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DeKalb County, Georgia
DeKalb County, Georgia Court House.JPG
Old DeKalb County courthouse in Decatur
Seal of DeKalb County, Georgia
Map of Georgia highlighting DeKalb County
Location in the state of Georgia (U.S. state)
Map of the U.S. highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location in the U.S.
Founded December 9, 1822
Named for Johann de Kalb
Seat Decatur
Largest city Dunwoody
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

270.91 sq mi (702 km²)
268.21 sq mi (695 km²)
2.70 sq mi (7 km²), 1.00%
 - (2013)
 - Density

2,553/sq mi (985.6/km²)
Congressional districts 4th, 5th, 6th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

DeKalb County ( /dəˈkæb/ də-KAB-' or /dɪˈkæb/ dee-KAB-') is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. The population of the county was 691,893 at the 2010 census.[1] Its county seat is the city of Decatur.[2] It is bordered to the west by Fulton County and contains roughly 10% of the city of Atlanta. (The other 90% lies in Fulton County).

DeKalb County is included in the five-county core of the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area. It is the third-most-populated county in Metro Atlanta and the state, just behind Gwinnett County. Prior to the 2010 Census, DeKalb County historically ranked second behind Fulton County for many years. It is the most diverse county in Georgia. DeKalb is primarily a suburban county, and is the second-most-affluent county with an African-American majority in the United States, behind Prince George's County, Maryland, in suburban Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

In 2009, DeKalb earned the Atlanta Regional Commission's "Green Communities" designation for its efforts in conserving energy, water and fuel; investing in renewable energy; reducing waste; and protecting and restoring natural resources.

In recent years, some communities in North DeKalb have incorporated, following a trend in other suburban areas around Metro Atlanta. Dunwoody & Brookhaven are now the largest cities in the county.

History[edit | edit source]

DeKalb County was created in 1822 from Henry, Gwinnett and Fayette counties. It was named for Baron Johann de Kalb, a German soldier who fought for the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War.[3] The oldest existing house in the county is the 1831 Goodwin House along Peachtree Road in Brookhaven.

In 1853, Fulton County was formed from the western half of DeKalb, divided along a perfectly straight and due north/south line down the middle (along which Moreland Avenue now runs). Until this time, the growing city of Atlanta had been inside DeKalb. Atlanta grew because the city of Decatur did not want to become the railroad terminus in the 1830s, thus a spot at the Thrasherville encampment in western DeKalb was picked to become Terminus and then Marthasville, before becoming Atlanta a few years after its founding. North and southwest Fulton came from two other counties: Milton and southeast Campbell, respectively. DeKalb once extended slightly further north to the Chattahoochee River, but this strip was later given to Milton, and is now the panhandle of Sandy Springs (though residents there identify with Dunwoody).

During the Civil War, much of the Battle of Atlanta was fought in DeKalb.

Until the 1960s, DeKalb was a mainly agricultural county, but as the sprawl of the metropolitan Atlanta region expanded, DeKalb became increasingly urbanized. Finished in 1969, the eastern half of the Interstate 285 beltway, called "the Perimeter", ringed the northeastern and southern edges of the county, placing most of it "inside the Perimeter" along with nearly all of Atlanta. Interstate 675 and Georgia 400 were originally planned to be connected inside the Perimeter, along with the Stone Mountain Freeway (U.S. Highway 78) connecting with the Downtown Connector (a co-signment of I-75/I-85) near Moreland Avenue, destroying many neighborhoods in western DeKalb, but community opposition in the early 1970s spared them this fate of urbanization, although part of the proposed Stone Mountain Tollway later became the Freedom Parkway. Only Interstate 20 and Interstate 85 were successfully built through the county. DeKalb also became one of only two counties to approve MARTA rapid transit in the 1970s; the county now contains the east and northeast heavy rail lines.

Law and government[edit | edit source]

Presidential elections results in DeKalb County[4]
Year Democratic Republican Others
2008 78.86% 254,594 20.31% 65,581 0.86% 2,671
2004 72.61% 200,787 26.61% 73,570 0.77% 2,152
2000 70.24% 154,509 26.73% 58,807 3.03% 6,664
1996 66.5% 137,903 29.1% 60,255 4.4% 9,071
1992 57.8% 124,559 32.6% 70,282 9.6% 20,594
1988 50.2% 92,521 48.9% 90,179 10.8% 1,550
1984 42.5% 77,329 57.5% 104,697 0.0% 0
1980 49.4% 82,743 44.7% 74,904 5.8% 9,758
1976 56.4% 86,872 43.6% 67,160 0.0% 0
1972 22.6% 30,671 77.4% 104,750 0.0% 0
1968 26.7% 27,796 50.4% 52,485 23.0% 23,956
1964 42.9% 37,154 57.1% 49,448 0.0% 11
1960 50.1% 24,116 49.9% 24,046 0.0% 0

