Benton, Kentucky

Benton is a U.S. home rule-class city in Marshall County, Kentucky. The current mayor of this city is Rita Dotson. The population was 4,349 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Marshall County.[2]

Benton, Kentucky
Benton in 1939
Location of Benton in Marshall County, Kentucky.
Coordinates: 36°51′19″N 88°21′15″W
CountryUnited States
  Total4.32 sq mi (11.18 km2)
  Land4.26 sq mi (11.04 km2)
  Water0.05 sq mi (0.14 km2)
427 ft (130 m)
  Density1,007.4/sq mi (388.96/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)270 & 364
FIPS code21-05824
GNIS feature ID0486888


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.9 square miles (10 km2), all land.


Benton was named for Thomas Hart Benton, a senator from Missouri.[3]

In 1908, Benton drove its African American residents out of town, becoming a sundown town along with the rest of Marshall County.[4]

On January 23, 2018, a shooting occurred at Marshall County High School, near Benton, resulting in 19 injuries and 2 fatalities.[5][6]


Historical population
Est. 20184,469[1]2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

As of the 2010 Census,[8] there were 4,349 people, 1,809 households, and 1,154 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,007.4 people per square mile (389.0/km²). There were 2,032 housing units at an average density of 470.7 per square mile (181.73/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.4% White (96.4% non-Hispanic), 0.4% African American, 0.1% Native American and Alaska Native, 0.6% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 1,809 households out of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.2% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.84.

The age distribution was 21.5% under 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 21.4% who were 65 or older. The median age was 40.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

Based on 2008–2012 estimates from the American Community Survey, the median income for a household in the city was $42,342, and the median income for a family was $62,500. Among full-time workers, males had a median income of $47,895 versus $29,272 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,959. About 4.5% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.3% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.


Shape note singers gather annually at Benton on the fourth Sunday in May to sing from a tunebook called The Southern Harmony. This event, organized in 1884 and called The Big Singing or Big Singing Day, is considered by many to be the oldest indigenous musical tradition in the United States. Benton is also known for an annual festival called "Tater Day", which attracts residents from all over the Jackson Purchase and involves games, deep fried food, and a parade.


Benton is part of the Marshall County School District. There are 11 schools in the district, not including the technical school that is incorporated with Marshall County High School, the district's only secondary educational institution. For the 2011 to 2012 school year, there were approximately 4,838 students enrolled in the district.[9]

Benton has a lending library, a branch of the Marshall County Public Library.[10]


  1. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. Collins, Lewis (1877). History of Kentucky. p. 543.
  4. "Three Families Last to Leave Benton Arrived Here Last Night; Few Colored Folks Left in Marshall County—How Calvert City Acted Years Ago". The Paducah Evening Sun. Paducah, Kentucky. March 27, 1908. p. 6 via Chronicling America. The women folk of the last three negro families remaining in Benton arrived in Paducah last night to join the men and heads of the families who have been here several days seeking homes. The refugees say that Sallie Pryor and her family, the woman on whose doors the notice for all negroes to leave Benton, comprise the only colored family now in Benton and that she says she intends to stay no matter what the consequences. The exodus of the negroes from Benton and Birmingham takes about all the negroes out of Marshall county, as there have been no refugees in certain sections of the county for many years, having been driven out on other occasions.
  5. Joyce, Kathleen (23 January 2018). "Kentucky school shooting leaves at least one dead and multiple wounded, officials say". Fox News. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  6. "NBC news school shooting update".
  7. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  8. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  9. "Marshall County School District". Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  10. "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on 11 January 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
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