Perry County was established in 1819.
Perry County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. It was established in 1819, and is named in honor of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry of Rhode Island and the United States Navy. As of 2000 the population was 11,861. Its county seat is Marion.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 724 square miles (1,875 km²), of which 719 square miles (1,863 km²) is land and 5 square miles (12 km²) (0.63%) is water.
Perry County is home to Perry Lakes Park, part of the Talladega National Forest, and the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame located at Judson College.
The Perry County town of Marion was the site of a 1965 killing of Jimmie Lee Jackson, an unarmed black man by a white state trooper, James Bonard Fowler, that sparked the Selma to Montgomery marches. In 2008, the county voted to establish a Barack Obama Day, a legal holiday, every second Monday of November.
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,861 people, 4,333 households, and 3,046 families residing in the county. The population density was 16 people per square mile (6/km²). There were 5,406 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.38% Black or African American, 30.86% White, 0.08% Native American, 0.03% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. Nearly 0.86% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 4,333 households, out of which 33.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.40% were married couples living together, 25.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.70% were non-families. Nearly 27.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63, and the average family size was 3.23.
In the county, the population was spread out with 29.80% under the age of 18, 11.10% from 18 to 24, 23.60% from 25 to 44, 20.70% from 45 to 64, and 14.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $20,200, and the median income for a family was $26,150. Males had a median income of $26,272 versus $16,839 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,948. About 31.20% of families and 35.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 48.90% of those under age 18 and 25.80% of those age 65 or over. Perry County is considered to be the poorest county, in terms of household income, in the state of Alabama.