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Pickett County, Tennessee facts for kids

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Pickett County
Pickett County Courthouse in Byrdstown
Pickett County Courthouse in Byrdstown
Map of Tennessee highlighting Pickett County
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Tennessee
Founded 1879
Named for Howard L. Pickett, state legislator
Seat Byrdstown
Largest town Byrdstown
 • Total 174 sq mi (450 km2)
 • Land 163 sq mi (420 km2)
 • Water 12 sq mi (30 km2)  6.6%%
 • Total 5,077
 • Density 31/sq mi (12/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 6th

Pickett County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,077, making it the least populous county in Tennessee. Its county seat is Byrdstown.

The city of Byrdstown and the Kentucky town of Albany, 11 miles (18 km) to the northeast, are positioned between two Army Corps of Engineers lakes: Dale Hollow Lake, mainly in Tennessee, and Lake Cumberland, in Kentucky. The area is known as "Twin Lakes" and Byrdstown is noted as "The Gateway To Dale Hollow Lake". Every year thousands of people vacation at the many resorts situated along the lakes.


Pickett County was created in 1879 from sections of Overton and Fentress counties. It was named for Howard L. Pickett, a member of the state legislature who had been instrumental in the county's formation. Nobel Peace Prize winner Cordell Hull was born in the county. He won the prize for his role in establishing the United Nations.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 174 square miles (450 km2), of which 163 square miles (420 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (6.6%) is water. It is the fourth-smallest county in Tennessee by land area and third-smallest by total area. The eastern part of the county, much of which is part of Pickett State Forest, lies atop the Cumberland Plateau, while the western, more populated half is located on the Highland Rim. The Wolf River and the Obey River, the lower parts of which are part of Dale Hollow Lake, pass through the county. The rivers converge just west of the county's border with Clay County.

Twilight over Dale Hollow Lake, near Byrdstown
Hazard Cave at Pickett State Park

Streams in the far eastern section of the county are part of the watershed of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (very small part)

State protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 4,736
1900 5,366 13.3%
1910 5,087 −5.2%
1920 5,205 2.3%
1930 5,615 7.9%
1940 6,213 10.7%
1950 5,093 −18.0%
1960 4,431 −13.0%
1970 3,774 −14.8%
1980 4,358 15.5%
1990 4,548 4.4%
2000 4,945 8.7%
2010 5,077 2.7%
Est. 2015 5,146 1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2014
USA Pickett County, Tennessee.csv age pyramid
Age pyramid Pickett County

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,945 people, 2,091 households, and 1,461 families residing in the county. The population density was 30 people per square mile (12/km²). There were 2,956 housing units at an average density of 18 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 99.15% White, 0.10% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 0.10% from other races, and 0.44% from two or more races. 0.83% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,091 households, out of which 27.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.30% were married couples living together, 7.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.10% were non-families. 27.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the county, the population was spread out with 21.40% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 24.70% from 25 to 44, 27.70% from 45 to 64, and 17.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $24,673, and the median income for a family was $31,355. Males had a median income of $22,367 versus $17,173 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,681. About 12.00% of families and 15.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.40% of those under age 18 and 20.00% of those age 65 or over.


Main Street in Byrdstown
Static, at the Tennessee-Kentucky state line


Unincorporated communities

Ghost town

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