Desha County, Arkansas

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Desha County, Arkansas
Desha County Courthouse 001.jpg
Desha County courthouse in Arkansas City
Map of Arkansas highlighting Desha County
Location in the U.S. state of Arkansas
Map of the United States highlighting Arkansas
Arkansas's location in the U.S.
Founded December 12, 1838
Named for Benjamin Desha
Seat Arkansas City
Largest city Dumas
Area
 • Total 820 sq mi (2,124 km2)
 • Land 768 sq mi (1,989 km2)
 • Water 51 sq mi (132 km2), 6.3%
Population (est.)
 • ( 2016) 11,876
 • Density 17/sq mi (7/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/ -5
Website deshacounty.arkansas.gov/index

Desha County /dəˈʃ/ is a county located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of Arkansas, with its eastern border the Mississippi River. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,008. It ranks fifty-sixth of Arkansas's seventy-five counties in terms of population. [1] The county seat is Arkansas City. [2] Located in the Arkansas Delta, Desha County's rivers and fertile soils prosperous for planters under the cotton-based economy of plantation agriculture in the antebellum years and late nineteenth century. Still largely rural, it has suffered population losses and economic decline since the mid-20th century.

But following widespread farm mechanization, Desha County had a demographic and economic transformation. Farm workers left the area because of the lack of work, and there was a decline in population. Farm holdings have been consolidated into industrial style farms and the economy cannot support much activity. In the 21st century, the county is seeking to reverse population and economic losses through better education for its workforce, and developing tourism based on its cultural, historical and outdoor recreation amenities. [3]

History

Desha County was created by the Arkansas Legislature on December 12, 1838, consisting of the lands of Arkansas County separated from the county seat by the Arkansas River and the White River, and land from Chicot County. The county was named for Captain Benjamin Desha, who fought in the War of 1812. [3] [4]

Located in the Arkansas Delta, Desha County's rivers and fertile soils prosperous for planters under the cotton-based slave society of plantation agriculture in the antebellum years. After the Civil War, cotton continued as the primary commodity crop into the early 20th century, and planters did well. Labor was provided by sharecroppers and tenant farmers.

But following widespread farm mechanization, laborers were thrown off the land, and Desha County had a demographic and economic transformation. Thousands of African-American farm workers left the area and went north or west in the Great Migration, and there was a decline in population. Farm holdings have been consolidated into industrial-scale farms, with few governmental benefits for small farmers, and the economy cannot support much activity. In the 21st century, the county is seeking to reverse population and economic losses through better education for its workforce, and developing tourism based on its cultural, historical and outdoor recreation amenities. [3]

During World War II, the federal government established the Rohwer War Relocation Center, an internment camp for Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans it forced out of the coastal area of California and the Pacific Northwest. The camp operated from late 1942 into 1945 and the end of the war, holding up to nearly 8500 ethnic Japanese, many American-born citizens. The Rohwer War Relocation Center Cemetery has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 820 square miles (2,100 km2), of which 768 square miles (1,990 km2) is land and 51 square miles (130 km2) (6.3%) is water. [5] Desha County is within the Arkansas Delta and is considered a member of the Southeast Arkansas region.

Major highways

Adjacent counties

National protected area

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,598
1850 2,911 82.2%
1860 6,459 121.9%
1870 6,125 −5.2%
1880 8,973 46.5%
1890 10,324 15.1%
1900 11,511 11.5%
1910 15,274 32.7%
1920 20,297 32.9%
1930 21,814 7.5%
1940 27,160 24.5%
1950 25,155 −7.4%
1960 20,770 −17.4%
1970 18,761 −9.7%
1980 19,760 5.3%
1990 16,798 −15.0%
2000 15,341 −8.7%
2010 13,008 −15.2%
Est. 2016 11,876 [6] −8.7%
U.S. Decennial Census [7]
1790–1960 [8] 1900–1990 [9]
1990–2000 [10] 2010–2016 [1]
Age pyramid Desha County [11]

As of the 2000 census, [12] there were 15,341 people, 5,922 households, and 4,192 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 6,663 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 50.50% White, 46.33% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.73% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 3.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,922 households out of which 34.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.50% were married couples living together, 19.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.20% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the county, the population was spread out with 28.90% under the age of 18, 9.00% from 18 to 24, 25.20% from 25 to 44, 22.70% from 45 to 64, and 14.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 87.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $24,121, and the median income for a family was $30,028. Males had a median income of $29,623 versus $18,913 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,446. About 23.60% of families and 28.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.60% of those under age 18 and 24.00% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Desha County is traditionally Democratic, and has remained so in recent years even as Arkansas as a whole has shifted to the right.

Desha County vote
by party in presidential elections [13]
Year GOP DNC Others
2016 45.08% 1,919 52.34% 2,228 2.58% 110
2012 42.90% 1,896 55.27% 2,443 1.83% 81
2008 42.73% 1,999 54.92% 2,569 2.35% 110
2004 37.21% 1,729 61.35% 2,851 1.44% 67
2000 35.66% 1,603 61.76% 2,776 2.59% 116
1996 21.48% 978 70.94% 3,230 7.57% 345
1992 22.75% 1,279 67.87% 3,815 9.37% 527
1988 42.94% 2,334 52.60% 2,859 4.45% 242
1984 45.87% 2,696 49.64% 2,918 4.49% 264
1980 34.07% 2,057 62.08% 3,748 3.85% 232
1976 24.50% 1,372 75.50% 4,228
1972 66.92% 3,385 32.92% 1,665 0.16% 8
1968 17.00% 972 39.71% 2,270 43.28% 2,474
1964 36.86% 1,930 62.91% 3,294 0.23% 12
1960 27.01% 1,063 63.57% 2,502 9.43% 371
1956 28.73% 1,204 70.03% 2,935 1.24% 52
1952 24.74% 1,037 75.14% 3,150 0.12% 5
1948 7.68% 233 69.96% 2,122 22.35% 678
1944 13.66% 186 86.27% 1,175 0.07% 1
1940 9.57% 146 89.78% 1,370 0.66% 10
1936 3.75% 55 96.12% 1,411 0.14% 2
1932 4.94% 81 94.51% 1,549 0.55% 9
1928 23.39% 331 76.47% 1,082 0.14% 2
1924 21.55% 209 55.67% 540 22.78% 221
1920 27.40% 360 70.85% 931 1.75% 23
1916 27.77% 369 72.23% 960 0.00% 0
1912 9.63% 52 58.15% 314 32.22% 174
1908 33.21% 263 65.40% 518 1.39% 11
1904 28.57% 82 71.08% 204 0.35% 1
1900 33.27% 168 64.95% 328 1.78% 9
1896 40.50% 290 55.31% 396 4.19% 30

Communities

Cities

Towns

Unincorporated areas

Historic community

Townships

Townships in Desha County, Arkansas as of 2010

Townships in Arkansas are the divisions of a county. Each township includes unincorporated areas; some may have incorporated cities or towns within part of their boundaries. Arkansas townships have limited purposes in modern times. However, the United States Census does list Arkansas population based on townships (sometimes referred to as "county subdivisions" or "minor civil divisions"). Townships are also of value for historical purposes in terms of genealogical research. Each town or city is within one or more townships in an Arkansas county based on census maps and publications. The townships of Desha County are listed below; listed in parentheses are the cities, towns, and/or census-designated places that are fully or partially inside the township. [14] [15]

Notable people


DESHA COUNTY INFORMATION

Desha ... County ...

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