O'Brien County, Iowa

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O'Brien County
O'Brien County Courthouse
Map of Iowa highlighting O'Brien County
Location within the U.S. state of Iowa
Map of the United States highlighting Iowa
Iowa's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 43°04′53″N 95°37′34″W / 43.081388888889°N 95.626111111111°W / 43.081388888889; -95.626111111111
Country United States
State Iowa
Founded15 January 1851[1]
Named forWilliam Smith O'Brien
SeatPrimghar
Largest citySheldon
Area
 • Total573 sq mi (1,480 km2)
 • Land573 sq mi (1,480 km2)
 • Water0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)  0.03%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total14,398
 • Estimate 
(2018)
13,840
 • Density25/sq mi (9.7/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district4th
Websitewww.obriencounty.org

O'Brien County is a county in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 14,398.[2] The county seat is Primghar.[3]

History[edit]

By the time Iowa attained statehood (28 December 1848), its Territorial Legislature had created 44 counties. On 15 January 1851 the new State Legislature created another 49 counties, defining them by lines of survey. O'Brien was among the 49 units thus created.[1] It consists of four survey townships, each formed by 36 square miles arranged in a 6x6 layout, for a nominal 576 square miles total area. The county was named for William Smith O'Brien, a leader for Irish independence in 1848.[4]

The new county's first settler arrived in 1856; Hannibal H. Waterman brought his wife and a daughter to the southeast portion (present Waterman Township). His homestead formed the nucleus of the county's first community, and a small building was erected there to function as a courthouse.

By 1872 the county comprised several small communities, and residents of those groups felt the county's business should be conducted in a more central location. An election was held, the outcome of which was to create a new county seat at its midpoint. A 40-acre (16.2 hectare) tract at the center of the county was surveyed and platted; its name (Primghar) was created from the initials of eight persons involved with the platting. The previous courthouse building was transported to this new location.[5]

In 1874 a 35-foot square building was erected on the present location at a cost of $2,000, to replace the first structure. It was replaced in 1887 by a larger structure. The County Board of Supervisors authorized its construction, at a cost not to exceed $5,000 (the maximum amount the County was authorized to commit). To keep within this limit, members of the new community agreed to haul the building materials without charge from railroad stops at Sanbor and Paullina. The present courthouse was completed in 1917,[6] and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 573 square miles (1,480 km2), of which 573 square miles (1,480 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (0.03%) is water.[7]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860383
187071586.7%
18804,155481.1%
189013,060214.3%
190016,98530.1%
191017,2621.6%
192019,05110.4%
193018,409−3.4%
194019,2934.8%
195018,970−1.7%
196018,840−0.7%
197017,522−7.0%
198016,972−3.1%
199015,444−9.0%
200015,102−2.2%
201014,398−4.7%
2018 (est.)13,840[8]−3.9%
US Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2018[2]
Population of O'Brien County from US census data
2010 Census Age Pyramid for O'Brien County

As of the 2010 United States Census,[13] there were 14,398 people, 6,069 households, and 3,927 families in the county. The population density was 25.1239/sq mi (9.7004/km2). There were 6,649 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.0% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 0.1% American Indian, 0.6% Asian, 2.0% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. The county has a 3.8% Hispanic or Latino background.

There were 6,069 households, out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.1% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.3% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals living alone, and 33.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.89.

The county population contained 25.7% under the age of 20, 4.6% from 20 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 28.1% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.6 years. For every 100 females there were 95.80 males. For every 100 females, there were 99.1 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $44,018, and the median income for a family was $58,127. The per capita income for the county was $24,771. About 6.3% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.7% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.[14]

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Townships[edit]

Population ranking[edit]

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of O'Brien County.[15]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Sheldon (partially in Sioux County) City 5,017 (5,188 total)
2 Hartley City 1,672
3 Sanborn City 1,404
4 Paullina City 1,056
5 Primghar City 909
6 Sutherland City 649
7 Calumet City 170
8 Archer City 131

Politics[edit]

Presidential Election Results
Presidential Elections Results[16]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2020 77.6% 5,861 20.8% 1,569 1.6% 121
2016 77.7% 5,752 17.8% 1,315 4.6% 339
2012 71.7% 5,266 26.8% 1,969 1.4% 106
2008 66.7% 4,894 31.9% 2,338 1.4% 101
2004 68.9% 5,328 30.1% 2,330 0.9% 73
2000 66.4% 4,674 30.8% 2,170 2.8% 200
1996 57.6% 3,877 33.2% 2,236 9.2% 622
1992 51.1% 3,869 28.0% 2,122 21.0% 1,587
1988 60.0% 4,241 39.1% 2,768 0.9% 63
1984 66.2% 5,008 32.8% 2,479 1.1% 82
1980 63.6% 4,937 28.5% 2,210 7.9% 614
1976 61.9% 4,643 36.4% 2,732 1.8% 131
1972 68.9% 5,159 29.7% 2,224 1.4% 108
1968 69.3% 5,594 26.6% 2,146 4.1% 328
1964 50.2% 4,336 49.7% 4,295 0.1% 6
1960 68.7% 6,509 31.3% 2,967 0.0% 4
1956 67.3% 6,138 32.6% 2,970 0.1% 10
1952 76.2% 7,130 23.4% 2,192 0.4% 38
1948 50.5% 3,697 46.7% 3,421 2.8% 208
1944 56.0% 4,033 43.6% 3,138 0.4% 30
1940 53.3% 4,760 46.3% 4,133 0.4% 38
1936 38.9% 3,350 59.7% 5,139 1.4% 123
1932 40.9% 3,213 57.4% 4,503 1.7% 132
1928 66.4% 4,845 32.8% 2,397 0.8% 56
1924 58.5% 4,172 10.6% 756 30.9% 2,207
1920 76.5% 5,137 21.9% 1,468 1.6% 109
1916 52.5% 2,021 46.5% 1,787 1.0% 39
1912 16.0% 620 38.9% 1,506 45.1% 1,744
1908 57.7% 1,912 40.0% 1,326 2.3% 76
1904 68.9% 2,279 26.8% 885 4.3% 142
1900 61.2% 2,386 37.5% 1,461 1.4% 54
1896 60.1% 2,421 38.8% 1,562 1.1% 45

See also[edit]

Indian Village Site on the NRHP

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Columbia-Lippincott Gazetteer, (New York:Columbia University Press, 1952), p. 1363
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Chicago and North Western Railway Company (1908). A History of the Origin of the Place Names Connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railways. p. 162.
  5. ^ About O'Brien County (O'Brien County website; accessed 1 June 2020)
  6. ^ "O'Brien County Courthouse". Iowa Judicial Branch. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files". US Census Bureau. 12 February 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  9. ^ "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  13. ^ "US Census website". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  14. ^ "Population and Housing Occupancy Status: 2010 - State -- County". US Census Bureau/American FactFinder. Retrieved March 26, 2011.[dead link]
  15. ^ 2010 Census
  16. ^ Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 27, 2018.

External links[edit]

  • O'Brien County Portal style website, Government, Business, Tourism and more
  • IaGenWeb O'Brien county history, Biographies, and more
  • City-Data Comprehensive Statistical Data and more about O'Brien County


Coordinates: 43°04′53″N 95°37′34″W / 43.08139°N 95.62611°W / 43.08139; -95.62611