According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,622 km² (626 mi²). 1,287 km² (497 mi²) of it is land and 335 km² (129 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 20.65% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 484,564 people, 181,633 households, and 126,961 families residing in the county. The population density is 376/km² (975/mi²). There are 194,992 housing units at an average density of 151/km² (392/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 66.72% White, 25.33% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.82% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.96% from other races, and 1.85% from two or more races. 12.20% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 181,633 households out of which 32.80% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.70% are married couples living together, 16.60% have a female householder with no husband present, and 30.10% are non-families. 25.80% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.60% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.64 and the average family size is 3.19.
In the county the population is spread out with 26.80% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 13.00% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 92.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $41,829, and the median income for a family is $50,131. Males have a median income of $41,986 versus $26,393 for females. The per capita income for the county is $19,639. 12.20% of the population and 9.70% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 17.80% are under the age of 18 and 8.00% are 65 or older.