16 Pros and Cons of Living in Montgomery, AL

Updated On October 9, 2023
Montgomery, AL

Serving as Alabama’s capital city, Montgomery is a mid-sized city with a healthy dose of history and charm.

A central figure in the civil rights movement, Montgomery has also been a central location for the American Revolutionary War and the American Civil War.

Montgomery is poised to charge into the future, yet feels anchored to its past, as well.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes this bastion of Southern history so unique. 

Montgomery, AL
Montgomery, AL

Pros of Living in Montgomery

1. Education

Education has a prominent role in Montgomery, both historically and currently.

This southern city is home to more than a few institutions of higher learning, including Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama State, and Huntingdon College.

Montgomery is also home to Maxwell Air Force Base, which houses its Air Command and Staff College. 

2. Cost of Living

Montgomery’s cost of living index is lower than the national average, and that of many other cities in the state.

Across the board, Montgomery is able to offer lower average costs, including rent/mortgage, food, transportation, and taxes. 

Rates for healthcare and utilities were still higher in Montgomery than national and state averages, but the other categories were significantly lower.

Some by as much as 10 points, which is quite beneficial for citizens searching for a more reasonably priced city to live in. 

3. Historical Significance

Besides being the capital of Alabama, Montgomery is also one of the more important backdrops for much of the civil rights movement.

Rosa Parks famously made her stand in this town, followed by the Montgomery Bus Boycott, recognized as the first large-scale, organized demonstration denouncing segregation. 

Later, in 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King famously led the march from Selma to the capitol steps in Montgomery.

While here,  visitors can learn about much more of the history and people of this movement on The Civil Rights Trail.

Witness the places and voices which made change possible. 

4. Centrally Located

Montgomery is not only the center of government in the state, but is also centrally located between a number of major cities in Alabama and the southeast, including Auburn, Birmingham, Dothan, Mobile, Atlanta and Columbus, GA, Jackson, MS, and Tallahassee, FL. 

Since Montgomery is a hub city, there are a number of travelers who pass through Montgomery on their way to other southeast locations.

Tourism can benefit from these types of visitors. 

5. Revamped Downtown Area

Montgomery has a densely-packed downtown area, which makes it ideal for foot traffic.

In recent years, some substantial money and efforts have been put into revitalizing the downtown area, and it seems to be paying off. 

Along with established businesses, Montgomery’s downtown is often hosting conferences, music and food festivals, and special events throughout the year.

In an effort to see more people in the downtown area for entertainment and food, the city council has worked to make relocation attractive to prospective businesses.

6. Affordable Home Prices and Property Taxes

Throughout the capital city, buyers and renters are able to find reasonably priced homes or apartments, with median prices hovering below $90k for a home and $800 per month for a 1 bedroom. 

Property taxes are also surprisingly low in Montgomery.

Property tax rates average just under .4% in Montgomery, and Alabama comes in second only to Hawaii for the lowest property taxes in the nation. 

7. Mild Climate and Weather

Montgomery, although solidly in the South, offers a less than oppressive take on the heat and humidity of this region of the country.

On average, Montgomery’s high temperatures stay just shy of 80 degrees, with winters remaining mild as well. 

Montgomery does get its fair share of rain, but this only serves to keep the area lush and cooler most of the year.

July and August are the hottest months, averaging just above 90 degrees for the highs, although some summer days only reach the lower 80s. 

8. Outdoor Activities

As we were just starting, the climate and weather of Montgomery are affable enough to enjoy outdoor activities for much of the year.

In the city itself, there are a number of historical and nationally recognizable monuments to visit, as well as the beautiful Montgomery Zoo.  

Montgomery is also home to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, which sees world-renowned actors give their takes on The Bard of Avon’s works.

Equally, Montgomery’s minor league baseball team, the Biscuits, is an attraction throughout the summer months. 

Cons of Living in Montgomery

1. Limited Job Opportunities 

Although Montgomery’s cost of living is good, the job market is not as accommodating. Montgomery is Alabama’s seat of government and is the location of Maxwell AFB, which makes it more attractive for certain individuals.

If you’re looking for a state government job or a military career, you’ve come to the right place.

Unfortunately, other jobs can be slower to develop, as Montgomery itself is still in a process of growth and development.

Look for downtown revitalization efforts to continue in the effort to attract more businesses and job opportunities.

2. Tornadoes and Severe Weather

During certain times of the year, typically spring and fall, there are more chances of severe weather moving through Montgomery.

Spring can bring strong, late winter storms to the southeast.

As the cold air clashes with warm, humid air, tornadoes or related windstorms can occur. 

In the fall, there is always the possibility of a hurricane pushing severe weather towards Montgomery.

Throughout the summer, heavy rainstorms are possible in the area, as well. 

3. High Sales Tax

Although property taxes are low here, sales taxes are quite high.

The current rate is 10%.

