Pros and Cons of living in Birmingham Alabama in 2024

14 Min Read

Are you concerned about tornadoes in Birmingham, Alabama? Are you concerned that you can’t get good health care in Birmingham? Well, we’re going to give you the pros and cons of living in Birmingham, Alabama in 2024 from two born and raised Southerners, so stay tuned.

This is Avnish Singh with the West team at Keller Williams. We want our article to be your absolute best resource for all things Birmingham. We are committed to publishing articles every week that we hope will make your move to our city just that much easier. Before you go today, please subscribe to our website, ring the bell so that we can keep you up to date on this changing real estate market.

So let’s get started on the pros and cons of living in Birmingham, Alabama.

Here is the Summary of the Pros and Cons discussed in the article

1. Convenient location for travel1. Hot and humid summers with mosquitoes and snakes
2. High-quality healthcare at UAB2. Rush hour traffic on main interstates and bottleneck on Highway 280
3. Pleasant weather year-round3. Limited mass transit system
4. Low property tax and cost of living4. Varying quality of metro area schools
5. Abundance of outdoor activities5. Lingering negative image of Birmingham
6. Diverse culinary scene and breweries6. High combined city and state tax rates
7. Vibrant sports culture7. Tornadoes during tornado seasons, with potential for significant damage and loss of life

Pros 1: Location

We love where Birmingham is located in our state. We can get down to the white sandy beaches in Gulf Shores in about four and a half hours. And then, a short day trip over and back from Atlanta is only two hours, two and a half hours each way. You can go to the mountains in about five hours, and you can go up to Nashville, which is a great city to spend a getaway weekend in about three hours. We have beaches, mountains, and also we have lots of lakes and lots of golf courses. So we think we are a great city to live in.

Pros 2: Health

When people ask me about the quality of Health Care here in Alabama, my standard answer is, ‘We’ve got your health care covered.’ UAB Hospital is now the eighth largest hospital in the nation with the only level one Trauma Center in the state. UAB Highlands hospital is the only accredited geriatric emergency department in Alabama and one of only 17 in the entire world.

Also Read: Pros and Cons of Living in North Bethesda

At UAB, there are eight programs ranked among the best in the nation, including Cardiology, Neurology, Diabetes, and others. They also have a palliative care hospital as well as an acute care children’s hospital ranked in the top ten in the nation with the motto, ‘For every child, we are here.’ There’s a world-renowned eye hospital with the only freestanding level one eye emergency room in the nation.

Pros 3: Weather

Tip number three is the weather. Spring and fall are exquisite seasons in Alabama, and winters are rarely below freezing for the entire day. And we have more sunny days than the national average. Alabama is one of the lowest property tax states in the nation. In fact, we rank 49th out of 50.

Pros 4: Property Tax

Alabama is one of the lowest property tax states in the nation. In fact, we rank 49th out of 50. So, residents benefit from a low property tax burden, contributing to the overall low cost of living in Birmingham.

Pros 5: Cost of Living

Tip number five is low cost of living. Our cost of living indices are based on a U.S average of 100 points. So, a number below 100 means that a city is cheaper than the U.S average. Birmingham’s cost of living is 75.7, so we’re just about 25 percent lower than the national average.

Pros 6: Sports

Do you like sports? Well, Birmingham’s got it all. Because of our climate, we’re able to be outdoors and participating in some type of sport pretty much year-round. We’ve got everything from UAB Blazer football, which is a major college-level football, we have professional basketball with the G-League team, the Squadron, it’s connected to the NBA’s New Orleans Pelican, with professional baseball with the Birmingham Barons that play at Regions Field, which is a beautiful facility in the heart of UAB.

We have PGA Champions Tour, which is at the Regions Tournament. We have the biggest names in golf for the tournament. We have NASCAR at Talladega. We have a minor league hockey team, the Birmingham Bulls, the Birmingham Legion, and of course, we’ve got the Backyard brawl and Alabama versus Auburn.

Pros 7: Food

You may think we only cook in grease and lard here in Alabama, but the truth is that Birmingham is an awesome city for food. It includes seven chefs who have received the coveted James Beard award, which is the Oscar for chefs. And it’s not only a foodie city but it’s also a brewery city. That’s hard to say. There are over 15 craft beer microbreweries in Birmingham, and they are so popular that there is a brewery trail from South Side to Crestwood.

This finishes our Pro list, and now we’ll start the cons of living in Birmingham.

