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Fort Payne, Alabama

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Census Data for Fort Payne ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2016 and it gives Fort Payne a population of 14,099 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Fort Payne a population of 14,012 people.

The city of Fort Payne is located in DeKalb County. The 2010 Census gave DeKalb County a population of 71,109 people. This means that Fort Payne had 19.7% of the county's total population, making it DeKalb's most populous community.

At the same time, Alabama had a population of 4,779,736 people, meaning that Fort Payne had 0.29% of the total population of Alabama - making it the state's 46th most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Fort Payne, 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 Fort Payne reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Fort Payne 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 Fort Payne has a total area of 55.8 square miles [144.6 km²]. Of this total, a small amount of the area is covered by water (0.36 square miles [0.9 km²]).

DeKalb County has a land area of 777 square miles [2,012.7 km²]. At 55.5 square miles [143.7 km²], Fort Payne has 7.14% 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:   34° 27' 17"   (or 34.45°)             [Map]

Lon:   -85° 41' 43"   (or -85.7°)

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 (14,012 people) and land area (55.5 square miles [143.7 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Fort Payne had a population density of 250.9 people per square mile [96.9 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Fort Payne had a population of 12,938 people and a land area of 55.9 square miles [144.7 km²]. This gives a population density of 231.2 people per square mile [89.3 people/km²]

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

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Fort Payne had 6,009 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 14,012 people, this averages 2.33 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Fort Payne had a land area of 55.5 square miles [143.7 km²]. This translates to 107.6 Housing Units per square mile [41.55 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Fort Payne had 5,585 Housing Units, a population of 12,938 people and a land area of 55.9 square miles [144.7 km²]. This gives a density of 2.32 people per Housing Unit and 99.8 Housing Units per square mile [38.54 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 Fort Payne and you need to be careful when comparing values between the censuses. More information about the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

DeKalb County ...

Fort Payne is located in DeKalb County and is the County Seat for DeKalb County.

The county had a population of 71,109 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 14,012 people, Fort Payne represented 19.7% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Fort Payne has a population density of 250.9 people per square mile [96.9 people/km²], DeKalb County averages 91.5 people per square mile [35.33 people/km²].

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

Population Rings for Fort Payne ...

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

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]214,381+0.61%
10 mi   [16 km]822,921+0.71%
15 mi   [24 km]1428,397+0.51%
20 mi   [32 km]2746,963-0.24%
25 mi   [40 km]3164,654-0.45%
30 mi   [48 km]3577,816-0.39%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Fort Payne, 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 Fort Payne. 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 ...

There is only a very minor difference in the sampling area given between the 2010 Census and the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Fort Payne was 55.8 square miles [144.6 km²]. Of this total, 55.5 square miles [143.7 km²] is land, with the balance (0.64%) being water (0.36 square miles [0.9 km²]).

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 56 square miles [144.9 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 Fort Payne, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Fort Payne.

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   34.454993°   (or 34°27'17" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -85.695309°   (or -85°41'43" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   34.453829°   (or 34°27'13" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -85.706648°   (or -85°42'23" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 3,435 feet to the east<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 (#2403645) to Fort Payne. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Fort Payne. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   34.455372°   (or 34°27'19" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -85.696916°   (or -85°41'48" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 502 feet to the east<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Fort Payne. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Fort Payne.

Miscellaneous Information for Fort Payne ...

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 DeKalb County or the city of Fort Payne:

The GNIS Codes ...

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

GNIS ID for Fort Payne: 2403645

GNIS ID for DeKalb County: 161550

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: 049 (DeKalb County)

Place Code: 27616 (Fort Payne)

State & County Code: 01/049 (Alabama / DeKalb County)

State & Place Code: 01/27616 (Alabama / Fort Payne)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Fort Payne 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 Fort Payne, it does identify addresses that are in (or near) Fort Payne. 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 Fort Payne: 35967-35968<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 Fort Payne.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Search for a Community in Alabama

About DeKalb 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)

The official website for Fort Payne: www.fortpayne.org/

The official website for DeKalb County: www.dekalbcountyal.us/

The official website for State of Alabama: www.alabama.gov/

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 2016.

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<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.

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<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).

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<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.

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<5>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the 2010 Census location is 277 degrees.

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<6>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the GNIS point is 254 degrees.

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

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For additional information, please visit our Glossary for Fort Payne.