Baxter County, Arkansas
|Founded||March 24, 1873|
|Named for||Elisha Baxter|
|Largest city||Mountain Home|
|• Total||586.74 sq mi (1,519.6 km2)|
|• Land||554.36 sq mi (1,435.8 km2)|
|• Water||32.38 sq mi (83.9 km2) 5.5%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||71/sq mi (27/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|Website||Baxter County government's website|
Baxter County is a county in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 41,513. The county seat is Mountain Home. It is Arkansas's 66th county, formed on March 24, 1873, and named for Elisha Baxter, the tenth governor of Arkansas.
The Mountain Home, AR, Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Baxter County. It is in the northern part of the state, bordering Missouri. It is commonly referred to as the Twin Lakes Area because it is bordered by two of Arkansas' largest lakes, Bull Shoals Lake and Norfork Lake. On its southern border is the White River, Norfork Tailwater and the Buffalo National River.
Mountain Home, a small town whose origins date back to the early nineteenth century, is located in north-central Arkansas on a plateau in the Ozark Mountains. The natural environment of nearby Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes and the surrounding countryside has attracted tourists from around the country for many years. Educational institutions have also played a role in the life of the community.
The Baxter Bulletin weekly newspaper was named in 1973 by the Newspaper Enterprise Association as the "Best Overall Weekly Newspaper in the United States" in the over 10,000-circulation category. At the time it was published by Harold E. Martin and was the largest weekly paper in Arkansas.
Baxter County is located within the Salem Plateau, a subregion of the Ozark Mountains. Land near Bull Shoals Lake, Norfork Lake, and along the White River are within the White River Hills subregion, known for steep, rocky soils, spring-fed mountain streams, and oak-hickory-pine forest. Eastern Baxter County and a small area around Mountain Home are within the Central Plateau subregion, known for comparatively flatter terrain more suited for hayfields, pastures, and housing, as well as karst.
The county has a total area of 586.74 square miles (1,519.6 km2), of which 554.36 square miles (1,435.8 km2) is land and 32.38 square miles (83.9 km2) (5.5%) is water.
The county is located approximately 110 miles (180 km) southeast of Springfield, Missouri, 152 miles (245 km) north of Little Rock, and 246 miles (396 km) southeast of St. Louis, Missouri.[Note 1] Baxter County is surrounded by sparsely populated Ozark counties on all sides: Fulton County to the east, Izard County to the southeast, Stone County to the south, Searcy County to the southwest, Marion County to the west, and Ozark County, Missouri to the north.
Baxter County is within the White River watershed. The river has several important milestones in Baxter County: beginning along the western boundary of Baxter County, the White River is impounded to form the Bull Shoals Lake reservoir by Bull Shoals Dam, which spans the Baxter-Marion county line. South of the dam, the White River forms the western boundary of Baxter-Marion county line until Buffalo City, when the Buffalo National River empties into the White, with the White continuing across Baxter County from west to east. South of Salesville, the North Fork of White River empties into the White via the Norfork Tailwater downstream of Norfork Dam. Within the county, Barren Fork, Big Creek, Bruce Creek, Hightower Creek, Leatherwood Creek, and Moccasin Creek are important watercourses.
National protected areas
- Buffalo National River (part)
- Ozark National Forest (part)
State protected areas
- Bull Shoals-White River State Park
- Norfork Lake WMA
- Sylamore WMA
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||88||0.21%|
|Hispanic or Latino||1,058||2.54%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 41,627 people, 18,435 households, and 11,964 families residing in the county.
As of the 2000 census, there were 38,386 people, 17,052 households, and 11,799 families residing in the county. The population density was 69 people per square mile (27/km2). There were 19,891 housing units at an average density of 36 per square mile (14/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.81% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 0.52% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. 1.00% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 17,052 households, out of which 22.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.00% were married couples living together, 7.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.80% were non-families. 27.50% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.65.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 19.00% under the age of 18, 5.80% from 18 to 24, 21.10% from 25 to 44, 27.40% from 45 to 64, and 26.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 92.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $29,106, and the median income for a family was $34,578. Males had a median income of $25,976 versus $18,923 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,859. About 7.90% of families and 11.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.70% of those under age 18 and 8.90% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2010 Baxter County had a population of 41,513. The racial makeup was 95.96% Non-Hispanic whites, 0.16% blacks, 0.56% Native Americans, 0.41% Asians, 0.04% Pacific Islanders, 1.25% Non-Hispanics reporting more than one race and 1.66% Hispanic or Latino.
The 2019 American Community Survey found 88.7% of Baxter County residents over age 25 held a high school degree or higher and 17.9% holding a bachelor's degree or higher. Baxter County exceeded statewide and nationwide averages for high school attainment (86.6% and 88.0%, respectively), but lags far behind on bachelor's degree attainment (23.0% and 32.1%, respectively).
Primary and secondary education
Three public school districts are based in Baxter County; Mountain Home School District is the largest school district in Baxter County, with Cotter School District serving the Cotter-Gassville area and the Norfork School District serving the southeast side of the county. Successful completion of the curriculum of these schools leads to graduation from Mountain Home High School, Cotter High School, or Norfork High School respectively. All three high schools are accredited by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). Small areas in Baxter County are served by the Viola School District and Calico Rock School District.
