CHICOT County, AR
Chicot County is a county located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,800. The county seat is Lake Village. Chicot County is Arkansas's 10th county, formed on October 25, 1823, and named after Point Chicot on the Mississippi River. It is part of the Arkansas Delta, lowlands along the river that have been historically important as an area for large-scale cotton cultivation.
Also notably the center of a nationally recognized court battle over property rights. Wier vs United States resulted in a 950-acre farms liquidation for unpaid fines levied against a rice farmer (James Wier) for exceeding his yearly planting quota. Wier ultimately lost his legal battle and his 950-acre property. To this day one of the most controversial legal battles in the nation's history.
Landmarks around the county include Lake Chicot, North America's largest oxbow lake and Arkansas's largest natural lake; the site of Charles Lindbergh's first night-time flight; and the legendary burial site of Hernando De Soto, near Lake Village.
Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto came to this area with his expedition in 1542, settling for a time in the village or territory known as Guachoya. The European-American town of Lake Village later developed in the 19th century at Lake Chicot, formed by an oxbow of the Mississippi River. Eighteenth-century French colonists named it Chicot because of the many cypress trees in the waterways. The word is translated to "stumpy, or knobby".
The area along the Mississippi River and major tributaries was developed as cotton plantations, the major commodity crop before and after the American Civil War of 1861–1865. Enslaved African Americans formed the labor force, comprising a majority of the population in the antebellum years. Major large cotton plantations included Sunnyside (owned in the 20th century by LeRoy Percy, planter and US Senator from Greenville, Mississippi); Florence, Patria, Pastoria, Luna, and Lakeport.
During the war, Union and Confederate forces fought at the Battle of Old River Lake from June 5 to June 6, 1864.
The population of the rural county has declined since its peak in 1940. Earlier in the century, boll weevils threatened the cotton crop, and many African Americans left in the Great Migration for opportunity in northern and midwestern industrial cities. In addition, mechanization of agriculture and consolidation into industrial-style farms has reduced the need for farm labor.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (6.7%) is water.
thumb|left|150px|Age pyramid Chicot County]]
As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 10,208 people, 4,068 households, and 2,636 families residing in the county.
As of the 2010 census, there were 11,800 people living in the county. 54.1% were Black or African American, 41.2% White, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 3.2% of some other race and 0.8 of two or more races. 4.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
As of the 2000 census, there were 14,117 people, 5,205 households, and 3,643 families living in the county. The population density was 22 people per square mile (8/km2). There were 5,974 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 53.96% Black or African American, 43.24% White, 0.13% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. 2.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 5,205 households, out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.70% were married couples living together, 22.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.00% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 27.50% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 26.40% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 15.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $22,024, and the median income for a family was $27,960. Males had a median income of $25,899 versus $17,115 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,825. About 23.10% of families and 28.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.30% of those under age 18 and 20.70% of those age 65 or over.
Since 1940, the population of the county has collapsed. Press reports indicate that in 2013, the largest settlement in the county, Lake Village, Arkansas had two bank branches, two pharmacies, some law firms, two dollar stores, a grocery store, and no retail shops.
The county voters have traditionally supported the Democratic Party. In the 20th century, the only Democratic presidential candidate to lose the county was George McGovern in 1972. From the turn of the century until the mid-1960s and passage of federal civil rights legislation, the Democratic Party in Arkansas was largely made up of conservative whites, as blacks had been essentially disfranchised in Arkansas. Given national Democratic support for the civil rights struggle and the Voting Rights Act and other legislation, especially by President Lyndon B. Johnson, many blacks have supported the party and its candidates since regaining the power to exercise the franchise.
White voters in the county have trended toward the Republican presidential candidates since the 1980s, but none received more than 42 percent of the vote in any of the last five Presidential elections until Donald Trump in 2020. The Republican Party's strong opposition to the Democrats' increasing national social liberalism has led to a vicious rightward shift in Appalachian and white rural Southern areas, Arkansas being chief among them, but Chicot County remains fairly safely Democratic.
The county is part of Arkansas's 1st congressional district. In the Arkansas Senate, the county is in District 26 and is represented by Republican Ben Gilmore. In the Arkansas House of Representatives, it is in District 1 and represented by Republican Mark McElroy. The county supported a measure prohibiting "co-habiting couples" from adopting.
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Chicot County, AR, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.