RoadsideThoughs depends on cookies for its operation. Please refer to our Privacy page for details. By closing this banner or continuing to browse RoadsideThoughts, you agree to the use of cookies.

A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada

Bessemer, Alabama

Nearby Census Genealogy
Cemeteries Tidbits &
Other AL

 The location of Bessemer 

Click for Interactive Map

Click for Interactive Map
(Location provided by the GNIS)
Click here for an interactive map for Bessemer
and the surrounding area.
Learn About
The Commemorative
Quarter for
The Commemorative Quarter for Alabama

Census Data for Bessemer ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2015 and it gives Bessemer a population of 26,730 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Bessemer a population of 27,456 people.

The city of Bessemer is located in Jefferson County. The 2010 Census gave Jefferson County a population of 658,466 people. This means that Bessemer had 4.17% of the county's total population, making it Jefferson's 4th most populous community.

At the same time, Alabama had a population of 4,779,736 people, meaning that Bessemer had 0.57% of the total population of Alabama - making it the state's 17th most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Bessemer, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this is called a sampling area (or a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the city.

Things like the population, area and housing for Bessemer reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of&$160;Bessemer might be slightly different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau if you need precision.

The 2010 Census shows that the sample polygon for Bessemer has a total area of 40.02 square miles [103.6 km²]. Of this total, a small amount of the area is covered by water (0.17 square miles [0.4 km²]).

Jefferson County has a land area of 1,111 square miles [2,878.2 km²]. At 39.85 square miles [103.2 km²], Bessemer has 3.59% of the county's total land area.

Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually at the center of the polygon). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:

Lat:   33° 23' 28"   (or 33.39°)

Lon:   -86° 57' 23"   (or -86.96°)

More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Population Density ...

Using the population (27,456 people) and land area (39.85 square miles [103.2 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Bessemer had a population density of 686 people per square mile [264.9 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Bessemer had a population of 29,672 people and a land area of 40.7 square miles [105.4 km²]. This gives a population density of 727 people per square mile [281 people/km²]

NOTE: Be aware that when comparing population density between the 2000 and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Bessemer. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to an apple-to-oranges comparison. More information about these differences can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Bessemer had 12,369 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 27,456 people, this averages 2.22 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Bessemer had a land area of 39.85 square miles [103.2 km²]. This translates to 309.1 Housing Units per square mile [119.3 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Bessemer had 12,790 Housing Units, a population of 29,672 people and a land area of 40.7 square miles [105.4 km²]. This gives a density of 2.32 people per Housing Unit and 313.7 Housing Units per square mile [121.1 housing units/km²].

NOTE: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2000 and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Bessemer and you need to be careful when comparing values between the censuses. More information about the nature of these the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Jefferson County ...

Bessemer is located in Jefferson County.

The county had a population of 658,466 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 27,456 people, Bessemer represented 4.17% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Bessemer has a population density of 686 people per square mile [264.9 people/km²], Jefferson County averages 592 people per square mile [228.8 people/km²].

For more information, please visit our Census Page for Jefferson County.

Population Rings for Bessemer ...

To help identify the number of people who live in Bessemer and the surrounding area, we have drawn concentric rings centered on Bessemer. We counted the number of communities within each ring and summed their populations.<4>

RadiusNo of
Since 2010
5 mi [8 km]447,457-2.58%
10 mi [16 km]10177,100+1.86%
15 mi [24 km]22534,627+1.66%
20 mi [32 km]35592,691+1.93%
25 mi [40 km]42645,693+1.97%
30 mi [48 km]54712,312+2.02%

US Census QuickFacts ...

The Census Bureau has created documents containing demographic information called QuickFacts. Although they don't create QuickFacts for all communities, they do have one for Bessemer. Not only does the QuickFact have details about Bessemer, it also contains a comparison between Bessemer and the state of Alabama.

Click here for the Bessemer QuickFact (QF-0105980).

The following communities are near Bessemer and also have Census QuickFacts:

2015 Est.
Since 2010
HueytownQF-013644815,710-2.45%   NW  
MidfieldQF-01483765,222-2.67%   NE  
FairfieldQF-012512010,907-1.89%   N  
HelenaQF-013402418,264+8.76%   SE  
Pleasant GroveQF-016100810,260+1.48%   N  
HooverQF-013589684,848+3.96%   E  
AlabasterQF-010082032,707+7.76%   SE  
HomewoodQF-013580025,708+2.15%   NE  

For more about neighboring communities, please visit our Nearby Page for Bessemer. For an expanded list of the communities that are closest to Bessemer, see our County-by-County Page for Bessemer.

