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Madison is a city located primarily in Madison County, near the northern border of the State of Alabama. Madison extends west into neighboring Limestone County. The city is included in the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, the second-largest in the state, and is also included in the merged Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 42,938. Madison is bordered by Huntsville on all sides.
This area was occupied historically by the Koasati (also known as Coushatta), a Muskogean-speaking people and, before them, thousands of years of indigenous cultures.
Madison's first European-American resident was John Cartwright, who settled in the area in 1818. The city was originally known as Madison Station, and it developed in the 1850s around a stop of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Textile mills were built in the area in the late 19th century for processing of cotton.
Madison was the site of a battle in the American Civil War. On May 17, 1864, Col. Josiah Patterson's 5th Alabama Cavalry, supported by Col. James H. Stuart's cavalry battalion and a section of horse artillery, drove Col. Adam G. Gorgas's 13th Illinois Infantry Regiment from the city. Patterson's men captured the 13th Illinois Regiment's wagon train, taking 66 prisoners. They also burned Union supplies and tore up the railroad tracks before retreating. Portions of the 5th Ohio Cavalry, the 59th Indiana Infantry and the 5th Iowa Infantry were sent in pursuit from Huntsville. They skirmished with Patterson's rear guard that evening at Fletcher's Ferry on the Tennessee River south of Madison.
The town was incorporated in 1869. From 1880 to 1950, rural Madison had a population of roughly 400-500 residents.
In the World War II and postwar period, military and NASA operations were moved to Huntsville, stimulating an increase in population in the region. Suburbanization drew residents to outlying areas, where new homes were built. By 1980, Madison's population was 4,057. In the late 20th century, Madison's population increased rapidly as it developed as a suburb of Huntsville. By 2010 its population had grown to 42,938; the US Census estimated the city had 46,450 in 2014.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.7 square miles (77.0 km2), of which 29.6 square miles (76.6 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.45%, is water.
Madison is located at 34°42′54″N 86°44′23″W (34.715065, -86.739644), primarily within Madison County, while extending west into Limestone County.
As of the census of 2010, 42,938 people were residing in the city, an increase of 44.6% from the 29,329 residing there in 2000. The population consisted of 16,111 households and 11,770 families. The average household size was 2.65, while the average family size was 3.16. 30.8% of the population was age 19 or younger, 61.0% was 20-64, and 8.2% was 65 or older. The median age was 37.0 years. The population was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.
The racial makeup of the city was 74.0% White, 14.6% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 7.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. 4.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
According to the Madison Chamber of Commerce, Madison was the fastest-growing city in Alabama as of 2010.
The median income for a household in the city was $92,136, and the median income for a family was $111,217. The per capita income for the city was $41,490. About 3.9% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those age 65 or over.
Madison's largest employer is Intergraph, a computer software company based in Madison. They are currently working on a streetlight maintenance program. Thousands of Madison residents commute to jobs at Cummings Research Park and Redstone Arsenal in nearby Huntsville, about 12 miles away. The high-tech and academic positions in the area have attracted numerous highly educated residents.
Within the city limits, most of Madison's businesses are retail, with stores and fast-food restaurants lining US 72 to the north and Madison Boulevard to the south.
The Madison City School System, formed in 1998, serves over 10,000 students from the city of Madison and town of Triana. As of 2012, the school system has seven elementary schools serving grades K-6 (Columbia Elementary School, Heritage Elementary School, Horizon Elementary School, Madison Elementary School, Mill Creek Elementary School, Rainbow Elementary School, and West Madison Elementary School), two middle schools serving grades 7-8 (Discovery Middle School, Liberty Middle School), and two high schools serving grades 9-12 (Bob Jones High School and James Clemens High School). Madison Elementary, built about 1936, is the oldest school in the system.
Madison also has several private schools, including Madison Academy and St John the Baptist Catholic School.
The Madison Record and the Madison County Record have been newspapers for the city since 1967. The Madison Weekly News is another local newspaper.
Madison is served by Interstate 565, US 72 (University Drive), and Madison Boulevard (Alabama State Route 20, and Alt. US 72) as main routes for east-west traffic. Slaughter Road, Hughes Road, Wall Triana Highway, and County Line Road are main north-south roads in the city.
The Norfolk Southern railway has the main line and a spur running through Madison. The Port of Huntsville, an intermodal center which includes Huntsville International Airport and a rail cargo center, is just south of the city.
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