In 1978, following a series of citizen-led studies of DeKalb's government, the delegation to the Georgia General Assembly presented to the voters a proposed constitutional amendment that permitted the General Assembly to propose a form of government for the county, which would have to be voted on by the people of DeKalb County.[5] The amendment was ratified by the voters. In 1979, a charter commission, known as the DeKalb County Government Reorganization Commission, (GRC) was created by the General Assembly.[6] The GRC was composed of 29 citizens from around the county. In November, 1979, it proposed to the DeKalb Delegation that a the government be reorganized into two branches, the Board of Commissioners, which would exercise legislative authority, and the CEO, who would exercise the executive authority, assisted directly by an "executive assistant," who possessed the qualifications of a county manager.[7] In 1980, before dealing with the details of the government, the delegation presented the voters of DeKalb County with an "advisory referendum," which asked them to choose whether they would prefer to have the form of government which existed, or whether they would prefer to have the form changed to that which was proposed by the GRC.[8] At the General Primary, held on August 5, 1980, 52.5% of the voters said they wanted a change in the government, and 61.8% said they preferred the form proposed by the GRC.

In 1981, delegation adopted legislation in accordance with the wishes of the voters, and returned the question to DeKalb's voters in 1982, in accordance with Amendment 71. At the general primary, held in August, 1982, the 57.25% of DeKalb's voters approved the change in the government, despite strong opposition from the DeKalb County Commission, and its Chairman, Manuel Maloof.[9] In 2008, the Georgia General Assembly amended the act to allow the Board of the Commissioners to elect their own presiding officer and to set the agenda for meetings of the county commission. The CEO votes on matters of the commission in the case of a tie.[10]

As of 2009, DeKalb's CEO is Democrat Burrell Ellis,[11] who succeeded fellow Democrat Vernon Jones. The commission is elected from five small districts and two super-districts that each make up half of the county and overlap the smaller districts.

Under the redistricting plan in effect for the 2006, 2008, and 2010 elections for the United States House of Representatives, DeKalb is the only county in the state to be split among four congressional districts. Geographically, most of DeKalb is contained within the 4th District, while western portions of the county are in the 5th District, northern portions are in the 6th District, and the southwestern corner is in the 13th District.

On July 31, 2012, Brookhaven was approved in a referendum to become DeKalb County's 11th city. Incorporation officially took place on December 17, 2012,[2] on which date municipal operations commenced.[1][3] With a population of around 49,000, it is the largest city in DeKalb County.[4]

In a precedent case, the county of DeKalb Georgia police department charged Kaveh Kamooneh with stealing approximately 5¢ worth of electricity from a school's power outlet. The police did so without asking the school if they would like to press charges.[12]

Public safety[edit | edit source]

DeKalb County fire truck in Brookhaven

Unincorporated DeKalb County is policed by the DeKalb County Police Department, the DeKalb Sheriff's Office[13] which is responsible for serving criminal warrants and securing the courts and county jail, and the DeKalb Marshal's Office.which serves civil processes issued through state court, such as evictions.

Fire services are provided throughout the county by DeKalb County Fire and Rescue.[14] Previously, DeKalb County Fire and Rescue also provided emergency medical services throughout the county; however, in 2013, DeKalb County signed a contract with American Medical Response to provide emergency medical services to the county.[15]

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 270.91 square miles (701.7 km2), of which 268.21 square miles (694.7 km2) (or 99.00%) is land and 2.70 square miles (7.0 km2) (or 1.00%) is water.[16]

The county is crossed by the South River and numerous creeks, including Nancy Creek, Snapfinger Creek and two forks of Peachtree Creek. Peachtree Creek and Nancy Creek drain into the Chattahoochee River and eventually to the Gulf of Mexico. South River drains into the Ocmulgee River and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.

Stone Mountain lies near the eastern border of the county. Soapstone Ridge, parallel to the southern border, was heavily quarried between 1400 and 100 B.C. and objects made from the soapstone have been found as far away as the Great Lakes.