Government and politics
The county government is a constitutional body granted specific powers by the Constitution of Arkansas and the Arkansas Code. The quorum court is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all spending and revenue collection. Representatives are called justices of the peace and are elected from county districts every even-numbered year. The number of districts in a county vary from nine to fifteen based on population, and district boundaries are drawn by the Baxter County Election Commission. The Baxter County Quorum Court has eleven members. Presiding over quorum court meetings is the county judge, who serves as the chief operating officer of the county. The county judge is elected at-large and does not vote in quorum court business, although capable of vetoing quorum court decisions.
- Big Flat (partly in Searcy County)
Census designated places
Other unincorporated communities
Townships in Arkansas are the divisions of a county. Each township includes unincorporated areas; some may have incorporated cities or towns within part of their boundaries. Arkansas townships have limited purposes in modern times. However, the United States census does list Arkansas population based on townships (sometimes referred to as "county subdivisions" or "minor civil divisions"). Townships are also of value for historical purposes in terms of genealogical research. Each town or city is within one or more townships in an Arkansas county based on census maps and publications. The townships of Baxter County are listed below; listed in parentheses are the cities, towns, and/or census-designated places that are fully or partially inside the township. 
|Township||FIPS code||ANSI code
|Big Flat||05-90288||00069556||Big Flat||198||4.15||1.6||47.761||123.7||0.021||0.05439|
|Buckhorn||05-90525||00069557||Briarcliff, Norfork, Salesville||969||58.71||22.67||16.504||42.75||0.739||1.914|
|Independence||05-91818||00069561||Midway, Mountain Home||1891||59.06||32.3||32.018||82.93||0.027||0.06993|
|Mountain Home||05-92616||00069566||Mountain Home||19659||376.61||145.40||52.200||135.2||0.090||0.2331|
|Whiteville||05-94035||00069570||Cotter, Gassville, Mountain Home||4693||164.48||63.50||28.533||73.90||0.591||1.531|
|Source: U.S. Census Bureau|
- US 62
- US 412
- U.S. Route 62 Business
- Arkansas Highway 5
- Arkansas Highway 14
- Arkansas Highway 101
- Arkansas Highway 126
- Arkansas Highway 177
- Arkansas Highway 178
- Arkansas Highway 201
- Arkansas Highway 202
- Arkansas Highway 201 Spur
- Arkansas Highway 263
- Arkansas Highway 341
- Arkansas Highway 342
- Arkansas Highway 345
- Richard Antrim – naval rear admiral, World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient
- Lonnie D. Bentley – professor and the head of the Department of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University
- Robbie Branscum – writer of children's books and young adult fiction
- Johnny R. Key - member of the Arkansas State Senate from Baxter County since 2009
- Richard A. Knaak – author of Minotaur Wars and other contributions to Dragonlance
- Carolyn D. Wright – poet, born in Mountain Home
- Mileages from Baxter County to Springfield, Little Rock, and St. Louis are based on highway miles using Mountain Home for Baxter County.
- Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation (October 16, 2014). Arkansas County Polygons (SHP file) (Map). Arkansas GIS Office. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on July 4, 2012. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Mulloy, Clement. "Mountain Home (Baxter County)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document: Woods, A.J.; Foti, T.L.; Chapman, S.S.; Omernik, J.M.; et al. "Ecoregions of Arkansas" (PDF). (color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs)
- "Google Maps (Search for Mountain Home, AR)". Retrieved December 28, 2021.
- Office of Water Quality (2016). "Integrated Water Quality Monitoring Assessment Report" (PDF). North Little Rock, Arkansas: Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
- Arkansas Atlas & Gazetteer (Map) (Fifth ed.). 1:127,000. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. 2018. p. 20, 21, 34. ISBN 9781946494207. OCLC 1066245581.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Based on 2000 census data
- "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- "American Community Survey". United States Census Bureau. 2015–2019. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
- "Baxter County". Association of Arkansas Counties. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
- Teske, Steven (March 24, 2014). "Quorum Courts". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
- Goss, Kay C. (August 28, 2015). "Office of County Judge". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
- "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved February 21, 2021.
- 2011 Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS): Baxter County, AR (PDF) (Map). U. S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- "Arkansas: 2010 Census Block Maps - County Subdivision". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
- "County Subdivisions: Arkansas". Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files. United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original (TXT) on May 31, 2014.
- "Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau.
- Baxter County Historical Society Book Committee (2003). History and families of Baxter County, Arkansas. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Co. ISBN 9781563119224. OCLC 865999618.
- Messick, Mary Ann (1973). History of Baxter County (Centennial ed.). Mountain Home, Arkansas: Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce. LCCN 73-82235. OCLC 724611.
- Shiras, Frances H. (1939). History of Baxter County (First ed.). J.W. Daniel and Shiras Bros. Print Shop. OCLC 2481304.
- Baxter County government's website
- Baxter County, Arkansas at Curlie
- Ozark Amateur Radio Club - website