Athens County, Ohio

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This article is about the county in Ohio. For other uses, see Athens (disambiguation).
Athens County, Ohio
County Courthouse Athens OH USA.JPG
The Athens County court house in Athens
Seal of Athens County, Ohio
Map of Ohio highlighting Athens County
Location in the state of Ohio
Map of the United States highlighting Ohio
Ohio's location in the U.S.
Founded March 1, 1805[1]
Named for Athens, Greece
Seat Athens
Largest city Athens
 • Total 508.44 sq mi (1,317 km2)
 • Land 503.60 sq mi (1,304 km2)
 • Water 4.84 sq mi (13 km2), 0.95%
 • (2010) 64,757
 • Density 128.6/sq mi (50/km²)
Congressional districts 6th, 15th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Court Street, main street in uptown Athens

Athens County is a county located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Ohio. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 64,757, which is an increase of 4.1% from 62,223 in 2000.[2] Its county seat is Athens.[3] It was formed in 1805 from Washington County. Because the original state university (Ohio University) was founded there in 1804, the town and the county were named for the ancient center of learning, Athens, Greece.[4]

The Athens Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Athens County.



According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 508.44 square miles (1,316.9 km2), of which 503.60 square miles (1,304.3 km2) (or 99.05%) is land and 4.84 square miles (12.5 km2) (or 0.95%) is water.[5]

Athens County is located in the Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau region of Ohio. It features steep, rugged hills, with typical relief of 150 to 400 feet, deeply dissected by stream valleys, many of them remnant from the ancient Teays River drainage system. Most of Athens County is within the Hocking River watershed, with smaller areas in the Shade River and Raccoon Creek watersheds. The Hocking River joins the Ohio River at the unincorporated village of Hockingport in Athens County.

Adjacent counties[edit]


The largest employer in Athens County is Ohio University. Other significant employers include Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare, Hocking College, Diagnostic Hybrids, O'Bleness Memorial Hospital, Rocky Brands, Stewart-MacDonald, Wayne National Forest, and a growing number of retail stores and restaurants. Local government, local school districts, and nonprofit organizations employ many county residents.

Historically, the first large-scale industry was salt production. Coal mining and timber harvesting played major roles in Athens County's economy, as did the treatment and care of the mentally ill.

The coal industry has declined dramatically from its peak years. Only Buckingham Coal is still mining in the county, in Trimble Township north of Glouster. Gravel and limestone are mined at several quarries in the county. Active oil and natural gas wells are found in low numbers throughout Athens County.

Forestry still contributes to the Athens County economy, both in the private sector and in the public sector. The headquarters for Wayne National Forest is located between Athens and Nelsonville.

Farming and market gardening continue to thrive in the area. The largest farms specialize in beef and dairy production. The Athens Farmers Market, an outdoor market, continues to grow in popularity. Local and organically grown produce is found in abundance during the summer months.

Also, tourism is a large and growing component of the county's economy. The county is a regional music center and home to many arts and crafts businesses. Many visitors to the county are drawn to its natural resources and abundant wildlife. Hunting and fishing are popular activities in season. The county has over 19 miles of paved bike path in and between Athens and Nelsonville. Hiking and mountain biking are popular throughout the county, especially in the state parks and national forest.

Higher education remains the cornerstone of the county's economy. Over one-quarter of the county's residents either attend or work at Hocking College or Ohio University.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 2,791
1820 6,338 127.1%
1830 9,787 54.4%
1840 19,109 95.2%
1850 18,215 −4.7%
1860 21,364 17.3%
1870 23,768 11.3%
1880 28,411 19.5%
1890 35,194 23.9%
1900 38,730 10.0%
1910 47,798 23.4%
1920 50,430 5.5%
1930 44,175 −12.4%
1940 46,166 4.5%
1950 45,839 −0.7%
1960 46,998 2.5%
1970 54,889 16.8%
1980 56,399 2.8%
1990 59,549 5.6%
2000 62,223 4.5%
2010 64,757 4.1%
Est. 2012 64,304 −0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
2012 Estimate[2]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 62,223 people, 22,501 households, and 12,713 families residing in the county. The population density was 123 people per square mile (47/km²). There were 24,901 housing units at an average density of 49 per square mile (19/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.48% White, 2.39% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 1.90% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.36% from other races, and 1.56% from two or more races. 1.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 21.4% were of German, 13.9% American, 12.9% Irish, 11.1% English and 5.6% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 22,501 households out of which 26.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.50% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.50% were non-families. 28.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county the population was spread out with 18.30% under the age of 18, 30.70% from 18 to 24, 23.70% from 25 to 44, 18.00% from 45 to 64, and 9.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $27,322, and the median income for a family was $39,785. Males had a median income of $30,776 versus $23,905 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,171. About 14.00% of families and 27.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.20% of those under age 18 and 12.90% of those age 65 or over.

Education and public services[edit]

Colleges and universities[edit]

Athens County is home to Hocking College in Nelsonville and Ohio University in the city of Athens.

K-12 schools[edit]

The residents of Athens County are served by the five school districts: the Alexander Local School District, Athens City School District, the Federal Hocking Local School District, Nelsonville-York City School District, and the Trimble Local School District.


They are also served by the Athens County Public Libraries with branches in Albany, Athens, Chauncey, Coolville, Glouster, Nelsonville, and The Plains.


Map of Athens County, Ohio With Municipal and Township Labels




Census-designated place[edit]

Other communities[edit]


News publications
  • The Athens Messenger, a daily paper published by the Adams Publishing Group, which also owns The Athens News.
  • The Athens News, a free semiweekly tabloid.
  • The Post, the student newspaper of Ohio University
  • The Spire, the student newspaper of Hocking College, is published on an occasional basis
Noncommercial Television
  • WOUB-TV, 20 and 27-HD (PBS affiliate, Ohio University, Athens)
Noncommercial Radio
  • WEAK-FM, 106.7, (Low Power FM, Athens)
  • WOUB-FM, 91.3 (NPR affiliate, Ohio University, Athens)
  • WOUB-AM, 1340 (NPR affiliate, Ohio University, Athens)
  • WLCI-FM, 97.5 (Hocking College student radio, Nelsonville)
Commercial Radio
  • WXTQ-FM, 105.5 (Athens)
  • WJKW-FM, 95.9 (Athens)
  • WATH-AM, 970 (Athens)
  • WSEO-FM, 107.7 (Nelsonville)
  • WAIS-AM, 770 (Nelsonville)

Public lands[edit]

Federal lands[edit]

State lands[edit]

County properties[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ohio County Profiles: Athens County" (PDF). Ohio Department of Development. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  2. ^ a b "Athens County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ "Athens County data". Ohio State University Extension Data Center. Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Thomas William Lewis, History of Southeastern Ohio and the Muskingum Valley, 1788-1928. In Three Volumes. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1928.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°20′N 82°03′W / 39.33°N 82.05°W / 39.33; -82.05