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Red Willow County, Nebraska facts for kids

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Red Willow County
Red Willow County Courthouse in McCook
Red Willow County Courthouse in McCook
Map of Nebraska highlighting Red Willow County
Location within the U.S. state of Nebraska
Map of the United States highlighting Nebraska
Nebraska's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Nebraska
Founded 1873
Named for Red Willow Creek
Seat McCook
Largest city McCook
 • Total 718 sq mi (1,860 km2)
 • Land 717 sq mi (1,860 km2)
 • Water 1.0 sq mi (3 km2)  0.1%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 15.0/sq mi (5.8/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Red Willow County is a county located in the U.S. state of Nebraska. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 11,055. Its county seat is McCook.

In the Nebraska license plate system, Red Willow County is represented by the prefix 48 (it had the forty-eighth-largest number of vehicles registered in the county when the license plate system was established in 1922).


Red Willow County was formed in 1873. It was named after the Red Willow Creek. The name is reported to be a mistranslation of the Dakota Indian name Chanshasha Wakpala, which literally means Red Dogwood Creek. The Dakota referred to the creek as such because of an abundance of the red dogwood shrub that grew along the creek banks. Its stem and branches are deep red in color, and it is favored in basket making.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 718 square miles (1,860 km2), of which 717 square miles (1,860 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) (0.1%) is water.

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 3,044
1890 8,837 190.3%
1900 9,604 8.7%
1910 11,056 15.1%
1920 11,434 3.4%
1930 13,859 21.2%
1940 11,951 −13.8%
1950 12,977 8.6%
1960 12,940 −0.3%
1970 12,191 −5.8%
1980 12,615 3.5%
1990 11,705 −7.2%
2000 11,448 −2.2%
2010 11,055 −3.4%
2018 (est.) 10,726 −3.0%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 11,448 people, 4,710 households, and 3,188 families in the county. The population density was 16 people per square mile (6/km2). There were 5,278 housing units at an average density of 7 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.55% White, 0.16% Black or African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. 2.45% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,710 households, out of which 30.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.50% were married couples living together, 7.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 28.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 24.90% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 24.60% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 19.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,293, and the median income for a family was $40,279. Males had a median income of $27,768 versus $18,768 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,303. About 7.60% of families and 9.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.40% of those under age 18 and 7.60% of those age 65 or over.


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