Is Birmingham, AL, on your radar as a possible new city for you and your family? If yes, you’ll be glad to know that this charming city offers many excellent amenities. If you’re wondering what the pros and cons of living in Birmingham, AL will be, this post is for you!
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PRO: Living in Birmingham is Affordable
The overall cost of living in Birmingham is affordable! That’s excellent and means the average family will save over 25% on their overall monthly expenses. Now, truth be told, the main reason for this superb score is the cost of housing. It’s one of the lowest in the United States. Here, the median home cost is an incredibly affordable $67,000, less than a quarter of the national average ($292,000) — this is definitely the biggest pro on this list of pros and cons of living in Birmingham, AL. Below is a list of all of the major indices in Birmingham, AL:
- Overall – 26% less than the national average
- Groceries – 7% less than the national average
- Health care – 1% more than the national average
- Housing – 72% less than the national average
- Utilities – 1% more than the national average
- Transportation – 12% less than the national average
- Miscellaneous – 5% less than the national average
CON: Poverty Rate in Birmingham
Unfortunately, the poverty rate in Birmingham is relatively high at 23.3%. The average city in the United States has a poverty rate of approximately 13%. The city is working on the problem, but a lot still needs to be done to turn it around.
PRO: Housing Costs in Birmingham
We mentioned it already, but the cost of housing in Birmingham is incredibly low and is definitely the biggest pro on this list of pros and cons of living in Birmingham, AL. The median home value here is $67,000. Think about that number for just a moment. Then compare it to the national average of almost $300,000. That’s a considerable difference which, for many families, means they can afford a home of their own. Indeed, Birmingham is one of the few cities where buying a home is unquestionably cheaper than renting in the long run.
CON: Public Transportation in Birmingham
Considering its size, the public transportation system in Birmingham lacks in size and availability. Less than 3% of the residents here use mass transit, which is very low. Not only that, but Birmingham has a relatively low walkability score. That’s the score used to determine how easy it is to walk or bicycle around a city. One bit of good news is that Birmingham’s average one-way commute is 21.5 minutes. That’s about five minutes shorter than the national average and means you’ll spend less time in traffic every day.
PRO: Weather in Birmingham is Comfortable
One thing you can easily say about the weather in Birmingham; it never gets seriously cold. Yes, the summers can be long, hot, and extremely muggy. (You don’t want to stray far from the air conditioning from June through September.) Winter, however, is very short and rather wet. You’ll barely if ever, see any snow in our city, although the temperature will drop occasionally, which is another big pro on this list of pros and cons of living in Birmingham, AL. For most residents, the best time of year in Birmingham is spring and early autumn.
CON: Summer in Birmingham is HOT
Yes, the weather overall in Birmingham is mostly pleasant and barely gets cold. That being said, summertime in Birmingham can be sweltering and humid. It’s not unusual for the temperature to reach 97°F and, occasionally, even higher. Like we mentioned above, you won’t want to stray far from your air-conditioning. Many folks rent temperature-controlled storage units in Birmingham to store things in Summer and protect them from the humidity.
PRO: Birmingham is Very Diverse
Like many southern towns, Birmingham, AL, is quite diverse. You’ll find many different peoples and cultures here, and the food scene benefits from this fact considerably. Birmingham is also the center of the civil rights movement. It’s known globally as the city where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began his crusade for equality for people of all colors and creeds.
PRO: Preforming Arts Scene in Birmingham
Many are surprised by the arts scene in Birmingham and how much it offers. You’ll find many outlets for your artsy side, from symphonies to ballet, performing arts, and theater. Some of the best of them in Birmingham include:
- The Alys Stevens Performing Arts Center
- The Alabama Symphony
- The Birmingham Ballet
- The Alabama Theater
- Lyric Theater
CON: Sales Tax is High Living in Birmingham
For a place with an affordable cost of living, Birmingham has a relatively high sales tax. At 10%, it’s significantly higher than the U.S. national average of 7.25%. That means you’ll pay nearly 3% more in taxes on things like food, clothing, and so forth. It might not seem like a lot at first, but, in time, that extra 3% can add up. However, there is some good news as state income tax in Alabama is between 2% and 5%. Also, one of the more simple income tax calculations is found in Alabama.
Final Thoughts on Living in Birmingham, AL
Birmingham is an incredibly diverse, engaging, and welcoming city. Yes, it does have a few blemishes but so do most American cities. There are many pros, and just a few cons when it comes to living in Birmingham, AL. Here at iStorage, we love living in Birmingham for its diversity, food scene, and vibrant arts scene. We help residents here when it’s time to store their stuff, wherever that stuff might be.
Birmingham storage units from iStorage are safe, clean, and secure, with 24 hour video recording of the property and onsite managers. Those same onsite managers would be more than happy to help you with your storage needs. You can visit your local iStorage facility and say hello, or chat with us online any time. Until then, we wish you the best of luck finding your new Birmingham home. We know you’ll enjoy living and working in our beautiful southern city!