On March 23, 1850, the Ohio government authorized the creation of Vinton County. Residents named the county after Samuel Finley Vinton, a member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio.
Vinton County is located in southeastern Ohio. It is predominantly rural, with just six percent of the county s 414 square miles consisting of urban areas. It is in Appalachia. With a population of 1,888 people, McArthur, the county seat, was the county s largest community in 2000. Vinton County experienced a sizable increase in population—15.4 percent—between 1990 and 2000, raising the total number of residents to 12,806 people. Many residents of Ohio s rural communities are seeking better lives and more opportunities in the state s cities, but Vinton County is growing in population. Still, Vinton County has the smallest population of all of Ohio s eighty-eight counties. Vinton County averages thirty-one people per square miles.
Farming is the primary occupation of Vinton County residents. The second largest employer in Vinton County is the government, with manufacturing businesses a close third. During the late nineteenth century, iron ore and coal mining were major businesses in the county. In 1999, the per capita income in the county was 16,423 dollars. Almost nineteen percent of the people lived in poverty.
Most voters in Vinton County claim to be independents, yet in recent years, they have overwhelmingly supported Republican Party candidates at the national level.