A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada

Altoona, Alabama

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The location of Altoona

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(GPS coordinates provided by the GNIS)
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and the surrounding area.
About Altoona
The town of Altoona is primarily located in Etowah County (Alabama).

According to the 2010 US Census, Altoona has a population of 933 people, making it Etowah's 8th  and Alabama's 264th most populous community.

Our Pages for Altoona ...

-profile   General information about Altoona
-nearby   What's in the neighborhood around Altoona
-bycounty   Nearest communities to Altoona (By-County)
-census   Census information for Altoona
-tidbits   Tidbits and trivia about Altoona
-genealogy   Our Genealogy Helper for Altoona
-cemeteries   Cemeteries in the area of Altoona
-localpapers   Newspapers published in the immediate area of Altoona
-newspapers   Newspapers published in a broader area around Altoona
-summary   Summarized information
-map   Interactive map centered on Altoona
-tripmap   TripAdvisor Tourism pages
-misc   Miscellaneous information
-wishlist   Things we would like to know about Altoona
-glossary   This page...

Glossary and Definitions ...

Census Area for Altoona
The Area value provided by the US Census Bureau reflects their statistical (or sampling) requirements and it can be different than the geographic boundaries of Altoona. For example, if there is a cluster of people living just outside of the town's official boundary, the Census-defined area might be expanded to include that group.

At the time of the 2010 Census, the US Census gave a land area of 4.32 square miles [11.2 km²] and a water area of 0.01 square miles [0 km²], giving Altoona a total area of 4.33 square miles [11.2 km²].

It should be noted that the area given by the Census Bureau can change from one Census to the next. For example, the 2000 Census specified an area of 3.81 square miles [9.9 km²] for Altoona compared to the 4.33 square miles [11.2 km²] given in 2010.
Census Housing Unit
The US Census considers a Housing Unit to be a place 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).

At the time of the 2010 Census, Altoona had 426 Housing Units.
Decennial Census
The US Constitution requires that a count of the country's population be conducted every 10 years. The Census is conducted on those years ending in '0' (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010). This is known as a 'Decennial' Census. The process of taking a Census is called an 'Enumeration'.

The count includes citizens, non-citizen legal residents, long-term non-citizen visitors and illegal immigrants.

The purpose of the Census is to provide information about the demographic and social characteristics of the people of the United States. The results of the Census goes to the federal, state and local governments to support their planning and administrative activities.

The first Census was conducted in 1790. The most recent Census was conducted in 2010. The next Decennial Census will be conducted in 2020.

By comparison, the Canadian Census is conducted once every 5 years and is called a 'Quinquennial' Census.
A demonym is the name for a resident of a community which is usually derived from (or is related to) the name of that community. In other words, it's how residents of Altoona refer to themselves. It's important to note that there aren't any rules for taking a town's name and turning it into a demonym. A demonym is informal and while the majority of Altoona may use one name, keep in mind that others may use something different.

A demonym for Altoona is Altoonan.

For example: My cousin moved when young, yet he still thinks of himself as a Altoonan.
FIPS Codes
In the past, the federal government created a set of codes that are used to uniquely identify States, Counties and Populated Places (such as a town like Altoona). These codes form the Federal Information Processing Standard. (specifically FIPS Document 55-3).

The State Code consists of two digits, the County Code consists of three digits and the Place Code consists of five digits. The County and Place Codes must be used together with the State Code to be truly unique.

For example, the following codes apply to the town of Altoona:

- State Code:  01 (Alabama)

- State / County Code:  01 / 055 (Etowah County)

- State / Place Code:  01 / 01660

The FIPS Codes have been replaced by an ANSI standard and the GNIS Feature ID. Although obsolete, the FIPS Codes are still in use by some organizations.

For more information about the FIPS Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Altoona.
GNIS Codes
The function of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) is to establish uniform names for geographic features (eg- communities, mountains, lakes, rivers, streams, etc). The BGN was created to address the problems caused by spelling and naming variations. BGN–accepted names are kept in a database called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), which is operated and maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

A unique and permanent identifier has been assigned for each feature in the GNIS database. These names and identifiers are definitive.

Altoona has been given the GNIS Feature ID of '2405146'. Click here to see the GNIS Record for Altoona.
Although there are regional variations, a town that is incorporated (such as Altoona) is generally one with a charter from the State, defined boundaries and is governed by elected officials. By contrast, unincorporated communities usually exist by tradition, frequently with nebulous boundaries and without a recognized government.