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Sumter County, Alabama facts for kids

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Sumter County
Sumter County Courthouse in Livingston
Sumter County Courthouse in Livingston
Map of Alabama highlighting Sumter County
Location within the U.S. state of Alabama
Map of the United States highlighting Alabama
Alabama's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Alabama
Founded December 18, 1832
Named for Thomas Sumter
Seat Livingston
Largest city Livingston
Area
 • Total 913 sq mi (2,360 km2)
 • Land 904 sq mi (2,340 km2)
 • Water 9.4 sq mi (24 km2)  1.0%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 12,345
 • Density 13.521/sq mi (5.2206/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 7th
  • County Number 60 on Alabama Licence Plates

Sumter County is a county located in the west central portion of Alabama. At the 2020 census, the population was 12,345. Its county seat is Livingston. Its name is in honor of General Thomas Sumter of South Carolina.

History

Sumter County was established on December 18, 1832. From 1797 to 1832, Sumter County was part of the Choctaw Nation, which was made up of four main villages. The first settlers in Sumter County were French explorers who had come north from Mobile. They built and settled at Fort Tombecbee, near the modern-day town of Epes. In 1830, with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the Choctaw Indians ceded the land that is now Sumter County to the government.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 913 square miles (2,360 km2), of which 904 square miles (2,340 km2) is land and 9.4 square miles (24 km2) (1.0%) is water. It is intersected by the Noxubee River.

Major highways

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 29,937
1850 22,250 −25.7%
1860 24,035 8.0%
1870 24,109 0.3%
1880 28,728 19.2%
1890 29,574 2.9%
1900 32,710 10.6%
1910 28,699 −12.3%
1920 25,569 −10.9%
1930 26,929 5.3%
1940 27,321 1.5%
1950 23,610 −13.6%
1960 20,041 −15.1%
1970 16,974 −15.3%
1980 16,908 −0.4%
1990 16,174 −4.3%
2000 14,798 −8.5%
2010 13,763 −7.0%
2020 12,345 −10.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020

At the 2010 United States Census, 13,763 people resided in the county. About 75.0% were Black or African American, 24.2% White, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% of some other race, and 0.3% of two or more races; 0.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

At the 2000 census, 14,798 people, 5,708 households and 3,664 families resided there. The population density was 16 per square mile (6.2 per square kilometre). The 6,953 housing units averaged 8 square miles (21 km2). The racial make-up was 25.92% White, 73.17% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races and 0.52% from two or more races. Nearly 1.12% of the population was Hispanic or Latino.

Of the 5,708 households, 31.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.70% were married couples living together, 23.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.80% were not families. About 31.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55, and the average family size was 3.26.

29.10% of the population were under the age of 18, 12.20% from 18 to 24, 25.30% from 25 to 44, 19.50% from 45 to 64, and 13.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.20 males.

The median household income was $18,911 and the median family income was $23,176. Males had a median income of $28,059 and females $17,574. The per capita income was $11,491. About 32.90% of families and 38.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 47.40% of those under age 18 and 36.10% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Cities

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Places of interest

Sumter County is home to the University of West Alabama Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition and the Coleman Center for the Arts. The historic Alamuchee-Bellamy Covered Bridge is also located on the University of West Alabama campus.

Economy

Sumter County is part of the so-called Black Belt region of central Alabama. The region has suffered significant economic depression in recent years, but in April 2008, United States Steel announced plans to build at $150 million alloy plant near the community of Epes about 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The plant would require 250 workers to construct in a town of only 206. Up to 235 full-time jobs would be created when completed, with jobs paying about $50,000 annually. The state of Alabama offered $28 million in incentives to get the plant located in Sumter County. The plant would make use of a new technology that produces a carbon alloy for use in steel making at the U.S. Steel plant in Fairfield, Alabama near Birmingham. At the time of the announcement, the unemployment rate in Sumter County was 6.1%.

In November 2008, U.S. Steel spokesman D. John Armstrong announced that plans to build the Epes facility had been placed on hold. “We’ve adjusted the timing of it, and we don’t know what the new timeline will be,” he said. “We’ve delayed construction, but we have not cancelled it.“

To date, the Epes facility has not been built.

From 2009 to 2013, the county had a median household income of $22,186 compared to a state figure of $45,253, making it the poorest county in the state. By 2015, Sumter County remained the poorest county in Alabama, with a median household income of $19,501 in comparison to the state median household income of $43,623.

Education

Colleges and universities

The University of West Alabama is in Livingston.

Primary and secondary schools

The school district serving the county is Sumter County School District. In addition, a charter school is located on the campus of the University of West Alabama, University Charter School.

Until 2017, all schools in Sumter County were in practice entirely racially segregated, as white parents sent their children to Sumter Academy, a private segregation academy set up in 1970 in the wake of a federal court ruling ordering the school district to desegregate. During the 2015–16 school year, 98% of the 1,593 students in county's public schools were black, while none of the 170 students at Sumter Academy were black. However, Sumter Academy closed in June 2017, while in August 2018, University Charter School opened, with a half-black, half-white enrollment, making it the county's first practically desegregated school.

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