Polk County, Tennessee

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Polk County, Tennessee
Polk County Courthouse in Benton
Map of Tennessee highlighting Polk County
Location in the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded November 28, 1839
Named for James K. Polk[1]
Seat Benton
Largest town Benton
 • Total 442 sq mi (1,145 km2)
 • Land 435 sq mi (1,127 km2)
 • Water 7.7 sq mi (20 km2), 1.7%
 • (2010) 16,825
 • Density 39/sq mi (15/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.polkgovernment.com

Polk County is a county located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,825.[2] Its county seat is Benton.[3] The county was created November 28, 1839 from parts of Bradley and McMinn counties. The county was named after then-governor (and future president) James K. Polk.

Polk County is included in the Cleveland, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton, TN-GA-AL Combined Statistical Area.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 442 square miles (1,140 km2), of which 435 square miles (1,130 km2) is land and 7.7 square miles (20 km2) (1.7%) is water.[4] The total area is 1.65% water. Located in the extreme southeastern corner of Tennessee, it is the state's only county to share borders with both Georgia and North Carolina.

Much of the terrain of eastern Polk County is mountainous, including Big Frog Mountain, constituting part of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Large tracts of Polk County are part of the Cherokee National Forest. The Ocoee River, site of whitewater slalom events in the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympic Games, runs through Polk County and is vital to one of the county's major industries, whitewater rafting. The calmer Hiwassee River, a tributary of the Tennessee River which flows through northern Polk County, is also used for rafting and tubing.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

State protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 3,570
1850 6,338 77.5%
1860 8,726 37.7%
1870 7,369 −15.6%
1880 7,269 −1.4%
1890 8,361 15.0%
1900 11,357 35.8%
1910 14,116 24.3%
1920 14,243 0.9%
1930 15,686 10.1%
1940 15,473 −1.4%
1950 14,074 −9.0%
1960 12,160 −13.6%
1970 11,669 −4.0%
1980 13,602 16.6%
1990 13,643 0.3%
2000 16,050 17.6%
2010 16,825 4.8%
Est. 2014 16,730 [5] −0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2014[2]
Age pyramid Polk County[10]

As of the census[11] of 2010, there were 16,825 people, 6,653 households, and 4,755 families residing in the county. The population density was 38.7 people per square mile. There were 7,991 housing units at an average density of 18.4 per square mile.

There were 6,653 households out of which 26.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.60% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.30% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.14% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 20 to 24, 10.20% from 25 to 34, 21.60% from 35 to 49, 21.70% from 50-64, and 17.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.5 years.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the county was $29,643, and the median income for a family was $36,370. Males had a median income of $27,703 versus $21,010 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,025. About 9.70% of families and 13.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.80% of those under age 18 and 18.40% of those age 65 or over.


Polk County is home to two high schools, Copper Basin and Polk County. Polk County High School holds one of the most active FFA Chapters in the State. Additionally, the school has won multiple national titles, such as the Future Business Leaders of America Web Development championship.

Polk County's other schools are Benton Elementary, Copper Basin Elementary, and South Polk Elementary, Coalhill Elementary School.




Unincorporated communities

See also

View from the Ocoee Scenic Byway


  1. Marian Bailey Presswood, "Polk County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: 19 March 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 7 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 7 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved 4 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 9 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 9 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (27 March 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 9 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 2 April 2001. Retrieved 9 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Based on 2010 census data
  11. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 14 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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