Wheeler County, Oregon

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Wheeler County, Oregon
Fossil, Oregon Courthouse.jpg
Wheeler County Courthouse in Fossil
Map of Oregon highlighting Wheeler County
Location in the U.S. state of Oregon
Map of the United States highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location in the U.S.
Founded February 17, 1899
Seat Fossil
Largest city Fossil
 • Total 1,715 sq mi (4,442 km2)
 • Land 1,715 sq mi (4,442 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1 km2), 0.03%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 1,375
 • Density 0.8/sq mi (0/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7
Website www.wheelercountyoregon.com
  U.S. Forest Service land
  Bureau of Land Management land
  National Park Service land
  Wilderness area

Wheeler County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,441,[1] making it the least populous county in Oregon. The county seat is Fossil.[2] It is named in honor of Henry H. Wheeler,[3] an early settler who owned a farm near Mitchell.

Wheeler County is known for having a large deposit of fossils, the most extensive in the state.


Wheeler County was created on February 17, 1899, from parts of Grant, Gilliam, and Crook Counties. There have been no boundary changes since its creation. Fossil was designated the temporary county seat at the time of the county's creation. In 1900 there was an election to determine the permanent county seat between the three towns of the county, which ended with Fossil winning the election.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,715 square miles (4,440 km2), of which 1,715 square miles (4,440 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (0.03%) is water.[4]

Adjacent counties

National Protected Areas

Major highway


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 2,443
1910 2,484 1.7%
1920 2,791 12.4%
1930 2,799 0.3%
1940 2,974 6.3%
1950 3,313 11.4%
1960 2,722 −17.8%
1970 1,849 −32.1%
1980 1,513 −18.2%
1990 1,396 −7.7%
2000 1,547 10.8%
2010 1,441 −6.9%
Est. 2014 1,375 [5] −4.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2014[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 1,547 people, 653 households, and 444 families residing in the county. The population density was 1 people per square mile (0/km²). There were 842 housing units at an average density of 0 per square mile (0/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.34% White, 0.06% Black or African American, 0.84% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.49% from other races, and 1.94% from two or more races. 5.11% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 20.6% were of German, 18.0% English, 13.6% American, 8.2% Irish and 6.9% Scottish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 653 households out of which 21.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.20% were married couples living together, 4.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.90% were non-families. 27.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.76.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.70% under the age of 18, 3.40% from 18 to 24, 19.30% from 25 to 44, 31.40% from 45 to 64, and 23.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 102.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,750, and the median income for a family was $34,048. Males had a median income of $29,688 versus $22,361 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,884. About 12.70% of families and 15.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.20% of those under age 18 and 4.20% of those age 65 or over.


Though Wheeler County is located in central Oregon, politically it falls in line with the eastern side of the state. The majority of registered voters who are part of a political party in Wheeler County, as well as most counties in eastern Oregon, are members of the Republican Party.[11] In the 2008 presidential election, 61.33% of Wheeler County voters voted for Republican John McCain, while 34.61% voted for Democrat Barack Obama and 4.06% of voters either voted for a Third Party candidate or wrote in a candidate.[12] These numbers show a small but clear shift towards the Democratic candidate when compared to the 2004 presidential election, in which 69.5% of Wheeler Country voters voted for George W. Bush, while 27.8% voted for John Kerry, and 2.7% of voters either voted for a Third Party candidate or wrote in a candidate.[13]



Principal industries in this county are agriculture, livestock, and lumber.



Unincorporated communities

Ghost town

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 15, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. http://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Page:Centennial_History_of_Oregon_1811-1912,_Volume_1.djvu/706&action=edit&redlink=1
  4. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 28, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 28, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 28, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 28, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/votreg/mar09.pdf Retrieved on 4/20/09
  12. http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/statesub.php?year=2008&fips=41069&f=0&off=0&elect=0 retrieved 4/20/09
  13. http://www.city-data.com/county/Wheeler_County-OR.html Retrieved on 4/21/09

External links

Media related to Wheeler County, Oregon at Wikimedia Commons

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