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1 Etymology

This article is about the U.S. state. For other uses, see
Alabama (disambiguation).
Alabama ( i /lbm/) is a state located in the
southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by
Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and
the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the
west. Alabama is the 30th-most extensive and the 23rdmost populous of the 50 United States. At 1,300 miles
(2,100 km), Alabama has one of the longest navigable
inland waterways in the nation.[6]
From the American Civil War until World War II, Alabama, like many Southern states, suered economic
hardship, in part because of continued dependence on
agriculture. Despite the growth of major industries and
urban centers, White rural interests dominated the state
legislature from 1901 to the 1960s, as it did not regularly reapportion the legislature from 1901 to 1961; urban
interests and African Americans were markedly underrepresented.[7] African Americans and poor whites were
essentially disenfranchised altogether by the state constitution of 1901, a status that continued into the mid-1960s
before being alleviated by federal legislation. Exclusion
of minorities continued under at-large voting systems in
most counties; some changes were made through a series
of omnibus court cases in the late 1980s to establish different electoral systems.

One of the entrances to Russell Cave in Jackson County. Charcoal from indigenous camp res in the cave has been dated as
early as 6550 to 6145 BC.

The European-American naming of the Alabama River

and state originates from the Alabama people, a
Muskogean-speaking tribe whose members lived just below the conuence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers on
the upper reaches of the river.[11] In the Alabama language, the word for an Alabama person is Albaamo (or
variously Albaama or Albamo in dierent dialects; the
plural form is Albaamaha).[12]

The word Alabama is believed to have come from the

related Choctaw language[13] and was adopted by the Alabama tribe as their name.[14] The spelling of the word
varies signicantly among historical sources.[14] The rst
usage appears in three accounts of the Hernando de Soto
expedition of 1540 with Garcilaso de la Vega using Alibamo, while the Knight of Elvas and Rodrigo Ranjel
wrote Alibamu and Limamu, respectively, in eorts to
transliterate the term.[14] As early as 1702, the French
called the tribe the Alibamon, with French maps identifying the river as Rivire des Alibamons.[11] Other spellings
of the appellation have included Alibamu, Alabamo, AlAlabama is nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, after the bama, Alebamon, Alibama, Alibamou, Alabamu, Alstate bird. Alabama is also known as the Heart of Dixie" libamou.[14][15][16][17]
and the Cotton State. The state tree is the longleaf pine,
Sources disagree on the meaning of the word. An 1842
and the state ower is the camellia. The capital of Alarticle in the Jacksonville Republican proposed that it
abama is Montgomery. The largest city by population is
meant Here We Rest.[14] This notion was popular[9]
Birmingham, which has long been the most industrialized in the 1850s through the writings of Alexander
ized city, and largest city by total land area is Huntsville.
Beaufort Meek.[14] Experts in the Muskogean languages
The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists.
have been unable to nd any evidence to support such a
Following World War II, Alabama experienced growth
as the economy of the state changed from one primarily
based on agriculture to one with diversied interests. The
power of the Solid South in Congress gained the establishment or expansion of multiple United States Armed
Forces installations, which helped to bridge the gap between an agricultural and industrial economy during the
mid-20th century. The state economy in the 21st century
is based on management, automotive, nance, manufacturing, aerospace, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, retail, and technology.[8]

Scholars believe the word comes from the Choctaw


alba (meaning plants or weeds) and amo (meaning to cut, to trim, or to gather).[13][14][18] The
meaning may have been clearers of the thicket[13]
or herb gatherers,[18][19] referring to clearing land for
cultivation[15] or collecting medicinal plants.[19] The state
has numerous place names of Native American origin.[20][21]



of European contact were the Cherokee, an Iroquoian

language people; and the Muskogean-speaking Alabama
(Alibamu), Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Koasati.[27]
While part of the same large language family, the Muskogee tribes developed distinct cultures and languages.

2.2 European settlement

Main article: History of Alabama

With exploration in the 16th century, the Spanish were
the rst Europeans to reach Alabama. The expedition
of Hernando de Soto passed through Mabila and other
2.1 Pre-European settlement
parts of the state in 1540. More than 160 years later, the
French founded the rst European settlement in the reIndigenous peoples of varying cultures lived in the area gion at Old Mobile in 1702.[28] The city was moved to the
for thousands of years before European colonization. current site of Mobile in 1711. This area was claimed by
Trade with the northeastern tribes via the Ohio River be- the French from 1702 to 1763 as part of La Louisiane.[29]
gan during the Burial Mound Period (1000 BCAD 700)
After the French lost to the British in the Seven Years
and continued until European contact.[22]
War, it became part of British West Florida from 1763
to 1783. After the United States victory in the American
Revolutionary War, the territory was divided between the
United States and Spain. The latter retained control of
this western territory from 1783 until the surrender of the
Spanish garrison at Mobile to U.S. forces on April 13,

The Moundville Archaeological Site in Hale County. It was occupied by Native Americans of the Mississippian culture from 1000
to 1450 AD.

The agrarian Mississippian culture covered most of the

state from 1000 to 1600 AD, with one of its major
centers built at what is now the Moundville Archaeological Site in Moundville, Alabama.[23][24] This is the
second-largest complex of the classic Middle Mississippian era, after Cahokia in present-day Illinois, which was
the center of the culture. Analysis of artifacts recovered from archaeological excavations at Moundville were
the basis of scholars formulating the characteristics of
the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC).[25] Contrary to popular belief, the SECC appears to have no direct links to Mesoamerican culture, but developed independently. The Ceremonial Complex represents a major
component of the religion of the Mississippian peoples;
it is one of the primary means by which their religion is

Thomas Bassett, a loyalist to the British monarchy during the Revolutionary era, was one of the earliest White
settlers in the state outside Mobile. He settled in
the Tombigbee District during the early 1770s.[31] The
boundaries of the district were roughly limited to the
area within a few miles of the Tombigbee River and included portions of what is today southern Clarke County,
northernmost Mobile County, and most of Washington
What is now the counties of Baldwin and Mobile became
part of Spanish West Florida in 1783, part of the independent Republic of West Florida in 1810, and was nally added to the Mississippi Territory in 1812. Most
of what is now the northern two-thirds of Alabama was
known as the Yazoo lands beginning during the British
colonial period. It was claimed by the Province of Georgia from 1767 onwards. Following the Revolutionary
War, it remained a part of Georgia, although heavily

With the exception of the area around Mobile and the

Yazoo lands, what is now the lower one-third Alabama
was made part of the Mississippi Territory when it was
organized in 1798. The Yazoo lands were added to the
territory in 1804, following the Yazoo land scandal.[35][36]
Spain kept a claim on its former Spanish West Florida
territory in what would become the coastal counties until
Among the historical tribes of Native American people the AdamsOns Treaty ocially ceded it to the United
living in the area of present-day Alabama at the time States in 1819.[30]


19th century

cultivation.[40][41] Part of the frontier in the 1820s and
1830s, its constitution provided for universal surage for
white men.[42]
Southeastern planters and traders from the Upper South
brought slaves with them as the cotton plantations in Alabama expanded. The economy of the central Black
Belt (named for its dark, productive soil) was built
around large cotton plantations whose owners wealth
grew largely from slave labor.[42] The area also drew
many poor, disfranchised people who became subsistence
farmers. Alabama had a population estimated at under 10,000 people in 1810, but it had increased to more
than 300,000 people by 1830.[40] Most Native American
tribes were completely removed from the state within a
few years of the passage of the Indian Removal Act by
Congress in 1830.[43]

Map showing the formation of the Mississippi and Alabama territories


19th century

Prior to the admission of Mississippi as a state on December 10, 1817, the more sparsely settled eastern half of
the territory was separated and named the Alabama Territory. The Alabama Territory was created by the United
States Congress on March 3, 1817. St. Stephens, now
abandoned, served as the territorial capital from 1817 to
The U.S. Congress selected Huntsville as the site for the
rst Constitutional Convention of Alabama after it was
approved to become the 22nd state. From July 5 to August 2, 1819, delegates met to prepare the new state constitution. Huntsville served as the temporary capital of
Alabama from 1819 to 1820, when the seat of state government was moved to Cahaba in Dallas County.[38]

Ruins of the former capitol building in Tuscaloosa. Designed by

William Nichols, it was built from 182729 and was destroyed
by re in 1923.

