Downtown Millen, 2014
Location in Jenkins County and the state of Georgia
|County||Jenkins (since 1905)|
|Named for||McPherson B. Millen|
|o Total||3.60 sq mi (9.33 km2)|
|o Land||3.58 sq mi (9.27 km2)|
|o Water||0.02 sq mi (0.06 km2)|
|Elevation||167 ft (51 m)|
|o Estimate (2016)||2,889|
|o Density||872/sq mi (336.6/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|o Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0356393|
Millen is a city in, and the county seat of, rural Jenkins County, Georgia, United States. The population was 3,120 at the 2010 census, down from 3,492 at the 2000 census and 3,988 at the 1980 census.
Millen was first settled in 1835 along the border of what was then Burke and Screven counties. It was originally named "79" due to its approximate distance in miles from the coastal city of Savannah. Planters cultivated cotton as a commodity crop with the use of enslaved Africans.
In 1854, the Central of Georgia Railway and the Georgia Railroad connected at 79. The town became known as "Millen's Junction" after McPherson B. Millen, the superintendent of the Central of Georgia Railway.
During the Civil War, a site for a prisoner-of-war camp to house Union soldiers was chosen just outside Millen's Junction. Camp Lawton—also referred to as Fort Lawton—was built in what is today Magnolia Springs State Park; the location was favorable because the springs provided potable water and because of its proximity to the Augusta and Savannah Railroad. On December 3, 1864,Sherman's March to the Sea passed through Millen. Prior to the arrival of Union forces, Confederate soldiers evacuated the Camp Lawton prisoners to Savannah. The Union soldiers destroyed Millen's Junction after finding the prison camp and to avoid use of the railway junction.
Millen is located near the center of Jenkins County on the east side of the Ogeechee River. U.S. Route 25 passes through the west side of the city, leading north 20 miles (32 km) to Waynesboro and south 29 miles (47 km) to Statesboro. Georgia State Route 17 passes through the center of the city, entering from the west as Winthrope Avenue and leaving to the south as Masonic Street. SR-17 leads northwest 35 miles (56 km) to Louisville and southeast 77 miles (124 km) to Savannah. State Route 21 bypasses Millen to the northeast, ending at US 25 at the northern city limit. SR-21 leads east 20 miles (32 km) to Sylvania.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,492 people, 1,321 households, and 854 families residing in the city. The population density was 966.9 people per square mile (373.5/km²). There were 1,567 housing units at an average density of 433.9 per square mile (167.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.31% African American, 37.92% White, 0.17% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 0.06% Native American, 1.35% from other races, and 1.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.86% of the population.
There were 1,321 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.9% were married couples living together, 27.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.24.
In the city, the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $18,701, and the median income for a family was $23,423. Males had a median income of $25,792 versus $17,330 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,851, placing Millen among the poorest locations in the state. About 30.0% of families and 35.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.2% of those under age 18 and 28.2% of those age 65 or over.
The Jenkins County School District holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. The district has 119 full-time teachers and over 1,754 students.