Dothan is a city located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Alabama. It is the seat of Houston County, and portions of the city are in Dale County and Henry County. The city's name derives from a town mentioned in a Bible verse, Genesis 37:17 - "For I heard them say, let us go to Dothan." As of the 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the city's population was 64,053. It is the principal city of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Geneva, Henry, and Houston counties.
In the late 1700s and 1800s, horse and ox-drawn covered wagons from Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida creaked and groaned across the South as pioneer families searched for a place to build new homes and to start a new life. Those pioneers who passed through the vast pine forests in the southeast corner of the territory (that was to later become the state of Alabama), would often stop at a spring known as Poplar Head, where they would camp for a while and rest. Most of those early travelers believed that the sandy soil which nurtured the thick pine forests would not be suitable for farming, so they moved on.
Poplar Head, named for the poplar trees that encircled the glade where the "head" (as springs were often called) welled from the earth, was where ancient Indian trails met, crossed, and then continued on. The spring was often used by Indians from the various tribes of the Creek Confederacy as a meeting place and as a campground. In the 1830s a fort existed on the Barber Plantation, ten or twelve miles east of Poplar Head, where the settlers from the surrounding town and hamlets could go when they felt threatened by the Indians. By 1840, the Indian wars in Alabama were over and the fort soon disappeared.
By 1885, the hamlet had grown into a village. The new settlers realized that if the community's growth was to be sustained, they would need a governing body and local law enforcement. On November 10, 1885, the people of Poplar Head voted to incorporate and re-name the village Dothan, after it was discovered that a "Poplar Head" post office already existed in northern Alabama. The city of Dothan was incorporated on November 11, 1885.
Hyman Blumberg settled in Dothan in 1892 and started a retail apparel business. He married his sweetheart from Baltimore, Maryland, Esther, and together they had six sons and one daughter, all of whom were active in building the largest department store in southeast Alabama. It was the first store in Dothan to install a moving escalator; people would come from many miles away just to ride this new innovation. Blumberg's and Sons was the first full line department store in Dothan and drew customers from as far away as Georgia and Florida. The store closed in 1975, but the Blumbergs remain a prominent family in Dothan.
Dothan also took part in the 1939 New York World's Fair.
Dothan is the birthplace of Johnny Mack Brown (1904-1974), an All-American college football player and successful film actor. Actors William Gray Espy, (the original Snapper of the long-running CBS soap opera, The Young and the Restless), and Donna D'Errico were also born in Dothan. Singer Bobby Goldsboro, famous for his 1968 Top 40 #1 hit "Honey" as well as many other Top 40 releases of the 1960s and early 1970s, grew up in Dothan and graduated from Dothan High School, though he was born in Marianna, Florida. Farley Taylor, heard nationwide on his radio show "The Old Taylor-Made Opry", lived most of his life in Dothan and broadcast his radio show from WTVY-FM there. Former Alabama Attorney General and Lt. Governor Bill Baxley, famous for prosecuting the 16th St. Baptist Church bombings, was born and raised in Dothan. Movie Gallery CEO Joe Malugen is a current resident of Dothan. Former Miss America, Heather Whitestone, also was born and raised in Dothan. Matt Cain, a starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, was born in Dothan. Artis Gilmore, Jacksonville University center and later MVP of the ABA, attended junior high and high school in Dothan.
Another Dothan native is "The Wrestling Pro" Leon Baxter, who was a wrestler. He got his start in the 1960s, wrestling all over the South as "Tarzan Baxter." He feuded with wrestling legend Danny Hodge and teamed with Juan Sebastian as The Masked Guachos, then hit it big in the Gulf Coast area as "The Wrestling Pro" in the 1970s. Baxter went on to have a short feud with legendary world heavyweight champion Lou Thesz and a rookie named Terry "The Hulk" Boulder, later known as Hulk Hogan.
Also, local figure "Dancin' Dave" is well known by the residents of Dothan. He walks the streets regularly dressed in white. His nickname comes from his reputation for tap-dancing for a quarter.
Dothan is also the hometown for professional skateboarder Jamie Thomas, who went on to create two skateboard companies and a shoe company. He also won an "Entrepreneur of The Year" award in 2006.
As of the censusGR2 estimate of 2005, there were 62,145 people, 23,685 households, and 17,108 families residing in the city. The population density was 257.4/km² (666.6/mi²). There were 27,908 housing units at an average density of 115.5/km² (299.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 67.33% white, 30.11% black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander American, 0.46% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. 1.32% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The updated census estimate for 2005 showed Dothan's population increased by more than 5,500 persons to 63,450. The total number of residents in Houston County also increased by more than 6,800 since 2000.
There are 27,908 households, out of which 31.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 28.4% of all households are made up of individuals, and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39, and the average family size was 2.94. 70% of women with school-age children work.
In the city the population is spread out, with 25.4% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who are 65 or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females, there are 88.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males. 22% of adults have never married. 55% are currently married. 3% are separated. 12% are divorced. 9% are widowed.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,000, and the median income for a family was $45,025. Males had a median income of $34,475 versus $22,572 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,539. About 12.7% of families and 15.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.2% of those under age 18 and 15.0% of those age 65 or over.
Approximately 79% of residents completed high school, while 23% went on to complete college. 8% of the population has a graduate or professional degree. 6% are unemployed. Average commute to work time is 18 minutes.
The majority of K-12 students in Dothan and Houston County attend Dothan City Schools or Houston County Schools. Though many attend local private schools such as Houston Academy, Providence Christian School, Northside Methodist Academy, or Emmanuel Christian School. About one third of white students attend private K-12 schools; racial minority enrollment in private schools is minimal. Institutes of higher education include Troy University, Dothan Campus, Wallace Community College and Bethany Divinity College & Seminary.   
After the boll weevil brought about the local death of "King Cotton," Dothan-Houston County found a new crop: peanuts. Dothan is home to the National Peanut Festival, established in 1938 and held each fall to honor peanut growers and celebrate the harvest. Approximately half of all peanuts produced in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan. Cotton is again increasing in importance.
The city of Dothan currently is undergoing a large economic boom, with a number of multi-million dollar retail centers in their planning or pre-construction stages. The city of Dothan also is ranked as the #1 city in the nation for most available restaurants in a city of its size. 
The people of Dothan enjoy one of the lowest costs of living in the country. Dothan was rated #1 by US News and World Report in 2006 as the cheapest city to live in, due to low local taxes. This means residents of Houston County have the lowest tax burden of anyone in the Western world. Sales tax is a large source of revenue for the city, thanks to retail and restaurant businesses impacted by the large number of travelers on Highway 231, and because it is the largest city within a radius of 80 miles. Dothan's economy includes agriculture, aerospace, distribution, retail, and advanced technology.
Dothan's healthcare system is among the highest rated and most affordable in the country, due to its being the home of two hospitals: Southeast Alabama Medical Center and Flowers Hospital. The two hospitals are the largest employers in Houston County. According to a 2003 study, less than 10% of Dothan area residents, or 14,156 people, have no health insurance.*
Fort Rucker, the home of Army aviation, is located about 20 miles west of the city.