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Rusk County, Texas facts for kids

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Not to be confused with Rusk, Texas.
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Rusk County
Rusk County Courthouse in Henderson
Rusk County Courthouse in Henderson
Map of Texas highlighting Rusk County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Texas
Founded 1843
Named for Thomas Jefferson Rusk
Seat Henderson
Largest city Henderson
 • Total 938 sq mi (2,430 km2)
 • Land 924 sq mi (2,390 km2)
 • Water 14 sq mi (40 km2)  1.5%%
 • Total 53,330
 • Density 58/sq mi (22/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 1st
Rusk County Library in Henderson, TX IMG 2964
Rusk County Library in downtown Henderson
Rusk County, TX, Assessor's Office IMG 2968
Rusk County Assessor's Office in Henderson

Rusk County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 53,330. Its county seat is Henderson. The county is named for Thomas Jefferson Rusk, a secretary of war of the Republic of Texas.

Rusk County is part of the Longview, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Longview–Marshall, TX Combined Statistical Area.

Travis Clardy, a Republican from Nacogdoches, is the Texas State Representative for House District 11, which includes Rusk County. Trent Ashby, a Republican from Lufkin who was born in Rusk County in 1972, represents District 57, which includes Angelina and several other mostly rural East Texas counties.


Originally a part of Nacogdoches County, Rusk was established as its own county by the Congress of the Republic of Texas on January 16, 1843. By 1850, it was the second most populous county in Texas out of the 78 counties that had been organized at that time, according to the 1850 census. Rusk County's population was 8,148 at this time; it was surpassed only by Harrison County with 11,822 people.

With the discovery of oil in Henderson in October 1930, an oil boom began that caused county population to nearly double during the next decade and caused dramatic changes in the county towns. Rusk is one of the five counties that is part of the East Texas Oil Field, whose production has been a major part of the economy since that time.

Rusk County was one of twenty-five entirely dry counties in the State of Texas until January 2012. The city of Henderson at that time opted to sell and serve beer and wine.

Sadly, America's worst school disaster happened in Rusk County in 1937 when nearly 300 people, most of them children, were killed in a natural gas explosion at the New London Consolidated School.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 938 square miles (2,430 km2), of which 924 square miles (2,390 km2) is land and 14 square miles (36 km2) (1.5%) is water.

Major highways

  • US 59.svg U.S. Highway 59 (US 59 briefly travels through the far extreme southeastern corner of Rusk County)
    • I-69.svg The future route of Interstate 69 is planned to follow the current route of US 59 in most places.
  • US 79.svg U.S. Highway 79
  • US 84.svg U.S. Highway 84
  • US 259.svg U.S. Highway 259
  • Texas 42.svg State Highway 42
  • Texas 43.svg State Highway 43
  • Texas 64.svg State Highway 64
  • Texas 149.svg State Highway 149
  • Texas 315.svg State Highway 315
  • Texas 322.svg State Highway 322
  • Texas 323.svg State Highway 323

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 8,148
1860 15,803 93.9%
1870 16,916 7.0%
1880 18,986 12.2%
1890 18,559 −2.2%
1900 26,099 40.6%
1910 26,946 3.2%
1920 31,689 17.6%
1930 32,484 2.5%
1940 51,023 57.1%
1950 42,348 −17.0%
1960 36,421 −14.0%
1970 34,102 −6.4%
1980 41,382 21.3%
1990 43,735 5.7%
2000 47,372 8.3%
2010 53,330 12.6%
Est. 2015 53,070 −0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010–2014

As of the census of 2000, there were 47,372 people, 17,364 households, and 12,727 families residing in the county. The population density was 51 people per square mile (20/km²). There were 19,867 housing units at an average density of 22 per square mile (8/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 74.89% White, 19.21% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 4.22% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. 8.44% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 17,364 households out of which 32.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.20% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.70% were non-families. 24.20% 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 2.57 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.90% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 27.80% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 15.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 104.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,898, and the median income for a family was $39,185. Males had a median income of $30,956 versus $19,749 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,674. About 10.90% of families and 14.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.80% of those under age 18 and 13.00% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated place

Other unincorporated communities

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