Cape Girardeau County, Missouri

Cape Girardeau County, Missouri

Cape Girardeau courthouse in Jackson
Map of Missouri highlighting Cape Girardeau County
Location in the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Founded October 1, 1812
Named for Ensign Sieur Jean Baptiste de Girardot (also spelled Girardeau or Girardat) and a rock
Seat Jackson
Largest city Cape Girardeau
  Total 586 sq mi (1,518 km2)
  Land 579 sq mi (1,500 km2)
  Water 7.8 sq mi (20 km2), 1.3
Population (est.)
  (2015) 78,572
  Density 131/sq mi (51/km²)
Congressional district 8th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

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.[1] The county seat is Jackson,[2] 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 Giradot, 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.

Cape Girardeau County is the central hub of the Cape GirardeauJackson, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its largest city is Cape Girardeau.


Cape Girardeau County was organized on October 1, 1812, as one of five original counties in the Missouri Territory after the US made the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. It is named after Ensign Sieur Jean Baptiste de Girardot (also spelled Girardeau or Girardat), a French officer stationed 1704–1720 at Kaskaskia in what the French called the Illinois Country. In 1733 he founded a trading post on the Mississippi River, which developed as the present-day city of Cape Girardeau.[3] The "cape" in the county name was a rock promontory overlooking the Mississippi River and Claire's house; the original cape rock was destroyed by railroad construction.

Jackson, Missouri is the county seat. The first Cape Girardeau County Courthouse was constructed in 1818 by John Davis. This courthouse burned in 1870. The present courthouse in Jackson was completed in 1908 and was designed by P.H. Weathers.

The county is the site of one of the oldest cold cases in the state of Missouri. Bonnie Huffman, a 20-year-old schoolteacher, was found murdered in a ditch just outside Delta on July 2, 1954. Her case was never solved.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 586 square miles (1,520 km2), of which 579 square miles (1,500 km2) is land and 7.8 square miles (20 km2) (1.3%) is water.[4]

The geography of Cape Girardeau County varies greatly. The areas around the towns of Delta and Dutchtown are flood plains, which were cultivated as cotton plantations. Western and northern areas are hilly and forested.

Adjacent counties

Major highways


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201578,572[5]3.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2015[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 68,693 people, 26,980 households, and 17,941 families residing in the county. The population density was 119 people per square mile (46/km²). There were 29,434 housing units at an average density of 51 per square mile (20/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.13% White, 5.28% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.75% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. Approximately 0.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 26,980 households out of which 31.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.80% were married couples living together, 9.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.50% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.40% under the age of 18, 13.40% from 18 to 24, 27.80% from 25 to 44, 21.60% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 93.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,862, and the median income for a family was $58,037. Males had a median income of $32,371 versus $20,833 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,303. About 6.70% of families and 11.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.40% of those under age 18 and 10.10% of those age 65 or over.


According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2010), most residents (76.88%) in Cape Girardeau County adhere to a religion, while 23.12% do not.

Among those who do adhere to a religion, Cape Girardeau County residents' religious affiliations are:

The main religious denominations among all adherents in Cape Girardeau County are:


Of adults 25 years of age and older in Cape Girardeau County, 81.1% possess a high school diploma or higher while 24.2% hold a bachelor's degree as their highest educational attainment.

Public schools

Private schools

Post-secondary education



Since the late 20th century voters at the local level have switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, which is now predominant in Cape Girardeau County. Republicans hold all of the elected positions in the county. The county also has elected Republicans to state and national offices.

Cape Girardeau County, Missouri
Elected countywide officials
Assessor Robert Adams Republican
Circuit Clerk Patti Wibbenmeyer Republican
County Clerk Kara Clark Summers Republican
Collector Diane Diebold Republican
Clint Tracy Republican
(District 1)
Paul Koeper Republican
(District 2)
Charles J. Herbst III Republican
Coroner John Clifton Republican
Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Limbaugh Republican
Public Administrator Lisa Reitzel Republican
Recorder Drew Blattner Republican
Sheriff John D. Jordan Republican
Treasurer Roger L. Hudson Republican


In the Missouri House of Representatives, Cape Girardeau County is divided into two legislative districts, both of which have elected Republicans.

In the Missouri Senate, all of Cape Girardeau County is a part of Missouri’s 27h District and is currently represented by Republican Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau. Wallingford ran unopposed in 2012 and was elected to his first term in the Missouri Senate to succeed fellow Republican Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau. Crowell successfully served two terms/eight years in the Missouri Senate and was ineligible to seek a third term due to term limits.

Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2012 56.02% 19,797 41.56% 14,686 2.43% 857
2008 56.23% 20,672 41.75% 15,348 2.02% 744
2004 65.26% 22,433 33.49% 11,511 1.25% 429
2000 62.50% 18,543 35.36% 10,491 2.14% 635
1996 49.68% 13,781 48.38% 13,422 1.94% 538
1992 54.41% 15,080 45.59% 12,636 0.00% 0
1988 70.08% 17,336 29.50% 7,298 0.42% 104
1984 70.39% 17,299 29.61% 7,276 0.00% 0
1980 66.50% 16,197 33.11% 8,064 0.39% 96
1976 56.62% 13,079 43.35% 10,013 0.03% 7
1972 57.09% 12,656 42.05% 9,322 0.85% 189
1968 37.96% 7,217 62.04% 11,795 0.00% 0
1964 42.74% 8,506 57.26% 11,396 0.00% 0
1960 49.07% 9,384 50.93% 9,739 0.00% 0


Missouri's two U.S. Senators are Democrat Claire McCaskill of Kirkwood and Republican Roy Blunt of Strafford.

McCaskill was reelected to her second term in 2012 with 54.81 percent of the statewide vote over former Republican U.S. Representative W. Todd Akin of Town & Country and Libertarian Jonathan Dine of Riverside; Cape Girardeau County voters, however, supported Akin with approximately 54 percent of the vote.

U.S. Senate - Class I – Cape Girardeau County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican W. Todd Akin 18,913 53.67
Democratic Claire McCaskill 14,390 40.83
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 1,939 5.50

Blunt was elected to his first term in 2010 with 54.23 percent of the statewide vote over former Democratic Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Libertarian Jonathan Dine of Riverside, and Constitutionalist Jerry Beck of Novelty; Cape Girardeau County voters backed Blunt with just over 69 percent of the vote.

U.S. Senate - Class III – Cape Girardeau County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Roy Blunt 18,728 69.08
Democratic Robin Carnahan 7,216 26.62
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 628 2.32
Constitution Jerry Beck 538 1.98

All of Cape Girardeau County is included in Missouri's 8th Congressional District and is currently represented by Republican 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 Republican 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.

U.S. House of Representatives - District 8 - Cape Girardeau County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jo Ann Emerson 26,038 74.00 +8.05
Democratic Jack Rushin 7,445 21.16 -1.67
Libertarian Rick Vandeven 1,704 4.84 +2.89
U.S. House of Representatives - District 8 - Special Election – Cape Girardeau County (2013)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jason T. Smith 6,005 70.10
Democratic Steve Hodges 2,019 23.57
Constitution Doug Enyart 294 3.43
Libertarian Bill Slantz 194 2.26
Write-in Robert W. George 48 0.56
Write-in Thomas Brown 6 0.07

Political culture

Since the mid-1960s, like many other Southern conservative voters, many Cape Girardeau County voters have switched from the Democratic Party to support Republican Party candidates. Lyndon B. Johnson was the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Cape Girardeau County in his landslide election in 1964. Since then, voters in the county have backed the Republican presidential nominees, often by substantial margins.

Like most areas throughout Southeast Missouri, voters in Cape Girardeau County generally adhere to socially and culturally conservative principles which have influenced their shift to Republicans. In 2004, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman—it overwhelmingly passed Cape Girardeau County with 83.19 percent of the vote. The initiative passed the state with 71 percent of support, as Missouri became the first state to ban same-sex marriage. In 2006, Cape Girardeau County voted against a state constitutional amendment to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research, with 63.12 percent opposed. The initiative narrowly passed the state with 51 percent of support, and Missouri became one of the first states to approve such research. Cape Girardeau County’s voters have supported such populist causes as increasing the minimum wage. In 2006, Cape Girardeau County voted to increase the minimum wage to $6.50 with 60.04 percent of the vote. The proposition strongly passed every county in Missouri, with 75.94 percent voting in favor. During the same election, voters in five other states also strongly approved increases in the minimum wage in their states.




Unincorporated communities

See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 270.
  4. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  5. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  6. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  7. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  8. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  9. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2011-05-14.

External links

Coordinates: 37°23′N 89°41′W / 37.38°N 89.68°W / 37.38; -89.68

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