Table of contents
Updated November 30, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
Alabama flag

Alabama State Facts

Organized as territory: March 3, 1817

Entered Union: Dec. 14, 1819 (22nd State)

Present constitution adopted: 1901

Fun Facts

State abbreviation/Postal code: Ala./AL

Nickname: Yellowhammer State, also unofficially the Heart of Dixie

Origin of name: From the Alabama River, itself named after the Alabama people.

Motto: "Audemus jura nostra defendere" (We dare defend our rights)

State symbols:

Amphibian: Red Hills salamander (2000)

Bird: Yellowhammer (1933)

Butterfly: Eastern tiger swallowtail (1989)

Dog: Chinook (2009)

Freshwater fish: Largemouth bass (1975)

Game bird: Wild Turkey (1980)

Horse: Racking Horse (1975)

Insect: Monarch butterfly (1989)

Mammal: American black bear (2006)

Reptile: Alabama red-bellied turtle (1990)

Saltwater fish: Atlantic tarpon (1955)

Shell: Johnstone's junonia (1990)

Flower: Camellia (1959)

Fruit: Blackberry (2004)

Nut: Pecan (1982)

Tree: Southern longleaf pine (1997)

Tree fruit: Peach (2006)

Wildflower: Oak-leaf hydrangea (1999)

Fossil: Basilosaurus (1984)

Gem: Star blue quartz (1990)

Mineral: Hematite (1967)

Rock: Marble (1969)

Soil: Bama (1997)

Barbecue competition: Alabama Barbecue Championship (1991)

Bible: Alabama State Bible (1853)

Folk dance: Square Dance (1981)

Outdoor drama: The Miracle Worker (1991)

Outdoor musical drama: The Incident and Looney's Tavern (1993)

Quilt: Pine Burr Quilt (1997)

Renaissance fair: Florence, AL Renaissance Fair (1988)

Song: "Alabama" (1931)


Capital: Montgomery

State Website:

Governor: Kay Ivey, R (to Jan. 2021)

Lieut. Governor: Will Ainsworth, R (to Jan. 2021) 

Secy. of State: John Merrill, R (to Jan. 2023)

General Treasurer: John McMillan, R (to Jan. 2021)

Atty. General: Steve Marshall, R (apptd. by government)

U.S. Representatives: 7

Senators: Richard Shelby, R (to Jan. 2023); Doug Jones, D (to Jan. 2021)

See Also: Historical biographies of Alabama Congress members


Residents: Alabamian, Alabaman

Resident population: 4,858,979 (24rd Largest State, 2015)

10 largest cities (2021): Huntsville, 216,963; Birmingham, 212,461; Montgomery, 200,602; Mobile, 194,288; ; Tuscaloosa, 98,332; Hoover, 84,848; Dothan, 68,567; Auburn, 62,059; Decatur, 55,437; Madison, 46,962

Race/Ethnicity (2010 Census): White (68.5%); Black (26.2%); American Indian (0.6%); Asian (1.1%); Other race (2.0%); Two or more races (1.5%); Hispanic/Latino (3.9%).

Religion: Protestant (78%); No religion (12%); Catholic (7%); Mormon (1%); Other (2%)

Sex: Male (48.4%); Female (51.6%).

Age: Under 18 (22.5%); 18-64 (63.4%); 65 and over (14.1%). Median Age: 37.9

See Also: Additional Alabama Census Data


GDP: 211 billion dollars (27th in U.S., 2017)

Unemployment: 4.0% (2017)

Overview: Alabama has transitioned from being an agricultural economy to a diversified industrial one. Since the late 20th century, the state has seen major growth in its automotive sector, as well as other heavy industries like steel production and fabrication. The state also has modest telecommunication and banking sectors. 


Land area: 50,744 sq mi. (131,427 sq km)

Geographic center: In Chilton Co., 12 mi. SW of Clanton

Number of counties: 67

Largest county by population and area: Jefferson, 658,327 (2012); Baldwin, 1,596 sq mi.

State forests: 21 (48,000 ac.)

State parks: 22 (45,614 ac.)

Area codes

Tourism office

See more on Alabama:

Encyclopedia: Alabama

Encyclopedia: Geography

Encyclopedia: Economy

Encyclopedia: Government

Encyclopedia: History

Monthly Temperature Extremes

Printable Outline Maps


Alabama, fondly referred to as the Yellowhammer State, is a southeastern U.S. state that is steeped in rich history and diverse culture. From the Civil Rights Movement to the heart of America's space program in Huntsville, Alabama has played a crucial role in shaping the country's trajectory.

