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Smith County, Kansas

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Smith County (standard abbreviation: SM) is a county located in the state of Kansas. As of 2000, the population is 4,536. Its county seat is Smith Center.6 It is named in memory of Maj. J. Nelson Smith, who was part of the 2nd Colorado Cavalry, killed in action at the Battle of the Little Blue, on October 21, 1864.

Contents

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,322 km² (897 mi²). 2,319 km² (895 mi²) of it is land and 3 km² (1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.12% water. The county is divided into 25 townships, each of which is listed below in the subdivisions section of this article.

Geographic features

The geographic center of the 48 contiguous states is located within the county. The geographic center of North America is located in neighboring Osborne County.

The Solomon River runs through the southern part of the county and provides a flat basin and water for irrigated crops.

Major Highways

The only major highway serving the county is U.S. Highway 36, an east/west route traveling through Athol, Kensington, and Smith Center. Kansas state highways K-8, K-9, K-180, and K-281 serve other areas of the county.

Adjacent counties

See also: List of counties in Kansas

Demographics

As of the census² of 2000, there are 4,536 people, 1,953 households, and 1,322 families residing in the county. The population density is 2/km² (5/mi²). There are 2,326 housing units at an average density of 1/km² (3/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 98.79% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.49% from two or more races. 0.73% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 1,953 households out of which 25.60% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.60% are married couples living together, 4.70% have a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% are non-families. 30.20% of all households are made up of individuals and 18.60% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.27 and the average family size is 2.78.

In the county the population is spread out with 21.70% under the age of 18, 4.70% from 18 to 24, 22.10% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 27.90% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 46 years. For every 100 females there are 92.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $28,486, and the median income for a family is $36,951. Males have a median income of $25,089 versus $18,608 for females. The per capita income for the county is $14,983. 10.70% of the population and 8.80% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 12.80% of those under the age of 18 and 9.50% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

The population distribution by township is as follows according to the 2000 census: Banner 54; Beaver 60; Blaine 60; Cedar 619; Center 2,094; Cora 38; Crystal Plains 40; Dor 46; Garfield 33; German 34; Harlan 100; Harvey 130; Houston 206; Lane 134; Lincoln 73; Logan 47; Martin 24; Oak 399; Pawnee 35; Pleasant 34; Swan 42; Valley 75; Washington 63; Webster 47; White Rock 49.

History

The Homestead Act was enacted by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. The first homestead in Smith County was in 1871 and there were 3,800 inhabitants by 1875. The county grew to 15,000 people by 1889. Corn was the main crop at first but drought and grasshopper plagues severely hurt the crops. When hardy winter wheat was introduced to Kansas by Russian settlers, it eventually became the predominant crop in Smith County. The population of the county has slowly declined since 1900 due in large part because of advanced farming techniques that require less human labor.

Dr. Brewster Higley wrote the song "Home on the Range" in the early 1870s. It later became the Kansas State song.

Subdivisions

Cities and towns

Townships

  • Banner
  • Beaver
  • Blaine
  • Cedar
  • Center
  • Cora
  • Crystal Plains
  • Dor
  • Garfield
  • German
  • Harlan
  • Harvey
  • Houston
  • Lane
  • Lincoln
  • Logan
  • Martin
  • Oak
  • Pawnee
  • Pleasant
  • Swan
  • Valley
  • Washington
  • Webster
  • White Rock

Education

Unified school districts

  • Smith Center USD 237
  • West Smith County USD 238

Sources

Regions, Largest cities, and Counties of Kansas Flag of Kansas
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