Benton County is a county within the Northwest Arkansas region with a culture, economy, and history that have transitioned from rural and agricultural to suburban and white collar since the growth of Walmart, which is headquartered in Benton County. Created as Arkansas's 35th county on September 30, 1836, Benton County contains thirteen incorporated municipalities, including Bentonville, the county seat, and Rogers, the most populous city. The county was named after Thomas Hart Benton, a U.S. Senator from Missouri influential in Arkansas statehood.
The county is located within the gently rolling terrain of the Springfield Plateau, a subset of the Ozark Mountains. Much of eastern Benton County is located along Beaver Lake, a reservoir of the White River. The county contains three protected areas: Logan Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Pea Ridge National Military Park, and Devil's Eyebrow Natural Area, as well as parts of the Ozark National Forest, Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area, and two state wildlife management areas. Other historical features such as log cabins, one-room school houses, community centers, and museums describe the history and culture of Benton County.
Benton County occupies 884.86 square miles (229,180 ha) and contained a population of 284,333 people in 100,749 households as of the 2020 Census, ranking it tenth in size and second in population among the state's 75 counties. The economy is heavily influenced by the presence of Walmart and the hundreds of associated businesses, with agriculture, tourism, and construction also important sectors. Benton County has the highest median household income in the state, slightly above the national median.
Benton County was created from Washington County by the 1st Arkansas General Assembly on September 30, 1836. Created shortly after statehood, it was named for Thomas Hart Benton, a U.S. Senator from Missouri influential in Arkansas's statehood. Early white settlements were established at Maysville and Cross Hollow, but a new centrally located community was laid out, named Bentonville, and designated as county seat.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 884 square miles (2,290 km2), of which 847 square miles (2,190 km2) is land and 37 square miles (96 km2) (4.1%) is water. Most of the water is in Beaver Lake.
- Barry County, Missouri (north)
- Carroll County (east)
- Madison County (southeast)
- Washington County (south)
- Adair County, Oklahoma (southwest)
- Delaware County, Oklahoma (west)
- McDonald County, Missouri (northwest)
National protected areas
State protected areas
- Beaver Lake Wildlife Management Area
- Hobbs State Park - Conservation Area
- Wedington Wildlife Management Area
|U.S. Decennial Census|
1990–2000 2010–2020 2020
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 153,406 people, 58,212 households, and 43,484 families residing in the county. The population density was 181 inhabitants per square mile (70/km2). There were 64,281 housing units at an average density of 76 per square mile (29/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 90.87% White, 0.41% Black or African American, 1.65% Native American, 1.09% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 4.08% from other races, and 1.82% from two or more races. 8.78% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of 2005 estimates, Benton County's population was 81.7% non-Hispanic white, while the percentage of Latinos grew by 60 percent in the time period. 1.1% of the population was African-American; 1.6% was Native American (the historical presence of the Cherokee Indians live in close proximity to Oklahoma); 1.7% was Asian (there was a large influx of Filipinos, Vietnamese and South Asian immigrants in recent decades) and 0.2% of the population was Pacific Islander. 1.6% reported two or more races, usually not black-white due to a minuscule African-American population. 12.8% was Latino, but the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce believed the official estimate is underreported and Latinos could well be 20 percent of the population.
There were 58,212 households, out of which 34.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.00% were married couples living together, 8.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.30% were non-families. 21.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.60% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 29.40% from 25 to 44, 21.10% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $40,281, and the median income for a family was $45,235. Males had a median income of $30,327 versus $22,469 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,377. About 7.30% of families and 10.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.80% of those under age 18 and 7.30% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 census, the county population was 221,339. The racial makeup of the county was 76.18% Non-Hispanic white, 1.27% Black or African American, 1.69% Native American, 2.85% Asian, 0.30% Pacific Islander. 15.49% of the population was Hispanic or Latino.
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||4,523||1.59%|
|Hispanic or Latino||50,540||17.61%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 284,333 people, 100,749 households, and 72,399 families residing in the county.
After the end of nationwide alcohol prohibition in 1933, Benton County voters voted that year to stay dry and voted twice in 1944 to stay dry. In 2012, Benton County voters elected to make the county wet, going from an alcohol prohibition county to allowing countywide retail alcohol sales.
- Walmart corporate headquarters is located in Bentonville.
- Daisy Outdoor Products, known for its air rifles, is headquartered in Rogers.
- JB Hunt Transport Services corporate headquarters is located in Lowell.
- Tyson Foods, based in Springdale, has a distribution center located in Rogers.
- Simmons Foods, a major supplier of poultry, pet, and animal nutrition products is based in Siloam Springs.
- America's Car-Mart, one of the largest American publicly held automotive retailers, is based in Rogers.
- Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) is located near Highfill.
- Rogers Municipal Airport (ROG) serves the county and surrounding communities.
The Arkansas and Missouri Railroad parallels US Highways 62 and 71 in the county.
Like all of the conservative Bible Belt of the Ozarks and Ouachitas, Benton County is strongly Republican; however, it has been such for longer than most of the region. It voted Republican in 1928 and 1944, and the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry the county was Harry S. Truman in 1948. Along with nearby Sebastian County it was one of the few counties in Arkansas to resist the appeal of southern “favorite sons” Lyndon B. Johnson, George Wallace, Jimmy Carter, and Arkansas governor Bill Clinton.[a] Indeed, Carter is the last Democrat to win even 40 percent of the county's vote; Clinton did no better than 37.5 percent.