Alabama Geography

Alabama, bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west, is a stunning blend of mountains, forests, and sprawling coastline. The state is home to four national forests and numerous state parks, including Gulf State Park, and offers an abundance of natural beauty.

The major cities include the capital, Montgomery, as well as Birmingham, Mobile, and Tuscaloosa. Alabama's climate is typically humid subtropical, with mild winters and hot summers, perfect for enjoying the sandy beaches of Mobile Bay or a hike along the Tallapoosa River.

Alabama People & Population

With a population of over 5 million that is comprised of a diverse mix of ethnicities, Alabamians are renowned for their distinct Southern hospitality. African Americans have a significant presence, especially in urban areas and the Black Belt region.

Alabama's history is deeply entwined with African American history, being the birthplace of iconic civil rights figures like Rosa Parks and the site of significant events such as the Selma to Montgomery marches. It was in Tuskegee that Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee University, a historically black university. Furthermore, law enforcement and African American groups have continued to have a complex relationship even in recent years.

The city of Huntsville is also known for its strong ties to the space industry and is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Alabama Government

The state government of Alabama, seated in the capitol in Montgomery, is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The state's current leader, Governor Ivey, is a Republican, reflecting Alabama's typical conservative lean in politics. The Alabama Legislature is bicameral, consisting of the Alabama Senate, with 35 members, and the Alabama House of Representatives, with 105 members. The state has a mix of Republicans and Democrats serving in various state agencies and roles.

Alabama Economy

Alabama's economy has evolved significantly over the past century, from an agricultural base to a diversified economy including manufacturing, healthcare, banking, education, and technology. The state is home to major car companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Hyundai.

The city of Huntsville is a booming technology hub, home to the Cummings Research Park, one of the world's leading science and technology business parks. Birmingham is a prominent regional healthcare center, with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital leading statewide healthcare initiatives. Tourism, particularly to the state's coastal regions and state parks, also plays a significant role in Alabama's economy.

Alabama Interesting Facts

Alabama's cultural landscape is as varied as its physical one. From the soulful sounds of Muscle Shoals to the hearty Southern cuisine, Alabama offers a unique cultural experience. An undeniable point of pride for Alabamians is the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide football team, which has a storied history and a passionate following.

Music in Alabama

From the birthplace of W.C. Handy, the "Father of the Blues," to the internationally renowned recording studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama has made significant contributions to the music world. Traditional Southern gospel, jazz, country, and rhythm & blues can all be heard in the state's many live music venues.

Cuisine in Alabama

Alabama's cuisine is a flavorful mix of Southern classics and innovative culinary creations. From succulent Gulf Coast seafood to Birmingham's thriving dining scene, food is an essential part of Alabama culture. Alabama is also home to the original BBQ, and it's one of the state's most beloved dishes.

Alabama Football

Alabama is synonymous with college football. The rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University fuels the state's football obsession, culminating each year in the Iron Bowl. The Crimson Tide and the Tigers are both national contenders, and fans throughout Alabama eagerly anticipate each season.

Alabama History

Alabama's history is rich and complex, with a timeline that stretches back thousands of years. From the prehistoric indigenous peoples who first inhabited the land to its pivotal role in the American Civil War and beyond, Alabama's past is woven into the broader tapestry of American history.

Pre-Colonial History

The area now known as Alabama was inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years before European colonization. The Woodland period, which began around A.D. 1000, saw the rise of advanced cultures with complex social structures. These early inhabitants made significant contributions to the region's culture and history, leaving behind a rich archaeological record.

Colonial History

In the 16th century, the region was claimed by the Spanish, marking the beginning of European influence in Alabama. However, it wasn't until the early 18th century that the French acquired the territory, establishing a foothold that would shape Alabama's future. Alabama became the 22nd state to join the Union on December 14, 1819.[2] It's important to note that during the American War of Independence, Alabama was a part of the British Empire. Slavery was a contentious issue in Alabama, and it was not abolished until the end of the Civil War.

