Howell County Courthouse in West Plains
Location within the U.S. state of Missouri
Missouri's location within the U.S.
|Founded||March 2, 1857|
|Named for||Josiah Howell, pioneer settler|
|Largest city||West Plains|
|• Total||928 sq mi (2,400 km2)|
|• Land||927 sq mi (2,400 km2)|
|• Water||1.1 sq mi (3 km2) 0.1%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||44/sq mi (17/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Howell County is a county located in the southern portion of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 40,400.The largest city and county seat is West Plains. The county was officially organized on March 2, 1851, and is named after Josiah Howell, a pioneer settler in the Howell Valley.
Howell County comprises the West Plains, MO Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Howell County was organized on March 2, 1857, from Oregon County, and is named for Josiah Howell, who made the first settlement in Howell Valley.
The first Circuit Court met in a log cabin one mile east of West Plains, according to an 1876 account. A small, wooden courthouse was built on the square in West Plains in 1859. It was damaged during the Civil War in 1862. The county was reorganized three years later, but all of the county records were destroyed in an 1866 fire. A second courthouse was built in West Plains in 1869. It was a small, three-room, frame building, about 24 by 30 feet.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 928 square miles (2,400 km2), of which 927 square miles (2,400 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) (0.1%) is water. It is the third-largest county in Missouri by land area and fourth-largest by total area.
|U.S. Decennial Census |
As of the census mile (7/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.41% White, 0.31% Black or African American, 0.97% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.28% from other races, and 1.63% from two or more races. Approximately 1.21% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Among the major first ancestries reported in Howell County were 28.3% American, 16.4% German, 12.2% Irish, and 12.1% English.of 2000, there were 37,238 people, 14,762 households, and 10,613 families residing in the county. The population density was 40 people per square mile (16/km2). There were 16,340 housing units at an average density of 18 per square
There were 14,762 households, out of which 32.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.8% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.10% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.0% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,761, and the median income for a family was $38,047. Males had a median income of $22,960 versus $16,968 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,184. About 14.00% of families and 18.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.3% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.
According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2000), Howell County is a part of the Bible Belt with evangelical Protestantism being the majority religion. The most predominant denominations among residents in Howell County who adhere to a religion are Southern Baptists (47.70%), Churches of Christ (8.81%), and Roman Catholics (6.99%).
Of adults 25 years of age and older in Howell County, 73.4% possesses a high school diploma or higher while 10.9% holds a bachelor's degree or higher as their highest educational attainment.
This section needs to be updated.(July 2021)
|Howell County, Missouri|
|Elected countywide officials|
|Circuit Clerk||Cindy Weeks||Republican|
|County Clerk||Dennis K. Von Allmen||Republican|
| Commissioner |
|Mark B. Collins||Republican|
| Commissioner |
| Commissioner |
|Billy D. Sexton||Republican|
|Coroner||James T. "Tim" Cherry||Republican|
|Prosecuting Attorney||Michael P. Hutchings||Republican|
|Public Administrator||Charm L. Eagleman||Republican|
|Sheriff||James M. "Mike" Shannon||Republican|
The Republican Party predominantly controls politics at the local level in Howell County. Republicans hold all elected positions in the county. District 2 (Southern) Commissioner Billy Sexton took office as a Democrat but announced in 2014 he was changing parties and sought re-election as a Republican.
|2016||70.65%12,266||25.68% 4,459||3.67% 637|
|2012||54.23%8,849||42.59% 6,950||3.19% 520|
|2008||45.33% 7,659||52.11%8,804||2.56% 432|
|2004||64.89%10,595||33.48% 5,466||1.63% 267|
|2000||53.51%7,537||44.77% 6,306||1.72% 242|
|1996||51.71%7,030||44.78% 6,087||3.51% 477|
|1992||48.26% 6,401||51.74%6,862||0.00% 0|
|1988||71.70%8,321||27.69% 3,214||0.61% 71|
|1984||70.90%8,476||29.10% 3,479||0.00% 0|
|1980||59.53%6,956||40.32% 4,711||0.15% 18|
|1976||57.07%5,673||42.77% 4,251||0.16% 16|
|1972||61.53%6,296||38.40% 3,929||0.07% 7|
|1968||48.33% 4,605||51.67%4,923||0.00% 0|
|1964||47.58% 4,453||52.42%4,905||0.00% 0|
|1960||64.55%6,166||35.45% 3,386||0.00% 0|
In the Missouri House of Representatives, Howell County is divided into two legislative districts, both of which are represented by Republicans.
|Democratic||Bobby Johnston, Jr.||255||17.57%||+17.57|
All of Howell County is a part of Missouri's 33rd District in the Missouri Senate and is currently represented by Mike Cunningham of Rogersville.
Missouri's two U.S. Senators are Claire McCaskill of Kirkwood and Roy Blunt of Strafford.
All of Howell County is included in Missouri's 8th Congressional District and is currently represented by Jason T. Smith of Salem in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith won a special election on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, to complete the remaining term of former U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson of Cape Girardeau. Emerson announced her resignation a month after being reelected with over 70 percent of the vote in the district. She resigned to become CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative.
|Republican||Jason T. Smith||13,655||80.64%||+19.51|
|Republican||Jason T. Smith||4,742||61.13%||-7.91|
|Republican||Jason T. Smith||2,268||69.04%||-8.16|
|Republican||Jo Ann Emerson||12,456||77.20%|
Howell County is, like several rural counties located in the Ozarks, conservative and strongly Republican at the presidential level. Bill Clinton of neighboring Arkansas was the last Democratic presidential nominee to win Howell County in 1992; he lost the county during his 1996 reelection bid and since then, voters in Howell County have decisively backed Republicans. Controversy occurred during the course of the 2008 presidential campaign over a billboard displayed near West Plains that depicted a picture of then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in a turban. Some were offended by the billboard and deemed it racist.
