A quirky Midwestern town, Sharon was until the early 1980s an important industrial center. It has today earned recognition and a small amount of tourist dollars through the somewhat dubious promotion of a number of "world's largest"s, including the "world's largest" shoe store, candy store, bar specializing in chicken wings, off-price fashion store, and American Civil War style plantation not located in the Deep South. Much of this is the brainchild of local entrepreneur James Winner, who also made Sharon famous through his invention of The Club, a very popular auto-theft prevention device.
Sharon is also the home of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
As of the census of 2000, there are 16,328 people, 6,791 households, and 4,190 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,676.7/km² (4,342.6/mi²). There are 7,388 housing units at an average density of 758.6/km² (1,964.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 86.44% White, 10.85% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 2.08% from two or more races. 0.88% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 6,791 households out of which 28.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.7% are married couples living together, 16.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% are non-families. 33.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 15.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.33 and the average family size is 2.97.
In the city the population is spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 88.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 83.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $26,945, and the median income for a family is $34,581. Males have a median income of $30,072 versus $20,988 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,913. 17.6% of the population and 14.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 25.8% are under the age of 18 and 8.8% are 65 or older.