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Marion County, Oregon facts for kids

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Marion County
Marion County Courthouse in Salem
Marion County Courthouse in Salem
Map of Oregon highlighting Marion County
Location within the U.S. state of Oregon
Map of the United States highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Oregon
Founded July 5, 1843
Seat Salem
Largest city Salem
 • Total 1,194 sq mi (3,090 km2)
 • Land 1,184 sq mi (3,070 km2)
 • Water 10 sq mi (30 km2)  0.85%%
 • Total 345,920
 • Estimate 
347,119 Increase
 • Density 267/sq mi (103/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional district 5th

Marion County is one of the 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. The population was 345,920 at the 2020 census, making it the fifth-most populous county in Oregon. The county seat is Salem, which is also the state capital of Oregon. The county was originally named the Champooick District, after Champoeg (earlier Champooick), a meeting place on the Willamette River. On September 3, 1849, the territorial legislature renamed it in honor of Francis Marion, a Continental Army general from South Carolina who served in the American Revolutionary War.

Marion County is part of the Salem, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Portland-Vancouver-Salem, OR-WA Combined Statistical Area. It is located in the Willamette Valley.


Marion County was created by the Provisional Legislature of Oregon on July 5, 1843 as the Champooick District, one of the original four districts of the Oregon Country along with Twality (later Washington), Clackamas, and Yamhill counties. The four districts were redesignated as counties in 1845.

Originally, this political entity stretched southward to the California border and eastward to the Rocky Mountains. With the creation of Wasco, Linn, Polk, and other counties, its area was reduced in size. Marion County's present geographical boundaries were established in 1856.

In 1849, Salem was designated the county seat. The territorial capital was moved from Oregon City to Salem in 1852. The ensuing controversy over the location of the capital was settled in 1864 when Salem was confirmed as the state capital.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,193 square miles (3,090 km2), of which 1,182 square miles (3,060 km2) is land and 10 square miles (26 km2) (0.9%) is water.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,749
1860 7,088 157.8%
1870 9,965 40.6%
1880 14,576 46.3%
1890 22,934 57.3%
1900 27,713 20.8%
1910 39,780 43.5%
1920 47,187 18.6%
1930 60,541 28.3%
1940 75,246 24.3%
1950 101,401 34.8%
1960 120,888 19.2%
1970 151,309 25.2%
1980 204,692 35.3%
1990 228,483 11.6%
2000 284,834 24.7%
2010 315,335 10.7%
2020 345,920 9.7%
2021 (est.) 347,119 10.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 315,335 people, 112,957 households, and 77,044 families living in the county. The population density was 266.7 inhabitants per square mile (103.0/km2). There were 120,948 housing units at an average density of 102.3 per square mile (39.5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 78.2% white, 1.9% Asian, 1.6% American Indian, 1.1% black or African American, 0.7% Pacific islander, 12.6% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 24.3% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 22.1% were German, 11.4% were English, 11.0% were Irish, and 4.7% were American.

Of the 112,957 households, 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.4% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.8% were non-families, and 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.23. The median age was 35.1 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $46,069 and the median income for a family was $54,661. Males had a median income of $39,239 versus $32,288 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,915. About 11.7% of families and 16.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.8% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.

2020 Census

The racial make up of the county was 61.8% non-Hispanic white, 1.1% African American, .9% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 4.9% of two or more races, and 27.7% Hispanic.



Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities


Agriculture and food processing are important to the county's economy, as are lumber, manufacturing, and education. Marion County is the leader in agricultural production among all other Oregon counties. Marion County has 10,640 acres (43 km2) planted in orchards. The marionberry was named after the county. Government, however, is the county's main employer and economic base.


Marion County is the home of Willamette University, Corban University, and Chemeketa Community College.

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