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Cairo, Georgia
Cairo City Hall
Cairo City Hall
"Georgia's Hospitality City", and "The Syrup City"
Location in Grady County and the state of Georgia
Location in Grady County and the state of Georgia
Country United States
State Georgia
County Grady
 • Total 9.91 sq mi (25.68 km2)
 • Land 9.78 sq mi (25.33 km2)
 • Water 0.14 sq mi (0.35 km2)
243 ft (74 m)
 • Total 9,607
 • Estimate 
 • Density 958.07/sq mi (369.92/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
31728, 39827, 39828
Area code(s) 229 Exchanges: 377,378
FIPS code 13-12400
GNIS feature ID 0354934

Cairo is a city in Grady County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 9,607. The city is the county seat of Grady County.


Cairo was founded in 1835. It was incorporated as a town in 1870 and as a city in 1906. In 1905, Cairo was designated seat of the newly formed Grady County. The city was named after Cairo, the capital of Egypt.

Syrup City

Although Cairo is nicknamed the "Syrup City", it has no relationship with the Karo brand of corn syrup, which is pronounced like the city's name. Rather, Cairo earned its nickname by producing cane syrup from the early 1900s through the late 1990s. Of the several companies that produced cane syrup, Roddenbery's was the best known. Roddenbery's later became better known for its pickles and the world's largest outdoor brine yard. However, the company was sold to Dean Foods in 1993 and the local factory shut down.

Reflecting its "syrup" heritage, the Cairo High School football team is nicknamed the Syrupmakers, and the school mascot is the agriculturally based sugar cane farmer/syrupmaker similar to the Cornhusker and Boilermaker. According to local tradition, this began during a rainy football game, when the players wore donated ponchos with "Roddenbery Syrup" printed on them. The most widely accepted tradition and the one with the most supportive evidence claims that a newspaper reporter referred to the Cairo Tigers in print as "the syrupmakers from Cairo".

The school's female athletic teams are named "Syrup Maids", often shortened to "Maids", while the male athletes are often dubbed "Makers". In 1986 ESPN chose "Syrupmakers" as the No. 1 nickname for a high school sports team. In 2009, ESPN's Sports Center selected the Syrupmakers as their number one mascot in the high school heritage category.

Recreation and entertainment

Cairo is close to great hunting, fishing, and points of historical interest. The local industrial base continues to grow with manufacturing, service, and healthcare companies anchoring a strong economy.

The area is home to several local festivals, including Calvary's Mule Day, Whigham's Rattlesnake Roundup, Cairo's own Antique Car Rally, and several competitive recreational programs. The Antique Car Rally features a wide range of cars, and includes many activities: a poker run, a parade, and even a street dance. It usually takes place on the second weekend of May. Sponsored by Mr. Chick, it is an annual event that attracts many people to the southwest corner of Georgia.


Cairo is located in central Grady County at 30°53′N 84°13′W / 30.883°N 84.217°W / 30.883; -84.217 (30.8778, -84.2089). U.S. Route 84 (38th Boulevard) passes through the northern part of the city, leading east 14 miles (23 km) to Thomasville and west 24 miles (39 km) to Bainbridge. Valdosta is 59 miles (95 km) to the east, and Dothan, Alabama, is 79 miles (127 km) to the west on US 84. Georgia State Route 93 passes through the center of Cairo as Broad Street and Fifth Street; it leads north 19 miles (31 km) to Pelham and south 12 miles (19 km) to U.S. Route 319 north of the Florida border. Tallahassee, Florida, is 33 miles (53 km) to the south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Cairo has a total area of 9.8 square miles (25.4 km2), of which 9.7 square miles (25.1 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2), or 1.38%, is water.


The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Cairo has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Climate data for Cairo, Georgia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 64
Average low °F (°C) 42
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.9
Source: Weatherbase


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 275
1890 521 89.5%
1900 690 32.4%
1910 1,505 118.1%
1920 1,908 26.8%
1930 3,169 66.1%
1940 4,653 46.8%
1950 5,577 19.9%
1960 7,427 33.2%
1970 8,061 8.5%
1980 8,777 8.9%
1990 9,035 2.9%
2000 9,239 2.3%
2010 9,607 4.0%
2019 (est.) 9,369 −2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 9,239 people, 3,465 households, and 2,456 families residing in the city. The population density was 992.0 people per square mile (383.2/km2). There were 3,898 housing units at an average density of 418.5 per square mile (161.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 51.30% African American, 43.99% White, 0.42% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.80% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.05% of the population.

There were 3,465 households, out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.4% were married couples living together, 24.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.1% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.5% 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 3.14.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 29.1% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,054, and the median income for a family was $30,352. Males had a median income of $29,063 versus $20,542 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,759. About 24.4% of families and 30.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.2% of those under age 18 and 23.4% of those age 65 or over.


Grady County Schools serves the city. Cairo High School, located in Cairo serves as a central high school for all of Grady County. Elementary schools serving students in the city include Eastside Elementary, Northside Elementary and Southside Elementary. Washington Middle School serves Cairo residents.

A campus of the Southern Regional Technical College is located in Cairo.

Notable people

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