Jefferson County, Alabama

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Jefferson County is the most densely populated county in the State of Alabama the county seat being Birmingham. As of 2000 U.S. Census, the population of Jefferson County was 662,047. Jefferson County is the most populated and principal county in the Greater Birmingham area.



Jefferson County was established on December 13, 1819 by the Alabama legislature. It was named in honor of Thomas Jefferson. The county is located in the north-central portion of the state, on the southern extension of the Appalachians, in the center of the iron, coal and limestone belt of the South. Jefferson County is bordered by Blount, Bibb, St. Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, and Walker counties. It encompasses 1,119 square miles. The county seat was at Carrollsville from 1819-21, at Elyton from 1821-73, and since 1873 has been at Birmingham, which was named for England's iron and steel center in Warwickshire.

Government and Law

Jefferson County is one of the few counties in Alabama that has a limited-form of home rule government. This limited ability of home rule allows the county to be able to land use zoning, maintanance sewer system and roads, garbage disposal, and to enforce taxation (except property taxes). The county is governed by a five-member commission with legislative and executive duties. The Commissioners are elected by a vote of the district that they represent instead of an "at large" election as was done in the past. Each individual county commissioner represents one of the five individual districts in the county. By commission vote they are given executive responsibilities for the departments that fall under the categories of Roads and Transportation and Community Development, Environmental Services, Health and Human Services, Technology and Land Development, or Finance and General services. The commission elects its own President, who chairs commission meetings and has additional executive duties. The current commission President is Larry P. Langford.

Jefferson County is served by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff is chosen in an "at large" election. The current sheriff of Jefferson County is Mike Hale. The department fields about 175 officers who patrol the unincorporated areas of the county and municipalites that do not have their own police. They maintain jails in Birmingham and Bessemer that house inmates awaiting trial and serving sentences.

The judicial system of Jefferson County is unique within the state because there are two judical courthouses in the county. This came about when the state legislature made preparations to split off a portion of Jefferson county to create a new county with Bessemer as its county seat. The idea was dropped but the additional courthouse and parallel positions remain. The main courthouse is in Birmingham and the second, known as the courthouse annex, is located in Bessemer. There are elected officials who maintain offices in the annex such as the Assistant Tax Collector, Assistance Tax Assessor, and Assistant District Attorney.


Jefferson County has a 9% sales tax on each dollar on anything from groceries to clothing items (the highest county sales tax rate in Alabama). In January 2005, a controversial addition 1% sales tax for the funding of construction of education facilities went to affect. This controversial tax was passed during a regular weekly of the Jefferson County Commission anonymously without any public approval in October 2004. This addition 1% has led to county municipalities like Fairfield to have sales tax rates as high as 10% on a dollar while other municipalities and incorporated communities saw an increase in their sales tax rate from 8% to 9%on each dollar. This tax has led as well as the county's limited ability to self-govern has been under subject of repeal by the Alabama State Legistature during the 2005 regular legislative session though the repeal of either (particular self-govern) is highly unlikely.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,911 km² (1,124 mi²). 2,882 km² (1,113 mi²) of it is land and 29 km² (11 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.00% water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 662,047 people, 263,265 households, and 175,861 families residing in the county. The population density is 230/km² (595/mi²). There are 288,162 housing units at an average density of 100/km² (259/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 58.10% White, 39.36% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.59% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. 1.55% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 263,265 households out of which 30.80% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.10% are married couples living together, 17.20% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.20% are non-families. 28.70% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.90% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.45 and the average family size is 3.04.

In the county the population is spread out with 24.80% under the age of 18, 9.60% from 18 to 24, 29.70% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 13.60% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 89.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $36,868, and the median income for a family is $45,951. Males have a median income of $35,954 versus $26,631 for females. The per capita income for the county is $20,892. 14.80% of the population and 11.60% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 20.20% of those under the age of 18 and 12.70% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Cities and towns

External Links

Flag of Alabama

State of Alabama



Largest Metro:

Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman Metropolitan Area


Greater Birmingham | Central Alabama | Lower Alabama | Mobile Bay | North Alabama | South Alabama

Largest cities:

Birmingham | Huntsville | Mobile | Montgomery

Major cities:

Alabaster | Albertville | Alexander City | Anniston | Athens | Auburn | Bessemer | Daphne | Decatur | Dothan | Enterprise | Florence | Gadsden | Homewood | Hoover | Tuscaloosa | Vestavia Hills

All cities:

List of cities in Alabama


Autauga | Baldwin | Barbour | Bibb | Blount | Bullock | Butler | Calhoun | Chambers | Cherokee | Chilton | Choctaw | Clarke | Clay | Cleburne | Coffee | Colbert | Conecuh | Coosa | Covington | Crenshaw | Cullman | Dale | Dallas | DeKalb | Elmore | Escambia | Etowah | Fayette | Franklin | Geneva | Greene | Hale | Henry | Houston | Jackson | Jefferson | Lamar | Lauderdale | Lawrence | Lee | Limestone | Lowndes | Macon | Madison | Marengo | Marion | Marshall | Mobile | Monroe | Montgomery | Morgan | Perry | Pickens | Pike | Randolph | Russell | Shelby | St. Clair | Sumter | Talladega | Tallapoosa | Tuscaloosa | Walker | Washington | Wilcox | Winston


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