In Benton County, voters have supported the GOP in the last eighteen presidential elections.
Note: Most Arkansas counties have names for their townships. Benton County, however, has numbers instead of names.
Townships in Arkansas are the divisions of a county. Each township includes unincorporated areas; some may have incorporated cities or towns within part of their boundaries. Arkansas townships have limited purposes in modern times. However, the United States census does list Arkansas population based on townships (sometimes referred to as "county subdivisions" or "minor civil divisions"). Townships are also of value for historical purposes in terms of genealogical research. Each town or city is within one or more townships in an Arkansas county based on census maps and publications. The townships of Benton County are listed below; listed in parentheses are the cities, towns, and/or census-designated places that are fully or partially inside the township.
|Township||FIPS code||ANSI code
|Township 1||05-93626||01989186||all of: Garfield, Gateway, Lost Bridge Village, Prairie Creek; parts of: Avoca, Rogers||13,223||113.79||43.93||130.964||339.2||116.205||301.0||14.759||38.23|
|Township 2||05-93628||01989194||small parts of: Lowell, Rogers, Springdale||14,279||150.33||58.04||111.844||289.7||94.984||246.0||16.860||43.67|
|Township 3||05-93630||01989187||parts of: Lowell, Rogers, Springdale; most of Bethel Heights||20,037||1,903.93||735.03||10.572||27.38||10.524||27.26||0.048||0.1243|
|Township 4||05-93632||01989188||all of Cave Springs ; most of the following: Lowell, Rogers, Springdale (within Benton County); small parts of Elm Springs||25,596||518.70||200.28||49.693||128.7||49.346||127.8||0.347||0.8987|
|Township 5||05-93634||01989189||part of Rogers||12,792||2,873.32||1,109.45||4.460||11.55||4.452||11.53||0.008||0.02072|
|Township 6||05-93636||01989190||most of Little Flock; almost half of Avoca; small parts of Bentonville, Pea Ridge, Rogers||14,033||671.18||259.15||20.929||54.21||20.908||54.15||0.021||0.05439|
|Township 7||05-93638||01989191||most of Pea Ridge; part of Bella Vista; small part of Bentonville||20,317||331.80||128.10||61.597||159.5||61.233||158.6||0.364||0.9428|
|Township 8||05-93640||01989192||part of Bentonville||12,637||1,575.69||608.43||8.028||20.79||8.020||20.77||0.008||0.02072|
|Township 9||05-93642||01989193||most of: Bentonville, Centerton; small part of Highfill||31,362||638.18||246.36||49.497||128.2||49.143||127.3||0.354||0.9169|
|Township 10||05-93644||01989195||most of: Bella Vista, Hiwasse||16,402||385.73||148.97||43.848||113.6||42.522||110.1||1.326||3.434|
|Township 11||05-93645||01989196||all of: Cherokee City, Decatur, Gravette, Maysville, Sulphur Springs; small parts of: Centerton, Highfill, Hiwasse||12,273||59.13||22.83||207.804||538.2||207.558||537.6||0.246||0.6371|
|Township 12||05-93646||01989197||most of Gentry; more than half of Siloam Springs||15,158||361.65||139.58||43.028||111.4||41.913||108.6||1.115||2.888|
|Township 13||05-93647||01989198||all of Springtown; most of Highfill; small parts of: Elm Springs, Gentry, Springdale||13,230||94.13||36.35||141.642||366.9||140.548||364.0||1.094||2.833|
|Source: "Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files: County Subdivisions in Arkansas". U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division. Archived from the original on May 31, 2014.
Source: "Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files". U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division.
School districts include:
- List of lakes in Benton County, Arkansas
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Benton County, Arkansas
- "2020 Census Data". data.census.gov.
- "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Benton County, Arkansas". www.census.gov. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
- Bureau, US Census. "Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020". Census.gov. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
- Daniels, Charlie (2002). The 1868 Report: A Collection of Historical Documents from Arkansas's First Land Commissioner. Little Rock: Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands. p. 27. ISBN 9781563118333. LCCN 2002111524. OCLC 57004142.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
- Based on 2000 census data
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- "Benton County QuickFacts from the U. S. Census Bureau". Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
- "Population estimates, July 1, 2015, (V2015)". www.census.gov. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
- "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
- "Prohibition and Moonshine in Benton County". Vintage Bentonville. Retrieved July 19, 2023.
- "Jordan wins in Fayetteville, Benton County goes wet". Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
Benton County voters overwhelmingly approved of countywide retail alcohol sales, in an effort to keep dollars from flowing north and south where off-premise alcohol is sold. This bold change will wipe away nearly 70 years of 'dry' history.
- Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
- "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved November 18, 2016.
- 2011 Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS): Benton County, AR (PDF) (Map). U. S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- "Arkansas: 2010 Census Block Maps - County Subdivision". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Benton County, AR" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 26, 2022. Retrieved July 31, 2022. - Text list
- Official Website of Benton County, Arkansas
- Benton County Code of Ordinances[permanent dead link]
- County Records Online