As of the census of 2000, there were 10,076 people, 3,237 households, and 2,311 families residing in the county. The population density was 21 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 4,287 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 21.46% White, 77.76% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 0.38% from two or more races. 0.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,237 households out of which 31.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.00% were married couples living together, 28.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.22.
In the county the population was spread out with 24.10% under the age of 18, 9.90% from 18 to 24, 31.00% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 12.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 114.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 118.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $22,003, and the median income for a family was $27,232. Males had a median income of $26,062 versus $19,328 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,916. About 26.10% of families and 29.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.40% of those under age 18 and 25.30% of those age 65 or over. Hancock County is the poorest county in Georgia and the 55th poorest in the country according the per capita income.
Biddy Mason, (August 15, 1818 – January 16, 1891), a slave, she won her freedom when she challenged the constitutionality of her slave status in California, a free state. She went on to become a landowner, humanitarian and philanthropist. A founding member of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1872, Los Angeles, California.
Hiram George Runnels, (December 15, 1796 – December 17, 1857) born in Hancock County, Ga., later Governor of Mississippi.