On March 24, 1803, the State of Ohio authorized the creation of Scioto County. Residents took the county's name from a Native American word referring to the deer that were plentiful in the area. Located at the intersection of the Ohio River and the Scioto River, the county grew quickly because of increasing river traffic. Scioto County continued to prosper with the construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal during the 1820s and the 1830s.
Scioto County is located in southern Ohio and its southern border lies on the Ohio River. In 2000, there were 79, 195 people living in the county. Scioto County is part of Appalachia and is predominantly rural, with 1.6 percent of the county's 612 square miles consisting of urban areas. The county seat is Portsmouth. Scioto County experienced a 1.4 per cent decrease in population between 1990 and 2000. The county averages almost 129 people per square mile.
Service industries and retail businesses are the largest employers in Scioto County. Many county residents are employed in government, farming, and manufacturing. One of the county's larger employers is Shawnee State University in Portsmouth. The Southern Ohio Correctional Facility is also located in Scioto County. In 1999, the per capita income in the county was 18,978 dollars, with twenty-one percent of the people living in poverty.
Most voters in Scioto County claim to be independents.
Among other prominent people, cowboy actor Roy Rogers lived in Scioto County for several years.