16 Pros and Cons of Living in Birmingham, AL

Updated On November 7, 2023

Birmingham, Alabama is the perfect location to live if you’re looking for a city vibe combined with lots of nature.

Birmingham, Alabama is home to more than 1.1 million people and is considered one of the largest cities in the state.

Whether you’re looking for a mixture of culture or a location with a bustling job market, Birmingham is the perfect place to move to.

But, before you take the leap and move to Birmingham, you should consider both the pros and the cons.

Continue reading to learn what those are, so you can decide whether this is the right choice for you.


Pros of Living in Birmingham, AL

1. Cost of Living Is Cheap

If you’re looking for an affordable rather cheap place to live, Alabama is the third least expensive state in the country to reside in.

In Birmingham, the cost of living is 6% lower than the average across the country.

On average, most homes in Birmingham cost about $361,348 with a rate of about 6%.

However, the final amount that you pay will depend on the amount of your loan.

If you’re looking to rent an apartment, you can expect to pay about $995 monthly.

2. Great Healthcare Network

One of the best medical schools in the country is located in Birmingham.

All the hospitals and other medical clinics in town are fully staffed.

There are several hospitals and clinics to choose from such as Brookwood Baptist, Ascension St. Vincent’s, Grandview, and more.

There are also a variety of private practice doctors.

If you do happen to fall ill, you’ll have several choices to choose from to receive sufficient care.

3. Many Things to Do

While Birmingham is on the smaller side, the town has a lot to offer those looking to have some fun.

The city is full of culinary art, visual art, music, and much more.

There are plenty of outdoor activities to check out in addition to nature preserves, state parks, and of course, the Cahaba River Watershed.

If you enjoy fishing, mountain biking, or hiking, this is the perfect place to do it.

There are also plenty of other events and festivals that take place in Birmingham.

4. Reasonable Public Transportation

If living in a town with adequate public transportation is your thing, Birmingham is exceptional.

Compared to other towns across the country, Birmingham’s public transportation system is a lot better.

The bus system in the town runs daily and has routes across Jefferson County.

If you need to travel outside the city, there’s a Megabus available that travels from downtown Birmingham to anywhere in the south.

You can ride for just $1.

There’s also a Greyhound Bus Station and various shuttle buses available.

5. Comfortable Weather

If you dislike the cold, you won’t have to worry about the weather in Birmingham.

It never gets too cold in Birmingham.

However, the summers are extremely hot and long.

Winters are nice and short in the city.

But don’t expect to see any snow.

For many people who live here, the best times of the year are spring and early fall.

6. Diverse Town

Birmingham is very diverse, just like many other towns in the south.

This is a plus for many people looking to move here as it is full of people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Additionally, there are plenty of diverse food options.

Birmingham is the center of the civil rights movement and is famously known as the town where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started his march for equality.

7. Plenty of Job Opportunities

Birmingham is an ideal place to relocate to if you are looking for a job.

There are plenty of opportunities as the job market is bustling.

There are various industries to choose from such as technology, finance, and manufacturing.

Some of the most well-known companies in Birmingham to work for are Alabama Power, Encompass Health, and Regions Financial Corp.

Whether you’re looking for a place to get your feet wet or a career advancement, this is the perfect place to be.

8. Plenty of Options for Dining

Who doesn’t enjoy good food?

Birmingham is full of elegant dining and offers various spots for drinks.

You can count on finding almost whatever you have your taste buds set on.

Some of the most well-known restaurants in Birmingham are Johnny’s Restaurant, Automatic Seafood, Atomic Lounge, and Chez Fonfon.

These restaurants were all awarded and recognized through the James Beard Award Foundation.

Cons of Living in Birmingham, AL

1. Crime

Birmingham’s crime index stands at a 1, according to Neighborhood Scout.

This means that it is safer than 1% of other cities in the country.

Living in Birmingham means that you have a 1 in 60 percent chance of being a victim of a violent crime.

In Alabama, you have a 1 in 20 percent chance of becoming a property crime victim.

Overall, the majority of crime that occurs in Birmingham is isolated to certain neighborhoods.

2. Many Businesses Closed on Sundays

Birmingham is a liberal town, even though it’s located in the south.

But, being in the South means that you must deal with a lot of business closures on Sundays.

While most of them remain open on Sundays, with later opening times, most do not open at all.

This means that you don’t have as many options to choose from for lunch or other things on Sundays.

