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Madison, Alabama
City of Madison
The Madison Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 29, 2006.
The Madison Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 29, 2006.
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Location of Madison in Limestone County and Madison County, Alabama.
Location of Madison in Limestone County and Madison County, Alabama.
Country United States
State Alabama
Counties Madison, Limestone
 • City 30.49 sq mi (78.96 km2)
 • Land 30.36 sq mi (78.62 km2)
 • Water 0.13 sq mi (0.34 km2)
705 ft (215 m)
 • City 56,933
 • Density 1,875.6/sq mi (724.17/km2)
 • Metro
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 256
FIPS code 01-45784
GNIS feature ID 0122191

Madison is a city located primarily in Madison County, near the northern border of the U.S. state of Alabama. Madison extends west into neighboring Limestone County. The city is included in the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, the second-largest in the state, and is also included in the merged Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 56,933, up from 42,938 at the 2010 census. Madison is bordered by Huntsville on nearly all sides with minor unincorporated Madison and Limestone County pockets.

Madison was mostly a small city for many years until the creation of Redstone Arsenal, which brought many people to the area and rapidly increased the city's population and economic growth. Madison is now the second largest city north of the Tennessee River, only behind neighboring Huntsville. Many of Madison's residents work in Research Park or the Redstone Arsenal. Madison has been one of the fastest-growing of the top 10 cities in Alabama and is one of the wealthiest cities on average.


Madison,AL Southern RR Depot
Southern Railroad Depot, Madison, Alabama

This area was occupied historically by the Koasati (also known as Coushatta), a Muskogean-speaking people and, before them, thousands of years of indigenous cultures.

Madison's first European-American resident was John Cartwright, who settled in the area in 1818. The city was originally known as Madison Station, and it developed in the 1850s around a stop of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Textile mills were built in the area in the late 19th century for processing of cotton.

Madison was the site of a battle in the American Civil War on May 17, 1864, when Col. Josiah Patterson's 5th Alabama Cavalry, supported by Col. James H. Stuart's cavalry battalion and a section of horse artillery, drove Col. Adam G. Gorgas's 13th Illinois Infantry Regiment from the city. Patterson's men captured the 13th Illinois Regiment's wagon train, taking 66 prisoners. They also burned Union supplies and tore up the railroad tracks before retreating. Portions of the 5th Ohio Cavalry, the 59th Indiana Infantry, and the 5th Iowa Infantry were sent in pursuit from Huntsville. They skirmished with Patterson's rear guard that evening at Fletcher's Ferry on the Tennessee River south of Madison.

The town was incorporated in 1869. From 1880 to 1950, rural Madison had a population of roughly 400-500 residents.

In the World War II and postwar period, military and NASA operations were moved to Huntsville, stimulating an increase in population in the region. Suburbanization drew residents to outlying areas, where new homes were built. By 1980, Madison's population was 4,057. In the late 20th century, Madison's population increased rapidly as it developed as a suburb of Huntsville. By 2010 its population had grown to 42,938; the US Census estimated the city had 46,450 in 2014.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.7 square miles (77.0 km2), of which 29.6 square miles (76.6 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.45%, is water.

Madison is located at 34°42′54″N 86°44′23″W / 34.71500°N 86.73972°W / 34.71500; -86.73972 (34.715065, -86.739644), primarily within Madison County, while extending west into Limestone County.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 410
1900 412
1910 426 3.4%
1920 435 2.1%
1930 431 −0.9%
1940 455 5.6%
1950 530 16.5%
1960 1,435 170.8%
1970 3,086 115.1%
1980 4,057 31.5%
1990 14,904 267.4%
2000 29,329 96.8%
2010 42,938 46.4%
2020 56,933 32.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2020 census

Madison racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 37,194 65.33%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 8,367 14.7%
Native American 175 0.31%
Asian 4,426 7.77%
Pacific Islander 73 0.13%
Other/Mixed 3,410 5.99%
Hispanic or Latino 3,288 5.78%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 56,933 people, 18,825 households, and 13,540 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the US Census of 2010, 42,938 people were residing in the city, an increase of 44.6% from the 29,329 residing there in 2000. The population consisted of 16,111 households and 11,770 families. The average household size was 2.65, while the average family size was 3.16. 30.8% of the population was age 19 or younger, 61.0% was 20–64, and 8.2% was 65 or older. The median age was 37.0 years. The population was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.

The racial makeup of the city was 74.0% White, 14.6% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 7.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. 4.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

According to the Madison Chamber of Commerce, Madison was the fastest-growing city in Alabama as of 2010.


Personal income

The median income for a household in the city was $92,136, and the median income for a family was $111,217. The per capita income for the city was $41,490. About 3.9% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those age 65 or over.


Madison's largest employer is Intergraph, a computer software company based in Madison, which is a subsidiary of Hexagon, a Swedish software company which bought Intergraph back in 2008 and remodeled the entire area. Currently, they are working on a streetlight maintenance program for Madison. Thousands of Madison residents commute to jobs at Cummings Research Park and Redstone Arsenal in nearby Huntsville, about 12 miles away. The high-tech and academic positions in the area have attracted numerous highly educated residents.

Within the city limits, most of Madison's businesses are retail, with stores and fast-food restaurants lining US 72 to the north and Madison Boulevard to the south.


The Madison City School System, formed in 1998, serves over 10,000 students from the city of Madison and town of Triana. It has consistently been rated as one of the best school systems in the state of Alabama. The current superintendent is Dr. Ed Nichols. Nationally, it ranks in the top 5 best school systems. As of 2012, the school system has seven elementary schools serving grades K-5 (Columbia Elementary School, Heritage Elementary School, Horizon Elementary School, Madison Elementary School, Mill Creek Elementary School, Rainbow Elementary School, and Midtown Elementary School), two middle schools serving grades 6-8 (Discovery Middle School, Liberty Middle School), and two high schools serving grades 9-12 (Bob Jones High School and James Clemens High School). There was formerly an additional elementary school, West Madison Elementary, however is was permanently closed and is planned to become a pre-k center. Madison Elementary, built about 1936, is the oldest school in the system. In 2019, Madison residents approved a voluntary property tax increase in order to further fund school growth and expansion. These funds were used to build Midtown Elementary School (completed in 2020) and will also be used to construct Journey Middle School. The two high schools will also receive expanded facilities added on in the near future.

Madison also has several private schools, including Madison Academy and St John the Baptist Catholic School.



Madison is served by Interstate 565, US 72 (University Drive), and Madison Boulevard (Alabama State Route 20, and Alt. US 72) and Gillespie Road, as main routes for east–west traffic. Slaughter Road, Hughes Road, Wall Triana Highway, and County Line Road serve as main north–south roads in the city.

Rail and airline

The Norfolk Southern railway has the main line and a spur running through Madison. The Port of Huntsville, an intermodal center which includes Huntsville International Airport and a rail cargo center, is just south of the city.

Notable people

  • Mike Ball, member of the Alabama House of Representatives
  • Grant Dayton, Major League baseball pitcher
  • Lewie Hardage, American football player and coach, baseball coach
  • Robert Hoffman, actor, dancer, and choreographer
  • Bill Holtzclaw, Republican member of the Alabama State Senate since 2006
  • Kerron Johnson, professional basketball player
  • Kerryon Johnson, professional football player for the Detroit Lions
  • Walter Jones, former offensive lineman at Florida State and an all-pro at the Seattle Seahawks
  • Chip Lindsey, college football coach for Troy University
  • Reggie Ragland, American football linebacker
  • Levi Randolph, professional basketball player

See also

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