Worth County, Georgia
|Worth County, Georgia|
Worth County courthouse in Sylvester
Location in the U.S. state of Georgia
Georgia's location in the U.S.
|Founded||December 20, 1853|
|• Total||575 sq mi (1,489 km2)|
|• Land||571 sq mi (1,479 km2)|
|• Water||4.1 sq mi (11 km2), 0.7%|
|• Density||38/sq mi (15/km²)|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
The county is called the "Peanut Capital" because of its massive peanut industry.
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Worth County was created from Dooly and Irwin counties on December 20, 1853, by an act of the Georgia General Assembly, becoming Georgia's 106th county. It was named for Major General William J. Worth of New York.
In May, 2017, students at Worth County High School filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Worth County Sheriff after he ordered what the complaint describes as a school-wide drug sweep involving pat-down searches of hundreds of teenagers.
On April 14, Sheriff Jeff Hobby and dozens of deputies came to the high school searching for students in possession of illicit substances. According to the students' legal complaint, they proceeded to go to every classroom and physically search nearly every student present for drugs. The deputies, the lawsuit alleges, used "pat down" searches, with some deputies touching female students' breasts and male students' genitalia.
Tommy Coleman, a lawyer for the district, corroborated the students' account of the search. "I thought the [students'] complaint in the suit very accurately described what happened," he said. "We'd like for it to be resolved in the best interests of these kids."
In the aftermath of the search, the sheriff told local media that the pat-down searches of students were legal because school administrators were present. He also said he believed drugs were present at the school, and that a separate drug search performed several weeks earlier by police from the city of Sylvester had not been thorough enough.
Neither search turned up any illicit drugs, according to Coleman.
In the days after the search, the sheriff's office acknowledged in a news release that at least one deputy had touched students in an inappropriate manner.
J.E., one of the plaintiffs who is being identified only by his initials because he is a minor, said in an interview with The Washington Post that when deputies arrived at his 10th-grade agriculture class, they marched the students out to the hall, lining them up, girls on one side of the hallway and boys on the other. The deputies, J.E. stated, made everyone put their palms on the wall, spread their legs and take their shoes off. J.E. stated that during his search, the deputy put his hands in J.E.'s back pockets and then under his shirt. He then, J.E. stated, rubbed down both of the student's legs from his thighs to his ankles, and back up between them.
"He came up under my privates and then he grabbed my testicles twice," J.E. said in an interview. "I wanted to turn around and tell him to stop touching me. I wanted it to be over and I just wanted to call my dad because I knew something wasn't right."
"I'm not aware of anything like this ever happening in Georgia," Mark Begnaud, one of the students' lawyers, said in an interview. "It's obviously unconstitutional, a textbook definition of police overreach." Coleman, the district lawyer, said the school knew deputies were planning a search that day, but it was unaware that it would involve pat-downs of nearly every student. "I don't think anybody in the school system had any idea that it would be of the nature of what actually happened," Coleman said. "I've been doing this a long time, and I've never heard of anybody doing that kind of thing."
Coleman said the school district did not authorize the pat-downs of the students, adding that school officials lacked the legal authority to challenge the sheriff's actions. "Sheriffs in Georgia have pretty broad authority," Coleman said. "That authority doesn't end at the schoolhouse door." Coleman said that law enforcement officers may on occasion pat down individual students, in the presence of a school administrator, if there is probable cause to believe that the student is in possession of illegal contraband. But he added he doesn't even know if the sheriff had probable cause on the 13 students Coleman said were originally targeted - to say nothing of the hundreds who were not on that list but searched anyway.
Hobby's search included an information blackout while it was going on. The students were required to surrender their cellphones, J.E. said, and parents calling into the school say they were unable to get information about what was happening. Parents were not warned of the search, which lasted four hours, nor were they allowed to contact their children while it was going on. "When I found out about the search, I called the school. I wanted to know what was going on," said Jonathan Luke, the stepfather of a student. "They flat out said we went on a lockdown and we can't give any other details." 
