As of the census of 2000, there were 51,979 people, 19,349 households, and 13,911 families residing in the county. The population density was 58 people per square mile (22/kmē). There were 22,310 housing units at an average density of 25 per square mile (10/kmē). The racial makeup of the county was 64.45% White, 32.70% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.07% from other races, and 1.12% from two or more races. 2.25% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 19,349 households out of which 36.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.00% were married couples living together, 17.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.10% were non-families. 24.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the county the population was spread out with 29.60% under the age of 18, 9.90% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 20.80% from 45 to 64, and 12.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 91.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $27,479, and the median income for a family was $32,648. Males had a median income of $29,645 versus $19,782 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,978. About 19.00% of families and 23.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.10% of those under age 18 and 19.80% of those age 65 or over.