Like most rural areas throughout Southeast Missouri, voters in Howell County generally adhere to socially and culturally conservative principles which tend to influence their Republican leanings. In 2004, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman—it overwhelmingly won in Howell County with 83.36 percent of the vote. The initiative passed the state with 71 percent of support from voters. In 2006, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research in the state—it failed in Howell County with 57.97 percent voting against the measure. The initiative narrowly passed the state with 51 percent of support from voters as Missouri became one of the first states in the nation to approve embryonic stem cell research. Despite Howell County's longstanding tradition of supporting socially conservative platforms, voters in the county have a penchant for advancing populist causes like increasing the minimum wage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a proposition (Proposition B) to increase the minimum wage in the state to $6.50 an hour—it passed Howell County with 67.79 percent of the vote. The proposition strongly passed every single county in Missouri with 78.99 percent voting in favor. (During the same election, voters in five other states also strongly approved increases in the minimum wage.)
|Howell County, Missouri|
|2008 Republican primary in Missouri|
|John McCain||1,347 (24.76%)|
|Mike Huckabee||2,882 (52.97%)|
|Mitt Romney||793 (14.57%)|
|Ron Paul||356 (6.54%)|
|Howell County, Missouri|
|2008 Democratic primary in Missouri|
|Hillary Clinton||2,307 (64.07%)|
|Barack Obama||1,168 (32.44%)|
|John Edwards (withdrawn)||99 (2.75%)|
In the 2008 Missouri Presidential Primary, voters in Howell County from both political parties supported candidates who finished in second place in the state at large and nationally.
Wright County is a county located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,815. Its county seat is Hartville. The county was officially organized on January 29, 1841, and is named after Silas Wright, a former Congressman, U.S. Senator and Governor of New York. As of 2020, Wright County is the median population center of the 48 contiguous states of the United States.
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Texas County is a county located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 26,008. Its county seat is Houston. The county was organized in 1843 as Ashley County, changing its name in 1845 to Texas, after the Republic of Texas. The 2010 U.S. Census indicates that the county was the center of population for the United States.
Taney County is a county located in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 51,675. Its county seat is Forsyth. It is included in the Branson, Missouri, Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Stone County is a county located in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 32,202. Its county seat is Galena.
Shannon County is a county in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,441. Its county seat is Eminence. The county was officially organized on January 29, 1841, and was named in honor of George F. "Peg-Leg" Shannon, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It is the second-largest county by area in Missouri.
Ripley County is a county in the Ozarks, Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,100. The largest city and county seat is Doniphan. The county was officially organized on January 5, 1833, and is named after Brigadier General Eleazer Wheelock Ripley, a soldier who served with distinction in the War of 1812.
Reynolds County is a county located in the Ozark Foothills Region in the Lead Belt of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,696. Its county seat is Centerville. The county was officially organized on February 25, 1845, and was named in honor of former Governor of Missouri Thomas Reynolds.
Ozark County is a county located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,723. The largest city and county seat is Gainesville. The county was organized as Ozark County, named after the Ozark Mountains, on January 29, 1841. It was renamed Decatur County, after Commodore Stephen Decatur, from 1843 to 1845, after which the name Ozark County was restored.
Oregon County is a county located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,881. Its county seat is Alton. The county was officially organized on February 14, 1845, and was named for the Oregon Territory in the northwestern United States.
Miller County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,748. Its county seat is Tuscumbia. The county was organized February 6, 1837 and named for John Miller, former U.S. Representative and Governor of Missouri.
Jefferson County is located in the eastern portion of the state of Missouri. It is a part of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 218,733, making it the sixth-most populous county in Missouri. Its county seat is Hillsboro. The county was organized in 1818 and named in honor of former president Thomas Jefferson.
Iron County is a county located in the Lead Belt region in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,630. The largest city and county seat is Ironton. Iron County was officially organized on February 17, 1857, and was named after the abundance of iron ore found within its borders.
Greene County is located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, its population was 275,174, making it the fourth most-populous county in Missouri. Its county seat and most-populous city is Springfield. The county was organized in 1833 and is named after American Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene.
Gasconade County is a county located in the east-central portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,222. The county seat has been Hermann since 1842. The county was named after the Gasconade River.
Douglas County is a county located in the south-central portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,684. The county seat and only incorporated community is Ava. The county was officially organized on October 19, 1857, and is named after U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas (D-Illinois) and later Democratic presidential candidate.
Christian County is located in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, its population was 77,422. Its county seat is Ozark. The county was organized in 1859 and is named after William Christian, a Kentucky soldier of the American Revolutionary War.
Cape Girardeau County is a county located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Missouri; its eastern border is formed by the Mississippi River. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 75,674. The county seat is Jackson, the first city in the US to be named in honor of President Andrew Jackson. Officially organized on October 1, 1812, the county is named after Ensign Sieur Jean Baptiste de Girardot, an official of the French colonial years. The "cape" in the county's name is named after a former promontory rock overlooking the Mississippi River; this feature was demolished during railroad construction.
Camden County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 44,002. Its county seat is Camdenton. The county was organized on January 29, 1841 as Kinderhook County and renamed Camden County in 1843 after Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden, Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom and leader of the British Whig Party.
St. Charles County is in the central eastern part of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 360,485, making it Missouri's third-most populous county. Its county seat is St. Charles. The county was organized October 1, 1812 and named for Saint Charles Borromeo, an Italian cardinal. The county executive is Steve Ehlmann, since January 2007.