is a county
located in the U.S. state
. As of 2000, the population was 37,586. The 2005 Census Estimate placed the population at 42,204. Its county seat
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, the county has a total area of 475 square miles
), of which, 474 square miles (1,227 km²) of it is land and 1 square miles (3 km²) of it (0.25%) is water.
The county was created in 1807 when the citizens of Rutherford County
living south of the Duck River
and the Stones River
successfully petitioned the governor to split Rutherford County into two. The new county was named after Revolutionary War
officer Thomas Bedford
, who was a large landowner in the area. Once the state's largest and most populous county, Bedford County was progressively reduced in size since 1809. Bedford county had one of the highest Confederate enlistments during the civil war in Tennessee. The county was pro-confederate and Shelbyville was a frequent Confederate meeting place. During the civil war the Union frequently tried to take Shelbyville but was met with large Confederate forces. The Army of Tennessee (Confederate) held the town for over two and a half years until The Army of the Tennessee (a Union army named after the Tennessee river) took the town by a force of 12,000. Bedford county has a popular history of racial crimes including lynchings and riots. Shelbyville's population has grown higher in the last ten years due to major manufacturing companies.
Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest was born in Chapel Hill (now in Marshall County) in 1821.
As of the census of 2000, there were 37,586 people, 13,905 households, and 10,345 families residing in the county. The population density was 79 people per square mile (31/km²). There were 14,990 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 86.84% White, 8.48% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.73% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. 7.48% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 13,905 households out of which 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.30% were married couples living together, 11.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.60% were non-families. 21.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the county, the population was spread out with 25.80% under the age of 18, 9.90% from 18 to 24, 29.70% from 25 to 44, 22.00% from 45 to 64, and 12.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $36,729, and the median income for a family was $40,691. Males had a median income of $28,485 versus $20,673 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,698. About 9.70% of families and 13.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.90% of those under age 18 and 17.80% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns