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The town of Sumner owes much of its existence to Joseph Burton Sumner. He was the founder and the very first mayor of the town. He first moved to the area from Alabama in 1872. He donated some land to a railoroad company, before becoming the postmaster. He was the first elected mayor of the town. He later moved to Arkansas.
As of the census of 2000, there are 407 people, 148 households, and 105 families residing in the town. The population density is 280.6/km² (726.5/mi²). There are 158 housing units at an average density of 108.9/km² (282.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 57.99% White, 39.07% African American, 0.00% Native American, 2.21% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.00% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. 0.25% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 148 households out of which 31.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.3% are married couples living together, 20.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% are non-families. 23.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.67 and the average family size is 3.14.
In the town the population is spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 86.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town is $25,000, and the median income for a family is $35,208. Males have a median income of $40,625 versus $15,000 for females. The per capita income for the town is $20,056. 37.2% of the population and 25.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 48.9% are under the age of 18 and 29.7% are 65 or older.