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Madison County, Alabama facts for kids

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Madison County
Madison County Courthouse in Huntsville
Madison County Courthouse in Huntsville
Map of Alabama highlighting Madison 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 December 13, 1808
Named for James Madison
Seat Huntsville
Largest city Huntsville
 • Total 813 sq mi (2,110 km2)
 • Land 802 sq mi (2,080 km2)
 • Water 11 sq mi (30 km2)  1.4%
 • Total 388,153
 • Estimate 
395,211 Increase
 • Density 477.43/sq mi (184.34/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 5th
  • County Number 47 on Alabama License Plates

Madison County is located in the north central portion of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 388,153, making it the third-most populous county in Alabama. Its county seat is Huntsville. Since the mid-20th century it has become an area of defense and space research and industry.

The county is named in honor of James Madison, fourth President of the United States and the first President to visit the state of Alabama. Madison County covers parts of the former Decatur County. Madison County is included in the Huntsville, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Madison County was established on December 13, 1808 by the governor of the Mississippi Territory. It is recognized as the "birthplace" of Alabama, which was founded there on December 14, 1819. For much of the county's history, the economy revolved mainly around agriculture. Madison County was one of the largest cotton-producing counties in the state, and textile mills operated around the county.

This changed when a group of former Nazi German rocket scientists, led by Wernher von Braun, came to Redstone Arsenal in 1950. They developed, among others, the Redstone rocket, which was modified to launch the first two Americans into space. Tens of thousands of jobs came to the area as a result of the Space Race, and the population of Madison County rose from 72,903 in 1950 to an estimated 2015 population of 353,089.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 813 square miles (2,110 km2), of which 802 square miles (2,080 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (1.4%) is water.

The topography in the southern and eastern portions of the county is dominated by the dissected remnants of the Cumberland Plateau, such as Keel Mountain, Monte Sano Mountain and Green Mountain. The northern and western portions of the county are flatter.


Adjacent counties

Farm fields near New Market

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 4,699
1820 17,481 272.0%
1830 27,990 60.1%
1840 25,706 −8.2%
1850 26,427 2.8%
1860 26,451 0.1%
1870 31,267 18.2%
1880 37,625 20.3%
1890 38,119 1.3%
1900 43,702 14.6%
1910 47,041 7.6%
1920 51,268 9.0%
1930 64,623 26.0%
1940 66,317 2.6%
1950 72,903 9.9%
1960 117,348 61.0%
1970 186,540 59.0%
1980 196,966 5.6%
1990 238,912 21.3%
2000 276,700 15.8%
2010 334,811 21.0%
2020 388,153 15.9%
2021 (est.) 395,211 18.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020


As of the census of 2000, there were 276,700 people, 109,955 households, and 75,319 families residing in the county. The population density was 344 people per square mile (133/km2). There were 120,288 housing units at an average density of 149 per square mile (58/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 72.06% White, 22.78% Black or African American, 0.77% Native American, 1.86% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.59% from other races, and 1.89% from two or more races. Nearly 1.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

According to the 2000 census, the largest ancestry groups in Madison County were English 50.2%, African 22.78%, Scots-Irish 8.71%, Irish 4.3%, Scottish 4.12%, and Welsh 2.9%


According to the 2010 U.S. Census:

There were 109,955 households, out of which 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them; 53.40% were married couples living together, 11.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.50% were non-families. Nearly 27.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45, and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 25.60% under the age of 18, 9.40% from 18 to 24, 31.50% from 25 to 44, 22.70% from 45 to 64, and 10.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $44,704, and the median income for a family was $54,360. Males had a median income of $40,779 versus $26,534 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,091. About 8.10% of families and 10.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.10% of those under age 18 and 9.60% of those age 65 or over.


Madison County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 237,497 61.19%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 91,079 23.46%
Native American 2,132 0.55%
Asian 10,179 2.62%
Pacific Islander 450 0.12%
Other/Mixed 21,880 5.64%
Hispanic or Latino 24,936 6.42%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 388,153 people, 155,878 households, and 102,575 families residing in the county.


Major highways

  • I-565 (AL).svg Interstate 565
  • US 72.svg U.S. Highway 72 (University Drive in Huntsville city limits)
  • US 231.svg U.S. Highway 231 (Memorial Parkway in Huntsville city limits)
  • US 431.svg U.S. Highway 431 (Governors Drive in Medical District of Huntsville; Memorial Parkway for rest of length in Huntsville City Limits)
  • Alabama 53.svg State Route 53 (Jordan Lane in much of Huntsville city limits)
  • Alabama 255.svg State Route 255 (Research Park Boulevard)


  • Norfolk Southern Railway
  • Huntsville and Madison County Railroad Authority

Air travel

The Port of Huntsville provides both passenger air service, via Huntsville International Airport which allows access to most of the rest of the United States, and shipping air service, via the International Intermodal Center. There are also three smaller public airports in the county: Hazel Green Airport, Madison County Executive Airport, and Moontown Airport.

Bicycle routes

There are several bicycle routes in the city of Huntsville. Madison County has a master plan to develop a 70-mile bicycle and walking trail.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Places of interest

Madison County is home to Monte Sano State Park, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and part of the Flint River. It also contains Hampton Cove Golf Course, part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.


The Madison County School System runs public schools throughout the unincorporated areas of the county and the incorporated and unincorporated communities of Gurley, New Hope, Meridianville, Hazel Green, Toney, Monrovia, New Market, and Owens Cross Roads. The system runs 14 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 5 high schools and a ninth grade school, and a career/technical center.

High schools in the Madison County School System are:

  • Buckhorn High School (New Market)
  • Hazel Green High School
  • Madison County High School (Gurley)
  • New Hope High School
  • Sparkman High School (Harvest)

There are a number of private schools serving Madison County. These include Randolph School, Madison Academy, Westminster Christian Academy, Faith Christian Academy, and several others.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Madison (Alabama) para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Contemporary African-American Artists:
Janet Taylor Pickett
Synthia Saint James
Howardena Pindell
Faith Ringgold
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