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Owyhee County, Idaho
Seal of Owyhee County, Idaho
Map of Idaho highlighting Owyhee County
Location in the state of Idaho
Map of the U.S. highlighting Idaho
Idaho's location in the U.S.
Founded December 31, 1863
Seat Murphy
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

7,697 sq mi (19,934 km²)
7,679 sq mi (19,886 km²)
19 sq mi (48 km²), 0.24%
 - (2000)
 - Density


Owyhee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Idaho. In area it is the next to largest county in Idaho, second only to Idaho County. As of the 2000 Census the county had a population of 10,644 (2005 estimate: 11,073) [1]. The county seat is Murphy6. Homedale is the county's largest city.

Previous county seats were Ruby City (1863-1867) and Silver City (1867-1934).

Owyhee County is part of the Boise City-Nampa, ID Metropolitan Statistical Area.


On December 31, 1863, Owyhee County became the first county organized by the Idaho Territorial Legislature. Nez Perce and Idaho Counties predate Owyhee County as parts of Washington Territory, but they were not recognized by Idaho Territory until February 1864.

Owyhee County originally included present-day Twin Falls, Cassia and Power Counties. It assumed its present boundaries in 1879. "Owyhee" is a corruption of Hawaii, a reference to Hawaiian fur trappers who explored the area in 1819 and 1820.

Owyhee County's history is inextricably linked to the mining boom that dominated Idaho in the second half of the 19th Century. Silver City and Ruby City are among the state's most noteworthy ghost towns from the period. At its height in the 1880s Owyhee County was among the most populated places in Idaho. Today it is among the least populated.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 19,934 km² (7,697 sq mi). 19,886 km² (7,678 sq mi) of it is land and 48 km² (19 sq mi) of it (0.24%) is water.

Adjacent Counties[]


As of the census2 of 2000, there were 10,644 people, 3,710 households, and 2,756 families residing in the county. The population density was 1/km² (1/sq mi). There were 4,452 housing units at an average density of 0/km² (1/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 76.87% White, 0.15% Black or African American, 3.21% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 16.50% from other races, and 2.72% from two or more races. 23.10% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,710 households out of which 37.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.20% were married couples living together, 8.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.70% were non-families. 21.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.35.

In the county the population was spread out with 31.90% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 26.50% from 25 to 44, 20.90% from 45 to 64, and 12.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 109.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,339, and the median income for a family was $32,856. Males had a median income of $25,146 versus $20,718 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,405. About 14.20% of families and 16.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.80% of those under age 18 and 12.10% of those age 65 or over.

Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed in the Owyhee Mountains about 50 miles southwest of Boise.

Cities and towns[]

External links[]

Coordinates: 42°34′N 116°10′W / 42.56, -116.17

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Owyhee County, Idaho. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.