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Ohio Counties

There is eighty-eight counties in the state of Ohio. Washington County the oldest in the state established on July 27, 1788. Noble County was formed on March 11, 1851 from portions of Guernsey, Morgan, Monroe and Washington counties. It was the last county to be formed in Ohio and, therefore, represents the youngest county in the state.

Athens County, Ohio

Athens County Education, Geography, and HistoryAthens County, Ohio Courthouse

Athens County is a county located in the southeastern part of the state of Ohio. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 64,757. Its county seat is Athens. The county was formed in 1805 from Washington County. Because the original state university (Ohio University) was founded there in 1804, the town and the county were named for the ancient center of learning, Athens, Greece.

The Athens Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Athens County.

Etymology - Origin of Athens County Name

Athens County was named for Athens, Greece.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Athens County History

Formed on February 20, 1805, Athens County was named for Athens, Greece. Athens County was originally part of Washington County. Ohio University, the earliest institution of higher education in Ohio, was established in Athens in 1804. The county also was home to Ohio's first library, the Coonskin Library, established in 1804.

Athens County is located in the southeastern portion of Ohio and sits squarely in the heart of Appalachia. Its southeastern corner resides on the Ohio River. The county consists of 507 square miles of land, and it is primarily rural, with only 1.4 percent of the county deemed to be urban areas. The county seat is Athens, which is the largest city in the county, with a population of just over 21,300 people in 2000. The county experienced a 4.5 percent population growth between 1995 and 2000, with approximately 62,200 people calling the county home in 2000.

The largest employer in Athens County is the government, principally Ohio University and the county's two state parks and national forest, including Zaleski State Forest, Burr Oak State Park, and Wayne National Forest. The county's next largest employers occur in sales positions and in service industries. In 1995, the per capita was 18,202 dollars, with over nineteen percent of the county's residents living in poverty, one of the highest rates in Ohio.

Most voters in Athens County claim to be independents, yet in recent years, they have overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates at the national level.

Educator William Holmes McGuffey ranks among Athens County's more famous residents.

Athens County Ohio History Central, July 23, 2008,

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 508 square miles (1,320 km2), of which 504 square miles (1,310 km2) is land and 4.8 square miles (12 km2) (1.0%) is water.

Athens County is located in the Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau region of Ohio. It features steep, rugged hills, with typical relief of 150 to 400 feet, deeply dissected by stream valleys, many of them remnant from the ancient Teays River drainage system. Most of Athens County is within the Hocking River watershed, with smaller areas in the Shade River and Raccoon Creek watersheds. The Hocking River joins the Ohio River at the unincorporated village of Hockingport in Athens County.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Perry County (north)
  • Morgan County (northeast)
  • Washington County (east)
  • Wood County, West Virginia (southeast)
  • Meigs County (south)
  • Vinton County (west)
  • Hocking County (northwest)


Colleges and universities

Athens County is home to Hocking College in Nelsonville and Ohio University in the city of Athens.

K-12 schools

The residents of Athens County are served by the five school districts: the Alexander Local School District, Athens City School District, the Federal Hocking Local School District, Nelsonville-York City School District, and the Trimble Local School District.

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