. It is the state's northeasternmost county, sharing borders with Virginia and North Carolina.


Johnson County was created in 1836 from parts of Carter County. This followed several years of bickering over the location of Carter County's seat, with residents of what is now Johnson County arguing that travel to Elizabethton was too lengthy and difficult. When their petition to move the seat to a more central location was rejected, they petitioned the state legislature for the creation of a new county. The new county was named after Thomas Johnson, an early settler. The county seat was initially named "Taylorsville" in honor of Colonel James P. Taylor (it was changed to "Mountain City" in the 1880s).

Most Johnson Countians supported the Union during the Civil War. The county's residents rejected secession by a margin of 788 to 111 in Tennessee's secession referendum on June 8, 1861. The county sent a sizable delegation to the Greeneville session of the pro-Union East Tennessee Convention in June 1861.

Due in large part to the county's remoteness, the railroads did not reach Johnson until the early 1900s. The arrival of the railroads during this period aided the development of the timber and manganese mining industries.


Snake Mountain, viewed from Trade
Mountainous terrain near Laurel Bloomery

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 303 square miles (780 km2), of which 298 square miles (770 km2) is land and 4.2 square miles (11 km2) (1.4%) is water.

Situated entirely within the Blue Ridge Mountains, Johnson County is relatively rugged and hilly. The county's boundary with Sullivan County to the northwest is defined as the ridgeline of Holston Mountain, while the Iron Mountains provide the county's boundary with Carter County to the southwest. Snake Mountain, at 5,574 feet (1,699 m), is the county's highest point.


  • Watauga Lake

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

  • Appalachian Trail (part)
  • Cherokee National Forest (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,658
1850 3,705 39.4%
1860 5,018 35.4%
1870 5,852 16.6%
1880 7,766 32.7%
1890 8,858 14.1%
1900 10,589 19.5%
1910 13,191 24.6%
1920 12,230 −7.3%
1930 12,209 −0.2%
1940 12,998 6.5%
1950 12,278 −5.5%
1960 10,765 −12.3%
1970 11,569 7.5%
1980 13,745 18.8%
1990 13,766 0.2%
2000 17,499 27.1%
2010 18,244 4.3%
Est. 2015 17,830 −2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2014
USA Johnson County, Tennessee.csv age pyramid
Age pyramid Johnson County

As of the census of 2000, there were 17,499 people, 6,827 households, and 4,751 families residing in the county. The population density was 59 people per square mile (23/km²). There were 7,879 housing units at an average density of 26 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.40% White, 2.42% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.46% from two or more races. 0.86% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,827 households out of which 26.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.40% were married couples living together, 10.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.40% were non-families. 26.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the county, the population was spread out with 19.70% under the age of 18, 7.40% from 18 to 24, 30.80% from 25 to 44, 27.10% from 45 to 64, and 15.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 114.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 114.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $23,067, and the median income for a family was $28,400. Males had a median income of $24,018 versus $18,817 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,388. About 18.70% of families and 22.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.80% of those under age 18 and 21.50% of those age 65 or over.

Male inmates in the Northeast Correctional Complex, southwest of Mountain City, account for 1,299 (7.4%) of the county's population.



Unincorporated communities

Johnson County, Tennessee Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.