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Saline County, Missouri facts for kids

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Saline County
The Saline County Courthouse in Marshall
The Saline County Courthouse in Marshall
Map of Missouri highlighting Saline County
Location within the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Missouri
Founded November 25, 1820
Named for The salt springs in the region
Seat Marshall
Largest city Marshall
 • Total 767 sq mi (1,990 km2)
 • Land 756 sq mi (1,960 km2)
 • Water 11 sq mi (30 km2)  1.5%
 • Total 23,370
 • Estimate 
 • Density 30.469/sq mi (11.764/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 5th

Saline County is located along the Missouri River in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 23,370. Its county seat is Marshall. The county was established November 25, 1820, and named for the region's salt springs.

Settled primarily by migrants from the Upper South during the nineteenth century, this county was in the region bordering the Missouri River known as "Little Dixie". In the antebellum years, it had many plantations operated with the forced labor of enslaved workers. One-third of the county population was African American at the start of the American Civil War, but their proportion of the residents has declined dramatically to little more than five percent.

Saline County comprises the Marshall, Missouri Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Historically Saline County was occupied for thousands of years by succeeding cultures of Missouri Native Americans. Saline County was organized by European-American settlers on November 25, 1820, and was named from the salinity of the springs found in the region. After periods of conflict as settlers competed for resources and encroached on their territory, the local Native Americans, including the Osage nation, were forced by the US to relocate to reservations in Indian Territory, first in Kansas and then in Oklahoma.

Saline County was among several along the Missouri River that were settled primarily by migrants from the Upper South states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. The settlers quickly started cultivating crops similar to those in Middle Tennessee and Kentucky: hemp and tobacco; they had brought slave workers with them to central Missouri, or purchased them from slave traders. These counties settled by southerners became known as "Little Dixie." By the time of the Civil War, one-third of the county population was African American; most of them were enslaved laborers on major plantations, particularly for labor-intensive tobacco cultivation. In 1847 the state legislature had prohibited any African Americans from being educated.

After the war, freedmen and other residents had a hunger for education. The state's new constitution established public education for all citizens for the first time. It was segregated, in keeping with local custom. Each township with 20 or more African-American students were supposed to establish a school for them, but rural areas lagged in the number of schools and jurisdictions underfunded those for blacks. By the early 20th century, Saline County had eighteen schools for black students. The remaining black schools from the Jim Crow era have been studied by the State Historic Preservation Office and many are being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 767 square miles (1,990 km2), of which 756 square miles (1,960 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (1.5%) is water. It is located along the Missouri River.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

National protected area


The largely rural county reached its peak of population in 1930, and has mostly declined since then. Mechanization of farms meant that fewer workers were needed. African Americans moved to cities for work and better social conditions.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 2,873
1840 5,258 83.0%
1850 8,843 68.2%
1860 14,699 66.2%
1870 21,672 47.4%
1880 29,911 38.0%
1890 33,762 12.9%
1900 33,703 −0.2%
1910 29,448 −12.6%
1920 28,817 −2.1%
1930 30,598 6.2%
1940 29,416 −3.9%
1950 26,694 −9.3%
1960 25,148 −5.8%
1970 24,633 −2.0%
1980 24,919 1.2%
1990 23,523 −5.6%
2000 23,756 1.0%
2010 23,370 −1.6%
2020 23,333 −0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

At the 2000 census, there were 23,756 people, 9,015 households and 6,013 families residing in the county. The population density was 31 per square mile (12/km2). There were 10,019 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 90.03% White, 5.39% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 2.09% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. Approximately 4.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 28.7% were of German, 18.2% American, 9.8% English and 9.3% Irish ancestry.

There were 9,015 households, of which 30.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.90% were married couples living together, 10.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.30% were non-families. 28.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.97.

In Age distribution was 24.30% under the age of 18, 12.00% from 18 to 24, 25.20% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 16.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.70 males.

The median household income was $32,743, and the median family income was $39,234. Males had a median income of $27,180 versus $19,431 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,132. About 10.50% of families and 13.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.90% of those under age 18 and 8.60% of those age 65 or over.



Public schools

  • Gilliam C-4 School District – Gilliam
    • Gilliam Elementary School (K-08)
    • Hardeman Elementary School (PK-08)
    • Malta Bend Elementary School (PK-05)
    • Malta Bend High School (06-12)
    • Eastwood Elementary School (PK-03)
    • Benton Elementary School (K-01)
    • Northwest Elementary School (K-04)
    • Southeast Elementary School (K-02)
    • Bueker Middle School (05-08)
    • Marshall High School (09-12)
  • Orearville R-IV School District – Slater
    • Orearville Elementary School (K-08)
    • Slater Elementary School (PK-08)
    • Slater High School (09-12)
    • Sweet Springs Elementary School (PK-06)
    • Sweet Springs High School (07-12)

Private schools


Public libraries

  • Marshall Public Library
  • Slater Public Library
  • Sweet Springs Public Library

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Saline (Misuri) para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Activists:
William L. Dawson
Claudette Colvin
W. E. B. Du Bois
Anna J. Cooper
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