Decatur, Georgia
Old DeKalb County Courthouse
Old DeKalb County Courthouse
Official logo of Decatur, Georgia
"A City of Homes, Schools and Places of Worship"
Location in DeKalb County and the state of Georgia
Location in DeKalb County and the state of Georgia
Decatur is located in Metro Atlanta
Location of Decatur
Decatur is located in Georgia
Decatur (Georgia)
Decatur is located in the United States
Decatur (the United States)
Coordinates: 33°46′17″N 84°17′52″W / 33.77139°N 84.29778°W / 33.77139; -84.29778[1]
Country United States
State Georgia
IncorporatedDecember 10, 1823; 200 years ago (1823-12-10)
Named forCommodore Stephen Decatur
 • TypeCommission–Manager
 • CommissionDecatur City Commission
 • MayorPatti Garrett
 • Total4.60 sq mi (11.92 km2)
 • Land4.60 sq mi (11.91 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)
1,043 ft (318 m)
 • Total24,928
 • Density5,422.67/sq mi (2,093.77/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
30030, 30032, 30033
Area code(s)404, 678 and 470
FIPS code13-22052
GNIS feature ID0331532[3]
Major airportATL

Decatur (/dəˈktər/) is a city in, and the county seat of, DeKalb County, Georgia, United States, part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. With a population of 24,928 in the 2020 census,[4] the municipality is sometimes assumed to be larger since multiple ZIP Codes in unincorporated DeKalb County bear Decatur as the address. The city is served by three MARTA rail stations (Decatur, East Lake, and Avondale). The city is located approximately five miles (eight kilometers) northeast of Downtown Atlanta and shares its western border with both the city of Atlanta (the Kirkwood and Lake Claire neighborhoods) and unincorporated DeKalb County. The Druid Hills neighborhood is to the northwest of Decatur.


Early history

Prior to European settlement, the Decatur area was largely forested (a remnant of old-growth forest near Decatur is preserved as Fernbank Forest). Decatur was established at the intersection of two Native American trails: the Sandtown, which led east from the Chattahoochee River at Utoy Creek, and the Shallowford, which follows today's Clairmont Road, and eventually crossed near Roswell. A site for the DeKalb County courthouse was designated in 1822 in what would become downtown Decatur; the city of Decatur was incorporated on December 10, 1823. It was named for United States Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur.

American Civil War

During the American Civil War, Decatur became a strategic site in Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. In July 1864, Major-General James McPherson occupied the town to cut off the Confederates' supply line from Augusta. On July 22, during the Battle of Atlanta, Confederate cavalry under Major-General Joseph Wheeler attacked McPherson's supply wagons and the Union troops left to defend the wagons. A historical marker at the old courthouse marks the site of this skirmish.

We attacked Decatur on the 22d and took the town driving out a Brigade of Infantry and a good deal of Dismounted Cavalry. Our Brigade really took the town, tho' it was supported on both flanks by a Brigade of Cavalry dismounted. The fight lasted about two hours and was very hot for a while. The Yankees had the hills and houses on us and fought very well for a time. Our dash was made to distract attention while Hardee made the real attack on the enemy's flank. We captured over a hundred prisoners and killed and wounded about one hundred and fifty. Our loss about seventy killed and wounded.

— Captain W. L. Nugent, in a letter to his wife[5]

20th century

In the second half of the twentieth century the metropolitan area of Atlanta expanded into unincorporated DeKalb County, eventually surrounding two sides of the town of Decatur. Concurrently many citizens fled the area to more distant suburbs. The 1960s and 1970s witnessed dramatic drops in property values. However, more recently the city has regained economic vigor, partially thanks to several long-term downtown development plans that have come to fruition, making Decatur a trendy small mixed-use district with easy transit to downtown Atlanta. Over the past twenty years, it has gained a local and national reputation as a progressive city with a high level of citizen involvement.[citation needed]


Downtown Decatur

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.2 square miles (11 square kilometers), all land.

The Eastern Continental Divide bisects the city along the CSX (formerly Georgia Railroad) trackage right of way.


Major roads and expressways

Mass transit

Pedestrians and cycling


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[6]

2020 census

Decatur racial composition[7]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 16,796 67.38%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 3,839 15.4%
Native American 36 0.14%
Asian 1,317 5.28%
Pacific Islander 12 0.05%
Other/Mixed 1,634 6.55%
Hispanic or Latino 1,294 5.19%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 24,928 people, 8,841 households, and 5,597 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census,[8] there were 19,335 people, 8,599 occupied housing units, and 4,215 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,603.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,777.5/km2). There were 9,335 housing units at an average density of 2,222.6 per square mile (858.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 73.5% White, 20.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.9% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.2% of the population.

