Mobile County, Alabama

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Mobile County, Alabama
Government Plaza Mobile.JPG
Seal of Mobile County, Alabama
Map of Alabama highlighting Mobile County
Location in the U.S. state of Alabama
Map of the United States highlighting Alabama
Alabama's location in the U.S.
Founded December 18, 1812[1]
Seat Mobile
Largest city Mobile
 • Total 1,644 sq mi (4,258 km2)
 • Land 1,229 sq mi (3,183 km2)
 • Water 415 sq mi (1,075 km2), 25.2%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 415,123
 • Density 338/sq mi (131/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
  • County Number 02 on Alabama Licence Plates
  • One of three counties shuffled to the top 3 numbers because of population size

Mobile County[2] is the second most-populous county in the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, its population was 412,992.[3] Its county seat is Mobile.[4] The county is named in honor of the indigenous Maubila tribe.

Mobile County comprises the Mobile, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.


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.[1] When Mississippi was separated and admitted as a state 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.[5][6]

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.[1] 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".[1] 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.[1]


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.[7] 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

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


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%
Est. 2014 415,123 [8] 0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790–1960[10] 1900–1990[11]
1990–2000[12] 2010–2014[3]


Whereas according to the 2010 United States Census Bureau:


As of the census[13] of 2000, 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.


Interstate 10 entering the Wallace Tunnel in Mobile, Alabama.


Mobile County has a limited form of home rule and is governed by a three-member county commission. Each commissioner represents a single-member district and is elected by the voters of that district to serve a four-year term. Each commissioner has an equal vote on the commission. One of the commissioners is selected as Commission President.

Current (as of Jan 2014) Mobile County Commissioners are:

  • District 1 (northern County) – Merceria L. Ludgood (D) (current Commission President)
  • District 2 (western and central County) – Connie Hudson (R)
  • District 3 (southern County) – Jerry Carl (R)


Under the state constitution, the legislature maintains considerable power over county affairs. Mobile County is represented in the Alabama Legislature by three senators and nine representatives. It is represented in the Alabama Senate by Democrat Vivian Davis Figures from the 33rd district, by Republican Rusty Glover from the 34th district, and by Republican Bill Hightower from the 35th district.[14] It is represented in the Alabama House of Representatives by Democrat Adline Clarke from the 97th district, Democrat Napoleon Bracy from the 98th district, Democrat James Buskey from the 99th district, Republican Victor Gaston from the 100th district, Republican Jamie Ison from the 101st district, Republican Chad Fincher from the 102nd district, Democrat Joseph C. Mitchell from the 103rd district, Republican Jim Barton from the 104th district, and Republican David Sessions from the 105th district.[15]


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 Satsuma City School System.

Mobile County is also 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.


During the late 20th century, white conservatives left the Democratic Party for the Republican Party. In that same period, as African Americans regained their ability to exercise the franchise after passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, they tended to support the national Democratic Party, which had supported the Civil Rights Movement.

Today the population of Mobile County is majority white; at the time of the Civil War, it was majority black. In 2004, the Republican George W. Bush presidential candidate won 59% of the vote and 92,014 votes. Democrat John F. Kerry won 40% of the vote and 63,732 votes. Other candidates won 1% of the vote.[16]

In the 2008 presidential election, Mobile County cast the majority of its votes for the Republican candidate John McCain. He won 54% of the vote and 98,049 votes. Democrat Barack Obama received 45% of the vote and 82,181 votes. Other candidates won 1% of the vote.[16]

In the Senate off-year election in 2008, Republican Jeff Sessions did better than John McCain. Sessions won 57% of the vote and 102,043 votes. His challenger, Democrat Vivian D. Figures, won 43% of the vote and 77,292 votes.[16]




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost town

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Mobile County, Alabama history". Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH). June 5, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. The name "Mobile" is pronounced "mo-beel" with even emphasis on both syllables.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 16, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "An 1820 Claim to Congress: Alabama Territory : 1817". The Intruders. TNGenNet Inc. 2001.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Statehood Dates". 2009 [1998].<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 22, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved August 22, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Roster of the Alabama State Senate". Official Website of the Alabama Legislature. Retrieved 2013-07-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Roster of the Alabama House of Representatives". Official Website Of The Alabama Legislature. Retrieved 2013-07-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 David Leip (2008). "Atlas of United States Presidential Election Results".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links