Clarke County, Georgia

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Clarke County, Georgia
County Courthouse and Judicial Center in Athens.JPG
Clarke County courthouse in Athens
Map of Georgia highlighting Clarke County
Location in the state of Georgia
Map of the United States highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1801
Named for Elijah Clarke
Seat Athens
Largest city Athens
 • Total 121 sq mi (313 km2)
 • Land 119 sq mi (308 km2)
 • Water 1.8 sq mi (5 km2), 1.5%
 • (2010) 116,714
 • Density 979/sq mi (378/km²)
Congressional districts 9th, 10th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Clarke County is a county in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 116,714.[1] Its county seat is Athens,[2] with which it is a consolidated city-county.

Clarke 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.


Clarke County was created in 1801 by an act of the Georgia General Assembly on December 5. It was named for Revolutionary War hero Elijah Clarke and included 250 square miles (647.5 km2) that was formerly part of Jackson County. Colonel Clarke played a leading role the 1779 victory at the Battle of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County. The Elijah Clarke Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a monument to him in Broad Street in Athens.

As the population of the county grew in the early 19th century, its agricultural and cotton industries prospered. The adjacent plantation harvests flowed through city mills. Manufacturing and textile production operations were the major industries in Clarke County, especially after the railroad reached Athens in 1841. Athens and Clarke County were second only to Savannah and Chatham County in the amount of capital invested in manufacturing in the 1840s.

Two skirmishes were fought in Clarke County in 1864, during the American Civil War, one near Barber's Creek and the other near Mitchell's Road. Athens was occupied by the Union Army on May 29 and a provost-marshal took charge. Formal military occupation of the ended by December 1864, though Union troops remained in the county until early 1866.

In 1801 the Clarke County Commission had selected Watkinsville (now in Oconee County) as the county seat. All county offices, including the courts and jail, moved to Athens when the seat was moved on November 24, 1871. County meetings took place in the old Athens town hall, until a new courthouse was constructed in 1876. The present courthouse was built in 1914.

On February 12, 1875, in response to complaints over the relocation of the county seat to Athens, the state legislature created Oconee County from the southwest portion of Clarke County, making Watkinsville its seat. Clarke County thus lost one-third of its population and three-fifths of its land area.

The position of "commissioner of roads and revenue" was created by the legislature for what are today known as county commissioners. As an extension of the state, the county would conduct welfare and health programs, build and maintain roads, and hold courts of law.

On March 29, 1973, the Georgia legislature increased the number of county commissioners from 3 to 5, also adding a county administrator.

In 1990, the residents voted to unify the city and county governments creating Athens-Clarke County, the second (after Columbus-Muscogee County) unified city-county government in the state of Georgia.


Clarke County is located at 33°57′20″N 83°23′00″W / 33.955464°N 83.383245°W / 33.955464; -83.383245Coordinates: 33°57′20″N 83°23′00″W / 33.955464°N 83.383245°W / 33.955464; -83.383245.[3] The vast majority of Clarke County is located in the Upper Oconee River sub-basin of the Altamaha River basin, with a very small portion of the county's eastern edge, north of Winterville, located in the Broad River sub-basin of the Savannah River basin.[4]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 121 square miles (310 km2), of which 119 square miles (310 km2) is land and 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) (1.5%) is water.[3] It is the smallest county by area in Georgia.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 7,628
1820 8,767 14.9%
1830 10,176 16.1%
1840 10,522 3.4%
1850 11,119 5.7%
1860 11,218 0.9%
1870 12,941 15.4%
1880 11,702 −9.6%
1890 15,186 29.8%
1900 17,708 16.6%
1910 23,273 31.4%
1920 26,111 12.2%
1930 25,613 −1.9%
1940 28,398 10.9%
1950 36,550 28.7%
1960 45,363 24.1%
1970 65,177 43.7%
1980 74,498 14.3%
1990 87,594 17.6%
2000 101,489 15.9%
2010 116,714 15.0%
Est. 2014 120,938 [5] 3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 101,489 people, 39,706 households, and 19,694 families residing in the county. The population density was 840 people per square mile (324/km²). There were 42,126 housing units at an average density of 349 per square mile (135/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 64.89% White, 27.25% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 3.13% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.08% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. 6.34% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 39,706 households out of which 22.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.60% were married couples living together, 13.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.40% were non-families. 29.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the county the population was spread out with 17.80% under the age of 18, 31.30% from 18 to 24, 27.40% from 25 to 44, 15.40% from 45 to 64, and 8.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 95.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.20 males.

The per capita income in the county was $20,948 in 2008,[11] and the median income for a family was $36,039. Males had a median income of $30,482 versus $23,069 for females. In 2008, 32.2% of the county's population were living below the poverty line.[12] As a result, Clarke ranked #4 on City Data's list of "Top 101 cities with the highest percentage of residents living in poverty in 2007".[12]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission Interactive Mapping Experience". Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Retrieved 2015-11-18. 
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b

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