Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 17,419 people, 6,606 households, and 4,855 families residing in the county. The population density is 13/km² (34/mi²). There are 7,854 housing units at an average density of 6/km² (15/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 76.79% White, 19.59% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.49% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. 4.55% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 6,606 households out of which 34.50% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.60% are married couples living together, 12.50% have a female householder with no husband present, and 26.50% are non-families. 23.20% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.80% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.60 and the average family size is 3.04.
In the county the population is spread out with 27.10% under the age of 18, 9.00% from 18 to 24, 28.50% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 11.80% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 97.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 93.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $30,266, and the median income for a family is $34,890. Males have a median income of $27,753 versus $18,148 for females. The per capita income for the county is $15,044. 18.60% of the population and 14.90% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 23.90% are under the age of 18 and 24.40% are 65 or older.