From 1826 to 1846, Tuscaloosa served as the capital of

Alabama. On January 30, 1846, the Alabama legislature announced that it had voted to move the capital city
from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery. The rst legislative
session in the new capital met in December 1847.[44] A
new capitol building was erected under the direction of
Stephen Decatur Button of Philadelphia. The rst structure burned down in 1849, but was rebuilt on the same site
in 1851. This second capitol building in Montgomery remains to the present day. It was designed by Barachias
Holt of Exeter, Maine.[45][46]

By 1860, the population had increased to a total of

964,201 people, of which nearly half, 435,080 were enslaved African Americans, and 2,690 were free people
of color.[47] On January 11, 1861, Alabama declared its
secession from the Union. After remaining an indepenThe main house, built in 1833, at Thornhill in Greene County. It dent republic for a few days, it joined the Confederate
States of America. The Confederacys capital was iniis a former Black Belt plantation.
tially located at Montgomery. Alabama was heavily
Cahaba, now a ghost town, was the rst permanent state involved in the American Civil War. Although comparacapital from 1820 to 1825.[39] Alabama Fever was al- tively few battles were fought in the state, Alabama conready underway when the state was admitted to the tributed about 120,000 soldiers to the war eort.
Union, with settlers and land speculators pouring into the A company of cavalry soldiers from Huntsville, Alstate to take advantage of fertile land suitable for cotton abama joined Nathan Bedford Forrest's battalion in


eryday life.

2.4 20th century

Union Army troops occupying Courthouse Square in Huntsville,

following its capture and reoccupation by federal forces in 1864.

Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The company wore new uniforms with yellow trim on the sleeves, collar and coat tails.
This led to them being greeted with Yellowhammer, The developing skyline of Birmingham in 1915
and the name later was applied to all Alabama troops in
the Confederate Army.[48]
The new 1901 Constitution of Alabama included
for voter registration that eectively
Alabamas slaves were freed by the 13th Amendment in
large portions of the population,
Alabama was under military rule from the end
all African Americans and Native
of the war in May 1865 until its ocial restoration to
of thousands of poor whites,
the Union in 1868. From 1867 to 1874, with most White
registration dicult, requiring
citizens barred temporarily from voting and freedmen ena
test.[53] By 1903, only 2,980
franchised, many African Americans emerged as political leaders in the state. Alabama was represented in African Americans were registered in Alabama, although
Congress during this period by three African-American at least 74,000 were literate. This compared to more
congressmen: Jeremiah Haralson, Benjamin S. Turner, than 181,000 African Americans eligible to vote in[54]
and James T. Rapier.
While the planter class had persuaded poor whites to vote
for this legislative eort to suppress black voting, the new
restrictions resulted in their disenfranchisement as well,
due mostly to the imposition of a cumulative poll tax.[54]
By 1941, whites constituted a slight majority of those disenfranchised by these laws: 600,000 Whites vs. 520,000
African-Americans.[54] Nearly all African Americans had
lost the ability to vote. Despite numerous legal challenges
that succeeded in overturning certain provisions, the state
legislature would create new ones to maintain disenfranchisement. The exclusion of blacks from the political system persisted until after passage of federal civil rights legislation in the 1965 to enforce their constitutional rights
Reconstruction in Alabama ended in 1874, when the as citizens.
Democrats regained control of the legislature and governors oce through an election dominated by fraud The 1901 constitution required racial segregation of puband violence.
They wrote another constitution in lic schools. It also restated that interracial marriage was
and the legislature passed the Blaine Amend- illegal, as it had been prohibited in 1867. Into the 1950s,
ment, prohibiting public money from being used to - the state legislature passed additional racial segregation
nance religious-aliated schools.[51] The same year, leg- laws related to public facilities: jails were segregated in
restaurants in
islation was approved that called for racially segregated 1911; hospitals in 1915; toilets, hotels, and[52]
Railroad passenger cars were segregated in
1891.[52] After disfranchising most African Americans The rural-dominated Alabama legislature consistently
and many poor whites in the 1901 constitution, the Al- underfunded schools and services for the disenfranchised
abama legislature passed more Jim Crow laws at the be- African Americans, but it did not relieve them of payginning of the 20th century to impose segregation in ev- ing taxes.[42] Partially as a response to chronic underfundFollowing the war, the state remained chiey agricultural, with an economy tied to cotton. During
Reconstruction, state legislators ratied a new state constitution in 1868 that created the states rst public
school system and expanded womens rights. Legislators funded numerous public road and railroad projects,
although these were plagued with allegations of fraud
and misappropriation.[50] Organized insurgent, resistance
groups tried to suppress the freedmen and Republicans.
Besides the short-lived original Ku Klux Klan, these included the Pale Faces, Knights of the White Camellia,
Red Shirts, and the White League.[50]


20th century

ing of education for African Americans in the South, the court order.
Rosenwald Fund began funding the construction of what
came to be known as Rosenwald Schools. In Alabama
Beginning in the 1940s, when the courts
these schools were designed and the construction partially
started taking the rst steps to recognize the
nanced with Rosenwald funds, which paid one-third of
voting rights of black voters, the Alabama legthe construction costs. The fund required the local comislature took several counter -steps designed
munity and state to raise matching funds to pay the rest.
to disfranchise black voters. The legislature
Black residents eectively taxed themselves twice, by
passed, and the voters ratied [as these were
raising additional monies to supply matching funds for
mostly white voters], a state constitutional
such schools, which were built in many rural areas. They
amendment that gave local registrars greater
often donated land and labor as well.[55]
latitude to disqualify voter registration applicants. Black citizens in Mobile successfully
challenged this amendment as a violation of
the Fifteenth Amendment. The legislature also
changed the boundaries of Tuskegee to a 28sided gure designed to fence out blacks from
the city limits. The Supreme Court unanimously held that this racial "gerrymandering"
violated the Constitution. In 1961, ... the Alabama legislature also intentionally diluted the
eect of the black vote by instituting numbered
place requirements for local elections.[56]

The former Mount Sinai School in rural Autauga County, completed in 1919. It was one of the 387 Rosenwald Schools built in
the state.

Industrial development related to the demands of World

War II brought a level of prosperity to the state not seen
since before the Civil War.[42] Rural workers poured into
the largest cities in the state for better jobs and a higher
standard of living. One example of this massive inux of
workers occurred in Mobile. Between 1940 and 1943,
more than 89,000 people moved into the city to work
for war-related industries.[57] Cotton and other cash crops
faded in importance as the state developed a manufacturing and service base.

Beginning in 1913, the rst 80 Rosenwald Schools were

built in Alabama for African-American children. A total
of 387 schools, seven teachers houses, and several vocational buildings were completed by 1937 in the state.
Several of the surviving school buildings in the state are Despite massive population changes in the state from
now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[55] 1901 to 1961, the rural-dominated legislature refused to
Continued racial discrimination and lynchings, agricul- reapportion House and Senate seats based on population,
as required by the state constitution to follow the results
tural depression, and the failure of the cotton crops due
to boll weevil infestation led tens of thousands of African of decennial censuses. They held on to old representation
to maintain political and economic power in agricultural
Americans from rural Alabama and other states to seek
opportunities in northern and midwestern cities during areas. In addition, the state legislature gerrymandered
the few Birmingham legislative seats to ensure election
the early decades of the 20th century as part of the Great
Migration out of the South. Reecting this emigration, by persons living outside Birmingham.
the population growth rate in Alabama (see Historical One result was that Jeerson County, containing BirmPopulations table below) dropped by nearly half from inghams industrial and economic powerhouse, contributed more than one-third of all tax revenue to the
1910 to 1920.
At the same time, many rural people, both White and state, but did not receive a proportional amount in serAfrican American, migrated to the city of Birmingham vices. Urban interests were consistently underrepreto work in new industrial jobs. Birmingham experienced sented in the legislature. A 1960 study noted that because
such rapid growth that it was called the Magic City. of rural domination, a minority of about 25 per cent of
is in majority control of the AlBy the 1920s, Birmingham was the 19th-largest city in the total state population
the United States and had more than 30% of the states
population. Heavy industry and mining were the basis
of its economy. Its residents were under-represented for
decades in the state legislature, which refused to redistrict after each decennial census according to population
changes, as it was required by the state constitution. This
did not change until the late 1960s following a lawsuit and

