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Fulton County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgiamarker. Its county seat is Atlantamarker, the state capital since 1868 and the principal city of the Atlanta metropolitan area. At the 2000 United States Census, the population was 816,006. In 2009, the Census Bureau's population estimate was 1,020,104, making Fulton County the first in Georgia to reach the one-million mark.

Fulton County is the most populous county in Georgia and is the core county of the Atlanta metropolitan area.


Fulton County was created from the western half of DeKalb Countymarker in 1853.

During General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea during the Atlanta Campaignmarker of the American Civil War, Sherman spared Roswellmarker because he had a cousin who lived there. As a result, Roswell has more pre-Civil War historical buildings than anywhere else in north Georgia.

The county's name is often assumed to be in honor of inventor Robert Fulton, who, among many other inventions, built a steamboat in 1807. This assumption is likely because this steam engine was the predecessor to the steam locomotives which built Atlanta. Some research now indicates that the name may have been in honor of Hamilton Fulton, a surveyor for the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Nonetheless, the County itself claims to be named after Robert Fulton.

At the beginning of 1932, as an austerity measure to save money during the Great Depression, Milton County to the north and Campbell Countymarker to the southwest became part of Fulton County. This gave the county its current long shape along 70 miles (113 kilometers) of the Chattahoochee River. On May 9 of that year, neighboring Cobb Countymarker ceded to Fulton the city of Roswell and lands lying east of Willeo Creekmarker, in order that the latter county be more contiguous with the lands ceded from Milton.


Fulton County is governed by a seven-member board of commissioners, whose members serve concurrent four year terms. The most recent election was held in November 2006. The county has a county manager system of government, in which day-to-day operation of the county is handled by a manager appointed by the board. The chairman of the Board of Commissioners is elected to District 1, a county-wide position. The vice chairman is elected by his or her peers on a yearly basis.

Board of Commissioners
District Commissioner Party
District 1 (At-Large) John H. Eaves (Chairman) Democratic
District 2 (At-Large) Robert "Robb" Pitts Democratic
District 3 Lynne Riley Republican
District 4 Tom Lowe Republican
District 5 Emma I. Darnell Democratic
District 6 Nancy A. Boxill Democratic
District 7 William "Bill" Edwards (Vice Chairman) Democratic

Board of Commissioners Staff
Position held Name
County manager Zachary Williams
Clerk to the Commission Mark Massey
County attorney David Ware
Finance director Patrick O' Connor


Fulton County's budget of $1.2 billion funds an array of resident services.

With 34 branches, the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library Systemmarker is one of the largest library systems in Georgia.

Human services programs include one of the strongest senior center networks in metro Atlanta, including four multipurpose senior facilities. The county also provides funding to nonprofits with FRESH and Human Services grant.


Presidential elections results in Fulton County
Year Democratic Republican Others
2008 67.06% 272,000 32.08% 130,136 0.86% 3,489
2004 59.28% 199,436 39.94% 134,372 0.77% 2,599
2000 59.76% 152,039 39.84% 104,870 2.39% 6,303
1996 58.9% 143,306 39.6% 89,809 4.2% 10,053
1992 57.3% 147,459 33.2% 85,451 9.6% 24,499
1988 56.2% 120,752 42.8% 91,785 1.0% 2,152
1984 56.9% 125,567 43.1% 95,149 0.0% 0
1980 61.6% 118,748 33.7% 64,909 4.7% 9,066
1976 67.8% 129,849 32.2% 61,552 0.0% 0
1972 43.6% 74,329 56.4% 96,256 0.0% 0
1968 43.5% 77,847 35.8% 64,153 20.7% 37,068
1964 56.1% 93,540 43.9% 73,205 0.0% 11
1960 50.8% 55,803 49.2% 53,940 0.0% 0
Atlanta is the largest city in Fulton County, occupying the county's narrow center section and thus geographically dividing the county's northern and southern portions. Atlanta's last major annexation in 1952 brought over into the city, including the affluent suburb of Buckhead, and was motivated in part to maintain a majority of white voters in the city. The movement to create a city of Sandy Springsmarker, launched in the early 1970s and reaching fruition in 2005, was largely an effort to prevent additional annexations by the city of Atlanta, and later to wrest local control from the county commission.