Additionally, some of the most popular areas in Birmingham are overcrowded on Sundays making it harder to travel through.

3. Extreme Temperatures

While you won’t have to deal with freezing temperatures in Birmingham, you will have to deal with extremely hot temperatures during the summers.

Summers in Birmingham are typically humid and commonly reach 97 degrees, if not higher.

If the humidity doesn’t bother you, go for it.

However, if you don’t do too well with consistent humidity, this may not be the best place to live.

4. High Sales Taxes

While Birmingham is an extremely affordable place to live, the sales taxes are extremely high.

The national average sales tax is 7.25%.

Birmingham’s sales tax is 10%, making it 3% higher on things such as clothing, food, and other necessities.

While this may not seem like a big deal to you, the additional 3% adds up over time.

The state’s sales tax is between 2% and 5%, which is good news for others who are considering traveling to another nearby town to shop.

5. Education

Birmingham is indeed considered a college town.

Many residents here actually invest in higher education.

Birmingham is home to many colleges including Miles College, Samford University, and several others.

But, unfortunately, Birmingham doesn’t have many options for lower-level education.

This means that if you have children, you’ll want to make sure that you do some research on the best school systems in the town.

6. Difficult Parking

Parking is not fun in Birmingham, particularly in the historic areas such as Highland Park, downtown, Mountain Brook, and Avondale.

Being able to find parking in these areas is difficult, especially on the weekends and during events.

You will find that many of the areas will have parking restrictions in place.

The best solution is to either carpool, use public transportation, or take an Uber.

7. The Town Goes Unnoticed Often

There are many perks that come with living in Birmingham, as it’s a town with a lot to offer.

Unfortunately, there are a few bumps in the road.

Many musicians tend to overlook Birmingham during tours and other events.

This is mainly due to the fact it’s not in between Nashville and Atlanta.

Many Birmingham residents often find themselves driving out of town to catch their favorite shows, concerts, etc.

8. High Poverty Rate

Another disadvantage of living in Birmingham is that the poverty rate is on the higher side.

The poverty rate in the town is 23.3%.

In the United States, the average poverty rate in many cities is 13%.

The town recognizes that it has a lot of work to do, and is currently working on improving these conditions.

However, a lot of progress still needs to be seen to fully turn this issue around.


Pros and Cons of Living in Birmingham, AL – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Birmingham, ALCons of Living in Birmingham, AL
1. Cost of Living Is Cheap1. Crime
2. Great Healthcare Network2. Many Businesses Closed on Sundays
3. Many Things to Do3. Extreme Temperatures
4. Reasonable Public Transportation4. High Sales Taxes
5. Comfortable Weather5. Education
6. Diverse Town6. Difficult Parking
7. Plenty of Job Opportunities7. The Town Goes Unnoticed Often
8. Plenty of Options for Dining8. High Poverty Rate

Birmingham Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Birmingham Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Overall, is Birmingham a good place to live?

Yes, Overall, Birmingham is considered a good place to live.

It is ranked as one of the top 100 places to live in the entire country.

This is mainly due to the vast majority of dining, sports, and entertainment options.

Is Birmingham expensive to live?

Overall, Birmingham is 20% cheaper than the average city in the United States.

However, utilities are 2% higher in the city.

How is Birmingham for allergy sufferers?

Birmingham is naturally beautiful.

But, with that comes a disadvantage- pollen.

If you or a loved one is an allergy sufferer, be prepared to deal with the high pollen count in Birmingham.

This specifically occurs in Spring, which could pose a challenge for some.

Does Birmingham see a lot of tornadoes or hurricanes?

The weather in Birmingham can be quite unpredictable.

Even though they see moderate weather overall, they can see both tornadoes and hurricanes.

According to the National Weather Service, the state has documented 98 tornadoes in total for the entire state.

What is Birmingham famous for?

There are several things that Birmingham is well known for, including:

The Birmingham Zoo- The Birmingham Zoo has more than 700 animals from more than 200 different species from all over the world.

You will get to see everything here from sea lions to elephants.

Vulcan Statue: The world’s biggest cast-iron statue is located right here in Birmingham.

It was designed for the World’s Fair in 1904.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum-  If you’re a car or motorcycle lover, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is home to one of the largest collections of classic motorcycles in the world.

There are more than 1,200 motorcycles and vintage sports cars on display.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute- The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute allows you to step back in history and find out all there is to know about the city.

It’s both educational and informative.

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