A class action suit initiated on behalf of plaintis in

Lowndes County, Alabama challenged the state legislatures lack of redistricting for congressional seats. In
1962 White v. Crook, Judge Frank M. Johnson ordered
the state to redistrict. United States Supreme Court cases
of Baker v. Carr (1962) and Reynolds v. Sims (1964)

ruled that the principle of "one man, one vote" needed to
be the basis of both houses of state legislatures as well,
and that their districts had to be based on population,
rather than geographic counties, as Alabama had used for
its senate.
In 1972, for the rst time since 1901, the legislature completed the rst congressional redistricting based on the
decennial census. This beneted the urban areas that
had developed, as well as all in the population who had
been underrepresented for more than 60 years.[7] Other
changes were made to implement representative state
house and senate districts.


in Conecuh County. Together use of these systems has

increased the number of African Americans and women
being elected to local oces, resulting in governments
that are more representative of their citizens.[60]

3 Geography

African Americans continued to press in the 1950s and

1960s to end disenfranchisement and segregation in the
state through the Civil Rights Movement, including legal challenges. In 1954, the US Supreme Court ruled
in Brown v. Board of Education that public schools
had to be desegregated, but Alabama was slow to comply. During the 1960s, under Governor George Wallace, Alabama resisted compliance with federal demands
for desegregation.The civil rights movement had notable
events in Alabama, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott (195556), Freedom Rides in 1961, and 1965 Selma
to Montgomery marches. These contributed to Congressional passage and enactment of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964[58] and Voting Rights Act of 1965 by the U.S.
Legal segregation ended in the states in 1964, but Jim
Crow customs often continued until specically challenged in court.[59]
Despite recommendations of a 1973 Alabama Constitutional Commission, the state legislature did not approve
an amendment to establish home rule for counties. There
is very limited home rule, but the legislature is deeply involved in passing legislation that applies to county-level
functions and policies. This both deprives local residents
of the ability to govern themselves and distracts the legislature from statewide issues.
A general map of Alabama
Alabama has made some changes since the late 20th century and has used new types of voting to increase repre- Main article: Geography of Alabama
sentation. In the 1980s, an omnibus redistricting case, See also: List of Alabama counties and Geology of
Dillard v. Crenshaw County, challenged the at-large vot- Alabama
ing for representative seats of 180 Alabama jurisdictions,
including counties and school boards. At-large voting had Alabama is the thirtieth-largest state in the United States
diluted the votes of any minority in a county, as the ma- with 52,419 square miles (135,760 km2 ) of total area:
jority tended to take all seats. Despite African Ameri- 3.2% of the area is water, making Alabama 23rd in the
cans making up a signicant minority in the state, they amount of surface water, also giving it the second-largest
had been unable to elect any representatives in most of inland waterway system in the U.S.[61] About three-fths
the at-large jurisdictions.
of the land area is a gentle plain with a general descent toAs part of settlement of this case, ve Alabama cites and wards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The
counties, including Chilton County, adopted a system of North Alabama region is mostly mountainous, with the
nucumulative voting for election of representatives in multi- Tennessee River cutting a large valley and creating [62]
seat jurisdictions. This has resulted in more proportional
representation for voters. In another form of proportional Alabama is bordered by the states of Tennessee to the
representation, 23 jurisdictions use limited voting, as in north, Georgia to the east, Florida to the south, and
Conecuh County. In 1982, limited voting was rst tested Mississippi to the west. Alabama has coastline at the Gulf



of Mexico, in the extreme southern edge of the state.[62]

The state ranges in elevation from sea level[63] at Mobile
Bay to over 1,800 feet (550 m) in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast.
The highest point is Mount Cheaha,[62] at a height of
2,413 ft (735 m).[64] Alabamas land consists of 22 million acres (89,000 km2 ) of forest or 67% of total land
area.[65] Suburban Baldwin County, along the Gulf Coast,
is the largest county in the state in both land area and water area.[66]
Areas in Alabama administered by the National Park Service include Horseshoe Bend National Military Park near
Alexander City; Little River Canyon National Preserve
near Fort Payne; Russell Cave National Monument in
Bridgeport; Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in
Tuskegee; and Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site
near Tuskegee.[67]
Additionally, Alabama has four National Forests:
Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, and William B.
Bankhead.[68] Alabama also contains the Natchez Trace
Parkway, the Selma To Montgomery National Historic
Trail, and the Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail. A
notable natural wonder in Alabama is Natural Bridge
rock, the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies, Autumn tree in Birmingham
located just south of Haleyville.
A 5-mile (8 km)-wide meteorite impact crater is located
in Elmore County, just north of Montgomery. This is the
Wetumpka crater, the site of Alabamas greatest natural
disaster. A 1,000-foot (300 m)-wide meteorite hit the
area about 80 million years ago.[69] The hills just east
of downtown Wetumpka showcase the eroded remains
of the impact crater that was blasted into the bedrock,
with the area labeled the Wetumpka crater or astrobleme
(star-wound) because of the concentric rings of fractures and zones of shattered rock that can be found beneath the surface.[70] In 2002, Christian Koeberl with the
Institute of Geochemistry University of Vienna published
evidence and established the site as the 157th recognized
impact crater on Earth.[71]



Main article: Climate of Alabama

The state is classied as humid subtropical (Cfa) under
the Koppen Climate Classication.[72] The average annual temperature is 64 F (18 C). Temperatures tend
to be warmer in the southern part of the state with its
proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, while the northern parts
of the state, especially in the Appalachian Mountains in
the northeast, tend to be slightly cooler.[73] Generally, Alabama has very hot summers and mild winters with copious precipitation throughout the year. Alabama receives
an average of 56 inches (1,400 mm) of rainfall annually
and enjoys a lengthy growing season of up to 300 days in
the southern part of the state.[73]

Summers in Alabama are among the hottest in the

U.S., with high temperatures averaging over 90 F (32
C) throughout the summer in some parts of the state.
Alabama is also prone to tropical storms and even
hurricanes. Areas of the state far away from the Gulf
are not immune to the eects of the storms, which often
dump tremendous amounts of rain as they move inland
and weaken.
South Alabama reports many thunderstorms. The Gulf
Coast, around Mobile Bay, averages between 70 and 80
days per year with thunder reported. This activity decreases somewhat further north in the state, but even the
far north of the state reports thunder on about 60 days
per year. Occasionally, thunderstorms are severe with
frequent lightning and large hail; the central and northern parts of the state are most vulnerable to this type of
storm. Alabama ranks ninth in the number of deaths from
lightning and tenth in the number of deaths from lightning
strikes per capita.[74]
Alabama, along with Oklahoma, has the most reported
EF5 tornadoes of any state, according to statistics from
the National Climatic Data Center for the period January
1, 1950, to June 2013.[75] Several long-tracked F5/EF5
tornadoes have contributed to Alabama reporting more
tornado fatalities than any other state. The state was affected by the 1974 Super Outbreak and was devastated
tremendously by the 2011 Super Outbreak. The 2011
Super Outbreak produced a record amount of tornadoes
in the state. The tally reached 62.[76]
The peak season for tornadoes varies from the northern

community of Centerville. The record low of 27 F
(33 C) occurred on January 30, 1966 in New Market.[77]

3.2 Flora and fauna

Tornado damage in Phil Campbell following the statewide April

27, 2011 tornado outbreak.

A stand of Cahaba lilies (Hymenocallis coronaria) in the Cahaba

River, within the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge.

