Prichard borders the northside of Mobile, as well as the Mobile suburbs of Chickasaw, Alabama, Saraland, Alabama, and the unincorporated sections of Eight Mile, Alabama. As of 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 27,963. It is a part of the Mobile metropolitan statistical area.
After 1900, Prichard began a slow and steady development. In 1925, Prichard was incorporated as a city during World War II Prichard became a company town as many Mobile shipbuilding companies built homes for their workers in Prichard. During the 1950s and 60's, Prichard annexed historic Whistler as well as parts of Eight Mile, Alabama and Kushla. The 40's and 50's saw phenomenal growth in the Mobile area, and Mobile, Prichard and Chickasaw all recorded their highest city proper populations in 1960. Following the Civil Rights Movement however, Prichard's rigid system of segregation collapsed, and many blacks who had previously lived in the Bullshead/Neely/Trinity Gardens area of Prichard began moving into East Prichard (downtown Prichard) causing a dramatic white flight to occur.
In 1960, Prichard recorded a population of 47,371. In 1970, the population had decreased to 41,000 and by 1990 it had decreased to approximately 34,000. In 1970, Vigor High School on Wilson Avenue, which had been Prichard's white high school during segregation was 70% white, by 1980, it was 80% black, even considering the fact that most of Prichard's remaining white areas were in its district. In 1994, construction of I-165 was completed, and it has produced some economic benefits in East Prichard. The 1980s downtown vacancy rate was near 80%, as of 2000, it was closer to 30%. In 2004, the Prichard Housing Authority began demolition of the Bessemer Avenue Housing Project in Bullshead.
In December 2006, the city of Prichard was selected as the site of the future Alabama Motorsports Park, a Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway and theme park. This complex of racetracks and entertainment venues will be constructed on nearly of land near the intersection of Industrial Parkway (Alabama State Route 158) and US Highway 45 in the northern section of Prichard.
In the 80's and 90's problems with crime, drugs and middle class flight were elevated when the areas major financial and employment base left with the closing of Scott and International Paper companies and Brookley Field Air Base. This devastated the area and the city struggled to recover. In 1999, the city was forced to declare bankruptcy.
In November 2004, Mobile County voters narrowly (500 votes out of 100000 cast on the issue) defeated a local amendment which would have allowed Prichard to set up a special trade zone, the measure passed by a 2/3s vote in Prichard, and also passed by smaller margins in Mobile and Chickasaw, but was defeated by the rest of Mobile County.
The city is served by a five-member city council, which is composed of five districts of equal size. The city council is responsible for establishing the policies of the city of Prichard. The current council president is Troy Ephriam. The Prichard City Council meets every Thursday at 4:30 pm in the Council Chambers at Prichard City Hall.
|III||Nepoleon Bracy jr.||Councilman|
|IV||Troy Ephriam||Council President|
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.5 square miles (66.0 km²), of which, 25.4 square miles (65.8 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.31%) is water.
There were 9,841 households out of which 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.8% were married couples living together, 36.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.1% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.35.
In the city the population was spread out with 31.4% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $19,544, and the median income for a family was $23,519. Males had a median income of $26,543 versus $17,040 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,626. About 31.8% of families and 35.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 47.8% of those under age 18 and 25.8% of those age 65 or over.