Ford County Courthouse in Paxton
Location within the U.S. state of Illinois
Illinois's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Thomas Ford|
|o Total||486 sq mi (1,260 km2)|
|o Land||486 sq mi (1,260 km2)|
|o Water||0.6 sq mi (2 km2) 0.1%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||29/sq mi (11/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|Congressional districts||15th, 16th|
Ford County was formed February 17, 1859. It was the last of Illinois's 102 counties to be formed, and was created at the behest of some residents of Vermilion County, who complained to the General Assembly that they lived too far from the county seat. Ford County was named after Thomas Ford, the Governor of Illinois from 1842 to 1846.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Paxton have ranged from a low of 14 °F (-10 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of -25 °F (-32 °C) was recorded in January 1999 and a record high of 102 °F (39 °C) was recorded in June 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.40 inches (36 mm) in February to 4.38 inches (111 mm) in May.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 14,081 people, 5,676 households, and 3,798 families living in the county. The population density was 29.0 inhabitants per square mile (11.2/km2). There were 6,282 housing units at an average density of 12.9 per square mile (5.0/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.1% white, 0.6% black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.1% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 35.7% were German, 15.5% were Irish, 13.6% were American, and 10.4% were English.
Of the 5,676 households, 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.1% were non-families, and 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.95. The median age was 42.4 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $48,667 and the median income for a family was $62,819. Males had a median income of $43,849 versus $30,136 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,401. About 5.4% of families and 8.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.3% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.
Ford County is one of the state's most consistently Republican counties; since its 1859 organization it has voted for Republican presidential candidates in all but two elections. In 1912, the GOP was mortally divided and Progressive Theodore Roosevelt carried the county over the more conservative official nominee William Howard Taft; in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt in the first of his four campaigns became and has remained the only Democrat to carry Ford County. Since 1968 no Democratic presidential candidate has topped 36% of the county's vote, and since the county first formed only three Democrats - all in landslide national victories - have managed 40% of Ford County's votes.
The Libertarian Party has performed well enough in recent elections to gain "established party" status, making it easier for Libertarian candidates to appear on the ballot. Ford is the only county in Illinois where this is the case.
President Gerald Ford visited Ford County on October 24, 1974, to mark the retirement of Congressman Leslie C. Arends of Melvin who served in Congress for 40 years, including over 30 years as Republican Minority Whip.