Much of this is due to continued nominal increases over time, as a method of funding public schools, since schools don’t generate revenue of their own. 

4. Crime

Montgomery is, for the most part, a safe city to live in.

Crime is not a huge factor for the entire metro area but more for certain neighborhoods.

In Alabama, on average, 1 in every 225 people will be a victim of crime.

In Montgomery, the ratio is 1 in 195. 

Fortunately, violent crimes aren’t as prevalent in this city, with a rate of 5.14 crimes per 1000 residents.

The majority of crimes in Montgomery pertain to larceny and property crime, which is still problematic and a deterrent for some.

Montgomery’s property crime rates are around 32 per 1000, compared to a state average of 21 per 1000. 

5. Poverty Rate

In 2020, the national poverty rate was 11%.

That’s a 1% increase from the previous year and one of the first increases in five years.

For comparison, Montgomery’s poverty rate is 21%, which means 1 out of every 5 residents lives below the poverty line.

As a state, Alabama has an 18% poverty rate. 

Some of these rising numbers are due to the pandemic shut-down, as many people lost jobs or were displaced during this time.

Some marked recovery should be noted in the coming census reports. 

6. Public Schools Need Funding

Although there are high tax rates in place to support public schools in Montgomery and Alabama, there are still many areas that are underfunded and showing their wear.

With more private academies and charter schools able to allocate tax revenue, the public schools are receiving less and less. 

Montgomery does boast a nearly 90% graduation rate, yet many residents in Montgomery haven’t pursued secondary schooling, with only about 25% holding bachelor’s or beyond. 

7. Traffic Downtown

As mentioned earlier, Montgomery’s downtown is dense in areas, which can make traffic at certain times of the day more difficult.

It’s also best to take a car to places, as major highways, such as I65 and I85, cut through the middle of town. 

It is possible to walk or bike around Montgomery, but certain areas are much easier to drive to, and then walk around. 

8. Old Attitudes are Slow to Change

If you’ve never lived in the south, you may be in for a culture shock when you move here.

Montgomery is no exception, as many of the older modes and mindsets are difficult to uproot. 

New attitudes and initiatives often feel resistance to change from older residents or established groups, but there is hope for the future.

Montgomery is steadily seeing an influx of cash and investors for the town and surrounding areas.

Montgomery’s next chapter is yet to be seen, but it is promising. 

Montgomery, AL
Montgomery, AL

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

Pros of Living in MontgomeryCons of Living in Montgomery
1. Education1. Limited Job Opportunities 
2. Cost of Living2. Tornadoes and Severe Weather
3. Historical Significance3. High Sales Tax
4. Centrally Located4. Crime
5. Revamped Downtown Area5. Poverty Rate
6. Affordable Home Prices and Property Taxes6. Public Schools Need Funding
7. Mild Climate and Weather7. Traffic Downtown
8. Outdoor Activities8. Old Attitudes are Slow to Change

Montgomery Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Montgomery Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Montgomery get its name?

In 1819, two settlements were consolidated to form Montgomery, which was named after General Richard Montgomery, who died in the American Revolution.

What Is There To Do at the Montgomery Zoo?

There are animals from Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Australia.

There are also concerts scheduled during the summer in the zoo, as well as a Saturday Elephant Experience, in which guests find out much more about the elephants and the jobs the keepers perform for them.

How far is Montgomery from the Gulf Coast?

Montgomery to Orange Beach is 193 miles away.

That’s approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes if you’re traveling at 70 mph.

This distance makes a beach vacation doable, but hurricane damage is less likely.

Are there arts and cultural attractions in Montgomery? 

Besides the historical monuments and museums and the Shakespeare Festival, residents and visitors can look into shows and performances at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and Performing Arts Center.

Additionally, there are a number of parks and nature centers throughout the city.

Where can I find live music in Montgomery?

There are a number of bars and clubs around town which offer live music, such as 1048 Jazz & Blues, The Alley Bar, The Capital Oyster Bar, and B.B. King’s Blues Club, located in the Wind Creek Casino, just outside of town.

4 Comments on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Montgomery, AL

  1. S
    Sally Cruz says:

    The city offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, with beautiful parks, hiking trails, and access to the Alabama River. The mild climate allows for year-round outdoor activities.

  2. C
    Charles Silva says:

    Montgomery offers a relatively low cost of living, making it an attractive choice for individuals and families looking to stretch their budgets while enjoying a comfortable lifestyle.

  3. T
    Teresa Gray says:

    This place has a thriving cultural scene, with theaters, art galleries, and music venues. There’s always something happening for those who appreciate arts and culture.

  4. D
    Dave Perkins says:

    The people here are warm, welcoming, and incredibly friendly. Neighbors often become like family, and that sense of community is heartwarming as a newcomer. Whether it’s a friendly chat at the local grocery store or a wave from a passing car, you will feel at home.

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