As of the 2000 Census, there were 23,552 people, 7,753 households, and 5,628 families residing in the county. The population density was 30 people per square mile (11/km²). There were 9,490 housing units at an average density of 12 per square mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 71.79% White, 19.96% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 5.93% from other races, and 1.65% from two or more races. 16.08% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Christianity is the number one religion in the county and Hinduism is the second.
There were 7,753 households out of which 34.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.40% were married couples living together, 12.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.40% were non-families. 23.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.80% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 29.80% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 117.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 124.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,280, and the median income for a family was $38,008. Males had a median income of $30,138 versus $21,747 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,368. About 13.80% of families and 16.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.40% of those under age 18 and 18.10% of those age 65 or over.