Oconee County, Georgia

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For the city located within Washington County, see Oconee, Georgia.
Oconee County, Georgia
Oconee County Georgia Courthouse.jpg
Oconee County Courthouse in Watkinsville
Map of Georgia highlighting Oconee County
Location in the state of Georgia
Map of the United States highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location in the U.S.
Founded February 24, 1875
Named for Oconee River
Seat Watkinsville
Largest town Watkinsville
Area
 • Total 186 sq mi (482 km2)
 • Land 184 sq mi (477 km2)
 • Water 2.1 sq mi (5 km2), 1.1%
Population
 • (2010) 32,808
 • Density 178/sq mi (69/km²)
Congressional district 10th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.oconeecounty.com

Oconee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 32,808.[1] The county seat is Watkinsville.[2]

Oconee County is included in the Athens-Clarke County, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs, GA Combined Statistical Area.

History[edit]

Oconee County was created from the southwestern part of Clarke County in 1875 by the Georgia General Assembly. The new county was created to satisfy southwestern Clarke County residents' demand for their own county after the county seat was moved from Watkinsville to Athens by the General Assembly in 1872. It is named for the river flowing along part of its eastern border.[3]

The county was ranked as the third-best rural county to live in by Progressive Farmer magazine in 2006.[4]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 186 square miles (480 km2), of which 184 square miles (480 km2) is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) (1.1%) is water.[5]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 6,351
1890 7,713 21.4%
1900 8,602 11.5%
1910 11,104 29.1%
1920 11,067 −0.3%
1930 8,082 −27.0%
1940 7,576 −6.3%
1950 7,009 −7.5%
1960 6,304 −10.1%
1970 7,915 25.6%
1980 12,427 57.0%
1990 17,618 41.8%
2000 26,225 48.9%
2010 32,808 25.1%
Est. 2013 34,035 3.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census of 2010, there were 32,808 people with 11,622 households residing in the county. The population percentage change from 2000 to 2010 increased 25.1%. The racial makeup of the county was 88.4% White, 5.0% Black or African American, 3.1% Asian, 0.1% Native American, <0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.0% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 4.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 11,622 households, with 9,418 owner occupancy. Of the total number of households, 42.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.4% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.6% were non-families. 16.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.16.

The county's population was distributed by age as follows: 28.4% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 20 to 24, 9.3% from 25 to 34, 23.6% from 35 to 49, 20.9% from 50 to 64 and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.1 years. The county was 51.2% Female and 48.8% Male.[10]

The estimated median income for a household in the county was $77,569, and the mean household income was $96,984. Males had a median income of $57,371 versus $37,362 for females. The per capita income for the county was $33,889. About 6.8% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.[10]

In 2012, the Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranked Oconee County as one of the top 3 healthiest counties in Georgia. The study ranked the county second in the state in "Overall Health Factors" and third in "Overall Health Outcomes."[11]

Government[edit]

Oconee County is governed by a four-member Board of Commissioners, which holds legislative power. The Board is led by a separately-elected Chairman, who holds executive power. The Board is vested with budget and taxing authority, ordinance making authority, and control of county property, roads and facilities. The chairman and all members of the board are elected from at-large districts (called "posts") to staggered terms of four years.[12]

The Chairman of the Board is the county's Chief Executive Officer who, in consultation with the Commissioners, appoints officers and staff as needed to administer the responsibilities of the Board.

The current members of the Board are:[12]

  • Chairman: Melvin Davis
  • Post 1: Jim Luke
  • Post 2: John Daniell
  • Post 3: Margaret S. Hale
  • Post 4: Mark Saxon

The judicial branch of government is administered through the Georgia court system as a part of the 10th Judicial District, Western Circuit.[13]


Primary law enforcement services in the portion of the county outside the City of Watkinsville are provided by the Sheriff's office. (Law enforcement within the Watkinsville City Limits is the jurisdiction of the Watkinsville Police Department.)[14] The office of Sheriff is an elected position; since 1992, the office has been held by Scott Berry.[15] Berry is also the current President of the Georgia Sheriff's Association.[16]

Education[edit]

Oconee County School District[edit]

The Oconee County School District provides education for grades pre-school to twelve and consists of six elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools.[17] The district has 361 full-time teachers and over 5,615 students.[18]

Private Schools[edit]

There are currently three private schools located in the county. They are:

Colleges and Universities[edit]

Gainesville State College maintains a satellite campus near Watkinsville. They merged with North Georgia College and State University in 2012 to become The University of North Georgia.[22]

Media[edit]

There are two weekly-published newspapers in Oconee County: The Oconee Leader and The Oconee Enterprise. Oconee Patch is a community website offering daily news and events.

Cox Media Group also operates a radio broadcast facility on Tower Place in northeast Oconee County. Four radio stations are operated from this facility:[23]

  • WNGC 106.1 FM
  • WGMG 102.1 FM (Magic 102.1)
  • WPUP 100.1 FM (Power 100.1)
  • WRFC 960 AM (The Ref)

Communities[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Oconee County Chamber of Commerce, "History of Oconee County"
  4. ^ Steve Hargreaves (February 2, 2006). "Best places to live: Rural America". CNNMoney.com. Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  11. ^ Stephanie Gross (April 3, 2012). "Oconee Among Top 3 Healthiest Georgia Counties". Oconee Patch. Patch Network. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Board Of Commissioners section of Oconee County website. Last accessed 2012-04-04.
  13. ^ Official website of the 10th Judicial District of Georgia, Western Circuit
  14. ^ 2011 Official Oconee County Newcomer's Guide Last accessed 2012-04-04.
  15. ^ Ryan Blackburn (July 24, 2011). "Sheriff Berry To Tackle Big Issues As Head of State Law Enforcement Group". Oconee Patch. Patch Network. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  16. ^ Board of Directors section of Georgia Sheriff's Association official website. Last accessed 2012-04-04.
  17. ^ Georgia Board of Education, Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  18. ^ School Stats, Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  19. ^ Founding Principles section of Westminster Christian Academy website. Last accessed 2012-04-04.
  20. ^ Who we are section of Prince Avenue website. Last accessed 2012-04-04.
  21. ^ History section of Athens Academy website. Last accessed 2012-04-04.
  22. ^ History of GSC section of Gainesville State College website. Last accessed 2012-04-04.
  23. ^ Athens location information, Cox Media Group website. Last accessed 2012-04-04.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°50′N 83°26′W / 33.84°N 83.44°W / 33.84; -83.44