Perry County, Alabama

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Perry County, Alabama
Perry County Alabama Courthouse.jpg
Perry County courthouse in Marion
Map of Alabama highlighting Perry 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 13, 1819
Named for Oliver Hazard Perry
Seat Marion
Largest city Marion
 • Total 724 sq mi (1,875 km2)
 • Land 720 sq mi (1,865 km2)
 • Water 4.2 sq mi (11 km2), 0.6%
Population (est.)
 • (2015) 9,652
 • Density 15/sq mi (6/km²)
Congressional district 7th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5


  • County Number 53 on Alabama Licence Plates

Perry County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,591.[1] Its county seat is Marion.[2] The county was established in 1819 and is named in honor of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry of Rhode Island and the United States Navy.[3]


When the area was officially opened to settlement, pioneers came from the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee. The first towns in the area that would become Perry County were Muckle's Ridge (now known as Marion), Perry Ridge, Uniontown (originally known as Woodville), and Heiberger. The first courthouse, a log cabin, was erected at Perry Ridge, located approximately seven miles southeast of present-day Marion. The county soon found that a more centrally located county seat was needed, and in 1823 Marion became the county seat. A two-story log cabin was erected on the site of the present-day courthouse. A modest brick building replaced the log cabin shortly thereafter in 1837. In 1854, construction began on a new marble-and-brick Greek Revival courthouse. Two-story porticos flanked each end of the building, with six Ionic columns supporting the massive pediments. The building was completed in 1856 and underwent renovation in 1954 and 2012. It continues to serve as the county courthouse today. The county became a major center for education in the Black Belt.The Perry County town of Marion was the site of a 1965 killing of an unarmed black man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, by a white state trooper, James Bonard Fowler, which sparked the Selma to Montgomery marches. In 2008, the county voted to establish a Barack Obama Day, a legal holiday, every second Monday of November.[4]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 724 square miles (1,880 km2), of which 720 square miles (1,900 km2) is land and 4.2 square miles (11 km2) (0.6%) is water.[5]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Like most of Alabama's counties, farming was the prevailing occupation in Perry County until well into the twentieth century. The Canebrake region, a section within the Black Belt between Marion and Demopolis, contains some of the richest soil in Alabama. Cotton remained the county's largest crop until well into the twentieth century, although corn and sweet potatoes were also important crops. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, livestock became an important part of the county's economy. Dairy farming was active until the mid twentieth century and catfish farming in the late twentieth century. Today, the county still is impacted by farming,timber and some light manufacturing, however the largest employers are in the government and education sectors. Unlike neighboring counties, Perry County did not benefit much from the industrialization boom of the mid-twentieth century, remaining largely rural and agricultural, and this remains the case today.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 3,646
1830 11,490 215.1%
1840 19,086 66.1%
1850 22,285 16.8%
1860 27,724 24.4%
1870 24,975 −9.9%
1880 30,741 23.1%
1890 29,332 −4.6%
1900 31,783 8.4%
1910 31,222 −1.8%
1920 25,373 −18.7%
1930 26,385 4.0%
1940 26,610 0.9%
1950 20,439 −23.2%
1960 17,358 −15.1%
1970 15,388 −11.3%
1980 15,012 −2.4%
1990 12,759 −15.0%
2000 11,861 −7.0%
2010 10,591 −10.7%
Est. 2015 9,652 [6] −8.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790–1960[8] 1900–1990[9]
1990–2000[10] 2010–2015[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 10,591 people residing in the county. 68.7% were Black or African American, 30.3% White, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% of some other race and 0.4% of two or more races. 1.1% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 11,861 people, 4,333 households, and 3,046 families residing in the county. The population density was 16 people per square mile (6/km2). There were 5,406 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 68.38% Black or African American, 30.86% White, 0.08% Native American, 0.03% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. Nearly 0.86% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,333 households, out of which 33.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.40% were married couples living together, 25.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.70% were non-families. Nearly 27.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63, and the average family size was 3.23.

In the county, the population was spread out with 29.80% under the age of 18, 11.10% from 18 to 24, 23.60% from 25 to 44, 20.70% from 45 to 64, and 14.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $20,200, and the median income for a family was $26,150. Males had a median income of $26,272 versus $16,839 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,948. About 31.20% of families and 35.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 48.90% of those under age 18 and 25.80% of those age 65 or over. Perry County is considered to be the poorest county, in terms of household income, in the state of Alabama.



Unincorporated communities[edit]

Places of interest[edit]

Perry County is home to Perry Lakes Park, part of the Talladega National Forest, and the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame located at Judson College. Perry County is home to Marion Military Institute and Judson College.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Owen, Thomas McAdory; Owen, Marie Bankhead (1921). History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography 2. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company. p. 1108. 
  4. ^ Bello, Marisol (2009-01-26). "Renamed schools, streets mark early tributes to Obama". USA Today. 
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  6. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  9. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°38′09″N 87°17′31″W / 32.63583°N 87.29194°W / 32.63583; -87.29194