Shelby County ranks tops in income, graduation rates

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Shelby County ranks tops in the state in many of the demographic categories listed by the Center for Demographic Research.

The county was recognized for having the lowest teenage birth rate; the lowest percentage of persons/children below poverty level; the highest percentage of median family income; the highest percentage of both high school and college graduates; the lowest percentage of unemployed; and the highest percentage of residents who moved to the county after 1995.

According to the center, Shelby County was estimated sixth in population in Alabama at 153,832; sixth in persons per square mile at 193 persons per square mile; and 20th in total area, at 794.7 square miles.

The county’s teenage birth rate was 16.4. The teenage birth rate is the number of live births to females, 10-19, divided by the total number of females of that age multiplied by 1,000.

Sumter and Lee counties had teenage birth rates equal to 16.4 as well. Alabama’s teenage birth rate is 28.3.

Wilcox and Barbour counties had the highest teenage birth rates at 45.7 and 44.7, respectively.

Shelby County’s population below poverty level was also the lowest in the state at 6.3 percent of adults, 7.4 percent of children.

Statewide results indicate 16.1 percent of adults and 21.2 percent of children are below poverty level.

Madison County revealed 10.5 percent of adults and 14.3 percent of children; Elmore County reported 10.2 percent of adults and 14.4 percent of children; Baldwin County reported 10.1 percent of adults and 13.4 percent of children; and Autauga County reported 10.9 percent of adults and 13.7 percent of children live below the poverty level.

Sumter County reports 38.7 percent of adults and 47.7 percent of children below poverty level; Perry County, 35.4 percent of adults and 49.2 percent of children; and Bullock County, 33.5 percent of adults and 45 percent of children.

Shelby County also ranked highest for median family income at $64,105.

The state’s median family income is $41,657. Other Alabama counties of interest include Madison County at $54,360; Autauga County at $48,458; Elmore County at $47,155; and Baldwin County at $47,028.

The county with the lowest median family income is Wilcox County at $22,200.

High school and college graduation rates among population is also highest in Shelby County. More than 86 percent of county residents are high school graduates, and almost 37 percent are college graduates, according to the center.

The state has a 75 percent high school graduate rate with a 19 percent college graduate rate.

Other counties of interest include Madison, 85.4 percent high school and 34.3 percent college; Baldwin, 82 percent high school and 23.1 percent college; and Lee, 81.4 percent high school and 27.9 percent college.

Counties with the lowest percentages include Wilcox with 59.5 percent high school and 10.1 percent college; Crenshaw, 60.1 percent high school and 11.2 percent college; and Bullock, 60.5 percent high school and 7.7 percent college.

Shelby County also recorded the lowest unemployment at 2.6 percent. State unemployment average is 5.9 percent.

Other averages of interest include Tuscaloosa County, 3.5 percent; Lee County, 4 percent; and Elmore and Cherokee counties, 4.1 percent.

The county with the highest average unemployment rate is Washington at 17.1 percent.

Also, according to the Center for Demographic Research, 33.4 percent of Shelby County residents moved to the area after 1995.

The Center for Demographic Research was established in 1981 as a unit of Auburn University at Montgomery