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Mobile County, Alabama facts for kids

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Mobile County
Mobile Government Plaza in Mobile
Official seal of Mobile County
Seal
Map of Alabama highlighting Mobile County
Location within the U.S. state of Alabama
Map of the United States highlighting Alabama
Alabama's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Alabama
Founded December 18, 1812
Seat Mobile
Largest city Mobile
Area
 • Total 1,644 sq mi (4,260 km2)
 • Land 1,229 sq mi (3,180 km2)
 • Water 415 sq mi (1,070 km2)  25.2%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 414,809
 • Density 252.32/sq mi (97.420/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 1st
 
  • County Number 02 on Alabama license plates
  • One of three counties shuffled to the top 3 numbers because of population size

Mobile County ( moh-BEEL) is located in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Alabama. It is the second most-populous county in the state after Jefferson County. As of the 2020 census, its population was 414,809. Its county seat is Mobile, which was founded as a deepwater port on the Mobile River. The only such port in Alabama, it has long been integral to the economy for providing access to inland waterways as well as the Gulf of Mexico.

The city, river, and county were named in honor of Maubila, a village of the paramount chief Tuskaloosa of the regional Mississippian culture. In 1540 he arranged an ambush of soldiers of Hernando de Soto's expedition in an effort to expel them from the territory. The Spaniards were armed with guns and killed many of the tribe. Mobile County and Washington County, Alabama make up the Mobile Metropolitan Statistical Area with a 2020 population of 430,197. The Mobile, AL MSA and Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL MSA make up the much larger Mobile-Daphne-Fairhope CSA with a 2020 population of 661,964.

The northern border of Mobile County and southern area of neighboring Washington County constitute the homeland of the state-recognized tribe of MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, descendants of Choctaw and Creek who stayed in this area during the period of Indian Removal. They have organized to preserve their culture and language. They were the first of nine tribes to be recognized by the state.

History

This area was occupied for thousands of years by varying cultures of indigenous peoples. The historic Choctaw had occupied this area along what became called the Mobile River when encountered by early French traders and colonists, who founded Mobile in the early eighteenth century. The British took over the territory in 1763 (along with other French territories east of the Mississippi River) after defeating the French in the Seven Years' War. During the American Revolutionary War, it came under Spanish rule as part of Spanish Florida. Spain ceded the territory to the United States after the War of 1812.

In the 1830s, the United States forced the removal of most of the Native Americans in the area under President Andrew Jackson's policy to relocate them to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Many of those who remained continued their culture; since the late 20th century, several tribes have reorganized and gained state recognition. Among those is the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, which was recognized as a tribe in 1979 by the state, but not federally; it occupies land along the border of Mobile and Washington counties.

After more than a century of European settlement, Mobile County was organized by the legislature and the proclamation of Governor Holmes of the Mississippi Territory on December 18, 1812. When Mississippi was separated and admitted as a state on December 10, 1817, after adopting its constitution on August 15, 1817, Mobile County became part of what was called the Alabama Territory. Two years later, the county became part of the state of Alabama, granted statehood on December 14, 1819.

The city of Mobile, first settled by French colonists in the early 18th century as part of La Louisiane, was designated as the county seat from the early days of the county. Both the county and city derive their name from Fort Louis de la Mobile, a French fortification established (near present-day Axis, Alabama) in 1702. The word "Mobile" is believed to stem from a Choctaw Indian word for "paddlers". The area was occupied by French colonists from 1702–1763, whose influence was strong in the city. It was ruled by the British from 1763–1780, when more American colonists began to enter the territory; and controlled by the Spanish from 1780-1813.

At the end of the War of 1812, the United States took over the territory. At that time, new settlers were being attracted to the land, eager to develop short-staple cotton in the uplands area. Invention of the cotton gin made processing of this type of cotton profitable, stimulating wholesale development of new cotton plantations in the Black Belt during the antebellum years. Mobile developed as a major port for export of cotton.

Courthouse fires occurred in the years 1823, 1840, and 1872.

Geography

Mobile River at Chickasaw Creek
Aerial view of the Mobile River at its confluence with Chickasaw Creek. This photograph was taken around 1990 during construction of the Cochrane-Africatown bridge carrying U.S. Route 90 across the river.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,644 square miles (4,260 km2), of which 1,229 square miles (3,180 km2) is land and 415 square miles (1,070 km2) (25.2%) is water. It is the fourth-largest county in Alabama by land area and second-largest by total area. It includes several islands, including Dauphin Island, Gaillard Island and Mon Louis Island.

Major highways

  • I-10 (AL).svg Interstate 10
  • I-65 (AL).svg Interstate 65
  • I-165 (AL).svg Interstate 165
  • I-110.svg planned western bypass
  • US 43.svg U.S. Highway 43
  • US 45.svg U.S. Highway 45
  • US 90.svg U.S. Highway 90
  • US 98.svg U.S. Highway 98
  • Alabama 158.svg State Route 158
  • Alabama 163.svg State Route 163
  • Alabama 188.svg State Route 188
  • Alabama 193.svg State Route 193
  • Alabama 213.svg State Route 213
  • Alabama 217.svg State Route 217

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 2,672
1830 6,267 134.5%
1840 18,741 199.0%
1850 27,600 47.3%
1860 41,131 49.0%
1870 49,311 19.9%
1880 48,653 −1.3%
1890 51,587 6.0%
1900 62,740 21.6%
1910 80,854 28.9%
1920 100,117 23.8%
1930 118,363 18.2%
1940 141,974 19.9%
1950 231,105 62.8%
1960 314,301 36.0%
1970 317,308 1.0%
1980 364,980 15.0%
1990 378,643 3.7%
2000 399,843 5.6%
2010 412,992 3.3%
2020 414,809 0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020

2010

According to the 2010 United States Census, the population of the county comprised the following racial and ethnic groups:

2000

According to the 2000 United States Census, there were 399,843 people, 150,179 households, and 106,777 families residing in the county. The population density was 324 people per square mile (125/km2). There were 165,101 housing units at an average density of 134 per square mile (52/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 63.07% White, 33.38% Black or African American, 0.67% Native American, 1.41% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. 1.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 150,179 households, out of which 34.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.50% were married couples living together, 17.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.90% were non-families. 24.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the county, the population dispersal was 27.50% under the age of 18, 10.00% from 18 to 24, 28.70% from 25 to 44, 21.90% from 45 to 64, and 12.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.10 males. The median income for a household in the county was $33,710, and the median income for a family was $40,378. Males had a median income of $32,329 versus $21,986 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,178. About 15.60% of families and 18.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.20% of those under age 18 and 14.60% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Cities

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost town

Education

In most areas of Mobile County, schools are operated by the Mobile County Public School System. The cities of Chickasaw, Saraland, and Satsuma have separate school systems. Each is served by Chickasaw City Schools, Saraland Board of Education, and City School System.

Mobile County is the home of the University of South Alabama (USA), a public research university divided into ten colleges, including one of Alabama's two state-supported medical schools. USA has an enrollment of over 16,000 students and employs more than 6,000 faculty, administrators, and support staff. It is also home to two private institutions of higher learning. Spring Hill College, founded in 1830, is Catholic and the third-oldest Jesuit college or university in the U.S. Its enrollment is about 1,500 students and it offers 46 academic majors. University of Mobile, established in 1961 and affiliated with Alabama Baptist Convention, has an enrollment of about 2,000 and offers 90 academic majors.

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