As of the census2 of 2000, there were 7,155 people, 2,889 households, and 2,111 families residing in the county. The population density was 26.8/mi². There were 3,344 housing units at an average density of 12.5/mi². The racial makeup of the county was 98.4% White non-Hispanic, 1.1% Black or African American and 0.1% Native American. 0.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In the county the population was spread out with 25.50% under the age of 18, 11.00% from 18 to 24, 23.50% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 16.50% who were 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females there were 103.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $24,411, and the median income for a family was $28,997. The per capita income for the county was $13,559. About 23.90% of families and 37.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 49.80% of those under age 18 and 20.60% of those age 65 or over.
Jay M. Collins (1901-1978), author and essayist, most notable for his short story series God's Country, which takes place in the Chestnut Grove Panhandle.