Adjacent counties[edit | edit source]

Government[edit | edit source]

Federal representation[edit | edit source]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in the Druid Hills CDP as seen from Emory University

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based in the Druid Hills CDP in an unincorporated area in the county.[17][18]

State representation[edit | edit source]

The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice has its headquarters in Avondale Estates, near Decatur.[19][20] The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has its headquarters near Decatur, in an unincorporated area.[21]

The Metro State Prison of the Georgia Department of Corrections was formerly located in an unincorporated area in DeKalb County.[22] Female death row inmates (UDS, "under death sentence") resided in the Metro State Prison.[23] The prison was closed in 2011.[24]

Economy[edit | edit source]

Major employers in DeKalb County include:

Diplomatic missions[edit | edit source]

The Consulate-General of Mexico in Atlanta is located in the North Druid Hills CDP.[29][30] The Consulate-General of Guatemala in Atlanta is located in the North Atlanta CDP.[31][32] The Consulate-General of Peru in Atlanta is located in an unincorporated section of DeKalb County.[33]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 10,042
1840 10,467 4.2%
1850 14,328 36.9%
1860 7,806 −45.5%
1870 10,014 28.3%
1880 14,497 44.8%
1890 17,189 18.6%
1900 21,112 22.8%
1910 27,881 32.1%
1920 44,051 58.0%
1930 70,278 59.5%
1940 86,942 23.7%
1950 136,395 56.9%
1960 256,782 88.3%
1970 415,387 61.8%
1980 483,024 16.3%
1990 545,837 13.0%
2000 665,865 22.0%
2010 691,893 3.9%
Est. 2013 713,340 7.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[34]
2013 Estimate[35]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 691,893 people residing in the county. 54.3% were Black or African American, 33.3% White, 5.1% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 4.5% of some other race and 2.4% of two or more races. 9.8% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).[36]

As of the census[37] of 2000, there were 665,865 people, 249,339 households, and 156,584 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,483 people per square mile (959/km²). There were 261,231 housing units at an average density of 974 per square mile (376/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 54.23% Black or African American, 35.82% White, 0.23% Native American, 4.01% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.53% from other races, and 2.12% from two or more races. 7.89% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 249,339 households out of which 31.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.10% were married couples living together, 17.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.20% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 10.90% from 18 to 24, 36.70% from 25 to 44, 19.70% from 45 to 64, and 8.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 94.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $49,117, and the median income for a family was $54,018. Males had a median income of $36,270 versus $31,653 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,968. About 7.80% of families and 10.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.10% of those under age 18 and 8.70% of those age 65 or over.

Although Fulton County is more populous, DeKalb has the highest population density of any county in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Cities and communities[edit | edit source]

Cities[edit | edit source]

Census-designated places[edit | edit source]

Other communities[edit | edit source]

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Major highways[edit | edit source]

Interstate highways[edit | edit source]

U.S. highways[edit | edit source]

State routes[edit | edit source]

Secondary highways[edit | edit source]

Education[edit | edit source]

Primary and secondary education[edit | edit source]

Public schools[edit | edit source]

The portion of DeKalb County not within the city of Atlanta or the city of Decatur is served by DeKalb County School District (formerly DeKalb County School System). The Atlanta portion is served by Atlanta Public Schools. The Decatur portion is served by Decatur City School District.

On December 17, 2012, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announced that it had downgraded the DeKalb County Schools System's status from "on advisement" to "on probation" and warned the school system that the loss of their accreditation was "imminent." [38]

Private schools[edit | edit source]

Private schools in DeKalb County include:

From its opening in 1990 until 2003,[40] the Seigakuin Atlanta International School was located on the property of Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, an unincorporated area.[41]

Higher education[edit | edit source]

Emory University

Agnes Scott College is a private, all female, undergraduate liberal arts college.

Emory University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university. It is a member of the Association of American Universities, an association of leading research universities in the US and Canada. The university consists of the following divisions: Emory College of Arts and Science, Graduate School, Candler School of Theology, Goizueta Business School, Emory University School of Law, Rollins School of Public Health, and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

Mercer University is a private, coeducational, faith-based university with a Baptist heritage. The main campus is in Macon. The Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus is in DeKalb County; it houses the College of Nursing, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology along with programs of the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, the School of Medicine, and the Tift College of Education.

Oglethorpe University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts school and is named after James Oglethorpe, founder of the Georgia Colony.

Georgia Perimeter College (formerly DeKalb College) has three campuses within the county and offers two-year associate degrees.

Georgia Piedmont Technical College (formerly DeKalb Technical College) is the largest vocational institution in Georgia. Georgia Piedmont Technical College trains students in business, engineering, technologies, health, human services, industrial arts, information systems, and transportation.

DeVry University offers Bachelors and Masters degrees in Healthcare, Accounting, Business, and Management Technology.

