According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 755 square miles (1,960 km2), of which 745 square miles (1,930 km2) is land and 10 square miles (26 km2) (1.4%) is water.Arkansas is located to the south of Ozark County.
U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,542 people, 3,950 households, and 2,855 families residing in the county. The population density was 13 people per square mile (5/km²). There were 5,114 housing units at an average density of 7 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.57% White, 0.15% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.19% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Approximately 0.94% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Among the major first ancestries reported in Ozark County were 28.6% American, 15.9% German, 12.1% English, and 11.4% Irish.
There were 3,950 households out of which 26.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.20% were married couples living together, 6.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.70% were non-families. 24.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.81.
In the county, the population was spread out with 22.10% under the age of 18, 6.90% from 18 to 24, 22.80% from 25 to 44, 28.70% from 45 to 64, and 19.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 98.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,508, and the median income for a family was $36,622. Males had a median income of $21,685 versus $17,312 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,302. About 16.10% of families and 21.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.80% of those under age 18 and 17.20% of those age 65 or over.
According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2000), Ozark County is a part of the Bible Belt with evangelical Protestantism being the majority religion. The most predominant denominations among residents in Ozark County who adhere to a religion are Southern Baptists (25.79%), Churches of Christ (24.83%), and Pentecostals (17.07%).
Like most counties situated in Southwest Missouri, Ozark County is a Republican stronghold in presidential elections. George W. Bush carried Ozark County in 2000 and 2004 by convincing two-to-one margins. Like many other rural counties throughout Missouri, Ozark County favored John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008. No Democratic presidential nominee has won Ozark County in over 150 years.
Like most rural areas throughout the Bible Belt in Southwest Missouri, voters in Ozark County traditionally adhere to socially and culturally conservative principles which tend to influence their Republican leanings. In 2004, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman—it overwhelmingly passed Ozark County with 82.18 percent of the vote. The initiative passed the state with 71 percent of support from voters as Missouri became the first state to ban same-sex marriage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research in the state—it narrowly failed in Ozark County with 51.07 percent voting against the measure. The initiative narrowly passed the state with 51 percent of support from voters as Missouri became one of the first states in the nation to approve embryonic stem cell research. Despite Ozark County’s longstanding tradition of supporting socially conservative platforms, voters in the county have a penchant for advancing populist causes like increasing the minimum wage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a proposition (Proposition B) to increase the minimum wage in the state to $6.50 an hour—it passed Ozark County with 76.94 percent of the vote. The proposition strongly passed every single county in Missouri with 78.99 percent voting in favor as the minimum wage was increased to $6.50 an hour in the state. During the same election, voters in five other states also strongly approved increases in the minimum wage.