Cons 1: Hot Summers

I’m a hot-natured person, so the Alabama Summers are brutal for me. July and August, in particular, they bring out the mosquitoes. Sometimes I think they’re going to carry me away. The hot weather also brings out snakes. We have rat snakes, copperheads, and some Timber Rattlers. Those are the ones you have to watch out for. But we don’t have blizzards, we don’t have many ice storms. I think the last time we really had a blizzard here in Birmingham was way back in the 90s. So, it’s a trade-off: hot summers, wonderful falls, wet winters, pretty springs.

Cons 2: Traffic

Every big Metro city has rush hour traffic, and Birmingham is no exception. But we are way better than Atlanta traffic. Our main interstates that run through the city are I-65 and I-20, 59, and they get clogged up at rush hour or whenever there’s a wreck. Once you learn the traffic patterns, though, and the times of the rush hours, you’ll be fine.

I-459 travels smoothly unless there’s a wreck, and Highway 280 is the main problem artery from downtown. It runs Southeast to get home to all the southern suburbs that have been added since the 70s. Aldot, the Alabama Department of Transportation, says that Rush Hour creates two times the usual traffic count on 280, and because 280 has no access Escape roads, it gets very congested even if there are no wrecks. It’s probably the biggest bottleneck highway in the Birmingham area.

Cons 3: Transit System

We basically don’t have much to offer in the way of mass transit. We do have a bus system; we have two actually. One that works downtown that will take you to about 20 or 25 different locations, and then we have what we call Max Direct, which runs our West and Southeast to the malls. We don’t have any rail service, so it’s pretty much our little bus line.

Cons 4: Schools

The Birmingham area metro schools. The Birmingham city schools do not appear on the best list. The metro area has several Incorporated suburbs that have their own school system and invest local dollars in their schools. That usually correlates with better facilities, tech equipment, and standardized test scores. The top-ranked systems are usually the same list of schools, but they just trade up and down in ratings based on what data they choose to rank.

These are the 2023 list that integrated Independent Media list state report cards, which is usually important to parents, and the Alabama Department of Education website to identify school districts that make the good grade. They are dependably good all the time. They rate number one Mountain Brook, number two Vestavia, number three Trussville, and number four Homewood. Number five is Hoover. All three Mountain Brook elementary schools scored 98 to 100 as a state grade on the Alabama report card site. Liberty Park Elementary and Vestavia scored 100, and Oak Mountain Shelby County School District Mountain Laurel and Oak Mountain Elementary scored 98. Those are all fabulous elementary schools.

Cons 5: Poor Image

Unfortunately, Birmingham still labors from an image of a bigoted southern city with steel mill smokestacks polluting the skies and little opportunity for progress. Those days are over, and there is a new Birmingham vibe that is inspiring and exciting, infused with diversity, forward-thinking young leadership, and a bright future. Much of our progress has been jump-started by investors and noteworthy developers who know a good thing when they see it. We hope our pros list help you sense the excitement of the new Birmingham and its energy.

Cons 6: Sales Tax

Alabama is one of the lowest property tax states in the nation. The flip side of this is that many of the Incorporated suburbs levy a city tax, which when added to the Alabama state tax, becomes one of the highest tax rates in the nation.

Cons 7: Tornadoes

Oh my goodness, tornadoes are a weather event to those of us who live in the Deep South, have grown accustomed to, and have experienced most of our lives. We have two tornado seasons in Alabama, March to May and November to December.

You’ve heard the categories who are EF-45. We had no EF-4s or fives in 2022, and there’s only been eight EF5s in the state of Alabama since records started to be kept in 1950. My wife Mary Jo recently had a conversation with a gentleman from the National Weather Service; he basically told her that with the advent of all the new radar, they can pick up even so much as a raindrop.

So, we’re pretty well warned now. We don’t really get surprised, but tornadoes are something that you don’t want to go through. And what I didn’t know is that there is an EF-0, but it has no strength, but they still have to count it as a tornado. And there’s a little extra tip: Most of the damage that is done by tornadoes in Alabama is done because of falling trees. We have so many pine trees that have such a shallow root system; that’s where we get most of our damage. Basically, the advice from the National Weather Service is, learn what to do and the safe place to be.

Thanks for reading our pros and cons article. We appreciate you doing that. We hope you found it at least somewhat entertaining but primarily informative. Before you go today, remember to hit the Subscribe button and ring the bell so that we can keep you totally in the loop on all the changes in this real estate market. Until then, take care. Thank you.”

Share this Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Exit mobile version