There were 2,541 (29.5%) households which had children under the age of 18 living with them, 3,336 (38.8%) were a husband-wife family living together, 984 (11.4%) of households had a female householder with no husband present, and 4,063 (47.2%) did not fit into either of the two previously mentioned categories. 3,263 (37.9%) of all households were made up of individuals of those, 1,814 (21.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city, 25.1% of the population was under the age of 19, 5.2% from 20 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% was 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. There are roughly 44 males for every 56 females.

The median income for a household in the city was $73,602. Males had a median income of $73,089 versus $58,580 for females. The per capita income for the city was $42,926. About 12.20% of families and 14.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.2% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.

Education levels for Decatur are above average for the Atlanta area, with 56% of residents having obtained a bachelor's degree or higher, and 27% having obtained a graduate degree or higher.[9]

Decatur and adjacent areas are popular with the lesbian community thanks in part to the Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. The pair met in elementary school and started making music together in high school in Decatur. They both went on to Emory University and laid down roots in the community.[10]


Primary and secondary schools

Decatur High School

City Schools of Decatur, which serves only students within the city limits, holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of a pre-K early childhood learning center, five lower elementary schools, two upper elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.[11] Decatur High School is the district's sole high school. The Decatur City district has 224 full-time teachers[12] and over 4,400 students from pre-K through grade 12.[13]

The DeKalb County School District serves unincorporated DeKalb County.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta operates St. Thomas More School in Decatur; it opened on September 1, 1950. At first it only had elementary grades and its initial enrollment was 150. A dedicated elementary building opened in 1955, and an addition for kindergarten classes with two rooms was placed in 1994.[14] St. Peter Claver Regional School has a Decatur mailing address but is in nearby Candler-McAfee CDP.[15][16]

Colleges and universities

Public libraries

The DeKalb County Public Library system operates the Decatur Branch and is also the Dekalb County Library Headquarters.[22]


Presidential election results
Presidential election results in Decatur[23]
Year Democratic Republican Others
2020 88.6% 14,095 10.3% 1,633 1.2% 184
2016 85.0% 11,036 11.4% 1,476 3.7% 474

Decatur has operated under a Commission-Manager form of government since 1920. The Charter of the City of Decatur establishes the City Commission as the governing and legislative authority of the City government. A five-member City Commission is elected for four-year terms on two-year cycles. Two members are elected from the south side of the city, two from the north side and one is elected at-large. At their organizational meeting each January, the Commissioners elect a mayor and mayor-pro-tem from among their own membership for a one-year term. The mayor is not a separate elected office. The current mayor is Patti Garrett.[24] Previous mayors have included Leslie Jasper Steele (1915), Jack Hamilton, Walter Drake, Mike Mears, Ann A. Crichton, Elizabeth Wilson, William Floyd, Jim Baskett and Scott Candler, Sr. (known as Mr. DeKalb).

The Commission appoints a professional City Manager to carry out the policies, directives and day-to-day business of the city. The current city manager is Andrea Arnold.[25] There are also several citizen volunteer boards and commissions appointed by the City Commission, including the Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Historic Preservation Commission.

State representation

The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice has its headquarters in Avondale Estates, near Decatur.[26][27] The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has its headquarters near Decatur, in an unincorporated area.[28]

Federal representation

The United States Postal Service operates the Decatur Post Office.[29]

Neighborhoods and historic districts

Festivals, special events and arts

Decatur has a thriving art and festival scene. The Decatur Arts Alliance hosts the Decatur Arts Festival each May, in addition to installing public art around the city, providing gallery space for local artists, producing YEA!, which is an event for young emerging artists, and supporting arts and arts education throughout the City.[citation needed]

Decatur holds the annual AJC Decatur Book Festival, which claims to be one of the largest independent book festivals in the United States. It has featured thousands of famous authors, book signings, speeches, and attracted upwards of 85,000 people in 2019.[30]

Decatur is home to Eddie's Attic, which is a live music venue hosting shows almost every night.[citation needed]

Decatur is known for its frequent festivals, which include the annual Decatur Arts Festival, Summer In The City, Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival, the Decatur Book Festival, the Decatur Maker's Faire, The Decatur Craft Beer Festival and the Decatur Wine Festival. Other events throughout the year include parades, Concerts on the Square, wine crawls, art walks, runs, and races.[citation needed]

