Fulton County, Georgia with a population of nearly 1,064,000, according to estimates in 2019, is the most populous county in Georgia. 90% of Atlanta, Georgia's capital, is located in Fulton County (the other 10% of falls within DeKalb County). Fulton County is located in the north central part of the state, not far from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The county was named after Hamilton Fulton, who was a surveyor for the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Fulton played a huge role in convincing officials of the state that building a railroad instead of a canal would be the best course to connect Milledgeville (the state capital at the time) to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Fulton County History
In 1853, land from the western part of DeKalb County, Georgia, was used to create Fulton County. While many believe the county got its name from Robert Fulton, who sailed a steamboat to Albany, New York from New York City, it actually received its name from Hamilton Fulton. Getting the area connected to other cities and states with the railroad was one of the defining moments that led to Fulton County becoming the transportation hub that it still is today.
The railroads through Fulton County and Atlanta were heavily relied upon by the Confederacy during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. In fact, since Atlanta was seen as such an important city center to the Confederacy, it was targeted by William T. Sherman, a general for the Union Army in the Atlanta Campaign. After the attack, Atlanta was able to recover and rebuild and was named as the state's capital in 1868.
In the years that followed the Civil War, Atlanta and Fulton County continued to grow. In 1932, the size of the county almost tripled after Campbell County and Milton County merged with Fulton County. This was during the great depression, and the decision to merge the three counties was a money-saving measure—one county government was less expensive to run than three.
Fulton County became one of the top distribution centers in the United States with many large corporations choosing it for their headquarters. Atlanta was selected as the host of the 1996 Olympic Games, which helped the city and Fulton County gain world-wide recognition. Hosting the Olympic Games also offered a huge financial benefit to Atlanta's economy. The city reported a $5 billion economic impact in addition to over $1.8 billion in new construction of offices, hotels, and residential buildings in the 10 years that followed the games.
Fulton County Geography
Fulton County sits at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Piedmont region of Georgia. The county takes up a total area of 534 square miles. Of those 534 square miles, 527 square miles are land and 7.7 square miles are water.
Milton and Alpharetta are two of the cities located in the northern sections of Fulton County. These cities are part of the Etowah River Sub-Basin of the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) River Basin. The Upper Chattahoochee River Sub Basin of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin is in the rest of the northern and central part of the county. Once you get south of downtown Atlanta, most of the rest of the county is part of the Middle Chattahoochee River-Lard Harding sub-basin of the ACF River Basin. The south-eastern edges of the county are part of the Upper Flint River Sub-Basin of the ACF River Basin.
Fulton County runs diagonally across the state from the northeast towards the southwest. The county's shape almost looks like a sword, with the upper portion being the handle and the lower portion being the blade.
Fulton County Demographics
The estimated population of Fulton County, Georgia in 2019 was 1,063,937. This was an increase from 920,581, according to the 2010 census. In fact, the population of Fulton County has seen a steady increase since the first census conducted on the county in 1860. At that time the population was just 14,427. But by 1900 it was up to 117,363 and by 1950 it had risen all the way to 473,572.
The demographic breakdown by race of Fulton County, based on the 2010 census, was 46.4% white, 44.3% African American or black, 7.5% Hispanic or Latino, 6.9% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 3.4% other races, and 2.2% from two or more races.
Economy of Fulton County
Atlanta and Fulton County serve as the headquarters for numerous large corporations including Chick-fil-A, Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Georgia-Pacific, Cox Enterprises, AT&T Mobility, Equifax, and BellSouth.
As noted above, hosting the 1996 Olympic Games had a huge impact on Atlanta's economy and brought in billions of dollars in revenue. The city, and Fulton County as a whole, continued to reap the benefits of the sporting venues that were created for the Olympic Games and the surge in tourism that came with hosting the games.
The median household income in Fulton County was $56,709 with a median family income of $75,579, according to the 2010 census. 15.3% of the county was living below the poverty line at the time of that decennial census.
Fulton County Attractions
Fulton County offers a host of fun and exciting attractions for visitors and locals to enjoy. Some places to visit if you come to Atlanta and surrounding Fulton County include the Governor's Mansion, the state capitol, the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, Zoo Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola Museum, the Atlanta History Center, the High Museum of Art, the Fox Theatre, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, Piedmont Park, Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.