Geographically remote from each other because of Atlanta's annexations, the northern and southern sections of the county have grown increasingly at odds over the collection of taxes and distribution of services. Residents of the affluent areas of North Fulton have increasingly complained that the Fulton County Board of Commissioners has ignored their needs, taking taxes collected in North Fulton and spending them on programs and services in South Fulton. In 2005, the Georgia General Assembly directed Fulton County, alone among all the counties in the state, to limit the expenditure of funds to the geographic region of the county where they were collected. Fulton County contested this law, known as the "Shafer Amendment" after Sen. David Shafer (Republican from Duluthmarker), in a lawsuit that went to the Georgia Supreme Court. On June 19, 2006, the Court handed down a decision upholding the legality of the Shafer Amendment.

The creation of the city of Sandy Springs prompted a move to create two additional cities that completely municipalized north Fulton. In a domino effect, the residents of south Fulton then moved for referenda to potentially create additional cities. One of these two referenda passed; the other was defeated.


Map of Fulton County's cities, shown in color, demonstrating the county's high level of municipalization in comparison to surrounding counties, the cities of which are shown in dark grey.
Since the 1970s, residents of Sandy Springsmarker had waged a long-running battle to incorporate their own city. They were repeatedly blocked by Atlanta Democrats, but when control of state government switched to suburban Republicans after the 2002 and 2004 election, the movement to create the city picked up steam.

The General Assembly approved creation of the city in 2005, and a suspension of existing state law that prohibited new cities (the only type of municipality in the state) from being within three miles (5 km) or 4.8 km of an existing one. The citizens of Sandy Springs voted 94% in favor of ratifying the city charter in a referendum held on June 21, 2005. The new city was officially incorporated later that year at midnight on December 1.

Creation of Sandy Springs spurred a movement toward municipalization of the entire county, which would incorporate every area into a city. This would essentially eliminate the county's home rule powers (granted statewide by a constitutional amendment to the Georgia State Constitution in the 1960s) to act as a municipality in unincorporated areas, and return it to being entirely the local extension of state government.

In 2006, the General Assembly approved creation of two new cities, Miltonmarker and Johns Creekmarker, that would completely municipalize North Fulton. The charters of these two new cities were ratified overwhelmingly in a referendum held July 18, 2006.

Voters in the Chattahoochee Hillsmarker community of southwest Fulton (west of Cascade-Palmetto Highway) voted overwhelmingly to incorporate in June 2007. The city became incorporated on December 1, 2007.

The General Assembly also approved a proposal to form a new city called South Fulton. Its proposed boundaries were to include those areas still unincorporated on July 1, 2007. As a direct result of possibly being permanently landlocked, many of the existing cities proposed annexations, while some communities drew-up incorporation plans [14620].

Voters in the area defined as the proposed city of South Fulton overwhelmingly rejected cityhood in September 2007.


Some residents of suburban north Fulton have advocated that they be allowed to secede and re-form Milton County, after the nearly bankrupt county that was absorbed into Fulton County in 1932 during the Great Depression. For the next 50 years the rural and poor former Milton County benefitted a tax flow from the wealthier south with new schools, roads and bridges and much improved services.

Today, the demographic make-up of Fulton County has changed dramatically. The northern portion of the county, a suburban, predominantly white area that is majority Republican, is among the most affluent areas in the nation. The central and southern portion of the county, which includes the city of Atlantamarker and its core satellite cities to the south on the other hand, is predominantly black/African-American, more urban, majority Democratic, and contain some of the poorest areas in the metropolitan area. However, there exist exceptions to this particularly in the neighborhoods of Cascade Heights and Sandtown located in the southwest region of Fulton County which are made up of predominantly affluent African-Americans.

The major reasoning behind the push for the secession from Fulton County and the recreation of the former Milton County is that Fulton County, in comparison to the state's other counties, is physically large. Its population is greater than that of each of the six smallest U.S. states. The new government could be more responsive to the needs of the proposed Milton County area. Even though northern Fulton County residents represent only 29% of the county's total population, they pay 42% of all property taxes. A division of the county would ensure that tax revenues would be spent closer to where they are collected, but it would lead to the loss of $193 million in property taxes alone for the rest of Fulton County.

