“Living
in a small town is like having a large family of rather unconventional
relations.” – Joyce Dennys

I
understand what that phrase means because I’m from the small and rural area of
Logan County, Arkansas. 

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Logan
is approximately 732 square miles with a population of 21,792 (2012) which is
an average of 31.6 people per square mile. 
That is about half of the state average (57) and one third the nation
average (90) (US Census Bureau).  The
average citizen that you’ll meet in Logan is white, married, in their early
forties, is employed, and is most likely part of an agricultural family.

The
population has remained mostly steady over the last century.  The larges differences occur during the war
periods.  There was a significant
increase after WWII ended and a decrease during the Korean and Vietnam
wars.  Since 1980 the population changes
have been minimal (Encyclopedia of AR).

The
demographics (age, race, gender) of the population have not had a notable
change in several decades.  The median
age of county residents is 42.8 years which is only slightly higher than the
state and nation averages (both 37.7 years) (citydata).  A noticeable split in the age categories is
that of those under age 18 and those age 65 and over.  These two groups make up 41.6% of the total
county population.

The
county is predominantly Caucasian (93.4% in 2012) (US Census Bureau).  Minority races compose only 6.5% of the
population, and the few remaining people identified themselves as two or more
races.  The number of white citizens has
not dropped below 87% since the county was founded in 1871 (Logan County
Facts).  Minority races have continued to
be firm for over more than five decades. 
The most significant change occurred between 2000 and 2010.  The Asian population increased across the
United States, and Logan County saw an increase from 0.1% (2000) to 1.6% (2010)
(US Census Bureau).

The
number of male and female residents are almost equal at 49% (female) to 51%
(male).  They also have the same marital
status category order.  Each is most
likely to be married, followed by single (never married), divorced, and then
widowed (US Census Bureau).

Rural
counties are infamous for having mostly under-educated populations.  Logan is somewhat different in this
demographic.  Although the rates of
achieved education (less than high school to a professional degree) is lower
than national averages, most categories are comparable to the state averages
except for the ratio of citizens who obtained a high school education.  This population who are age 25 and over with
less than a high school education has only a 2.4% increase over the state.
Roughly 83.5% of the same population have at least a high school education
which is only 3.5% lower than the national average and a noticeable 10% above
the state average.  After this point, the
trend is the same as the state. 
Categories from having less than one year of college through obtaining a
professional degree decrease with each higher level of education.  The one oddity I that there is a larger group
of people who have a Bachelor’s degree than any other category of education
after high school.  This seems to be
where the similarities end.  The national
average of US citizens who are high school graduates with a Bachelor’s degree
is about 30%; however, the Arkansas state average is less than half of that and
Logan County is even lower at one-third the national average (US Census
Bureau).

Having
earned an education plays a substantial role in determining employment
opportunities.  Logan County has never
had a high unemployment rate and has always remained less than the state
average since 1959 (citydata) which could be attributed to the fact that most
citizens have earned a high school diploma.

The
US Census Bureau defines an urbanized area as “a population of 50,000 or
more” within a certain territory. 
An urban cluster is “a population of less than 50,000 but more than
2,500,” and a rural population is an area that does not fall into either
of these categories.  Logan County is 0%
urbanized.  To be more specific, 71% of
the country is categorized as rural, and 29% is considered an urban
cluster.  This helps to understand the
information about the county from the Census of Agriculture.  There are 708 square miles of land in the
county which equals 453,120 acres. 
According to the census (2012), there are 197,652 acres of farmland, an
average of 44% of the county.  Logan
County’s agriculture is greatly recognized in the state and nation.  Based on 75 counties of Arkansas and 3,079
counties in the United States, Logan is in the top 5% in the state and top 10%
of the nation in top crop acres.  The
values of production on farms rank in the top 10% of Arkansas and the country.  I believe that this is why 32.1% of occupations
are related to natural resources, production, and maintenance (US Census
Bureau) and that it is part of the reason for education ending at high school
graduation.  Farm families live on land
that has likely been passed down from one generation to the next.  A majority of children growing up in that
environment know that their occupation will be as an adult.  Farming. 
It doesn’t require a college degree; however, about half of those who
obtain a college education earn a degree in specific agriculture or business
agriculture (self-research).

Based
on this information, in all likelihood, people who are born in Logan County
will grow up, go to school, get married, have kids, go to work, and retire in
the same place.