Main articles: List of amphibians of Alabama, List of

mammals of Alabama, List of reptiles of Alabama and
Trees of Alabama
Alabama is home to a diverse array of ora and fauna,
due largely to a variety of habitats that range from
the Tennessee Valley, Appalachian Plateau, and Ridgeand-Valley Appalachians of the north to the Piedmont,
Canebrake and Black Belt of the central region to the
Snowfall outside Birmingham City Hall in February 2010
Gulf Coastal Plain and beaches along the Gulf of Mexico
in the south. The state is usually ranked among the top in
to southern parts of the state. Alabama is one of the few nation for its range of overall biodiversity.[82][83]
places in the world that has a secondary tornado season
Alabama once boasted huge expanses of pine forest,
in November and December, along with the spring sewhich still form the largest proportion of forests in the
vere weather season. The northern part of the state
state.[82] It currently ranks fth in the nation for the diveralong the Tennessee Valleyis one of the areas in the
sity of its ora. It is home to nearly 4,000 pteridophyte
U.S. most vulnerable to violent tornadoes. The area of
and spermatophyte plant species.[84]
Alabama and Mississippi most aected by tornadoes is
sometimes referred to as Dixie Alley, as distinct from the Indigenous animal species in the state include 62
mammal species,[85] 93 reptile species,[86] 73 amphibian
Tornado Alley of the Southern Plains.
species,[87] roughly 307 native freshwater sh species,[82]
Winters are generally mild in Alabama, as they are
and 420 bird species that spend at least part of their
throughout most of the southeastern U.S., with average
year within the state.[88] Invertebrates include 83 craysh
January low temperatures around 40 F (4 C) in Mobile
species and 383 mollusk species. 113 of these mollusk
and around 32 F (0 C) in Birmingham. Although snow
species have never been collected outside the state.[89][90]
is a rare event in much of Alabama, areas of the state
north of Montgomery may receive a dusting of snow a
few times every winter, with an occasional moderately
heavy snowfall every few years. Historic snowfall events 4 Demographics
include New Years Eve 1963 snowstorm and the 1993
Storm of the Century. The annual average snowfall for Main article: Demographics of Alabama
the Birmingham area is 2 inches (51 mm) per year. In
the southern Gulf coast, snowfall is less frequent, some- The United States Census Bureau estimates that the poptimes going several years without any snowfall.
ulation of Alabama was 4,849,377 on July 1, 2014,[2]
Alabamas highest temperature of 112 F (44 C) was which represents an increase of 69,641, or 1.46%, since
recorded on September 5, 1925 in the unincorporated the 2010 Census.[92] This includes a natural increase since


Population centers

of the people in Alabama identied as being of English
ancestry, making them the largest ethnic group at the
Based on historic migration and settlement patterns in
the southern colonies and states, demographers estimated
there are more people in Alabama of Scots-Irish origins than self-reported.[108] Many people in Alabama
claim Irish ancestry because of the term Scots-Irish but,
based on historic immigration and settlement, their ancestors were more likely Protestant Scots-Irish coming
from northern Ireland, where they had been for a few
generations as part of the English colonization.[109] The
Scots-Irish were the largest non-English immigrant group
from the British Isles before the American Revolution,
and many settled in the South, later moving into the Deep
South as it was developed.[110]

Alabamas population density

the last census of 121,054 people (that is 502,457 births

minus 381,403 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 104,991 people into the state.[93]

In 1984, under the DavisStrong Act, the state legislature

established the Alabama Indian Aairs Commission.[111]
Native American groups within the state had increasingly
been demanding recognition as ethnic groups and seeking
an end to discrimination. Given the long history of slavery and associated racial segregation, the Native American peoples, who have sometimes been of mixed race,
have insisted on having their cultural identication respected. In the past, their self-identication was often
overlooked as the state tried to impose a binary breakdown of society into white and black.

Immigration from outside the U.S. resulted in a net increase of 31,180 people, and migration within the country produced a net gain of 73,811 people.[93] The state
had 108,000 foreign-born (2.4% of the state population),
of which an estimated 22.2% were illegal immigrants The state has ocially recognized nine American Indian
tribes in the state, descended mostly from the Five Civi(24,000).
lized Tribes of the American Southeast. These are:[112]
The center of population of Alabama is located in Chilton
County, outside the town of Jemison.[94]
Poarch Band of Creek Indians (who also have federal recognition),


Race and ancestry

According to the 2010 Census, Alabama had a population of 4,779,736. The racial composition of the state
was 68.5% White (67.0% Non-Hispanic White and 1.5%
Hispanic White), 26.2% Black or African American,
3.9% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 1.1% Asian, 0.6%
American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacic Islander, 2.0% from Some Other
Race, and 1.5% from Two or More Races.[95] In 2011,
46.6% of Alabamas population younger than age 1 were
The largest reported ancestry groups in Alabama
are: African American (26.2%), English (23.6%),
Irish (7.7%), German (5.7%), and Scots-Irish
(2.0%).[97][98][99] Those citing American ancestry
in Alabama are generally of English or British ancestry;
many Anglo-Americans identify as having American
ancestry because their roots have been in North America
for so long, in some cases since the 1600s. Demographers estimate that a minimum of 2023% of people
in Alabama are of predominantly English ancestry and
that the gure is likely higher. In the 1980 census, 41%

MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians,

Star Clan of Muscogee Creeks,
Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama,
Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama,
Cher-O-Creek Intra Tribal Indians,
Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe,
Piqua Shawnee Tribe, and
Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation.
The state government has promoted recognition of Native
American contributions to the state, including the designation in 2000 for Columbus Day to be jointly celebrated
as American Indian Heritage Day.[113]

4.2 Population centers

Main articles: List of cities and towns in Alabama and
List of metropolitan areas of Alabama


Southern,[116] and is related to South Midland speech
which was taken across the border from Tennessee. In
the major Southern speech region, there is the decreasing loss of the nal /r/, for example the /boyd/ pronunciation of 'bird.' In the northern third of the state, there
is a South Midland 'arm' and 'barb' rhyming with 'form'
and 'orb.' Unique words in Alabama English include:
redworm (earthworm), peckerwood (woodpecker), snake
doctor and snake feeder (dragony), tow sack (burlap
bag), plum peach (clingstone), French harp (harmonica),
and dog irons (andirons).[116]

Birmingham, largest city and metropolitan area

4.4 Religion

Huntsville, second-largest metropolitan area

Highlands United Methodist Church in Birmingham, part of the

Five Points South Historic District

Mobile, third-largest metropolitan area

Montgomery, fourth-largest metropolitan area


Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham

In the 2008 American Religious Identication Survey,

86% of Alabama respondents reported their religion as
Christian, including 6% Catholic, and 11% as having no
95.1% of all Alabama residents ve years old or older religion.[118] The composition of other traditions is 0.5%
spoke only English at home in 2010, a minor decrease Mormon, 0.5% Jewish, 0.5% Muslim, 0.5% Buddhist,
from 96.1% in 2000. Alabama English is predominantly and 0.5% Hindu.[119]





4.4.1 Christianity
For more details on Christianity in Alabama, see History
of Baptists in Alabama, Baptist churches in Alabama,
Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, Episcopal Diocese of
the Central Gulf Coast, Roman Catholic Archdiocese
of Mobile, Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham,
and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in
Alabama is located in the middle of the Bible Belt,
a region of numerous Protestant Christians. Alabama
has been identied as one of the most religious states
in the United States, with about 58% of the population attending church regularly.[120] A majority of people in the state identify as Evangelical Protestant. As
of 2010, the three largest denominational groups in Alabama are the Southern Baptist Convention, The United
Methodist Church, and non-denominational Evangelical

Temple B'Nai Sholom in Huntsville, established in 1876. It is the

oldest synagogue building in continuous use in the state.

In Alabama, the Southern Baptist Convention has the

highest number of adherents with 1,380,121; this is followed by the United Methodist Church with 327,734
adherents, non-denominational Evangelical Protestant
with 220,938 adherents, and the Catholic Church with
150,647 adherents. Many Baptist and Methodist congregations became established in the Great Awakening of the
early 19th century, when preachers proselytized across
the South. The Assemblies of God had almost 60,000
members, the Churches of Christ had nearly 120,000
members. The Presbyterian churches, strongly associated with Scots-Irish immigrants of the 18th century and
their descendants, had a combined membership around
75,000 (PCA28,009 members in 108 congregations,
PC(USA)26,247 members in 147 congregations,[122]
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church6,000 members in
59 congregations, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
in America5,000 members and 50 congregations plus
the EPC and Associate Reformed Presbyterians with 230
members and 9 congregations).[123]
In a 2007 survey, nearly 70% of respondents could name
all four of the Christian Gospels. Of those who indicated a religious preference, 59% said they possessed
a full understanding of their faith and needed no further learning.[124] In a 2007 poll, 92% of Alabamians reported having at least some condence in churches in the
4.4.2 Other faiths

The Islamic Center of Tuscaloosa, one of the Islamic centers that

contain a mosque and facilities for the cultural needs of Muslims
in the state.

