Lolo Jones' parents are James Jones and Lori Counter-Jones. Since she and her mother share the same first name, her mother nicknamed her daughter "Lolo" when she was young.
As she grew up, Lolo's father was in and out of jail, and her mother worked in housekeeping and clerical jobs to support Lolo and her four siblings in Des Moines, Iowa. The family moved from apartment to apartment frequently; at one point, the family lived in the basement of a Salvation Army church. Lolo went to eight different schools in eight years. When her mother moved to Forest City, Iowa, Lolo stayed behind in Des Moines to increase her chances at getting a college scholarship and to pursue her goals in track and field, living with three different families before she went off to college.