Holiday weekend lulls politics for now
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–The long holiday weekend has put politics on the back burner. Did I hear some of you say that is another reason to be thankful?
There was a little excitement when some "We Love Lucy "06" bumper stickers started showing up around the state (giving added fuel to the talk that Lucy Baxley will indeed run for governor in 2006), and there were mostly yawns when Tim James, the son of former Gov. Fob James, said he was thinking about making the same race…as a Republican.
That being the case, I think I will overwhelm you with a lot of data about your home state that you may not even want to know.
The numbers I will throw at you are courtesy of Dr. Donald Bogie, head of the Center for Demographic Research at Auburn University of Montgomery, and I find some of them fascinating.
Some of the stat about the various counties you know. For example you surely know that the fastest growing counties in Alabama are Shelby (up 44.2 percent in the past 10 years) and Baldwin, up 42.9 percent. Both have attracted thousands of new residents from their adjoining metro areas-Birmingham and Mobile.
On the opposite end of the scale, Sumter had an 8.5 percent drop in its population, Perry was close behind with a drop of 7 percent.
You also know the counties with the heaviest black population–Macon leads the way with a black-white ratio of 84 percent -14 percent followed by Greene with 80 percent -19 percent.
On the other end of the scale is the so-called "Free State of Winston" where the black population is .04 percent…less than 150 African Americans in the entire county which has a population of almost 25,000.
Which county has the highest percentage of college graduates?
Shelby…which leads in a variety of categories…is No. 1 in college graduates with 36.8 percent, followed by Madison 34.1 percent; Montgomery 28.5 percent and Lee 27.9 percent.
For the record, statewide 19 percent of Alabama's residents have college degrees and 75.3 percent are high school graduates.
Continuing in the education theme, Dr. Bogie reported that about one out of every 10 children in Alabama now attend a private school.
Surprisingly, Choctaw County is No. 1 in private school attendance among the 67 counties–22.4 per cent of the students in that county attend private school. Montgomery was second in this ranking with 18 percent followed closely by Mobile with 17.6 per cent
You can probably guess the counties which lead in average family income. Shelby County…which has attracted so many of the well-to-do executives from Birmingham…is far ahead with $64,105. A distant second is Madison…the high tech capital of the state…at $54,000. No other county in the state tops the $50,000 mark.
If you wonder, the average median income for the state is $41,657 which is well below the national average of $50,046.
Do you get the idea that a lot of Alabamians live in mobile homes?
They do…almost one out of every six Alabama families live in a mobile home. Leading the way in this category is Wilcox County where almost four out of every 10 families live in a mobile home.
Finally, before you are lulled to sleep by all these numbers, the research done by Dr. Bogie and staff confirm the often-expressed truth that Southern Baptists are growing like kudzu in Alabama. A whopping 56.7 percent of the state's population are Baptists. A very distant second are Methodists with 13.5 percent. Despite this wide disparity between the baptized and the sprinkled, in one Alabama county there are more Methodists than Baptists, unless my friend Dr. Bogie made an error, which I doubt.
The report shows Geneva County with 38.3 percent Methodists and only 33.6 percent Baptists. Perhaps the Baptists need to send some missionaries to that county.