Monroe County is located in the Arkansas Delta in the U.S. state of Arkansas. The county is named for James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States. Created as Arkansas's 20th county on November 2, 1829, Monroe County is home to two incorporated town and three incorporated cities, including Clarendon, the county seat, and Brinkley, the most populous city. The county is also the site of numerous unincorporated communities and ghost towns. Occupying only 621 square miles (161,000 ha), Monroe County is the 22nd smallest county in Arkansas. As of the 2010 Census, the county's population is 8,149 people in 4,455 households. Based on population, the county is the fifth-smallest county of the 75 in Arkansas. Located in the Arkansas Delta, the county is largely flat with fertile soils. Historically covered in forest, bayous, swamps, and grasslands, the area was cleared for agriculture by early European-American settlers who used enslaved African Americans to do the work and to cultivate cotton. It is drained by the Cache River, Bayou DeView, and the White River. Three large protected areas preserve old growth bald cypress forest, sloughs and wildlife habitat in the county: Cache River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Dagmar Wildlife Management Area and White River NWR and provide places for hunting and fishing.
GeographyThe county is located in the Arkansas Delta, one of the six primary geographic regions of Arkansas. The Arkansas Delta is a subregion of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, which is a flat area consisting of rich, fertile sediment deposits from the Mississippi River between Louisiana and Illinois. Large portions of Monroe County are also within the Grand Prairie, a subdivision of the Arkansas Delta known today for rice farming and aquaculture. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 621 square miles (1,610 km²), of which 607 square miles (1,570 km²) is land and 14 square miles (36 km²) (2.3%) is water.
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 10,254 people, 4,105 households, and 2,733 families residing in the county. The population density was 17 people per square mile (7/km²). There were 5,067 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 59.37% White, 38.79% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.26% from other races, and 1.14% from two or more races. 1.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 4,105 households out of which 29.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.10% were married couples living together, 16.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.40% were non-families. 30.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.07.
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