According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 5,206 km² (2,010 mi²). 4,855 km² (1,874 mi²) of it is land and 351 km² (136 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 6.75% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 483,924 people, 187,233 households, and 132,373 families residing in the county. The population density is 100/km² (258/mi²). There are 226,376 housing units at an average density of 47/km² (121/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 79.58% White, 13.54% Black or African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.93% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.82% from other races, and 1.71% from two or more races. 9.49% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 187,233 households out of which 29.00% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.40% are married couples living together, 12.00% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.30% are non-families. 24.10% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.10% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.52 and the average family size is 2.96.
In the county the population is spread out with 24.40% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 26.40% from 25 to 44, 22.50% from 45 to 64, and 18.30% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 96.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 93.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $36,036, and the median income for a family is $41,442. Males have a median income of $31,396 versus $22,406 for females. The per capita income for the county is $18,302. 12.90% of the population and 9.40% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 19.10% are under the age of 18 and 8.10% are 65 or older.
Cities and towns