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DeKalb County ( ) is located in the U.S. state of Georgiamarker. In 2000, the population of the county was 686,712. In 2008, its population was estimated to have risen to 739,956. Its county seat is the city of Decaturmarker. It is bordered to the west by Fulton Countymarker and contains roughly 10% of Atlantamarker (The other 90% lies in Fulton County).

DeKalb County is included in the Atlantamarker-Sandy Springsmarker-Mariettamarker, Georgiamarker, metropolitan statistical area. It is the third-most-populated county in the Atlanta area and the state, just behind Gwinnett Countymarker. 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 Countymarker, Marylandmarker in suburban Washington D.C.marker.


DeKalb County was created in 1822 from Henrymarker, Gwinnettmarker and Fayette Countiesmarker. It was named for Baron Johann de Kalb, a German soldier who fought on the side of the Americans in the American Revolutionary War.

In 1853, Fulton Countymarker 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 Atlantamarker 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 Campbellmarker, 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 Springsmarker (though residents there identify with Dunwoody).

During the American 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 planed to be connected inside the Perimeter,along with the Stone mountain freeway(U.S.78) connecting with the downtown connector,(I75-85)near moreland ave, 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. 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

Presidential elections results in DeKalb County
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 1986, DeKalb's delegation in the Georgia General Assembly created a unique chief executive officer (CEO) position, which is the chief elected official. The local legislation that authorized the position made it unique among Georgia's 159 counties, all of which have a standard county commission or a few still with a sole commissioner. As a result of this legislation, all county employees report to the CEO rather than to commissioners for day-to-day operations. The CEO serves as the chairman of the seven-member county commission but does not vote except to break a tie. 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. , DeKalb's CEO is Democrat Burrell Ellis, who succeeded fellow Democrat Vernon Jones.

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.

Public Safety

Unincorporated DeKalb County is policed by the DeKalb County Police Department.

Fire and medical services are provided throughout the county by [ [DeKalb County Fire and Rescue]].


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 271 square miles (702 km²), of which, 268 square miles (695 km²) of it is land and 3 square miles (7 km²) of it (1.00%) is water.

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

Stone Mountainmarker 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 Lakesmarker.

Adjacent counties


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based in the Druid Hills CDPmarker in unincorporated County.


Cox Communications is headquartered at 1400 Lake Hearn Drive in unincorporated DeKalb County. It is the third-largest cable television service provider in the United States. Kroger operates its Atlanta-area offices at 2175 Parklake Drive, NE in DeKalb County.

Diplomatic missions

The Consulate-General of Mexico in Atlanta is located in the North Druid Hillsmarker CDP. The Consulate-General of Guatemala in Atlanta is located in the North Atlantamarker CDP. The Consulate-General of Peru in Atlanta is located in an unincorporated section of DeKalb County.


As of the census 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


Census-designated places

Other communities

  • Briarcliffmarker
  • Brookhavenmarker
  • Collinsville
  • Conley
  • Constitution
  • Ellenwood
  • Embry Hills
  • Mechanicsville
  • Mountain View
  • Northlake
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgmarker
  • Skyland
  • South Decatur
  • Turner Hill


Major highways

Secondary highways


Primary and secondary education

Public schools

The portion of DeKalb County not within the city of Atlanta nor the city of Decatur is served by DeKalb County School System. The Atlanta portion is served by Atlanta Public Schools. The Decatur portion is served by City Schools of Decatur.

Private schools

Private schools in DeKalb County include:

Higher education

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

Emory Universitymarker is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university. 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 Lawmarker, Rollins School of Public Health, and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

Mercer Universitymarker is a private, coeducational, faith-based university with a Baptist heritage. The main campus is in Maconmarker. 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 has three campuses within the county and offers two-year associate degrees.

Dekalb Tech is the largest vocational institution in Georgiamarker. Dekalb Tech trains students in business, engineering, technologies, health, human services, industrial arts, information systems, and transportation.

DeVry Universitymarker offers Bachleors and Masters Degrees in Healthcare, Accounting, Business, and Management Technology.

Columbia Theological Seminarymarker, 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

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


  • 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


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