Although in much smaller numbers, many other religious faiths are represented in the state as well, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, the
Bah' Faith, and Unitarian Universalism.[123]
Jews have been present in what is now Alabama since
1763, during the colonial era of Mobile, when Sephardic



Jews immigrated from London.[127] The oldest Jewish congregation in the state is Congregation Sha'arai
Shomayim in Mobile. It was formally recognized by
the state legislature on January 25, 1844.[127] Later
immigrants in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
tended to be Ashkenazy Jews from eastern Europe. Jewish denominations in the state include two Orthodox,
four Conservative, ten Reform, and one Humanistic
Muslims have been increasing in Alabama, with 31
mosques built by 2011, many by African-American
converts.[129] Islam was a traditional religion in West
Africa, from where many slaves were brought to the
colonies and the United States during the centuries of the
slave trade.
Several Hindu temples and cultural centers in the state
have been founded by Indian immigrants and their descendants, the most well-known being the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Birmingham, the Hindu Temple and
Cultural Center of Birmingham in Pelham, the Hindu
Cultural Center of North Alabama in Capshaw, and the
Hindu Mandir and Cultural Center in Tuscaloosa.[130][131]
There are six Dharma centers and organizations for
Theravada Buddhists.[132] Most monastic Buddhist temples are concentrated in southern Mobile County, near
Bayou La Batre. This area has attracted an inux
of refugees from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam during the 1970s and thereafter.[133] The four temples
within a ten-mile radius of Bayou La Batre, include
Chua Chanh Giac, Wat Buddharaksa, and Wat Lao
The rst community of adherents of the Baha'i Faith in
Alabama was founded in 1896 by Paul K. Dealy who
moved from Chicago to Fairhope to participate in the
growth of Fairhope as a utopian community. The rst
community of Baha'is in Alabama was racially integrated
from the beginning due to the Faiths principles. Today
there is an exhibit honoring Dealy in Haifa, Israel at the
world center of the Baha'i Faith. Baha'i Centers in Alabama exist in Birmingham, Alabama, Huntsville, Alabama, and Florence, Alabama.[137]

5 Economy
See also: Alabama locations by per capita income
The state has invested in aerospace, education, health
care, banking, and various heavy industries, including
automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication. By 2006, crop and animal production in Alabama was valued at $1.5 billion. In contrast to the primarily agricultural economy of the previous century, this was only about 1% of the states gross
domestic product. The number of private farms has declined at a steady rate since the 1960s, as land has been
sold to developers, timber companies, and large farming
Non-agricultural employment in 2008 was 121,800 in
management occupations; 71,750 in business and nancial operations; 36,790 in computer-related and mathematical occupation; 44,200 in architecture and engineering; 12,410 in life, physical, and social sciences;
32,260 in community and social services; 12,770 in legal occupations; 116,250 in education, training, and library services; 27,840 in art, design and media occupations; 121,110 in healthcare; 44,750 in re ghting,
law enforcement, and security; 154,040 in food preparation and serving; 76,650 in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; 53,230 in personal care and services; 244,510 in sales; 338,760 in oce and administration support; 20,510 in farming, shing, and forestry;
120,155 in construction and mining, gas, and oil extraction; 106,280 in installation, maintenance, and repair;
224,110 in production; and 167,160 in transportation and
material moving.[8]
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis,
the 2008 total gross state product was $170 billion, or
$29,411 per capita. Alabamas 2012 GDP increased
1.2% from the previous year. The single largest increase
came in the area of information.[143] In 2010, per capita
income for the state was $22,984.[144]
The states seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was
5.8% in April 2015.[145] This compared to a nationwide
seasonally adjusted rate of 5.4%.[146]

5.1 Largest employers



A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in

2008 showed that obesity in Alabama was a problem, with
most counties having over 29% of adults obese, except
for ten which had a rate between 26% and 29%.[138] Residents of the state, along with those in ve other states,
were least likely in the nation to be physically active during leisure time.[139] Alabama, and the southeastern U.S.
in general, has one of the highest incidences of adult onset
diabetes in the country, exceeding 10% of adults.[140][141]

The ve employers that employed the most employees in

Alabama in April 2011 were:[147]
The next twenty largest employers, as of 2011,

5.2 Agriculture
Alabamas agricultural outputs include poultry and eggs,
cattle, sh, plant nursery items, peanuts, cotton, grains



Alabama ranks between eighth and tenth in national cotton production, according to various reports,[149][150] with
Texas, Georgia and Mississippi comprising the top three.

5.3 Industry
Alabamas industrial outputs include iron and steel products (including cast-iron and steel pipe); paper, lumber,
and wood products; mining (mostly coal); plastic products; cars and trucks; and apparel. In addition, Alabama
produces aerospace and electronic products, mostly in the
Huntsville area, the location of NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Army Materiel
Command, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal.

The Space Shuttle Enterprise being tested at Marshall Space

Flight Center in 1978.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Tuscaloosa County was the

rst automotive facility to locate within the state.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama in Montgomery in 2010

A great deal of Alabamas economic growth since the

1990s has been due to the states expanding automotive
manufacturing industry. Located in the state are Honda
Manufacturing of Alabama, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, and
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, as well as their
various suppliers. Since 1993, the automobile industry
has generated more than 67,800 new jobs in the state.
Alabama currently ranks 4th in the nation for vehicle
Automakers accounted for approximately a third of the
industrial expansion in the state in 2012.[152] The eight
models produced at the states auto factories totaled combined sales of 74,335 vehicles for 2012. The strongest
model sales during this period were the Hyundai Elantra
compact car, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class sport utility
vehicle and the Honda Ridgeline sport utility truck.[153]

Steel producers Outokumpu,

ThyssenKrupp, and U.S. Steel have facilities in Alabama and employ over 10,000 people. In May 2007,
German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp selected Calvert in
Shelby Hall, School of Computing, at the University of South AlMobile County for a 4.65 billion combined stainless
abama in Mobile
and carbon steel processing facility.[154] ThyssenKrupps
stainless steel division, Inoxum, including the stainless
such as corn and sorghum, vegetables, milk, soybeans, portion of the Calvert plant, was sold to Finnish stainless
and peaches. Although known as "The Cotton State", steel company Outokumpu in 2012.[155] The remain-



Airbus Mobile Engineering Center at the Brookley Aeroplex in

Alabamas beaches are one of the states major tourist destinations.

ing portion of the ThyssenKrupp plant had nal bids

submitted by ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel for $1.6
billion in March 2013. Companhia Siderrgica Nacional
submitted a combined bid for the mill at Calvert, plus
a majority stake in the ThyssenKrupp mill in Brazil,
for $3.8 billion.[156] In July 2013, the plant was sold to
ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel.[157]

5.5 Healthcare
UAB Hospital is the only Level I trauma center in
Alabama.[166][167] UAB is the largest state government
employer in Alabama, with a workforce of about

The Hunt Rening Company, a subsidiary of Hunt Consolidated, Inc., is based in Tuscaloosa and operates a re- 5.6
nery there. The company also operates terminals in Mobile, Melvin, and Moundville.[158] JVC America, Inc. operates an optical disc replication and packaging plant in


