Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois with a population of 60,218 at the 2010 United States Census. Its county seat is Murphysboro, and its most populous city is Carbondale, home to the main campus of Southern Illinois University. The county was incorporated on January 10, 1816 and named for Andrew Jackson. The community of Brownsville served as the fledgling county’s first seat.
According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 602 square miles (1,560 km), of which 584 square miles (1,510 km) is land and 18 square miles (47 km) (3.0%) is water. The average elevation is around 400 feet (120 m), except near the Mississippi River.
The first coal mine in Illinois was opened on the south bank of the Big Muddy River near the present-day Route 127 Bridge.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 60,218 people, 25,538 households, and 12,621 families residing in the county. The population density was 103.1 inhabitants per square mile (39.8/km). There were 28,578 housing units at an average density of 48.9 per square mile (18.9/km). The racial makeup of the county was 77.8% white, 14.3% black or African American, 3.2% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 1.6% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.0% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 26.0% were German, 14.5% were Irish, 10.6% were English, and 5.7% were American.
Of the 25,538 households, 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 50.6% were non-families, and 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.87. The median age was 29.1 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,169 and the median income for a family was $50,787. Males had a median income of $42,747 versus $31,244 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,294. About 17.4% of families and 28.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.1% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.