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Baker County, Oregon

Baker County is a county located in the U.S. State of Oregon. It is named for Edward Dickinson Baker[?], a senator from Oregon who was killed at Balls Bluff[?], a battle of the American Civil War. As of 2000, the population is 16,741.

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Economy Gold mining was the original impetus for settlement in the area, and at one time the county was the largest gold producer in the Northwest. With the exhaustion of the gold fields, agriculture, stock raising, logging became the primary economic pursuits. In recent years, tourism has also contributed to the local economy, helped by attractions that include the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, the Hells Canyon Recreation Area, and Anthony Lakes Ski Resort. The Oregon Trail Interpretative Center has drawn numerous visitors since its opening in 1993.

History Before 1861, the the majority of immigrants only paused in the area on their way to the Willamette Valley, unaware of the potential wealth they passed over. In that year gold was discovered and Baker County became one of the Northwest's largest gold producers.

On September 22 of the following year, the state legislature created Baker County from the eastern part of Wasco County. Later, Union County and Malheur County were created from this county. The boundaries were adjusted for the last time in 1901 when the area between the Powder River[?] and the Wallowa Mountains[?] was returned to Baker County.

The original county seat was at Auburn[?]. While at first a booming mining town with 5,000 inhabitants, once the gold was mined out Auburn's population dwindled, and county citizens eventually voted in 1868 to make Baker City, incorporated in 1874, the new county seat.

Geography According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 7,999 km² (3,088 mi²). 7,946 km² (3,068 mi²) of it is land and 53 km² (20 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.66% water.

Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 16,741 people, 6,883 households, and 4,680 families residing in the county. The population density is 2/km² (6/mi²). There are 8,402 housing units at an average density of 1/km² (3/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 95.68% White, 0.23% African American, 1.09% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.92% from other races, and 1.65% from two or more races. 2.34% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 6,883 households out of which 28.00% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.20% are married couples living together, 8.60% have a female householder with no husband present, and 32.00% are non-families. 27.80% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.40% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.37 and the average family size is 2.87.

In the county, the population is spread out with 24.20% under the age of 18, 5.80% from 18 to 24, 23.60% from 25 to 44, 27.30% from 45 to 64, and 19.00% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 43 years. For every 100 females there are 98.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 95.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $30,367, and the median income for a family is $36,106. Males have a median income of $27,133 versus $20,480 for females. The per capita income for the county is $15,612. 14.70% of the population and 10.10% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 18.80% are under the age of 18 and 12.40% are 65 or older.

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