October 16, 2021
Statesboro is home to the flagship campus of Georgia Southern University and is part of the Savannah–Hinesville–Statesboro Combined Statistical Area. As of 2018, the Statesboro Micropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of Bulloch County, had an estimated population of 74,722. The city had an estimated 2019 population of 32,954. Statesboro is the largest Micropolitan Statistical Area in Georgia. It is the largest city in the Magnolia Midlands Region.
The city was chartered in 1803, starting as a small trading community providing basic essentials for surrounding cotton plantations. This drove the economy throughout the 19th century, both before and after the U.S. Civil War.
In 2017, Statesboro was selected in the top three of the national America's Best Communities competition and was named one of nine Georgia "live, work, play" cities by the Georgia Municipal Association.
In 1801, George Sibbald of Augusta donated a 9,301-acre (37.64 km2) tract for a centrally located county seat for the growing agricultural community of Bulloch County. The area was developed by white planters largely for cotton plantations that were worked by black slave labor. In December 1803, the Georgia legislature created the town of Statesborough. The community most likely was named after the notion of states' rights, an issue central in the 1800 United States presidential election. In 1866 the state legislature granted a permanent charter to the city, changing the spelling of its name to the present "Statesboro."
During the Civil War and General William T. Sherman's famous March to the Sea through Georgia, a Union officer asked a saloon proprietor for directions to Statesboro. The proprietor replied, "You are standing in the middle of town," indicating its small size. The soldiers destroyed the courthouse, a log structure that doubled as a barn when court was not in session.
After the Civil War, the small town began to grow, and Statesboro has developed as a major town in southeastern Georgia. Many freedmen stayed in the area, working on plantations as sharecroppers and tenant farmers.
Following the Reconstruction era, racial violence of whites against blacks increased. In the era from 1880 to 1930, Georgia had the highest rate of lynchings of any state in the nation. Among them were three black men who were lynched and burned to death on August 16, 1904, near Statesboro. A fourth man was lynched later in the month in Bulloch County. After a white farm family was killed, the white community spread unfounded rumors of black clergy urging blacks to violence against whites, and more than twelve black men were arrested in this case.
Paul Reed and Will Cato were convicted of the Hodge family murders by an all-white jury and sentenced to death on August 16, 1904, but they were abducted that day from the courthouse by a lynch mob and brutally burned to death. Handy Bell, another suspect, was lynched and burned by a mob that night. White violence against blacks did not end; both men and women were physically attacked on the streets. Area newspaper coverage of the trial and lynching had been sensationalized, arousing anger, and two more black men were lynched in August 1904: Sebastian McBride in Portal, another town in Bulloch County, and A.L. Scott in Wilcox County.
To escape oppression and violence, many African Americans left Statesboro and Bulloch County altogether, causing local businessmen to worry about labor shortages in the cotton and turpentine industries. African Americans made a Great Migration from the rural South to northern cities in the first half of the 20th century. Local effects can be seen in the drop in Statesboro population growth from 1910 to 1930 on the census tables below in the "Demographics" section.
Around the turn of the century, new businesses in Statesboro included stores and banks built along North, East, South, and West Main streets. In 1908, Statesboro led the world in sales of long-staple Sea Island Cotton, a specialty of the Low Country.
Mechanization of agriculture decreased the need for some farm labor. After the boll weevil destroyed the cotton crop in the 1930s, farmers shifted to tobacco. The insect had invaded the South from the west, disrupting cotton cultivation throughout the region. By 1953, however, more than 20 million pounds of tobacco passed through warehouses in Statesboro, then the largest market of the "Bright Tobacco Belt" spanning Georgia and Florida.
The 1906 First District Agricultural & Mechanical School at Statesboro was developed as a land grant college, initiated by federal legislation to support education. Its mission shifted in the 1920s to teacher training; and in 1924 it was renamed as the Georgia Normal School. With expansion of the curriculum to a 4-year program, it was renamed as the South Georgia Teachers College in 1929. Other name changes were to Georgia Teachers College in 1939, and Georgia Southern College in 1959. After this period, it became racially integrated and with development of graduate programs and research in numerous fields, since 1990 it has had university status as Georgia Southern University.
The economy of Statesboro is based on education, manufacturing, and agribusiness sectors. Statesboro serves as a regional economic hub and has more than one billion dollars in annual retail sales.
Georgia Southern University is the largest employer in the city, with 6,700 regional jobs tied directly and indirectly to the campus.