The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company operates a large

plant in Gadsden that employs about 1,400 people. It has
been in operation since 1929.
Construction of an Airbus A320 family aircraft assembly
plant in Mobile was formally announced by Airbus CEO
Fabrice Brgier from the Mobile Convention Center on
July 2, 2012. The plans include a $600 million factory
at the Brookley Aeroplex for the assembly of the A319,
A320 and A321 aircraft. Construction began in 2013,
with plans for it to become operable by 2015 and produce
up to 50 aircraft per year by 2017.[160][161] The assembly
plant is the companys rst factory to be built within the Regions-Harbert Plaza, Regions Center, and Wells Fargo Tower
United States.[162] It was announced on February 1, 2013 in Birminghams nancial district.
that Airbus had hired Alabama-based Hoar Construction
to oversee construction of the facility.[163]
Alabama has the headquarters of Regions Financial
Corporation, BBVA Compass, Superior Bancorp and
the former Colonial Bancgroup. Birmingham-based
Compass Banchshares was acquired by Spanish-based
BBVA in September 2007, although the headquarters of
BBVA Compass remains in Birmingham. In Novem5.4 Tourism
ber 2006, Regions Financial completed its merger with
AmSouth Bancorporation, which was also headquartered
An estimated 20 million tourists visit the state each year. in Birmingham. SouthTrust Corporation, another large
Over 100,000 of these are from other countries, including bank headquartered in Birmingham, was acquired by
from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. Wachovia in 2004 for $14.3 billion.
In 2006, 22.3 million tourists spent $8.3 billion providing The city still has major operations for Wachovia and its
now post-operating bank Wells Fargo, which includes a
an estimated 162,000 jobs in the state.[164][165]


State government

regional headquarters, an operations center campus and

a $400 million data center. Nearly a dozen smaller banks
are also headquartered in the Birmingham, such as Superior Bancorp, ServisFirst and New South Federal Savings
Bank. Birmingham also serves as the headquarters for
several large investment management companies, including Harbert Management Corporation.



Telecommunications provider AT&T, formerly

BellSouth, has a major presence in Alabama with
several large oces in Birmingham. The company has
over 6,000 employees and more than 1,200 contract

The foundational document for Alabamas government is
the Alabama Constitution, which was ratied in 1901.
At almost 800 amendments and 310,000 words, it is
by some accounts the worlds longest constitution and is
roughly forty times the length of the United States Constitution.[169][170][171][172]
There has been a signicant movement to rewrite and
modernize Alabamas constitution.[173] Critics suggest
that Alabamas constitution highly centralizes power in
Montgomery and leaves practically no power in local
hands. Most counties do not have home rule. Any policy
changes proposed around the state must be approved by
the entire Alabama legislature and, frequently, by state
referendum. One criticism of the current constitution
claims that its complexity and length intentionally codify
segregation and racism.

Many commercial technology companies are headquartered in Huntsville, such as the network access company
ADTRAN, computer graphics company Intergraph, design and manufacturer of IT infrastructure Avocent, and
telecommunications provider Deltacom. Cinram manufactures and distributes 20th Century Fox DVDs and Bluray Discs out of their Huntsville plant.



Rust International has grown to include Braseld & Gorrie, BE&K, Hoar Construction and B.L. Harbert International, which all routinely are included in the Engineering News-Record lists of top design, international
construction, and engineering rms. (Rust International The Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery. It houses the
was acquired in 2000 by Washington Group International, Alabama Supreme Court, Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, and
which was in turn acquired by San-Francisco based URS Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
Corporation in 2007.)
Alabamas government is divided into three coequal
branches. The legislative branch is the Alabama Legislature, a bicameral assembly composed of the Alabama
6 Law and government
House of Representatives, with 105 members, and the
Alabama Senate, with 35 members. The Legislature is
responsible for writing, debating, passing, or defeating
6.1 State government
state legislation. The Republican Party currently holds
a majority in both houses of the Legislature. The Legislature has the power to override a gubernatorial veto by
a simple majority (most state Legislatures require a twothirds majority to override a veto).

The State Capitol Building in Montgomery, completed in 1851

Main article: Government of Alabama

Until 1964, the state elected state senators by county, with

one per county. It had not redistricted congressional districts since passage of its constitution in 1901; as a result, urbanized areas were grossly underrepresented. It
had not changed legislative districts to reect the decennial censuses, either. In Reynolds v. Sims (1964), the
US Supreme Court implemented the principle of "one
man, one vote", ruling that congressional districts had to
be reapportioned based on censuses (as the state already
had in its constitution but had not implemented.) Further, it ruled that both houses of bicameral state legislatures had to be apportioned by population, as there was



no constitutional basis for states to have geographically

based systems. At that time, Alabama and many other
states had to change their legislative districting, as many
across the country had systems that underrepresented urban areas and districts. This had caused decades of underinvestment in such areas. For instance, Birmingham
and Jeerson County taxes had supplied one-third of the
state budget, but Jeerson County received only 1/67th
of state services in funding. Through the legislative delegations, the Alabama legislature kept control of county

rate as other goods, and one of two states (the other being
neighboring Mississippi) which fully taxes groceries without any osetting relief for low-income families. (Most
states exempt groceries from sales tax or apply a lower
tax rate.)[179]

from their Alabama state tax, and can do so even if taking

the standard deduction. Taxpayers who le itemized deductions are also allowed to deduct the Federal Insurance
Contributions Act tax (Social Security and Medicare tax).

The state legislature has retained power over local governments by refusing to pass a constitutional amendment establishing home rule for counties, as recommended by the
1973 Alabama Constitutional Commission.[181] Legislative delegations retain certain powers over each county.
United States Supreme Court decisions in Baker v. Carr
(1964) required that both houses have districts established on the basis of population, and redistricted after
each census, in order to implement the principle of one
man, one vote. Before that, each county was represented
by one state senator, leading to underrepresentation in the
state senate for more urbanized, populous counties.

Alabamas income tax on poor working families is among

the highest in the United States.[178] Alabama is the only
state that levies income tax on a family of four with income as low as $4,600, which is barely one-quarter of the
federal poverty line.[178] Alabamas threshold is the lowest among the 41 states and the District of Columbia with
The executive branch is responsible for the execution and income taxes.[178]
oversight of laws. It is headed by the Governor of Al- The corporate income tax rate is currently 6.5%. The
abama. Other members of executive branch include the overall federal, state, and local tax burden in Alabama
cabinet, the Attorney General of Alabama, the Alabama ranks the state as the second least tax-burdened state in
Secretary of State, the Alabama State Treasurer, and the the country.[180] Property taxes are the lowest in the U.S.
State Auditor of Alabama. The current governor of the The current state constitution requires a voter referendum
state is Republican Robert Bentley. The lieutenant gov- to raise property taxes.
ernor is Republican Kay Ivey.
Since Alabamas tax structure largely depends on conThe judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the sumer spending, it is subject to high variable budget strucConstitution and applying the law in state criminal and ture. For example, in 2003 Alabama had an annual budcivil cases. The states highest court is the Supreme Court
get decit as high as $670 million.
of Alabama. Alabama uses partisan elections to choose
judges, and since the 1980s judicial campaigns have become increasingly politicized.[174] The current chief jus6.3 County and Local governments
tice of the Alabama Supreme Court is Republican Roy
Moore. All sitting justices on the Alabama Supreme
Court are members of the Republican Party. There are
Alabama counties (clickable map)
two intermediate appellate courts, the Court of Civil ApSee also: List of counties in Alabama
peals and the Court of Criminal Appeals, and four trial
courts: the circuit court (trial court of general jurisdiction), and the district, probate, and municipal courts.[174] Alabama has 67 counties. Each county has its own
elected legislative branch, usually called the county comThe members of the Legislature take oce immediately
mission. It also has limited executive authority in the
after the November elections. Statewide ocials such
county. Because of the constraints of the Alabama Conas the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general,
stitution, only seven counties (Jeerson, Lee, Mobile,
and other constitutional ocers take oce the following
Madison, Montgomery, Shelby, and Tuscaloosa) in the
state have limited home rule. Instead, most counties in
the state must lobby the Local Legislation Committee of
the state legislature to get simple local policies approved,
6.2 Taxes
ranging from waste disposal to land use zoning. The cumAlabama levies a 2, 4, or 5 percent personal income tax, bersome process results in local jurisdictions being unable to manage their problems, and the state legislators
depending upon the amount earned and ling status. Taxpayers are allowed to deduct their federal income tax are buried in local county issues.

