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Jackson County was created by the Illinois Territorial Legislature in 1816, before Illinois became a state (1818).
Jackson County has many forms of government and taxing districts. For a fuller description of the government and taxing bodies in the county see Jackson County: Elected and Appointed Officials. Here is a brief government description.
According to the 2020 census, the total population of the county is 52,974. There are 24,208 households and the median household income is $39,689.
With an area of 602 square miles, Jackson County is divided into 16 townships roughly the same physical size but differing greatly in population. Each of the 16 townships elects a supervisor, a town clerk, an assessor, a highway commissioner, and a four-member Board of Trustees.
Jackson County is divided by the number of registered voters into multiple precincts. Every 10 years, the county is divided into seven approximately equal electoral districts by combining the precincts.
Each of the seven Districts has two elected representatives who may serve a two or four year term, based on the luck of the draw following the post census election. Thereafter, each representative is elected for a four year staggered term.
The county board develops an annual budget and authorizes monies for the county elected officials’ offices, the judicial system, and the county general expense. It enacts the property tax levy ordinance for the taxes it controls. It is responsible for building and maintaining county roads and bridges. It supervises county ambulance services. It appoints members to county commissions, water districts, and special districts And it passes legislative ordinances affecting country policies and practices.
There are 14 Incorporated villages and cities in Jackson County, each with its own elected officials. Each municipality provides those services demanded by its citizens, which may or may not include fire protection, library services, road repair and construction, and water and sewer services. The largest cities In Jackson County are Carbondale and Murphysboro.
There are eight school districts in Jackson County, of which three are unit districts, four are grade school districts, and one is a high school district. Each school district has an elected board of education consisting of seven members. School district boundaries may cross county lines and have no relationship to city or township lines.