Benton County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. The county was named after Thomas Hart Benton, a U.S. senator who advocated U.S. control over the Oregon Country. In 2000, the county's population was 78,153. It is coextensive with the Corvallis Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat is Corvallis.
There were 30,145 households out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.40% were married couples living together, 7.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.50% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.70% 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 2.95.
In the county, the population was spread out with 21.30% under the age of 18, 20.20% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 21.40% from 45 to 64, and 10.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 99.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $41,897, and the median income for a family was $56,319. Males had a median income of $42,018 versus $29,795 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,868. About 6.80% of families and 14.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.60% of those under age 18 and 4.90% of those age 65 or over.
Benton County has the lowest church attendance per capita of any county in the nation (25% attendance).
At that time, the boundaries began at the intersection of Polk County and the Willamette River, extended south as far as the California border and as far west as the Pacific Ocean. Later, portions of Benton County were taken to form Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Lane and Lincoln Counties, leaving Benton County in its present form.
The city of Marysville, later renamed Corvallis, was made the county seat in 1851. In 1862 Corvallis became the site of the Oregon State Agricultural College, known today as Oregon State University.
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