- Osage County (north)
- Tulsa County (southeast)
- Creek County (south)
- Payne County (southwest)
- Noble County (west)
As of the census2 of 2000, there were 16,612 people, 6,383 households, and 4,748 families residing in the county. The population density was 11/km² (29/mi²). There were 7,464 housing units at an average density of 5/km² (13/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 82.27% White, 0.69% Black or African American, 12.13% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.24% from other races, and 4.42% from two or more races. 1.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,383 households out of which 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.60% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.60% were non-families. 22.80% 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 2.58 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the county, the population was spread out with 26.50% under the age of 18, 7.30% from 18 to 24, 26.20% from 25 to 44, 25.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,661, and the median income for a family was $37,274. Males had a median income of $29,946 versus $21,069 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,261. About 9.60% of families and 13.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.60% of those under age 18 and 13.80% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
The following sites in Pawnee County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
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