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Gadsden, Alabama

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Census Data for Gadsden ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2016 and it gives Gadsden a population of 35,837 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Gadsden a population of 36,856 people.

The city of Gadsden is located in Etowah County. The 2010 Census gave Etowah County a population of 104,430 people. This means that Gadsden had 35.29% of the county's total population, making it Etowah's most populous community.

At the same time, Alabama had a population of 4,779,736 people, meaning that Gadsden had 0.77% of the total population of Alabama - making it the state's 12th most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Gadsden, 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 Gadsden reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Gadsden 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 Gadsden has a total area of 38.29 square miles [99.2 km²]. Of this total, 37.16 square miles [96.2 km²] is land, with the balance (2.96%) being water (1.13 square miles [2.9 km²]).

Etowah County has a land area of 534 square miles [1,385.6 km²]. At 37.16 square miles [96.2 km²], Gadsden has 6.95% 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° 0' 34"   (or 34.01°)             [Map]

Lon:   -86° 0' 56"   (or -86.02°)

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 (36,856 people) and land area (37.16 square miles [96.2 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Gadsden had a population density of 962 people per square mile [371.6 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Gadsden had a population of 38,978 people and a land area of 35.97 square miles [93.2 km²]. This gives a population density of 1,048 people per square mile [404.8 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 Gadsden. 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 the changes can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Gadsden had 17,672 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 36,856 people, this averages 2.09 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Gadsden had a land area of 37.16 square miles [96.2 km²]. This translates to 461.5 Housing Units per square mile [178.2 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Gadsden had 18,797 Housing Units, a population of 38,978 people and a land area of 35.97 square miles [93.2 km²]. This gives a density of 2.07 people per Housing Unit and 505 Housing Units per square mile [195.2 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 Gadsden and you need to be careful when comparing numbers between the censuses. More information about the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Etowah County ...

Gadsden is located in Etowah County and is the County Seat for Etowah County.

The county had a population of 104,430 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 36,856 people, Gadsden represented 35.29% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Gadsden has a population density of 962 people per square mile [371.6 people/km²], Etowah County averages 195.2 people per square mile [75.4 people/km²].

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

Population Rings for Gadsden ...

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

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]345,996-2.37%
10 mi   [16 km]869,978-1.62%
15 mi   [24 km]1384,364-1.09%
20 mi   [32 km]23132,086-0.27%
25 mi   [40 km]30143,795-0.33%
30 mi   [48 km]41214,609-0.48%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Gadsden, 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 Gadsden. 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 2.99% larger than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Gadsden was 38.29 square miles [99.2 km²]. Of this total, 37.16 square miles [96.2 km²] is land, with the balance (2.96%) being water (1.13 square miles [2.9 km²]).

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 37.18 square miles [96.3 km²]. Of this total, 35.97 square miles [93.2 km²] is land, with the balance (3.16%) being water (1.21 square miles [3.1 km²]).

Location ...

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

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   34.009563°   (or 34°0'34" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -86.015643°   (or -86°0'56" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   34.010147°   (or 34°0'36" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -86.010356°   (or -86°0'37" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 1,611 feet to the west<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 (#2403673) to Gadsden. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Gadsden. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   34.009270°   (or 34°0'33" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -86.015175°   (or -86°0'54" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 177.2 feet to the northwest<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Gadsden. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Gadsden.

Miscellaneous Information for Gadsden ...

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 Etowah County or the city of Gadsden:

The GNIS Codes ...

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

GNIS ID for Gadsden: 2403673

GNIS ID for Etowah County: 161553

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: 055 (Etowah County)

Place Code: 28696 (Gadsden)

State & County Code: 01/055 (Alabama / Etowah County)

State & Place Code: 01/28696 (Alabama / Gadsden)

Misc. Census Codes ...

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

US Postal Service ZIP Codes ...

While some people have used ZIP codes to identify a community, the ZIP codes were actually created to make mail delivery more efficient by grouping addresses together. Although a ZIP Code doesn't specifically identify a city like Gadsden, they do identify addresses that are in (or near) the city. It's important to remember that the boundaries of the ZIP Code can be changed, re-assigned, eliminated or overlapped with other ZIP Codes.

Our list of ZIP codes for Gadsden : 35901, 35902, 35903, 35904 & 35905.<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 Gadsden.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Search for a Alabama Community

About Etowah 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 Gadsden: www.ci.gadsden.al.us/

The official website for Etowah County: www.etowahcounty.org/

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 97 degrees.

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<6>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the GNIS point is 52 degrees.

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<7>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Gadsden 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 Gadsden.