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Alabama is divided into 67 counties and contains 460 incorporated municipalities consisting of 169 cities and 291 towns. These cities and towns cover only 9.6% of the state’s land mass but are home to 60.4% of its population.

The Code of Alabama 1975 defines the legal use of the terms “town” and “city” based on population. A municipality with a population of 2,000 or more is a city, while less than 2,000 is a town.

For legislative purposes, municipalities are divided into eight classes based on population.

  • Class 1 is defined as all cities with a population of 300,000. Although no cities in the state currently meet this population requirement, Birmingham was allowed to remain a class 1 city since it incorporated with a 1970 population of 300,910 before the cutoff date of June 28, 1979.
  • Class 2 are cities between 175,000 and 299,999 inhabitants which include present day Montgomery, Mobile, and Huntsville.
  • There are no present Class 3 cities which require populations between 100,000 and 174,999 inhabitants.
  • Tuscaloosa, Hoover, Dothan, Decatur and Auburn are Class 4 cities with between 50,000 and 99,999 inhabitants.
  • Ten cities fall under Class 5: a population greater than 25,000 and less than 49,999.
  • There are 34 cities that are Class 6, with between 12,000 and 24,999 inhabitants,
  • and 40 cities that are Class 7 with a population from 6,000 to 11,999 inhabitants.
  • Class 8 includes all towns, plus all remaining cities with populations of less than 6,000.

The largest municipality by population is Birmingham with 212,237 residents while the smallest by population is McMullen with 10 people. The largest municipality by land area is Huntsville, which spans 209.05 sq mi (541.4 km2), while the smallest is McMullen at 0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2).

Wikipedia contributors, “List of cities and towns in Alabama,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed
July 14, 2017

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