The states general sales tax rate is 4%.[176] Sales tax rates
for cities and counties are also added to purchases.[177]
For example, the total sales tax rate in Mobile is 10%
and there is an additional restaurant tax of 1%, which
means that a diner in Mobile would pay an 11% tax on
a meal. As of 1999, sales and excise taxes in Alabama
account for 51% of all state and local revenue, compared
with an average of about 36% nationwide.[178] Alabama
is one of seven states that levy a tax on food at the same The lack of home rule for counties in Alabama has re-




sulted in the proliferation of local legislation permitting

counties to do things not authorized by the state constitution. Alabamas constitution has been amended more
than 700 times, and almost one-third of the amendments
are local in nature, applying to only one county or city. A
signicant part of each legislative session is spent on local
legislation, taking away time and attention of legislators
from issues of statewide importance.[181]
On November 9, 2011, Jeerson County, which was $4
billion in debt at the time, declared bankruptcy. This is
the second-largest Chapter 9 (municipal) bankruptcy in
the United States, after the Detroit bankruptcy. Jeerson
County emerged from bankruptcy in December 2013 following the approval of a bankruptcy plan by the United
States bankruptcy court for the Northern District of Alabama.[182][183][184]
Alabama is an alcoholic beverage control state, meaning
that the state government holds a monopoly on the sale
of alcohol. The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control
Board controls the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in the state. Twenty-ve of the 67 counties are
"dry counties" which ban the sale of alcohol, and there
are many dry municipalities even in counties which permit alcohol sales.[185]
Kay Ivey, lieutenant governor


Third Military District under General John Pope. In
1874, the political coalition of white Democrats known
as the Redeemers took control of the state government
from the Republicans, in part by suppressing the AfricanAmerican vote through violence, fraud and intimidation.
After 1890, a coalition of White Democratic politicians passed laws to segregate and disenfranchise African
American residents, a process completed in provisions
of the 1901 constitution. Provisions which disenfranchised African Americans resulted in excluding many
poor Whites. By 1941 more Whites than African Americans had been disenfranchised: 600,000 to 520,000. The
total eects were greater on the African-American community, as almost all of its citizens were disfranchised
and relegated to separate and unequal treatment under the
From 1901 through the 1960s, the state did not redraw
election districts as population grew and shifted within the
state during urbanization and industrialization of certain
areas. As counties were the basis of election districts, the
result was a rural minority that dominated state politics
through nearly three-quarters of the century, until a series
of federal court cases required redistricting in 1972 to
meet equal representation.

Robert J. Bentley, governor since January 17, 2011

Alabama state politics gained nationwide and international attention in the 1950s and 1960s during the
During Reconstruction following the American Civil American Civil Rights Movement, when Whites bureauWar, Alabama was occupied by federal troops of the cratically, and at times, violently resisted protests for elec-


toral and social reform. Democrat George Wallace, the

states only four-term governor, was a controversial gure
who vowed to maintain segregation. Only after passage
of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964[58] and Voting
Rights Act of 1965 did African Americans regain the
ability to exercise surage, among other civil rights. In
many jurisdictions, they continued to be excluded from
representation by at-large electoral systems, which allowed the majority of the population to dominate elections. Some changes at the county level have occurred following court challenges to establish single-member districts that enable a more diverse representation among
county boards.


election cycles. The Democrats lost the last of the nineteen court seats in August 2011 with the resignation of
the last Democrat on the bench.
In the early 21st century, Republicans hold all seven of
the statewide elected executive branch oces. Republicans hold six of the eight elected seats on the Alabama
State Board of Education. In 2010, Republicans took
large majorities of both chambers of the state legislature, giving them control of that body for the rst time in
136 years. The last remaining statewide Democrat, who
served on the Alabama Public Service Commission was
defeated in 2012.[188][189][190]

Only two Republican Lieutenant Governors have been

elected since the end of Reconstruction, when Republicans generally represented Reconstruction government,
including the newly emancipated freedmen who had
gained the franchise. The two GOP Lt. Governors were
Steve Windom (1999-2003) and the current Lt. Governor, Kay Ivey, who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in
In 2010, Republicans won control of both houses of the 2014.
legislature for the rst time in 136 years, after a nearly
complete realignment of political parties, who represent
6.5.2 Local elections
dierent visions in the 21st century.
In 2007, the Alabama Legislature passed, and Republican Governor Bob Riley signed a resolution expressing
profound regret over slavery and its lingering impact. In
a symbolic ceremony, the bill was signed in the Alabama
State Capitol, which housed Congress of the Confederate
States of America.[186]



Main article: Elections in Alabama


State elections

With the disfranchisement of African Americans in 1901,

the state became part of the "Solid South", a system in
which the Democratic Party operated as eectively the
only viable political party in every Southern state. For
nearly 100 years, local and state elections in Alabama
were decided in the Democratic Party primary, with generally only token Republican challengers running in the
General Election. Since the mid to late-20th century,
however, there has been a realignment among the two major political parties, and white conservatives started shifting to the Republican Party. In Alabama, majority-white
districts are now expected to regularly elect Republican
candidates to federal, state and local oce.
Members of the nine seats on the Alabama Supreme
Court[187] and all ten seats on the state appellate courts
are elected to oce. Until 1994, no Republicans held
any of the court seats. In that general election, the thenincumbent Chief Justice of Alabama, Ernest C. Hornsby,
refused to leave oce after losing the election by approximately 3,000 votes to Republican Perry O. Hooper, Sr..
Hornsby sued Alabama and deantly remained in oce
for nearly a year before nally giving up the seat after losing in court. This ultimately led to a collapse of support
for Democrats at the ballot box in the next three or four

Many local oces (County Commissioners, Boards of

Education, Tax Assessors, Tax Collectors, etc.) in the
state are still held by Democrats. Many rural counties have voters who are majority Democrats, resulting
in local elections being decided in the Democratic primary. Similarly many metropolitan and suburban counties are majority-Republican and elections are eectively
decided in the Republican Primary, although there are
Alabamas 67 County Sheris are elected in partisan, atlarge races, and Democrats still retain the narrow majority of those posts. The current split is 35 Democrats,
31 Republicans, and one Independent Fayette).[193] However, most of the Democratic sheris preside over rural
and less populated counties. The majority of Republican sheris have been elected in the more urban/suburban
and heavily populated counties. As of 2015, the state of
Alabama has one female sheri, in Morgan County, Alabama, and ten African-American sheris.[193]
6.5.3 Federal elections
The states two U.S. senators are Jeerson B. Sessions III
and Richard C. Shelby, both Republicans. Shelby was
originally elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 1986
and re-elected in 1992, but switched parties immediately
following the November 1994 general election.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, the state is represented by seven members, six of whom are Republicans: (Bradley Byrne, Mike D. Rogers, Robert Aderholt,
Morris J. Brooks, Martha Roby, and Gary Palmer) and
one Democrat: Terri Sewell.


Colleges and universities


Further information: United States presidential election

in Alabama, 2004


Main article: Education in Alabama


Primary and secondary education

Harrison Plaza at the University of North Alabama in Florence.
The school was chartered as LaGrange College by the Alabama
Legislature in 1830.

Vestavia Hills High School in the suburbs of Birmingham

Public primary and secondary education in Alabama is

under the purview of the Alabama State Board of Education as well as local oversight by 67 county school boards
and 60 city boards of education. Together, 1,496 individual schools provide education for 744,637 elementary
and secondary students.[194]
Public school funding is appropriated through the Alabama Legislature through the Education Trust Fund. In
FY 20062007, Alabama appropriated $3,775,163,578
for primary and secondary education. That represented
an increase of $444,736,387 over the previous scal year.
In 2007, over 82 percent of schools made adequate yearly
progress (AYP) toward student prociency under the National No Child Left Behind law, using measures determined by the state of Alabama.

versities. In the state are four medical schools (as of

fall 2015) (University of Alabama School of Medicine,
University of South Alabama and Alabama College of
Osteopathic Medicine and The Edward Via College of
Osteopathic Medicine - Auburn Campus), two veterinary colleges (Auburn University and Tuskegee University), a dental school (University of Alabama School of
Dentistry), an optometry college (University of Alabama
at Birmingham), two pharmacy schools (Auburn University and Samford University), and ve law schools
(University of Alabama School of Law, Birmingham
School of Law, Cumberland School of Law, Miles Law
School, and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law).
Public, post-secondary education in Alabama is overseen
by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and
the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education.
Colleges and universities in Alabama oer degree programs from two-year associate degrees to a multitude of
doctoral level programs.[197]