Columbia Theological Seminary is a theological institution of the Presbyterian Church. More than 640 students are enrolled at Columbia in one of five degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Theology.

Public libraries[edit | edit source]

The DeKalb County Public Library has 22 branches throughout the county, with three additional branches planned by 2010.

Attractions[edit | edit source]

Memorial Dedication: September 11, 2011

U.S. Marine and Artist/Sculptor Curtis James Miller has designed a memorial that is located in front of the Dekalb County Fire and Police Headquarters. The memorial pays homage to the 343 New York Firefighters, 60 New York and Port Authority Police Officers and the more than 2800 civilian victims of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, PA on September 11, 2001.

A piece of steel from one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City is the centerpiece of this monument. This monument will preserve the memories of the day’s events for generations to come.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • DeKalb Historical Society. Vanishing DeKalb: A Pictoral History. Decatur, Ga.: DeKalb Historical Society, 1985. ISBN 0-9615459-0-9
  • Mason, Herman. "Skip" Jr. African-American Life in DeKalb County, 1821–1970. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-7385-0034-8
  • Owens, Sue Ellen, and Megan Milford. DeKalb County in Vintage Postcards. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-7385-1401-2
  • Price, Vivian. The History of DeKalb County, Georgia, 1822–1900. Fernandina Beach, Fla.: Wolfe Publishing Company, 1997. ISBN 1-883793-27-0

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ United States Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off.. pp. 103. 
  4. ^ Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.
  5. ^ 1978 Ga.L., p. 2370
  6. ^ 1979 Ga.L., p. 4650
  7. ^ 1979 Report of the DeKalb County Government Reorganization Commission.
  8. ^ Senate Bill 392; DeKalb News/Sun, Reorganization Advisory Stresses Defined Power, July 30, 1980, p. 8D.
  9. ^ NeighborNews, Reorganization Okayed by Voters, August 18, 1982.
  10. ^ Senate Bill 52 (2008)
  11. ^ [1] DeKalb County Web site
  12. ^ [2] NBC News Atlanta
  13. ^ "DeKalb County Sheriff Office". Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  14. ^ "DeKalb County fire & Rescue". 2005-04-01. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  17. ^ Home Page. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on November 19, 2008.
  18. ^ "Druid Hills CDP, GA." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 5, 2009.
  19. ^ "Contact." Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. Retrieved on August 8, 2010.
  20. ^ "Official Zoning Map." City of Avondale Estates. Retrieved on August 8, 2010.
  21. ^ "Directions." Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved on March 4, 2014. "The GBI Headquarters is located at: 3121 Panthersville Road Decatur GA, 30034"
  22. ^ "Metro State Prison." Georgia Department of Corrections. Retrieved on July 18, 2010.
  23. ^ "Inmates Under Death Sentence January 1, 2010 Changes to UDS Population During 2009." Georgia Department of Corrections. 3/7. Retrieved on July 18, 2010.
  24. ^ Cook, Rhonda. "State closed DeKalb County prison." Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Friday April 1, 2011. Retrieved on November 18, 2012.
  25. ^ "Atlanta Headquarters." Cox Communications. Retrieved on April 22, 2009.
  26. ^ "About Cox". Cox Communications, Inc. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^ "Contact Us." Kroger. Retrieved on April 30, 2009.
  29. ^ "North Druid Hills CDP, GA." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 5, 2009.
  30. ^ Home Page." Consulate-General of Mexico in Atlanta. Accessed October 26, 2008.
  31. ^ "Consulates." Georgia Department of Economic Development. Accessed October 26, 2008.
  32. ^ "North Atlanta CDP, GA." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 5, 2009.
  33. ^ "Atlanta." Consulado General del Peru. Accessed October 26, 2008.
  34. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved March 27, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved March 27, 2014. 
  36. ^ 2010 general population and housing report for DeKalb County from the US Census
  37. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  38. ^ ""DeKalb school district in 'conflict and crisis,' put on probation by accreditation agency."." The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. December 17, 2012. Retrieved on December 19, 2012.
  39. ^ "Contact Us." Mohammed Schools. Retrieved on September 28, 2011. "735 Fayetteville Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30316"
  40. ^ "History." Seigakuin Atlanta International School. Retrieved on January 11, 2012.
  41. ^ "SCHOOL MATTERS Former U.N. diplomat heads Japanese school here." Atlanta Journal-Constitution. July 26, 1994. C2. Retrieved on January 11, 2012.

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 33°46′N 84°14′W / 33.77, -84.23

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