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ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Probably after the Alabama Indian tribe. NICKNAME: The Heart of Dixie. CAPITAL: Montgomery. ENTERED UNION: 14 December 1819 (22nd). SONG: "Alabama." MOTTO: Aldemus jura nostra defendere (We dare defend our rights). COAT OF ARMS: Two eagles, symbolizing courage, support a shield bearing the emblems of the five governments (France, England, Spain, Confederacy, US) that have held sovereignty over Alabama. Above the shield is a sailing vessel modeled upon the ships of the first French settlers of Alabama; beneath the shield is the state motto. FLAG: Crimson cross of St. Andrew on a square white field. OFFICIAL SEAL: Map of Alabama, including names of major rivers and neighboring states, surrounded by the words "Alabama Great Seal." BIRD: Yellowhammer. FISH: Tarpon. FLOWER: Camellia. TREE: Southern (longleaf) pine. GEM: Star blue quartz. STONE: Marble. MINERAL: Hematite. LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King, Jr., 3rd Monday in January; George Washington's/Thomas Jefferson's Birthdays, 3rd Monday in February; Mardi Gras, February or March; Confederate Memorial Day, 4th Monday in April; Jefferson Davis's Birthday, 1st Monday in June; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Veterans Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, 25 December. TIME: 6 am CST = noon GMT.
Alabama's three climatic divisions are the lower coastal plain, largely subtropical and strongly influenced by the Gulf of Mexico; the northern plateau, marked by occasional snowfall in winter; and the Black Belt and upper coastal plain, lying between the two extremes. Among the major population centers, Birmingham has an annual mean temperature of 62°F (17°C), with a normal July daily maximum of 90°F (32°C) and a normal January daily minimum of 34°F (1°C). Montgomery has an annual mean of 65°F (18°C), with a normal July daily maximum of 91°F (33°C) and a normal January daily minimum of 37°F (3°C). The mean in Mobile is 67°F (19°C), with a normal July daily maximum of 91°F (33°C) and a normal January daily minimum of 41°F (51°C). The record low temperature for the state is –27°F (–33°C), registered at New Market, in the northeastern corner, on 30 January 1966; the all-time high is 112°F (44°C), registered at Centerville, in the state's midsection, on 5 September 1925. Mobile, one of the rainiest cities in the United States, recorded an average precipitation of 66.3 in (168 cm) a year between 1971 and 2000.
Alabama ranked 23rd in population among the 50 states with an estimated total of 4,486,508 in 2002, an increase of 0.9% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Alabama's population grew from 4,040,587 to 4,447,100, an increase of 10.1%. The population is projected to reach 4,631,000 by 2005 and 5,200,000 by 2025.
In 2000 the median age was 35.8%. Persons under 18 years old accounted for 25.3% of the population, while 13% were age 65 or older.
Forestland in Alabama, predominantly pine, covering 22,987,000 acres (9,302,000 hectares), was over 3% of the nation's total in 2002. Nearly all of that was classified as commercial timberland, and 21,696,000 of it privately owned. Four national forests covered a gross acreage of 1,288,000 acres (521,250 hectares) in 2001. Production of softwood and hardwood lumber totaled 2.55 billion board feet in 2002 (sixth in the US).
Alabama has a program in place, called TREASURE Forest, to recognize and certify sustainable forestry management on private lands. This program has already certified over 1.57 million acres (635,000 hectares).
In 2002, there were an estimated 2,014,536 housing units in Alabama, of which 1,729,893 were occupied. In the same year, about 72.5% of all housing units were owner-occupied. About 68.7% of all housing units were detached, single-family homes; 14.7% were mobile homes. It was estimated that about 81,014 households across the state were without telephone service, 4,505 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 6,525 lacked complete kitchen facilities.
Approximately 18,403 new privately owned units were authorized the same year. The median home value was $93,917. The median monthly housing cost for mortgage owners was $892 while the cost for renters was $488. During 2002, the Alabama state program received over $50.6 million in aid from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including $31.6 million in HUD community development block grants.
The Fairhope Single Tax Corp., near Point Clear, was founded in 1893 by Iowans seeking to put into practice the economic theories of Henry George. Incorporated under Alabama law in 1904, this oldest and largest of US single-tax experiments continues to lease land in return for the payment of a rent (the "single tax") based on the land's valuation; the combined rents are used to pay taxes and to provide and improve community services.
Alabama is home to a number of professional teams in various sports. The National Basketball Developmental League (NBDL) is an affiliate with the NBA and has teams in Mobile and Huntsville. The Birmingham Power is a member of the National Womens Basketball League (NWBL) and the Birmingham Steeldogs are an Arena League2 football squad. The Birmingham Steel Magnolias are a professional women's football team. There are minor league baseball clubs at Birmingham, Mobile, and Huntsville, and minor league hockey teams at Birmingham, Huntsville, and Mobile. Two major professional stock car races, the DieHard 500 and the Winston 500, in April and October, respectively, are held at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega. Dog racing was legalized in Mobile in 1971. Four of the major hunting-dog competitions in the US are held annually in the state.
Football reigns supreme among collegiate sports. The University of Alabama finished number one in 1961,1964, 1965 (against Michigan State), 1978 (against USC), 1979, and 1992 and is a perennial top-ten entry. Competing in the Southeastern Conference, Alabama's Crimson Tide won the Sugar Bowl in 1962, 1964, 1967, 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1993; the Orange Bowl in 1943, 1953, 1963, and 1966; the Cotton Bowl in 1942 and 1981; the Sun Bowl in 1983 and 1988; the Gator Bowl in 1993; the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1995; and the Outback Bowl in 1997. They also captured the 2001 Independence Bowl. The Crimson Tide have won a total of 12 national championships and 21 SEC titles. Auburn University, which also competes in the Southeastern Conference, won the Sugar Bowl in 1984; the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1982 and 1987; the Gator Bowl in 1954, 1971, and 1972; the Peach Bowl in 1990; the Hall of Fame Bowl in 1990; and the Sun Bowl in 1968. The Tigers have won 14 bowl games and have produced two Heisman trophy winners (Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson). The Blue-Gray game, an all-star contest, is held at Montgomery on Christmas Day, and the Senior Bowl game is played in Mobile in January. Additionally, Alabama-Huntsville won NCAA Division II hockey championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998.
Boat races include the annual Dauphin Island Race, the largest one-day sailing race in the United States. The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is located at Birmingham.
There are several famous athletes who were born in Alabama. Among the most notable are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Jesse Owens, and Bo Jackson.
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