Prattville is located in the central part of the state about 13 miles across the Alabama River from Montgomery, the state capital. The Montgomery metropolitan area where the Coosa and Alabama Rivers converge is locally known as "the River Region" and encompasses Autauga, Elmore and Montgomery Counties. Prattville is considered "the Preferred City" of the region.
Interstate 65 runs along Prattville's eastern borders and US Highway 82 runs from the west to connect to I-65. US Highway 31 bisects the community from north to south, and Alabama Highway 14 crosses from east to west.
This proximity to Montgomery and the highway system has contributed greatly to the growth of Prattville. It is estimated that 45 percent of Prattvillians work outside of the city, and the majority of these commuters work in Montgomery.
Downtown Montgomery and Maxwell Air Force Base are 15 minutes away via interstate and a four-lane federal highway. Most State offices and related association offices are located in downtown Montgomery. Because of the quality of Autauga County schools, affordable housing, low crime rate, and nearness to the base, military officers who bring their families with them while stationed at Maxwell often choose Prattville as the place to live.
For many years, Prattville was referred to as a "bedroom community" of Montgomery, but that concept is rapidly changing. Prattville can now boast of diverse shopping and places to dine. Residents no longer have to go "across the river" for items that they need and want. Employment opportunities continue to develop as some businesses located in Montgomery have chosen to relocate in Prattville because of an occupational tax which Montgomery County recently passed.
International Paper Company, which opened as Union Camp in 1967, continues to be the largest employer in the area. Several smaller industries related to plastics, automotive industry-related manufacturing, packaging and power generation have opened.
Prattville experienced its first growth spurt in the 1960's as the population increased from 6,616 to 13,116. Prattville's current period of growth started in the 1990's as Prattville's population increased from 19,816 in 1990 to 24,303 in 2000. The latest Census in 2010 showed Prattville's growth continued in the last decade as the population increased to 33,960. The city's population is presently estimated at 35,000 by the Prattville Planning Department.
Due to large annexations by the City of Prattville in the last few years, the land area of the town continues to increase. As the town has grown eastward toward the interstate, it has outgrown its Autauga County boundaries, so that a part of Elmore County now lies within the city limits of Prattville. While commercial growth is expected to continue within the Elmore County area, it is not likely that there will be much residential growth. For the most part, people who choose to live in Prattville do so because of the quality of Autauga County schools.
The City of Millbrook lies across the interstate and prevents further eastward expansion of Prattville. The next area of growth for the "Preferred City" is projected to be to the north and west.