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Decatur, Alabama

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About Decatur
The city of Decatur<1> is primarily located in Morgan County (Alabama) and is the County Seat for Morgan County.

According to the 2010 US Census, Decatur has a population of 55,683 people, making it Morgan's largest and Alabama's 8th most populous community.

Our Pages for Decatur ...

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

Glossary and Definitions ...

Area Code Overlay
An Overlay refers to the situation in which two (or more) area codes (eg- 256, 938) serve the same geographic area. In the case of Decatur, area code (938) is the Overlay for area code (256).

The Overlay is necessary when the geographic area requires (or planners expect to need) more phone numbers than can be provided by a single area code.

When an Overlay is present, 10-digit dialing becomes necessary for all calls, even if local. There are different types of Overlays, with each Overlay having its own characteristics and dialing requirements.

If you would like to learn more about Overlays, we suggest the Wikipedia entry for Overlays.
Census Area for Decatur
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 Decatur. For example, if there is a cluster of people living just outside of the city'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 53.7 square miles [139 km²] and a water area of 6.8 square miles [17.6 km²], giving Decatur a total area of 60.5 square miles [156.6 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 59.9 square miles [155.1 km²] for Decatur compared to the 60.5 square miles [156.6 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, Decatur had 24,538 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 Decatur refer to themselves. It's important to note that there aren't any rules for taking a city's name and turning it into a demonym. A demonym is informal and while the majority of Decatur may use one name, keep in mind that others may use something different.

A demonym for Decatur is Decaturian.

For example: My nephew moved when young, yet he still thinks of himself as a Decaturian.
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 city like Decatur). 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 city of Decatur:

- State Code:  01 (Alabama)

- State / County Code:  01 / 103 (Morgan County)

- State / Place Code:  01 / 20104

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 Decatur.
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.

Decatur has been given the GNIS Feature ID of '2404206'. Click here to see the GNIS Record for Decatur.
Although there are regional variations, a city that is incorporated (such as Decatur) 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.

Footnotes ...

<1>Previous names for Decatur include: Albany and New Decatur. For more information, please visit our Genealogy Helper Page for Decatur.

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