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DeKalb County, Alabama facts for kids

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DeKalb County
DeKalb County courthouse in Fort Payne
DeKalb County courthouse in Fort Payne
Map of Alabama highlighting DeKalb County
Location within the U.S. state of Alabama
Map of the United States highlighting Alabama
Alabama's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Alabama
Founded January 9, 1836
Named for Johan DeKalb
Seat Fort Payne
Largest city Fort Payne
 • Total 779 sq mi (2,020 km2)
 • Land 777 sq mi (2,010 km2)
 • Water 1.6 sq mi (4 km2)  0.2%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 92/sq mi (36/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 4th
  • County Number 28 on Alabama Licence Plates

DeKalb County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 71,109. Its county seat is Fort Payne and it is named after Major General Baron Johan DeKalb.


DeKalb County was created by the Alabama legislature on January 9, 1836, from land ceded to the Federal government by the Cherokee Nation. It was named for Major General Baron Johann de Kalb, a hero of the American Revolution.

DeKalb County was the one time home of the famous Cherokee Native American Sequoyah.

The county's eastern edge, along the state line, was also the epicenter of an earthquake on April 29, 2003, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale. Power was knocked out in the area, mirrors and pictures thrown to the floor, foundations cracked, and one chimney fell to the ground. It was felt over a significant portion of the southeastern states, including quite strongly in northeastern Alabama and neighboring northwestern Georgia, and nearby eastern Tennessee (especially near Chattanooga). It was also felt slightly in western upstate South Carolina, far west-southwestern North Carolina, south and southeastern Kentucky, and east-northeastern Mississippi.

On the whole, DeKalb County is a dry county. In 2005, a change in local laws enabled Fort Payne to become the only location in the county to allow the legal sale of alcohol. Collinsville later allowed alcohol sales.

DeKalb County saw one of the highest death tolls in Alabama during a massive tornadic system in April 2011, the 2011 Super Outbreak, with 31 deaths reported in the county.


The "Old Union" or "Tallahatchie" covered bridge crosses the Little River.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 779 square miles (2,020 km2), of which 777 square miles (2,010 km2) is land and 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2) (0.2%) is water.

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 5,929
1850 8,245 39.1%
1860 10,705 29.8%
1870 7,126 −33.4%
1880 12,675 77.9%
1890 21,106 66.5%
1900 23,558 11.6%
1910 28,261 20.0%
1920 34,426 21.8%
1930 40,104 16.5%
1940 43,075 7.4%
1950 45,048 4.6%
1960 41,417 −8.1%
1970 41,981 1.4%
1980 53,658 27.8%
1990 54,651 1.9%
2000 64,452 17.9%
2010 71,109 10.3%
Est. 2015 71,130 0.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015

As of the census of 2010, there were 71,109 people, 26,842 households, and 19,361 families residing in the county. The population density was 92 people per square mile (36/km2). There were 31,109 housing units at an average density of 39.9 per square mile (15/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 84.5% White(non-Hispanic), 1.5% Black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 9.9% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. 13.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census of 2000, there were 64,452 people, 25,113 households, and 18,432 families residing in the county. The population density was 83 people per square mile (32/km2). There were 28,051 housing units at an average density of 36 per square mile (14/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.55% White(non-Hispanic), 1.68% Black or African American, 0.80% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.10% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. 5.55% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

According to the census of 2000, the largest ancestry groups in DeKalb County were English 78.31%, Scotch-Irish 8.29%, Scottish 3.33%, Irish 3.31%, Welsh 1.22%, and African 1.68%


Major highways

  • I-59 (AL).svg Interstate 59
  • US 11.svg U.S. Route 11
  • Alabama 35.svg State Route 35
  • Alabama 40.svg State Route 40
  • Alabama 68.svg State Route 68
  • Alabama 75.svg State Route 75
  • Alabama 117.svg State Route 117
  • Alabama 176.svg State Route 176
  • Alabama 227.svg State Route 227


  • Norfolk Southern Railway




Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

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