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Gulf Shores, Alabama

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Census Data for Gulf Shores ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2016 and it gives Gulf Shores a population of 11,689 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Gulf Shores a population of 9,741 people.

The city of Gulf Shores is located in Baldwin County. The 2010 Census gave Baldwin County a population of 182,265 people. This means that Gulf Shores had 5.34% of the county's total population, making it Baldwin's 4th most populous community.

At the same time, Alabama had a population of 4,779,736 people, meaning that Gulf Shores had 0.2% of the total population of Alabama - making it the state's 64th most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Gulf Shores, 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 Gulf Shores reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Gulf Shores 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 Gulf Shores has a total area of 27.98 square miles [72.5 km²]. Of this total, 23.16 square miles [60 km²] is land, with the balance (17.24%) being water (4.83 square miles [12.5 km²]).

Baldwin County has a land area of 1,589 square miles [4,117.5 km²]. At 23.16 square miles [60 km²], Gulf Shores has 1.46% 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:   30° 16' 24"   (or 30.27°)             [Map]

Lon:   -87° 42' 6"   (or -87.7°)

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 (9,741 people) and land area (23.16 square miles [60 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Gulf Shores had a population density of 348.1 people per square mile [134.4 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Gulf Shores had a population of 5,044 people and a land area of 18.39 square miles [47.6 km²]. This gives a population density of 219.1 people per square mile [84.6 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 Gulf Shores. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to an incorrect comparison. More information about the changes can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Baldwin County ...

The community of Gulf Shores is located in Baldwin County.

The county had a population of 182,265 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 9,741 people, Gulf Shores represented 5.34% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Gulf Shores has a population density of 348.1 people per square mile [134.4 people/km²], Baldwin County averages 114.6 people per square mile [44.27 people/km²].

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

Population Rings for Gulf Shores ...

To help identify the number of people who live in Gulf Shores and the surrounding area, we have drawn concentric rings centered on Gulf Shores. We counted the number of communities within each ring and summed their populations.<3>

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]111,689+20%
10 mi   [16 km]436,079+18.2%
15 mi   [24 km]739,643+18.46%
20 mi   [32 km]1065,856+20.24%
25 mi   [40 km]1269,134+19.94%
30 mi   [48 km]14148,826+13.49%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Gulf Shores, 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 Gulf Shores. 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 21.57% larger than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Gulf Shores was 27.98 square miles [72.5 km²]. Of this total, 23.16 square miles [60 km²] is land, with the balance (17.24%) being water (4.83 square miles [12.5 km²]).

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 23.02 square miles [59.6 km²]. Of this total, 18.39 square miles [47.6 km²] is land, with the balance (16.54%) being water (4.63 square miles [12 km²]).

Location ...

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

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   30.273431°   (or 30°16'24" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -87.701855°   (or -87°42'6" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   30.267797°   (or 30°16'4" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -87.701468°   (or -87°42'5" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 2,057 feet to the north<4> 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 (#2403770) to Gulf Shores. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Gulf Shores. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   30.270268°   (or 30°16'12" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -87.698582°   (or -87°41'54" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 1,546 feet to the northwest<5> of the point given by the GNIS for Gulf Shores. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Gulf Shores.

Miscellaneous Information for Gulf Shores ...

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 Baldwin County or the city of Gulf Shores:

The GNIS Codes ...

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

GNIS ID for Gulf Shores: 2403770

GNIS ID for Baldwin County: 161527

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: 003 (Baldwin County)

Place Code: 32272 (Gulf Shores)

State & County Code: 01/003 (Alabama / Baldwin County)

State & Place Code: 01/32272 (Alabama / Gulf Shores)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Gulf Shores 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 Gulf Shores, 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 Gulf Shores :  & .<6>

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 Gulf Shores.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Search for a Alabama Community

About Baldwin 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 Gulf Shores: www.ci.gulf-shores.al.us/

The official website for Baldwin County: www.co.baldwin.al.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.

- Return to Citation

<3>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

<4>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the 2010 Census location is 3 degrees.

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<5>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the GNIS point is 41 degrees.

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<6>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Gulf Shores 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 Gulf Shores.