The eastern third of Worth County, from west of State Route 33 heading east, is located in the Little River sub-basin of the Suwannee River basin. The northern third of the county is located in the Middle Flint River sub-basin of the ACF River Basin (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin). A narrow portion of the western edge of Worth County is located in the Lower Flint River sub-basin of the same ACF River basin. Finally, a portion of the southwest of the county, north of Doerun, is located in the Upper Ochlockonee River sub-basin of the larger Ochlockonee River basin.
- Crisp County - north
- Tift County - east
- Turner County - northeast
- Colquitt County - south
- Mitchell County - southwest
- Lee County - northwest
- Dougherty County - west
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2000, there were 21,967 people, 8,106 households, and 6,120 families residing in the county. The population density was 39 people per square mile (15/km²). There were 9,086 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.69% White, 29.57% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.61% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 1.09% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,106 households out of which 36.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the county, the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 23.90% from 45 to 64, and 12% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,384, and the median income for a family was $38,887. Males had a median income of $31,668 versus $20,950 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,856. 18.50% of the population and 14.7% of families were below the poverty line. 25% of those under the age of 18 and 20.2% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 21,679 people, 8,214 households, and 6,032 families residing in the county. The population density was 38.0 inhabitants per square mile (14.7/km2). There were 9,251 housing units at an average density of 16.2 per square mile (6.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 70.3% white, 27.6% black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 16.3% were American, 11.5% were Irish, 7.3% were German, and 6.9% were English.
Of the 8,214 households, 35.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 17.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 26.6% were non-families, and 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.07. The median age was 39.7 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $38,670 and the median income for a family was $46,791. Males had a median income of $35,829 versus $26,690 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,348. About 15.6% of families and 20.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.0% of those under age 18 and 16.7% of those age 65 or over.
- Anderson City
|2016||74.2% 6,152||24.4% 2,020||1.5% 123|
|2012||69.6% 5,869||29.5% 2,487||1.0% 80|
|2008||69.0% 5,780||30.3% 2,542||0.7% 60|
|2004||69.4% 5,105||30.2% 2,219||0.4% 32|
|2000||62.6% 3,792||36.5% 2,214||0.9% 55|
|1996||48.1% 2,752||40.2% 2,300||11.8% 673|
|1992||40.2% 2,344||44.2% 2,578||15.7% 915|
|1988||66.6% 2,668||32.7% 1,311||0.8% 30|
|1984||63.3% 2,910||36.7% 1,685||0.0% 0|
|1980||44.2% 2,076||54.7% 2,567||1.1% 52|
|1976||29.3% 1,156||70.7% 2,790||0.0% 0|
|1972||84.4% 2,942||15.6% 542||0.0% 0|
|1968||13.8% 603||16.5% 720||69.7% 3,049|
|1964||78.6% 3,157||21.5% 862||0.0% 0|
|1960||13.8% 338||86.2% 2,110||0.0% 0|
|1956||12.4% 293||87.6% 2,078||0.0% 0|
|1952||18.3% 444||81.7% 1,986||0.0% 0|
|1948||14.4% 216||77.1% 1,159||8.6% 129|
|1944||16.6% 218||83.4% 1,096||0.0% 0|
|1940||16.8% 190||82.9% 936||0.3% 3|
|1936||10.5% 132||89.4% 1,124||0.1% 1|
|1932||1.7% 38||98.2% 2,269||0.1% 3|
|1928||24.6% 310||75.4% 952||0.0% 0|
|1924||5.5% 40||84.3% 616||10.3% 75|
|1920||25.5% 214||74.5% 626||0.0% 0|
|1916||8.6% 68||87.5% 690||3.9% 31|
|1912||13.1% 77||84.9% 500||2.0% 12|
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission Interactive Mapping Experience". Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
News and media
-  Worthit2u.net Online News Source for Worth County
- Worth County School District
- Historical maps of Worth County
- Worth County Board of Commissioners
- Worth County Sheriff's Office
||Lee County||Crisp County||Turner County|
|Dougherty County||Tift County|
|Mitchell County||Colquitt County|