The Suwannee County Courthouse in Live Oak
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
|Founded||December 21, 1858|
|Named for||Suwannee River|
|Largest city||Live Oak|
|o Total||692 sq mi (1,790 km2)|
|o Land||689 sq mi (1,780 km2)|
|o Water||3.7 sq mi (10 km2) 0.5%%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||64/sq mi (25/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
Suwannee County is a county located in the state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,551. Its county seat is Live Oak. Suwannee County was a moist county until August 2011, when the sale of alcoholic beverages became legal in the county.
Suwannee County was created in 1858, as railways were constructed through the area connecting it to Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and points north. It was named after the Suwannee River, which forms the county's northern, western, and much of its southern border. The word "Suwannee" may either be a corruption of the Spanish San Juan ("Saint John") or from the Cherokee sawani ("echo river").
The rural areas supported numerous lumber and turpentine camps. In the 1930s, anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston did research in North Florida timber camps.
As of the census of 2000, there were 34,844 people, 13,460 households, and 9,691 families residing in the county. The population density was 51 people per square mile (20/km²). There were 15,679 housing units at an average density of 23 per square mile (9/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.53% White, 12.11% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.12% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. 4.89% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 13,460 households out of which 29.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.50% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.00% were non-families. 23.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 25.10% from 25 to 44, 25.40% from 45 to 64, and 16.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 95.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $29,963, and the median income for a family was $34,032. Males had a median income of $26,256 versus $21,136 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,678. About 14.80% of families and 18.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.90% of those under age 18 and 12.40% of those age 65 or over.
In March 2016, the county's unemployment rate was 4.8%.
Suwannee County is accessed by air from Suwannee County Airport, located two miles west of Live Oak. It is a publicly operated airport run by the county government that has a paved runway in excess of 4,000 feet, major aircraft maintenance, training, car rental, as well as selling 100LL aviation fuel from a manned FBO. There are also many private airparks scattered throughout the county.
Suwannee County has one surviving railroad line. The primary one is a Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad line formerly owned by CSX, Seaboard System Railroad, Seaboard Coast Line Industries and Seaboard Air Line Railroad that served Amtrak's Sunset Limited until it was truncated to New Orleans in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. Union Depot and Atlantic Coast Line Freight Station was Suwannee County's premiere railroad station on the corner of US 129 & SR 136 in Live Oak, and served both the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and Seaboard Air Line Railroad but has not been in use since the mid-20th Century. Various abandoned lines also exist within the county, one of which was converted into the Suwannee River Greenway Trail, along the southeastern part of the county.