Etowah County is a 549-square mile county, the smallest in Alabama, with 102,268 residents, located northeast of Jefferson County. Its seat is Gadsden, and the county comprises the Gadsden Metropolitan Statistical Area as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is bordered by Marshall and DeKalb Counties to the north, by Cherokee County to the east, by Calhoun County to the southeast, St Clair County to the southwest, and Blount County to the west.
Etowah County was part of the territory ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Fort Jackson. It was created by the Alabama State Legislature from parts of Cherokee and DeKalb Counties on December 7, 1866, and originally named Baine County in honor of Confederate officer David Baine. The newly-formed county was abolished by the Reconstruction legislature a year later. Following the adoption of a new state constitution on December 1, 1868, the countyt was restored with the same borders, but with a new name. The word "Etowah" is a transcription of the Muscogee (Creek) word "italwa", meaning "town", "people" or "tribe."
The Etowah County Commission meets twice monthly in the 1902 Etowah County Courthouse. The Sheriff is Downey McGee. Etowah County Schools operates 22 public schools. Gadsden City Schools and Attalla City Schools operate public schools in those cities. One college, Gadsden State Community College, is located in Gadsden.
The population of Etowah County was estimated as 103,162 in 2021.
At the 2010 census there were 104,430 people, 42,036 households, and 28,708 families living in the county. The population density was 195 people per square mile. There were 47,454 housing units at an average density of 86 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 80.3% White, 15.1% Black or African American. 3.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Of the 42,036 households 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 28.1% of households were one person and 11.9% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.97.
The age distribution was 23.0% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% 65 or older. The median age was 40.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.5 males.
The median household income was $36,422 and the median family income was $44,706. Males had a median income of $39,814 versus $30,220 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,439. About 13.1% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.6% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.
- Altoona (partly in Blount County)
- Boaz (partly in Marshall County)
- Gadsden (county seat)
- Glencoe (partly in Calhoun County)
- Hokes Bluff
- Rainbow City
- Reece City
- Sardis City (partly in Marshall County)
- Southside (partly in Calhoun County)
- Walnut Grove
- Etowah County Centennial Commission (1968) A History of Etowah County, Alabama. Birmingham: Roberts & Son.
- Heritage of Etowah County, Alabama. (1999) Clanton: Heritage Publishing Consultants Inc.
- Morton, Patricia Hoskins (February 28, 2018) "Etowah County". Encyclopedia of Alabama - accessed September 4, 2020
- "Etowah County, Alabama" (May 23, 2020) Wikipedia - accessed September 4, 2020
- Foscue, Virginia O. (1989) Place Names in Alabama. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 081730410X
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