According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,002 km² (387 mi²). 993 km² (383 mi²) of it is land and 10 km² (4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.95% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 26,733 people, 10,992 households, and 7,232 families residing in the county. The population density is 27/km² (70/mi²). There are 12,360 housing units at an average density of 12/km² (32/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 94.14% White, 4.06% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.20% Asian American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 0.97% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 10,992 households out of which 28.90% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.90% are married couples living together, 10.20% have a female householder with no husband present, and 34.20% are non-families. 31.30% of all households are made up of individuals and 16.00% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.32 and the average family size is 2.90.
In the county the population is spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 25.10% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 19.00% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 92.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $28,768, and the median income for a family is $37,295. Males have a median income of $31,131 versus $19,276 for females. The per capita income for the county is $15,590. 14.20% of the population and 10.40% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 18.80% are under the age of 18 and 11.60% are 65 or older.