According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 639 km² (247 mi²). 624 km² (241 mi²) of it is land and 14 km² (5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.23% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 16,800 people, 6,847 households, and 4,697 families residing in the county. The population density is 27/km² (70/mi²). There are 7,754 housing units at an average density of 12/km² (32/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 90.88% White, 7.16% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.37% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.57% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. 0.95% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 6,847 households out of which 31.30% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% are married couples living together, 11.10% have a female householder with no husband present, and 31.40% are non-families. 27.60% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.80% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.41 and the average family size is 2.92.
In the county the population is spread out with 24.10% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 28.50% from 25 to 44, 23.90% from 45 to 64, and 15.50% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 93.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $30,195, and the median income for a family is $37,257. Males have a median income of $30,718 versus $21,216 for females. The per capita income for the county is $16,589. 16.80% of the population and 12.90% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 23.60% are under the age of 18 and 13.70% are 65 or older.