Geography The county has a total area of 852 km^{2} (329 mi^{2}). 789 km^{2} (305 mi^{2}) of it is land and 63 km^{2} (24 mi^{2}) of it is water. The total area is 7.42% water.
Demographics As of 2000, there are 17,423 people, 6,984 households, and 4,986 families residing in the county. The population density is 22/km^{2} (57/mi^{2}). There are 8,409 housing units at an average density of 11 persons/km^{2} (28 persons/mi^{2}). The racial makeup of the county is 95.58% White, 1.43% African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.62% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. 3.63% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 6,984 households out of which 30.10% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.10% are married couples living together, 11.10% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 28.60% are nonfamilies. 25.50% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.70% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.45 and the average family size is 2.90.
In the county, the population is spread out with 23.30% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 29.30% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 97.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 94.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $30,359, and the median income for a family is $36,920. Males have a median income of $29,483 versus $20,953 for females. The per capita income for the county is $17,217. 17.00% of the population and 11.80% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 20.00% are under the age of 18 and 20.10% are 65 or older.
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