Jefferson County is the most populous county in the state of Alabama in the United States. As of the 2010 census, its population was 658,466. Its county seat is Birmingham, which is the most populous city in the state. Its rapid growth as an industrial city in the 20th century, based on heavy manufacturing in steel and iron, established its dominance. Jefferson County is the central county of the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2011, Jefferson County was $4.2 billion in debt and declared bankruptcy. The financial problems were related to costs of a huge sewer project. Corruption was found among six county commissioners. This was the largest Chapter 9 (municipal) bankruptcy in the United States, until it was surpassed by that of Detroit, Michigan in 2013.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,124 square miles (2,910 km²), of which 1,111 square miles (2,880 km²) is land and 13 square miles (34 km²) (1.1%) is water. It is the fifth-largest county in Alabama by land area. The county is home to the Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge.
Jefferson County population had decreased slightly by 2010. It is estimated by the US Census to have increased and to be more than 659,000 in 2016.
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