Jackson County, Illinois

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Jackson County, Illinois
Jackson County Courthouse in Murphysboro from west.jpg
Jackson County Courthouse in Murphysboro
Map of Illinois highlighting Jackson County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the United States highlighting Illinois
Illinois's location in the U.S.
Founded 1816
Named for Andrew Jackson
Seat Murphysboro
Largest city Carbondale
 • Total 602 sq mi (1,559 km2)
 • Land 584 sq mi (1,513 km2)
 • Water 18 sq mi (47 km2), 3.0%
 • (2010) 60,218
 • Density 103/sq mi (40/km²)
Congressional district 12th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.co.jackson.il.us

Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the population was 60,218.[1] Its county seat is Murphysboro,[2] and its most populous city is Carbondale, home to the main campus of Southern Illinois University. The county was incorporated on January 10, 1816 and named for Andrew Jackson.

Jackson County is included in the Carbondale-Marion, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located in the southern portion of Illinois known locally as "Little Egypt".


Human occupation of Jackson County began about 11,500 years ago. Extensive documentation of the areas indigenous peoples has been conducted and is ongoing. Exploration from the European explorers began with the Joliet-Marquette exploration along the Mississippi River. It was not until the 18th and 19th century when pioneer farmers began to settle in the area's inexpensive land along the Mississippi River and in the forested Shawnee hills with its one-hundred-foot trees.

As early as 1813, Conrad Will, namesake of Will County, conducted a large salt extraction operation using slave labor on the banks of the Big Muddy River, south of today's Murphysboro. As this was in the "free" Northwest Territory, Will had to have a legal exemption to own slaves.

Jackson County was organized in 1816, having been carved out of Randolph County. It was named for Andrew Jackson, who had just defeated the British Army at the Battle of New Orleans.[3]

Shortly after the American Civil War, General John A. Logan led a parade of veterans from Murphysboro to Carbondale, Illinois. General Logan, himself a Union veteran, invited the Confederate veterans, of which there were many in somewhat divided Jackson County, to march with him. What might have been another celebration of the Union victory became a memorial to the war dead on both sides. This is one possibility of the origin of the Memorial Day holiday.

In 1925 the great Tri-State Tornado ripped through Jackson County on March 18, leaving devastation in its path. The villages of Gorham and DeSoto and the city of Murphysboro were especially hit hard.

The county courthouse is in downtown Murphysboro. The current reinforced concrete courthouse replaced earlier wooden structures and was built during 1927-28. The original county seat was Brownsville along the Big Muddy River, but after the courthouse was destroyed by fire, the county government was moved upstream a few miles to Murphysboro. Few traces now remain of the old town of Brownsville. On February 27, 1843, the Illinois General Assembly created a commission to designate a new county seat for Jackson County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 602 square miles (1,560 km2), of which 584 square miles (1,510 km2) is land and 18 square miles (47 km2) (3.0%) is water.[5] The average elevation is around 400 feet (120 m), except near the Mississippi River.

The first coal mine in Illinois was opened on the south bank of the Big Muddy River near the present-day Route 127 Bridge.

Climate and weather[edit]

Murphysboro, Illinois
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[6]

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Murphysboro have ranged from a low of 21 °F (−6 °C) in January to a high of 88 °F (31 °C) in July, although a record low of −25 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1977 and a record high of 113 °F (45 °C) was recorded in August 1930. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.91 inches (74 mm) in January to 4.78 inches (121 mm) in May.[6]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]


2000 census age pyramid for Jackson County, skewed by Southern Illinois University.
Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,542
1830 1,828 18.5%
1840 3,566 95.1%
1850 5,862 64.4%
1860 9,589 63.6%
1870 19,634 104.8%
1880 22,505 14.6%
1890 27,809 23.6%
1900 33,871 21.8%
1910 35,143 3.8%
1920 37,091 5.5%
1930 35,680 −3.8%
1940 37,920 6.3%
1950 38,124 0.5%
1960 42,151 10.6%
1970 55,008 30.5%
1980 61,522 11.8%
1990 61,067 −0.7%
2000 59,612 −2.4%
2010 60,218 1.0%
Est. 2013 59,814 −0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2013[1]


Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:


As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 59,612 people, 24,215 households, and 12,664 families residing in the county. The population density was 101 people per square mile (39/km²). There were 26,844 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile (18/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 80.79% White, 13.02% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 3.03% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.00% from other races, and 1.80% from two or more races. 2.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.0% were of German, 10.0% Irish, 9.4% American and 8.6% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 92.6% spoke English and 2.7% Spanish as their first language.

There were 24,215 households out of which 24.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.30% were married couples living together, 9.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.70% were non-families. 34.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.30% 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 2.89.

In the county the population was spread out with 19.30% under the age of 18, 26.00% from 18 to 24, 25.90% from 25 to 44, 17.90% from 45 to 64, and 11.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 104.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $24,946, and the median income for a family was $40,950. Males had a median income of $31,910 versus $22,396 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,755. About 14.70% of families and 25.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.00% of those under age 18 and 10.50% of those age 65 or over.


Much of the county's economic situation is dependent upon Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the city of Carbondale. A rapidly developing city, it is part of the Metro Lakeland area consisting mainly of the major communities of Carbondale, Marion, Herrin, and Carterville. The outer regions of the Metro are include Murphysboro, the rest of Jackson County, the rest of Williamson County, Perry County, and Saline County. Jackson County is also located near the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Once a small business, the wine trail has evolved into a booming tourist attraction.





Jackson County is divided into sixteen townships:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 167. 
  4. ^ White, Jesse. Origin and Evolution of Illinois Counties. State of Illinois, March 2010. [1]
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Murphysboro, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°47′N 89°23′W / 37.79°N 89.38°W / 37.79; -89.38