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Bessemer, Alabama

  •   State: 
    Jefferson County
      County FIPS: 
    33°22′16″N 86°58′22″W
      Area total: 
    40.56 sq mi (105.05 km²)
      Area land: 
    40.35 sq mi (104.51 km²)
      Area water: 
    0.21 sq mi (0.54 km²)
    509 ft (155 m)
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    Birmingham-Hoover, AL
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    Bessemer, Jefferson County, Alabama, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    644.80 residents per square mile of area (248.96/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

Bessemer is a southwestern suburb of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It developed rapidly as an industrial city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2019, it was named Alabama's "Worst City to Live in" by 24/7 Wall Street. The town was founded in the postbellum era by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company. It became a center of steelmaking from about 1890 through the 20th century. Steel is no longer made within the city limits, but is still manufactured in the neighboring city of Fairfield. The city has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Jefferson County is the center. It has a total area of 40.8 square miles (106 km²), of which 40.7 sq miles (105 km²) is land and 0.1 sq mi (0.17 km) is water. The racial makeup of the city was 69.6% Black or African American, 28.9% White, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 0.7% from two or more races. By the 1950s, theCity was majority African American in population. The population was 26,019 at the 2020 census, with 26.8% under the age of 18, and 13.0% under 65 years of age.


Bessemer is the primary city name, but also Brighton are acceptable city names or spellings. The official name is Bessemer, Alabama. Bessemer was founded in the postbellum era by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company. The city became a center of steelmaking from about 1890 through the 20th century. It attracted rural migrants from across the South, as well as European immigrants. By the 1950s, the city was majority African American in population. The industry went through considerable restructuring in the late 20th Century, and jobs moved out of the area. Steel is no longer made there. The town is located 16 miles southwest of Birmingham, Alabama, and was incorporated on September 9, 1887. Its promoters believed that it might overtake the other city in economic power. It is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, which runs through the center of the city. It has a population of about 3,000. It was founded by coal magnate Henry F. DeBardeleben, who had inherited Daniel Pratt's investments. The mayor and councilmen voted to incorporate the city of BesSEmer on September 8, 1885. It became a city in 1887, and a suburb of Birmingham in 1891. In 1894, it was incorporated into the state of Alabama, which is now part of the U.S. state of Mississippi. It's located on a river that flows through the middle of the state, and is known for its iron ore, coal and limestone deposits. It also has a lake, which was once a source of water for the city's water supply.


Bessemer is located 18 miles (29 km) southwest of Birmingham. It is situated in the midst of the iron ore and limestone district of Alabama, in the southern part of Jones Valley. Iron ore was mined on the hills on the city's southeast side, coal was (and still is) mined to the north and west, and limestone deposits were also nearby. All three ingredients were necessary for steelmaking, which led to the area becoming a major steel center from about 1890 through the twentieth century. Steel is no longer made within the city limits, but is still manufactured in the neighboring city of Fairfield. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bessemer has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. The city has a total area of 40.8 square miles (106 km²), of which 40.7square miles (105 km²) is land and 0.1square miles(0.26km²) (0.17%) is water. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the city to have a population of 2,816 (2.1 per cent of its total population). The city is located in the northern part of the Jones Valley, which is about 3 miles (4.8 km) wide. The area is known as one of the most productive iron-ore mining areas in the world.


As of the 2013 American Community Survey, there were 27,336 people living in the city. There were 12,790 housing units at an average density of 314.2 per square mile (121.3/km²) The racial makeup of the city was 69.6% Black or African American, 28.9% White, 0.3% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 0.7% from two or more races. The city's median income was $23,066, and the median income for a family was $28,230. The per capita income for the city is $12,232. About 24.2%. of families and 27.2. of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.8% of those under age 18 and 24.7%. of those age 65 or over. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.12. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 82.9 males. For each 100 females age 18 or over there were 75.8 males. The population was 29,672 in 2000, and 26,019 in the 2020 U.S. census. It is the largest city in the state with a population of more than 30,000. It has a population density of 729.0 inhabitants per squaremile (281.5/ km²). The city has a median age of 36 years and a median income of $23.066.


In 1900, Bessemer ranked eighth in population in the state, second in amount of capital invested in manufacturing, and fourth in the value of its manufactured product for the year. By 1911, ore mining, iron smelting, and the manufacture of iron and coke were the chief industries. Truck farming was also an important industry, dating from the area's agricultural past. The decline of mining and exodus of the steelmaking and railcar manufacturing industries resulted in extensive loss of jobs. The city has lost population since a peak in 1970. It faced an economic crisis in the early to mid-1980s, as unemployed workers constituted more than one-third of the workforce. In June 2018, Amazon announced that it would build a new 800,000 square feet (74,000 m2), $325 million fulfillment center in BesseMER which will initially create 1,500 new jobs. In 2012, BLOX LLC ( a manufacturer of modular components for healthcare facilities moved into this facility. As of 2019, BesSEmer ranks first in terms of violent crimes for U.S. cities with 25,000 or more people. It has been successful in diversifying its economy. It is recognized for its business growth. In 2000, the city was home to a large railroad car manufacturing factory, operated by Pullman Standard for many decades and later by Trinity Industries. With railroad restructuring in the late 20th century and other manufacturing moving offshore, this plant ceased most production in the 1990s.

Arts and culture

The performance center Bessemer Civic Center provides multiple performance spaces for music and theatre. The center is located on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It is located in the heart of the city's downtown area. The Civic Center is located at the center of the university's downtown campus, which is on the U.S. Turnpike, which runs through the center. The Center is also home to the Alabama Museum of Art and Science, which was founded in 1881. The museum is located near the center's performance space, the Civic Center Building, which opened in 1883. It has been named after the city’s first mayor, William "Bessemer" Bostick, who founded the Center in 1884. It was named after Bostock, who was the first African-American mayor in Alabama. It also houses a museum of art and culture, which dates back to the 18th century. It’ is also known as the Museum of Music and Art, and was established in 1887. The Museums of Alabama are housed in the Center for the Performing Arts, which also opened in the same building in 1885. The Museum is located next door to the Bessemers Civic Center, which provides a variety of performance spaces. It includes a performance space for music, theatre, dance and other events. The Centre is also the home of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, which has been in existence for more than 50 years.


Bessemer uses the mayorcity council form of government. The council has seven members, elected from single-member districts. A satellite Jefferson County courthouse is located in downtown Bessemer. The state Alabama Department of Corrections operates the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility, a prison for men, in unincorporated Jefferson County, Alabama. The prison includes one of the two Alabama death rows for men. The U.S. Postal Service operates the BesSEmer Post Office. The city is located on the Alabama-Mississippi state line, just south of the state capital of Birmingham. It has a population of about 4,000. It was once a major city in its own right, but has since been surpassed in size by Birmingham suburbs such as Hoover. It is now a suburb of the city of Birmingham, Alabama, with a population in excess of 3,000 people. It also has a small percentage of residents who live outside the city limits, particularly in the northern part of the town, where it is less than one-third of the size of the rest of Jefferson County. The town is home to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which has a campus in the heart of the community. There is a special county government district, known as the "bessemer Cutoff", which was established in the middle of the 20th century. The term "BesseMER Cutoff" continues to be used regularly by area residents. It includes a separate series of Alabama license plates, with the different numeric prefix than the restof the county.


Bessemer has its own school system independent of Jefferson County schools, Bessemer City School District. The Board of Education also operates the Quitman Mitchell Opportunity Center, which includes an adult learning center, Even Start child care center, and New Horizon Alternative School. The two schools merged in 2005 as a cost-saving measure. Rock Christian School and BesSEmer Academy, which was founded as a segregation academy, are private schools in the town. Lawson State Community College operates the former BesseMER Technical College campus. The town has a population of about 3,000 people. The city is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, which runs through the center of the city. It is located in Jefferson County, which is the county seat for Jefferson County. It also has the city's airport, which serves as a hub for the county's economy. It has one of the highest crime rates in the state, with more than 30 murders per 100,000 residents in 2010. The area has a high school graduation rate of over 80 per cent. The school district has a low poverty rate of about 10 per cent, with the lowest rate of unemployment in the county at 8.5 per cent in 2011. The local economy is based on manufacturing, which has been the town's main source of growth since the 1980s. The region's economy has been in decline since the Great Recession. The economy has also been hit hard by the recession, with unemployment at around 8 per cent and a high unemployment rate of 9 per cent as of 2011.


Bessemer is served by the small Bessemer Airport to the southeast of the city. Commercial service in the region is provided by the much larger Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, located 5 miles (8.0 km) north of downtown Birmingham. In 1911, the town was served by five railroad lines: Alabama Great Southern (Queen & Crescent route), the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham (St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad system), the Birmingham Southern Railroad, and the Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic railways. Passenger service decreased after people started choosing to travel by automobiles, increasingly so after World War II. By 2006, the companies noted above had consolidated to CSX Transportation, which has lines to Birmingham and Brookwood; and the Norfolk Southern Railway, with Lines to Birmingham, Mobile and New Orleans. All of the roadbed and bridges remain in place. All the road beds and bridges are still in place, though tracks have been removed over much of the High Line. The High Line was constructed by Tennessee Coal & Iron (predecessor to U.S. Steel) to ship iron ore from the mines on the city's south side to the steel works in nearby Fairfield. This elevated line traverses the eastern side of the town. Though tracks were removed overmuch of the high line when the mines closed, part of the line is still used by the BirminghamSouthern. All all of theRoadbed and Bridges remain in Place. All. of the Roadbed and. Bridges remain.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in Bessemer, Jefferson County, Alabama = 3.5. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 80. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 20. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in Bessemer = 5.2 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 26,019 individuals with a median age of 36.9 age the population dropped by -6.81% in Bessemer, Jefferson County, Alabama population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 644.80 residents per square mile of area (248.96/km²). There are average 2.47 people per household in the 10,944 households with an average household income of $29,411 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 15.70% of the available work force and has dropped -8.72% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 6.86%. The number of physicians in Bessemer per 100,000 population = 361.2.


The annual rainfall in Bessemer = 58.8 inches and the annual snowfall = 1 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 117. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 214. 93 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 30.8 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 30, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in Bessemer, Jefferson County, Alabama which are owned by the occupant = 51.98%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 44 years with median home cost = $97,020 and home appreciation of -1.58%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $4.94 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $4,316 per student. There are 16.7 students for each teacher in the school, 460 students for each Librarian and 376 students for each Counselor. 6.18% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 6.34% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 3.12% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • Bessemer's population in Jefferson County, Alabama of 6,358 residents in 1900 has increased 4,09-fold to 26,019 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 54.01% female residents and 45.99% male residents live in Bessemer, Jefferson County, Alabama.

    As of 2020 in Bessemer, Jefferson County, Alabama are married and the remaining 56.41% are single population.

  • 25.9 minutes is the average time that residents in Bessemer require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    80.92% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 14.96% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 1.40% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 0.36% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in Bessemer, Jefferson County, Alabama, 51.98% are owner-occupied homes, another 35.03% are rented apartments, and the remaining 12.98% are vacant.

  • The 57.94% of the population in Bessemer, Jefferson County, Alabama who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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