Public art in Decatur includes Celebration (artist Gary Price), Valentine (artist George Lundeen), Thomas Jefferson (George Lundeen), Commodore Stephen Decatur (artist unknown), Roy A. Blount Plaza, and Living Walls Murals (various artists).[citation needed]

Dining, breweries and distilleries

Decatur is known for its food scene and was named one of the South's "Tastiest Towns" in 2012. In 2016, the New York Times called it "Atlanta's gastronomic equivalent of Berkeley or Brooklyn".[31]

Points of interest

The Decatur Square gazebo from the old courthouse steps, prior to the removal of the Confederate monument

Decatur's downtown area and residential neighborhoods are filled with historic structures and sites of interest. This list primarily consists of structures on the National Register of Historic Places, but many remain privately owned and may only be viewed from the exterior.

Notable people

Sister cities

Decatur has three sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):[32]

See also


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "QuickFacts: Decatur city, Georgia". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  5. ^ Cash & Howorth 1977, pp. 189–190
  6. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  7. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  8. ^ "American Facts-Community Facts". American FacFinder. U.S. Census. 2010. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  9. ^ "US Dept of Commerce - QuickFacts Decatur County, Georgia". Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  10. ^ "Atlanta Gay-Friendly Neighborhoods". Archived from the original on November 29, 2020. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  11. ^ Georgia Board of Education[permanent dead link], Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  12. ^ School Stats Archived March 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  13. ^ City of Decatur Schools Archived June 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved March 15, 2016
  14. ^ "History". St. Thomas More. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "Home". St. Peter Claver Regional School. Retrieved May 7, 2020. 2560 Tilson Road Decatur, GA 30032 - Despite the Decatur address it is not in the city limits. Compare with the Candler-McAfee CDP limits map.
  16. ^ "2010 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Candler-McAfee CDP, GA" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 7, 2020. - Compare with the Claver address.
  17. ^ Agnes Scott College, Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  18. ^ Columbia Theological Seminary, Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  19. ^ Georgia Perimeter College, Retrieved April 1, 2013.
  20. ^ "Decatur". Retrieved August 19, 2016.[title missing]
  21. ^ Niesse, Mark; Journal-Constitution, The Atlanta. "City of Atlanta's expansion to Emory and CDC approved". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  22. ^ "Library Locations & Hours[permanent dead link]." DeKalb County Public Library. Retrieved on April 11, 2016.
  23. ^ "Dave's Redistricting". Retrieved April 14, 2022.
  24. ^ City Commission Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  25. ^ "Andrea Arnold". City of Decatur, GA. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  26. ^ "Contact." Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. Retrieved on August 8, 2010.
  27. ^ "Official Zoning Map[permanent dead link]." City of Avondale Estates. Retrieved on August 8, 2010.
  28. ^ "Directions." Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved on March 4, 2014. "The GBI Headquarters is located at: 3121 Panthersville Road Decatur GA, 30034"
  29. ^ "Post Office Location - DECATUR Archived July 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on August 8, 2010.
  30. ^ Newmark, Avery. "AJC Decatur Book Festival and 10 more can't-miss fests in August". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  31. ^ "Atlanta Pulls a Chair to the Table for Culinary Greats" New York Times, February 16, 2016
  32. ^ "Online Directory: Georgia, USA". Sister Cities International. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved September 28, 2007.


  • Cash, William M.; Howorth, Lucy Somerville, eds. (1977). My Dear Nellie: The Civil War Letters of William L. Nugent to Eleanor Smith Nugent. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 0-87805-036-1. LCCN 77024597. OCLC 3186595. OL 4554869M.
  • Clarke, Caroline McKinney. The story of Decatur, 1823–1899. Dekalb Historical Society (1996).
  • Gay, Mary. Life in Dixie During the War, Mercer University Press (2001).
  • Kaufman, David R. Peachtree Creek: A Natural and Unnatural History of Atlanta's Watershed, University of Georgia Press (2007).
  • Mason, Herman, Jr. African-American Life in DeKalb County, GA, 1823–1970 (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing (1998).
  • Owens, Sue Ellen. DeKalb County In Vintage Postcards. DeKalb Historical Society/Arcadia Publishing (2001).
  • Price, Vivian. Historic DeKalb County: An Illustrated History (Georgia Heritage Series). Historical Publishing Network (2007).
  • Willard, Levi. Early History of Decatur.

Further reading

General information