Jefferson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi; its western border is formed by the Mississippi River. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,726, making it the third-least populous county in Mississippi. Its county seat is Fayette. The county is named for U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. Originally developed as cotton plantations in the antebellum era, the rural county has struggled with a declining economy and reduced population since the mechanization of agriculture and urbanization of other areas. In 2014 its estimated population of 7599 was roughly one-third of the population peak in 1900. Within the United States, in 2009 rural Jefferson County had the highest percentage of African-Americans of any county. It was the fourth-poorest county in the nation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 527 square miles (1,360 km²), of which 520 square miles (1,300 km²) is land and 7.3 square miles (19 km²) (1.4%) is water.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 7,726 people residing in the county. 85.7% were Black or African American, 13.7% White, 0.2% Native American and 0.3% of two or more races. 0.4% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,740 people, 3,308 households, and 2,338 families residing in the county. The population density was 19 people per square mile (7/km²). There were 3,819 housing units at an average density of 7 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 13.06% White, 86.49% Black or African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.02% from other races, and 0.24% from two or more races. 0.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Jefferson County has the highest percentage of black residents of any U.S. county.
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