St. Francois County is a county located in the Lead Belt region in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 65,359. The largest city and county seat is Farmington. The county was officially organized on December 19, 1821. It was named after the St. Francis River. The origin of the river's name is unclear. It might refer to St. Francis of Assisi. Another possibility is that Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit who explored the region in 1673, named the river for the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier. Marquette had spent some time at the mission of St. Francois Xavier before his voyage and, as a Jesuit, was unlikely to have given the river a name honoring the Franciscans. St. Francois County comprises the Farmington, MO Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL Combined Statistical Area.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 455 square miles (1,180 km²), of which 452 square miles (1,170 km²) is land and 2.8 square miles (7.3 km²) (0.6%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 55,641 people, 20,793 households, and 14,659 families residing in the county. The population density was 124 people per square mile (48/km²). There were 24,449 housing units at an average density of 54 per square mile (21/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.14% White, 2.02% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population.
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