Cherokee County (county code CK) is a U.S. county located in Southeast Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 21,603. Its county seat is Columbus, and its most populous city is Baxter Springs. The latter became the first “cow town” in Kansas during the 1870s and the period of cattle drives.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 591 square miles (1,530 km), of which 588 square miles (1,520 km) is land and 3.5 square miles (9.1 km) (0.6%) is water.
As of the 2000 census, there were 22,605 people, 8,875 households, and 6,239 families residing in the county. The population density was 38 people per square mile (15/km²). There were 10,031 housing units at an average density of 17 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.27% White, 0.61% Black or African American, 3.45% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.50% from other races, and 2.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.29% of the population.
There were 8,875 households out of which 32.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.60% were married couples living together, 9.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.70% were non-families. 26.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the county, the population was spread out with 26.50% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 26.90% from 25 to 44, 23.10% from 45 to 64, and 15.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 94.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $30,505, and the median income for a family was $37,284. Males had a median income of $29,045 versus $19,675 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,710. About 11.40% of families and 14.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.40% of those under age 18 and 10.60% of those age 65 or over.