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The county was formed in 1899 from the southeastern part of Richmond County. It was named for Scotland.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 830 km² (321 mi²). 827 km² (319 mi²) of it is land and 4 km² (2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.47% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 35,998 people, 13,399 households, and 9,674 families residing in the county. The population density is 44/km² (113/mi²). There are 14,693 housing units at an average density of 18/km² (46/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 51.49% White, 37.32% Black or African American, 8.88% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 1.33% from two or more races. 1.18% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 13,399 households out of which 34.40% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.10% are married couples living together, 20.40% have a female householder with no husband present, and 27.80% are non-families. 24.40% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.90% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.61 and the average family size is 3.10.
In the county the population is spread out with 28.10% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 27.60% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 11.30% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 88.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 83.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $31,010, and the median income for a family is $39,178. Males have a median income of $31,212 versus $23,172 for females. The per capita income for the county is $15,693. 20.60% of the population and 17.40% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 29.80% are under the age of 18 and 17.20% are 65 or older.