Cole County is a county in the central part of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 75,990. Its county seat and largest city is Jefferson City, the state capital. The county was organized November 16, 1820 and named after pioneer Captain Stephen Cole, an Indian fighter and pioneer settler, who built Cole’s Fort in Boonville.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 402 square miles (1,040 km), of which 394 square miles (1,020 km) is land and 8.2 square miles (21 km) (2.0%) is water. It is the third-smallest county in Missouri by area.
As of the census of 2000, there were 71,397 people, 27,040 households, and 17,927 families residing in the county. The population density was 182 people per square mile (70/km²). There were 28,915 housing units at an average density of 74 per square mile (29/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 87.06% White, 9.92% Black or African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.88% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.54% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. Approximately 1.28% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 40.1% were of German, 13.6% American, 7.8% English and 6.9% Irish ancestry.
There were 27,040 households out of which 33.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.00% were married couples living together, 10.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.70% were non-families. 28.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.20% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 32.30% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 11.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $42,924, and the median income for a family was $53,416. Males had a median income of $33,769 versus $25,189 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,739. About 5.80% of families and 8.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.50% of those under age 18 and 7.30% of those age 65 or over.