Malheur County, Oregon facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Malheur County Courthouse in Vale
Location within the U.S. state of Oregon
Oregon's location within the U.S.
|Founded||February 17, 1887|
|Named for||Malheur River|
|• Total||9,930 sq mi (25,700 km2)|
|• Land||9,888 sq mi (25,610 km2)|
|• Water||42 sq mi (110 km2) 0.4%%|
| • Estimate
|• Density||3.2/sq mi (1.2/km2)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
|southern fifth||UTC−8 (Pacific)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (PDT)|
Malheur County (pronounce:) is one of the 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2020 census, the population was 31,571. Its county seat is Vale, and its largest city is Ontario. The county was named after the Malheur River, which runs through the county. The word "malheur" is French for misfortune or tragedy.
Malheur County is included in the Ontario, Oregon Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Boise Combined Statistical Area. It is included in the eight-county definition of Eastern Oregon.
Malheur County was created February 17, 1887, from the southern portion of Baker County. It was first settled by miners and stockmen in the early 1860s. The discovery of gold in 1863 attracted further development, including settlements and ranches. Basques settled in the region in the 1890s and were mainly engaged in sheep raising.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 9,930 square miles (25,700 km2), of which 9,888 square miles (25,610 km2) is land and 42 square miles (110 km2) (0.4%) is water. It is the second-largest county in Oregon by area. It is the only county in Oregon in the Mountain Time Zone.
National protected areas
- Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge (part)
- Malheur National Forest (part)
- Whitman National Forest (part)
- See also: Bully Creek Reservoir
Because of its economic relationship with Idaho, most of the county is in the Mountain time zone, making it the only county in Oregon that does not completely follow Pacific Time. The largely unpopulated southern quarter of the county, near McDermitt, observes Pacific Time. The legal dividing line between the two begins at the southwest corner of township 35 S, range 37 E and continues east to the Oregon–Idaho border, crossing Highway 95 at approximately 42.45° N. latitude. (Precisely, 42 degrees, 27.166 minutes. The official Oregon sign marking the crossing is in the wrong place, about ten miles north.) Malheur is one of the few counties in the U.S. that legally observes two different time zones.
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the 2010 census, there were 31,313 people, 10,411 households, and 7,149 families living in the county. The population density was 3.2 inhabitants per square mile (1.2/km2). There were 11,692 housing units at an average density of 1.2 per square mile (0.46/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 77.5% white, 1.7% Asian, 1.2% American Indian, 1.2% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 15.5% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 31.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 16.2% were German, 11.9% were English, 10.3% were Irish, and 9.9% were American.
Of the 10,411 households, 34.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.3% were non-families, and 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.24. The median age was 36.2 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $39,144 and the median income for a family was $46,136. Males had a median income of $33,234 versus $27,883 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,335. About 15.2% of families and 22.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.1% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.
Other unincorporated communities
The county is 94% rangeland, with the Bureau of Land Management controlling 72% of the land. Irrigated fields in the county's northeast corner, known as Western Treasure Valley, are the center of intensive and diversified farming. Malheur County's economy also depends on tourism.
The county's two largest employers are Heinz of Ontario, a potato processor branded as Ore-Ida, and the Snake River Correctional Institution, five miles northwest of Ontario.
Images for kids
OERR locomotive at Vale
Malheur County, Oregon Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.