While Alabamas public education system has improved

in recent decades, it lags behind in achievement compared to other states. According to U.S. Census data,
Alabamas high school graduation rate75%is the
fourth lowest in the U.S. (after Kentucky, Louisiana
and Mississippi).[195] The largest educational gains were
among people with some college education but without
William J. Samford Hall at Auburn University in Auburn


Colleges and universities

Main article: List of colleges and universities in Alabama

Alabamas programs of higher education include 14
four-year public universities, two-year community colleges, and 17 private, undergraduate and graduate uni-

The largest single campus is the University of Alabama,

located in Tuscaloosa, with 33,602 enrolled for fall
2012.[198] Troy University was the largest institution in
the state in 2010, with an enrollment of 29,689 students across four Alabama campuses (Troy, Dothan,



Montgomery, and Phenix City), as well as sixty learning sites in seventeen other states and eleven other countries. The oldest institutions are the public University
of North Alabama in Florence and the Catholic Churchaliated Spring Hill College in Mobile, both founded in

Legion Field is home for the UAB Blazers football program and the Bowl. It seats 80,601.[210]
Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile is the home of the
University of South Alabama football team, and serves
as the home of the NCAA Senior Bowl,
Bowl, and Alabama-Mississippi All Star Classic; the
In 2009, Bryant-Denny StaAccreditation of academic programs is through the stadium seats 40,646.
became the homes of the
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Alabama High School Athletic Association state football
as well as other subject-focused national and international
previously being held at Leaccreditation agencies such as the Association for Biblical championship games, after[212]
gion Field in Birmingham.
Higher Education (ABHE),
the Council on Occupational Education (COE),[202] and the Accrediting Council
for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).[203]

8.2 Professional

According to the 2011 U.S. News & World Report, Alabama had three universities ranked in the top 100 Pub- Main article: List of professional sports teams in Allic Schools in America (University of Alabama at 31, abama
Auburn University at 36, and University of Alabama at Alabama has several professional and semi-professional
Birmingham at 73).[204]
According to the 2012 U.S. News & World Report, Alabama had four tier 1 universities (University
of Alabama, Auburn University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Alabama in



Regions Park in Hoover

Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama in


College football is popular in Alabama, particularly the

University of Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn University Tigers, rivals in the Southeastern Conference.
In the 2013 season, Alabama averaged over 100,000
fans per game and Auburn averaged over 80,000 fans,
both numbers among the top 20 in the nation in average attendance.[206] Bryant-Denny Stadium is the home
of the Alabama football team, and has a seating capacity of 101,821,[207] and is the fth largest stadium in
America.[208] Jordan-Hare Stadium is the home eld of
the Auburn football team and seats up to 87,451.[209]

Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile

sports teams, including four minor league baseball teams.

The Talladega Superspeedway motorsports complex
hosts a series of NASCAR events. It has a seating capacity of 143,000 and is the thirteenth largest stadium in
the world and sixth largest stadium in America. Also, the
Barber Motorsports Park has hosted IndyCar Series and
Rolex Sports Car Series races.
The ATP Birmingham was a World Championship Tennis tournament held from 1973 to 1980.




Alabama has hosted several professional golf tournaments, such as the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championship at
Shoal Creek (PGA Tour), the Mobile LPGA Tournament
of Champions, Airbus LPGA Classic and Yokohama
Tire LPGA Classic (LPGA Tour), and The Tradition
(Champions Tour).


Aerial view of the port of Mobile.

(MGM), and Muscle Shoals Northwest Alabama Regional Airport (MSL).

9.2 Rail
For rail transport, Amtrak schedules the Crescent, a daily
passenger train, running from New York to New Orleans
with stops at Anniston, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa.
Terminal at the Montgomery Regional Airport in Montgomery.

9.3 Roads

Alabama has ve major interstate roads that cross the

state: Interstate 65 (I-65) travels northsouth roughly
through the middle of the state; I-20/I-59 travel from the
central west Mississippi state line to Birmingham, where
I-59 continues to the north-east corner of the state and
I-20 continues east towards Atlanta; I-85 originates in
Montgomery and travels east-northeast to the Georgia
state line, providing a main thoroughfare to Atlanta; and
I-10 traverses the southernmost portion of the state, traveling from west to east through Mobile. Another interstate, I-22, is currently under construction. When completed, it will connect Birmingham with Memphis, Tennessee. In addition, there are currently ve auxiliary interstate routes in the state: I-165 in Mobile, I-359 in
Tuscaloosa, I-459 around Birmingham, I-565 in Decatur
Interstate 59 (co-signed with Interstate 20) approaching Interstate
and Huntsville, and I-759 in Gadsden. A sixth route, I65 in downtown Birmingham.
685, will be formed when I-85 is rerouted along a new
southern bypass of Montgomery. A proposed northern
Main article: Transportation in Alabama
bypass of Birmingham will be designated as I-422. Since
a direct connection from I-22 to I-422 will not be possible, I-222 has been proposed, as well.



Several U.S. Highways also pass through the state, such

as U.S. Route 11 (US-11), US-29, US-31, US-43, USMain article: Aviation in Alabama
45, US-72, US-78, US-80, US-82, US-84, US-90, US98, US-231, US-278, US-280, US-331, US-411, and USMajor airports with sustained commercial operations 431.
in Alabama include Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Interna- There are four toll roads in the state: Montgomery
tional Airport (BHM), Huntsville International Airport Expressway in Montgomery; Tuscaloosa Bypass
(HSV), Dothan Regional Airport (DHN), Mobile Re- in Tuscaloosa; Emerald Mountain Expressway in
gional Airport (MOB), Montgomery Regional Airport Wetumpka; and Beach Express in Orange Beach.






[11] Read, William A. (1984). Indian Place Names in Alabama. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-81730231-X. OCLC 10724679.

The Port of Mobile, Alabamas only saltwater port, is

a large seaport on the Gulf of Mexico with inland waterway access to the Midwest by way of the Tennessee- [12] Sylestine, Cora; Hardy; Heather; and Montler, Timothy
(1993). Dictionary of the Alabama Language. Austin:
Tombigbee Waterway. The Port of Mobile was ranked
University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-73077-2. OCLC
12th by tons of trac in the United States during
2009.[213] The newly expanded container terminal at the
Port of Mobile was ranked as the 25th busiest for con- [13] Rogers, William W.; Robert D. Ward; Leah R. Atkins;
tainer trac in the nation during 2011.[214] The states
Wayne Flynt (1994). Alabama: the History of a Deep
South State. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173other ports are on rivers with access to the Gulf of Mex0712-5. OCLC 28634588.
Water ports of Alabama, listed from north to south:


See also

Outline of Alabama organized list of topics about

Index of Alabama-related articles
LGBT rights in Alabama



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13 External links

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Alabama. Retrieved July 28, 2013. Ocial State Government web site

[208] Stadium List: 100 000+ Stadiums. World Stadiums.

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All About Alabama, at the Alabama Department of

Archives and History

[209] Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn Athletics. Auburn University. Retrieved July 28, 2013.

Alabama at DMOZ

[210] Legion Field. University of Alabama

at Birmingham. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
[211] Welcome to Ladd Peebles Stadium. January 23, 2012. Retrieved February 10,
[212] Super 6 leaving Birmingham for Bryant-Denny, JordanHare stadiums | Retrieved February 10, 2012.
[213] Table 1086. Top U.S. Ports by Tons of Trac: 2009
(PDF). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved July 22,
[214] U.S. Waterborne Container Trac by Port/Waterway in
2011 (Loaded and Empty TEUS)". U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers. Retrieved July 22, 2013.


Further reading
For a detailed bibliography, see the History of

Alabama State Guide, from the Library of Congress

Alabama Association of Regional Councils

Energy Data & Statistics for Alabama from the U.S.
Department of Energy Alabama Department of
Tourism and Travel
AlabamaMosaic, a digital repository of materials on
Alabamas history, culture, places, and people
Code of Alabama 1975 at the Alabama Legislature site
USGS real-time, geographic, and other scientic resources of Alabama
Alabama QuickFacts from the U.S. Census Bureau
Alabama State Fact Sheet from the U.S. Department
of Agriculture
Geographic data




Coordinates: 3242N 8642W / 32.7N 86.7W




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