Dothan is a city located in Houston County, Alabama, USA. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 57,737. The city is the county seat of Houston County. Portions of the city are located in Dale County and Henry County.
Original inhabitants were the Alabama and Creek American-Indian tribes. The first Anglo settlers of the area called the community "Poplar Head". Later, when the town applied for a post office, it was discovered that a "Poplar Head" post office already existed in northern Alabama. A new name was sought. The town of Dothan was incorporated November 11, 1885. The name derives from a town mentioned in a Bible verse, Genesis 37:17 – "For I heard them say, let us go to Dothan."
Dothan is the birthplace of Johnny Mack Brown (1904–1974), an All-American college football player and successful film actor. Actors William Gray Espy (the original Snapper of long-running CBS soap opera "The Young and the Restless), Brandy Brown, and Donna D'Errico were also born in Dothan. Singer Bobby Goldsboro, famous for his 1968 Top 40 Number One hit "Honey" as well as many other Top 40 releases of the late 1960's and early 1970's, grew up in Dothan and graduated from Dothan High School, although he was born in Mariana, Florida.
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Dothan is located at 31°13'38" North, 85°24'26" West (31.227225, -85.407258)1.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 57,737 people, 23,685 households, and 16,034 families residing in the city. The population density is 257.4/km² (666.6/mi²). There are 25,920 housing units at an average density of 115.5/km² (299.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 67.33% White, 30.11% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. 1.32% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 23,685 households out of which 31.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% are married couples living together, 15.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% are non-families. 28.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.39 and the average family size is 2.94.
In the city the population is spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 88.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 83.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $35,000, and the median income for a family is $45,025. Males have a median income of $34,475 versus $22,572 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,539. 15.6% of the population and 12.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 23.2% of those under the age of 18 and 15.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
People of Dothan
Due to its relative geographic remoteness from the larger cities of Mobile and Birmingham, Dothan has its own unique character. In contrast to the bleak poverty statistics, Dothan has many wealthy residents. Dothan has been called the "Hub of the Wiregrass," meaning that it is at the center of the region comprising southeast Alabama, southwest Georgia, and far north central Florida. The city's west side is particuarly prosperous with many large, beautiful homes set on gracefully sloping, meticulously landscaped lawns. Other indicators of this mostly understated affluence include such things as the presence of fine retailers of jewelry, home furnishings, clothing, and a Mercedes-Benz dealership since the 1960's.
The city of Dothan has continuously been served by regional airlines and is but twenty-five minutes from a connecting flight to anywhere via six daily flights to the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. In preparation for the jet age, the regional airport was relocated to Napier Field in 1965. Jet service began in 1968 with the acquisition of DC-9 aircraft by Southern Airways.
Dothan was racially segregated until the late 1960's. Race relations in Dothan have been generally good, with the majority of whites eager to leave behind the unfortunate circumstances of the past. Some whites are still inclined toward feelings of racial discrimination, but these feelings are largely kept below the surface particularly in regard to school and the workplace. Although progress continues to be made, social integration is the exception particularly in regard to entertaining at home and in most churches. Although a few black students attended Dothan High School in the late 1960's, the first serious effort at public school desegregation was made for the 1969–1970 school year without incident, albeit a court order was required in order that this occur.
Dothan is located in the "Bible Belt", and there is a large Protestant influence on the community. Baptist churches dot the landscape, fish emblems are seen on car trunks. Despite this fact, there is a very high divorce rate and extramarital affairs are common but rarely acknowledged or discussed. Unlike most cities of its size, there are Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and other groups.
After the boll weevil brought about the local death of "King Cotton", Dothan-Houston County found a new crop – peanuts. Dothan is home to the National Peanut Festival established in 1938 and held each fall to honor peanut growers and celebrate the harvest. Approximately fifty percent of all peanuts produced in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan, Alabama.
Points of interest
- City of Dothan web site
- Dothan Chamber of Commerce
- Dothan Eagle – Local Newspaper
- Maps and aerial photos
State of Alabama
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