A Census QuickFact is available for Jefferson County (QF-01073).

Below are QuickFacts for the counties that border Jefferson County.

2015 Est.
Since 2010
BibbQF-0100722,583-1.45%   SW  
BlountQF-0100957,673+0.61%   NE  
Saint ClairQF-0111587,074+4.16%   E  
ShelbyQF-01117208,713+6.99%   SE  
TuscaloosaQF-01125203,976+4.79%   SW  
WalkerQF-0112765,294-2.58%   NW  

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Bessemer, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of Bessemer. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change. If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Area ...

The sampling area (or polygon) given for the 2010 Census is 1.84% smaller than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Bessemer was 40.02 square miles [103.6 km²]. Of this total, only a minor amount of the area is covered by water.

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 40.77 square miles [105.6 km²]. Of this total, only a minor amount of the area is covered by water.

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Bessemer, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Bessemer.

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   33.370824°   (or 33°22'14" N)

Lon:   -86.971504°   (or -86°58'17" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   33.391343°   (or 33°23'28" N)

Lon:   -86.956569°   (or -86°57'23" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 8,754 feet to the southwest<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#2403864) to Bessemer. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Bessemer. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   33.371400°   (or 33°22'17" N)

Lon:   -86.970770°   (or -86°58'14" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 306.7 feet to the southwest<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Bessemer. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Bessemer.

Miscellaneous Information for Bessemer ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has referenced one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either Jefferson County or the city of Bessemer:

The GNIS Codes ...

The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Bessemer:

GNIS ID for Bessemer: 2403864

GNIS ID for Jefferson County: 161562

GNIS ID for Alabama: 1779775

The FIPS Codes ...

An earlier (and largely obsolete) identification method was called the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS):

State Code: 01 (Alabama)

County Code: 073 (Jefferson County)

Place Code: 05980 (Bessemer)

State & County Code: 01/073 (Alabama / Jefferson County)

State & Place Code: 01/05980 (Alabama / Bessemer)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Bessemer is located in Census Region #3 (the South Region) and Division #6 (the East South-Central Division).

The US Postal Service ZIP Code ...

While some people have used a ZIP code to identify a community, the purpose of the ZIP code was to make mail delivery more efficient by grouping addresses together. Although the ZIP Code doesn't specifically identify a city like Bessemer, it does identify addresses that are in (or near) Bessemer. It's important to remember that the boundaries of a ZIP Code can be changed, re-assigned or overlapped with other ZIP Codes.

The ZIP code for Bessemer: 35020-35023<7>

Census ZCTA Codes ...

The US Census Bureau created statistical entities that they call ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) and these ZCTAs are frequently confused with the ZIP codes that come from the US Postal Service (USPS).

ZCTAs were first created for the 2000 Census and at that time, they were based upon the USPS ZIP codes. While largely covering the same areas, the boundaries of a ZCTA do not necessarily match the boundaries of a postal ZIP code with the same number. For example, while a postal ZIP code can cross a county or state line, a Census ZCTA can not. They should be treated as separate entities with no correlation between them.

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for Bessemer.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Visit our Community Index for Alabama

About Jefferson County

About Alabama

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Unfortunately, we don't know of a website for Bessemer. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.

The official website for Jefferson County:

The official website for State of Alabama:

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2015.

- Return to Citation

<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.

- Return to Citation

<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).

- Return to Citation

<4>The communities in our count are those provided by the 2010 Census, so keep in mind that our population rings will only include the people living in those communities. Smaller communities usually don't participate directly in the Census and therefore they won't be included. While our count is a close approximation, it shouldn't be considered as a complete or accurate count.

- Return to Citation

<5>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the 2010 Census location is 148 degrees.

- Return to Citation

<6>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the GNIS point is 133 degrees.

- Return to Citation

<7>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Bessemer or elsewhere, it's always best to check the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

- Return to Citation

For additional information, please visit our Glossary for Bessemer.


Tidbits &
Other   AL

Sitemap Privacy
of Use


Please keep in mind that we can not guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of the information on this website, so use with care. We encourage you to double-check the information that is critical to you.

If you've found an error or have additional information that you would like to share, please don't hesitate to write. Click here to contact us.

Copyright 2016
All Rights Reserved
This page was last modified: 23 Dec 2016
By John Hall