The main opposition to the separation comes from the residents of south Fulton County, who say that the proposed separation is racially based. The county's white residents are quite separated by distance from the black residents. State Senator Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat and a member of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, very strongly opposes the plan to split the county. "If it gets to the floor, there will be blood on the walls", Fort stated. "As much as you would like to think it's not racial, it's difficult to draw any other conclusion", he later added. Of course, there are other possible explanations for the proposed succession.

A political firestorm broke out in Atlanta in 2006 when State Senator Sam Zamarripa (Democrat from Atlanta) suggested that the cities in North Fulton be allowed to secede and form Milton County in exchange for Atlanta and Fulton County consolidating their governments into a new "Atlanta County". South Fulton residents were strongly opposed to Fulton County's possible future separation.

North Fulton's economic strength, like many major American city suburbs, is due to the white flight of the late '60s and '70s. Milton County was originally annexed into Fulton County during the depression of the late 1920s and early 30s because it was economically unable to exist on its own. Now that times have changed and the new generation of wealthy north Fulton county residents have experienced economic and social growth, many want to be defined as separate from the perceived difficulties faced by south Fulton county residents today.


Fulton County has a 7% total sales tax, including 4% state, 1% SPLOST, 1% homestead exemption, and 1% MARTA. Sales taxes apply through the entire county and its cities, except for Atlanta's additional 1% Municipal Option Sales Tax to fund capital improvements to its combined wastewater sewer system (laying new pipes to separate storm sewers from sanitary sewers), and to its drinking water system. [14621] Fulton County has lowered its General Fund millage rate by 26% over an eight-year period.


Almost every major highway, and every major Interstate highway, in metro Atlanta passes through Fulton County. Outside Atlanta proper, Georgia 400 is the major highway through north Fulton, and Interstate 85 to the southwest.

MARTA serves most of the county, and along with Dekalb County, Fulton pays a 1% sales tax to fund it. MARTA train service in Fulton is currently limited to the cities of Atlanta, Sandy Springs, East Point, and College Park, as well as the airport. Bus service covers most of the remainder, except the rural areas in the far southwest. North Fulton residents have been asking for service, to extend the North Line ten miles (16 km) or 16 kilometers up the Georgia 400 corridor, from Perimeter Center to the fellow edge city of Alpharetta. However, as the only major transit system in the country that its state government will not fund, there is no money to expand the system. Sales taxes now go entirely to operating, maintaining, and refurbishing the system.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airportmarker straddles the border with Clayton Countymarker to the south and is the busiest airport in the world. The Fulton County Airportmarker, often called Charlie Brown Fieldmarker after aviator Charles Brown or, informally, West Atlanta airport, is located just west-southwest of Atlanta's city limit. It is run by the county as a municipal or general aviation airport, serving business jets and private aircraft.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 535 square miles (1,385 km²), of which, 529 square miles (1,369 km²) of it is land and 6 square miles (15 km²) of it (1.11%) is water.

Major highways

Secondary highways

Adjacent counties

Fulton County, Georgia, is one of the few counties in the United States to border as many as ten counties. Listed clockwise, they are:

National protected areas


As of the census of 2000, there were 816,006 people, 321,242 households, and 185,677 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,544 people per square mile (596/km²). There were 348,632 housing units at an average density of 660 per square mile (255/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 40.11% White, 49.57% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 3.04% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.60% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. 5.89% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 321,242 households out of which 28.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.30% were married couples living together, 16.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.20% were non-families. 32.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.15.

The age distribution was 24.40% under the age of 18, 11.00% from 18 to 24, 35.50% from 25 to 44, 20.70% from 45 to 64, and 8.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 97.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $49,321, and the median income for a family was $58,143. Males had a median income of $43,495 versus $32,122 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,003. About 12.40% of families and 15.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.60% of those under age 18 and 15.20% of those age 65 or over.

Incorporated cities and towns

Unincorporated communities


All portions of Fulton County outside of the city limits of Atlanta are served by the Fulton County School Systemmarker.

All portions within Atlanta are served by Atlanta Public Schools.


World Changers Church, the megachurch of Creflo Dollar, is in unincorporated Fulton County.


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