DeKalb County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. The population of the county was 691,893 at the 2010 census. Its county seat is the city of Decatur. It is bordered to the west by Fulton County and contains roughly 10% of the city of Atlanta. (The other 90% lies in Fulton County).
DeKalb County is included in the five-county core of the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area. It is the third-most-populated county in Metro Atlanta and the state, just behind Gwinnett County. Prior to the 2010 Census, DeKalb County historically ranked second behind Fulton County for many years. It is the most diverse county in Georgia. DeKalb is primarily a suburban county, and is the second-most-affluent county with an African-American majority in the United States, behind Prince George's County, Maryland, in suburban Washington D.C. However, unlike in Prince George's County, DeKalb County's communities with a majority African-American population tend to fall below the county's median income, while communities with a majority White population tend to have incomes above the county's median.
In 2009, DeKalb earned the Atlanta Regional Commission's "Green Communities" designation for its efforts in conserving energy, water and fuel; investing in renewable energy; reducing waste; and protecting and restoring natural resources.
In recent years, some communities in North DeKalb have incorporated, following a trend in other suburban areas around Metro Atlanta. Dunwoody & Brookhaven are now the largest cities in the county.
DeKalb County was created in 1822 from Henry, Gwinnett and Fayette counties. It was named for Baron Johann de Kalb, a German soldier who fought for the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. The oldest existing house in the county is the 1831 Goodwin House along Peachtree Road in Brookhaven.
In 1853, Fulton County was formed from the western half of DeKalb, divided along a perfectly straight and due north/south line down the middle (along which Moreland Avenue now runs). Until this time, the growing city of Atlanta had been inside DeKalb. Atlanta grew because the city of Decatur did not want to become the railroad terminus in the 1830s, thus a spot at the Thrasherville encampment in western DeKalb was picked to become Terminus and then Marthasville, before becoming Atlanta a few years after its founding. North and southwest Fulton came from two other counties: Milton and southeast Campbell, respectively. DeKalb once extended slightly further north to the Chattahoochee River, but this strip was later given to Milton, and is now the panhandle of Sandy Springs (though residents there identify with Dunwoody).
Until the 1960s, DeKalb was a mainly agricultural county, but as the sprawl of the metropolitan Atlanta region expanded, DeKalb became increasingly urbanized. Finished in 1969, the eastern half of the Interstate 285 beltway, called "the Perimeter", ringed the northeastern and southern edges of the county, placing most of it "inside the Perimeter" along with nearly all of Atlanta. Interstate 675 and Georgia 400 were originally planned to be connected inside the Perimeter, along with the Stone Mountain Freeway (U.S. Highway 78) connecting with the Downtown Connector (a co-signment of I-75/I-85) near Moreland Avenue, destroying many neighborhoods in western DeKalb, but community opposition in the early 1970s spared them this fate of urbanization, although part of the proposed Stone Mountain Tollway later became the Freedom Parkway. Only Interstate 20 and Interstate 85 were successfully built through the county. DeKalb also became one of only two counties to approve MARTA rapid transit in the 1970s; the county now contains the east and northeast heavy rail lines.