Agriculture is responsible for $100 million in annual farm gate revenues.
Statesboro is home to multiple manufacturing facilities. Statesboro Briggs & Stratton Plant is the third-largest employer in the region with 950 employees.
The Development Authority of Bulloch County retains over 100 acres of GRAD (Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development) land at the Gateway Industrial Park. Southern Gateway Park is a newly developed 200-acre tract located at the intersection of U.S. 301 and Interstate 16 in close proximity to the Court of Savannah.
GAF, the largest privately owned roofing manufacturer in North America, relocated to Statesboro in the early 21st century.
Statesboro is located at 32°26′43″N 81°46′45″W(32.445147, -81.779234). The city is located in southeastern Georgia along U.S. Routes 80, 25, and 301. US 80 runs northwest to southeast through the city, leading southeast 58 mi (93 km) to Savannah and west-northwest 37 mi (60 km) to Swainsboro. US 25 and 301 run concurrently through the center of town and split upon their junction with US 80, leading south 12 mi (19 km) to Interstate 16 at exit 116. US 25 leads north 29 mi (47 km) to Millen and US 301 north 24 mi (39 km) to Sylvania.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.9 square miles (35.9 km2), of which 13.5 square miles (35.0 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.9 km2), or 2.60%, is water. The city is in the coastal plain region, or Low Country, of Georgia, so it is mainly flat with a few small hills. With an elevation of 250 feet (76 m), the downtown area is one of the highest places in Bulloch County. Pine, oak, magnolia, dogwood, palm, sweetgum, and a variety of other trees can be found in the area.
Statesboro has a humid subtropical climate, according to the Köppen classification. The city experiences very hot and humid summers with average July highs of about 91 degrees and lows around 70. Afternoon thunderstorms associated with the summer heat and humidity can spawn from time to time. Winters are mild with average January highs of 58 degrees and lows of 36 degrees. Winter storms are rare, but they happen periodically, the most recent being an ice storm in January 2018. On February 12, 2010, approximately two inches of snow fell on the city.
As of the census of 2010, there were 28,422 people, 8,560 households, and 3,304 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,812.9 people per square mile (700.0/km2). There were 9,235 housing units at an average density of 737.6 per square mile (284.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 53% White, 39.4% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.8% Asian,1.6% from other races, and 3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.
There were 8,560 households, out of which 17.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 21.9% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 61.4% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 14.3% under the age of 18, 48.7% from 18 to 24, 16.6% from 25 to 44, 11.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $19,016, and the median income for a family was $35,391. Males had a median income of $29,132 versus $20,718 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,585. About 20.5% of families and 42.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.9% of those under age 18 and 21.4% of those age 65 or over. Notable people This article's list of residents may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. (September 2017)
Jason Childers (born 1975), Major League Baseball relief pitcher
Berry Avant Edenfield, United States District Court judge and Georgia State Senator
Dale Eggeling (born 1954), golfer, winner of three LPGA Tour events
FATBOI (born 1971), Music Producer and Engineer; Atlanta trap, Hip-hop
Sutton Foster (born 1975), Broadway star, 2-time Tony Award winner
Joey Hamilton (born 1970), retired Major League Baseball player
Martha Hayslip, player in All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
Margie Hendrix (1935-1973), singer of Ray Charles Robinson Raelettes, member of The Cookies girl group, solo recording artist
Justin Houston (born 1989), linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs
Emma Kelly (1918–2001), pianist
Sharma Lewis (born 1963), African American United Methodist bishop
Jeremy Mincey (born 1983), defensive end for Dallas Cowboys
Blind Willie McTell (1901–1959), blues musician, composed "Statesboro Blues"
Adrian Peterson (born 1979), former running back for Chicago Bears, Walter Payton Award winner who earned degree from Georgia Southern University in 2001 and helped win 1999 and 2000 National Championships
Marty Pevey (born 1961), current manager of Iowa Cubs, Triple A affiliate of Chicago Cubs
Commander William M. Rigdon, USN (1904–1991), assistant Naval Aide in White House, 1942–53; served throughout Presidency of Harry S. Truman
John Rocker, Major League baseball relief pitcher
Erk Russell (1926–2006), college football coach
Lindsay Thomas, lived in Statesboro while serving in the United States House of Representatives.
DeAngelo Tyson (born 1989), defensive end, Baltimore Ravens
Rashad Wright (born 1982), basketball point guard