Pre-Civil War History

In the Antebellum years, Alabama developed as an agricultural state, with cotton becoming a major crop thanks to the labor of enslaved African Americans. The state's borders changed several times during this period, reflecting the political and economic shifts of the era.

Post-Civil War History

Following the Civil War, Alabama underwent significant changes. The abolition of slavery and the Reconstruction era brought about social and economic transformations, including the growth of industry and urban centers. Yet, the period was also marked by racial tension and political violence as Alabama grappled with its legacy of slavery and the struggle for civil rights.

Modern History

From World War II to the present, Alabama has continued to evolve. The state played a central role in the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century, with key events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches taking place within its borders. Today, Alabama continues to grapple with its complex past while looking toward the future.

Pandemic Response in Alabama

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alabama's public health infrastructure was tested like never before. This period marked the first time in recent history that a global health crisis had such a profound impact on every facet of life in the state.

Mobile County, located in the southwestern corner of the state, played a critical role in Alabama's public health response to the pandemic. As one of the hardest-hit counties, it served as a prime location for state public health initiatives, including testing and vaccination campaigns.

Medicaid Expansion

Further challenges were presented by healthcare funding, with the issue of Medicaid expansion taking center stage. Louisiana, Alabama's neighbor to the west, expanded its Medicaid program in 2016, improving access to healthcare for hundreds of thousands of its residents. There was growing pressure on Alabama's policymakers to follow suit, particularly given the additional stresses placed on the state's healthcare system by the pandemic.

Role of Federal Agencies and Court Orders

The pandemic response also brought Alabama into close cooperation with federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At the same time, court orders were instrumental in enforcing public health mandates and regulations aimed at safeguarding the health and well-being of Alabamians.

Impact on Taxpayers

The financial implications of the pandemic also had a profound impact on Alabama. Taxpayers shouldered much of the economic burden as the state endeavored to bolster its public health services and provide support to those affected by the crisis. The combination of federal aid, state resources, and local initiatives was critical to managing these unprecedented challenges.

In these ways, Alabama's response to the pandemic became an integral part of its modern history. As with previous chapters of its past, the state's ability to adapt and persevere in the face of adversity remains a defining characteristic.

People Also Ask…

If you are interested in more information about the state of Alabama, then keep reading — we have compiled answers to the most common questions below. Plus, test your newfound state knowledge by taking our quiz, Which U.S. States Have the Most Electoral Votes?

What Is Alabama Known For?

Alabama is known for several things including its rich history, Southern hospitality, its role in the Civil Rights Movement, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and natural beauty. It's also renowned for its music heritage, particularly in the genres of country, blues, and soul. Additionally, it's famous for its food, especially barbecue and seafood.

What Is the State Capital of Alabama?

The state capital of Alabama is Montgomery. It became the state capital in 1846 and played a significant role in the American Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.

What Is the Population of Alabama?

As of the last U.S. Census in 2020, the estimated population of Alabama was approximately 5.03 million people.

What Is the Largest City in Alabama?

The largest city in Alabama by population is Birmingham. It's known for its vibrant arts scene, rich history, and excellent food.

Is Alabama a Good Place To Live?

This is subjective and depends on personal preferences. However, many residents appreciate Alabama for its warm climate, affordable cost of living, and friendly communities. The state also offers a variety of recreational activities, from hiking and fishing in its many parks and nature reserves to enjoying cultural events in its cities.

Famous Alabama Natives and Residents

Hank Aaron baseball player;

Ralph Abernathy civil rights activist;

Tallulah Bankhead actress;

Hugo L. Black jurist;

George Washington Carver educator, agricultural chemist;

Nat "King" Cole entertainer;

Mia Hamm soccer player;

Lionel Hampton jazz musician;

W. C. Handy composer;

Courtney Cox actress;

Helen Keller author and educator;

Coretta Scott King civil rights leader;

Harper Lee writer;

Carl Lewis athlete;

Joe Louis boxer;

Willie Mays baseball player;

Jim Nabors actor;

Jesse Owens athlete;

Rosa Parks civil rights activist;

Condoleeza Rice Secretary of State;

Wayne Rogers actor;

George Wallace governor;

William Weatherford/Red Eagle Creek leader;

Hank Williams singer and songwriter.


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Sources +

[1] Governor - Office of the Governor of Alabama. (2023, March 28). Office of the Governor of Alabama. Retrieved November 9, 2023, from

See also: