What's it like to live in Birmingham, AL?

Raymonda Rice

Profile written by local expert:

Raymonda Rice

Birmingham, Alabama was born from the iron and steel industry and is known for playing a crucial role in the civil rights movement. But Birmingham isn't stuck in the past. As the cultural epicenter of Alabama, The Magic City is home to art museums, theaters, concert venues and numerous festivals and events.

And those who enjoy participating in outdoor activities will find plenty of options, from hiking the trails in Red Mountain Park to joining a local kickball team.

Birmingham has many of the allures of urban life with a more affordable price tag than you'll find in many similarly-sized metro areas. 


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Birmingham, Alabama is ranked:

#109 in Best Places to Live

#93 in Best Places to Retire

#2 in Best Places to Live in Alabama

#10 in Most Dangerous Places




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Birmingham, AL Quick Stats

  • 1,147,054

    Metro Population

  • $47,480

    Average Annual Salary

  • 73.8° / 52.6°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 38.5

    Median Age

  • $177,142

    Median Home Price

  • 53.7 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 2.7%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $860

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 26.3 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Birmingham, AL?

Birmingham's cultural scene includes art galleries, theaters and museums. Residents can enjoy live stage performances from concerts to standup comedy to touring broadway productions at venues including the Alabama Theatre, the Lyric Theatre, and the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, or explore the city's food and craft beer scene. 

The Birmingham Zoo and the McWane Science Center offer places families can visit together. 

Both the Southeastern Conference and Southwestern Athletic Conference are headquartered in Birmingham, and the city usually plays host to the annual SEC Baseball Tournament. Residents who want more baseball attend home games for the minor league Birmingham Barons, a Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

College football fans also flock to Legion Field each year to watch the Alabama State University and Alabama A&M University football teams face off in the Magic City Classic. 

What's the cost of living in Birmingham, AL?

Housing prices in Birmingham vary greatly by neighborhood. However, with Alabama's overall low cost of living, everyday expenses such as groceries and health care are generally lower in Birmingham than in other major metropolitan areas. 

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Birmingham, Alabama.

Value Index

Index Score: 7.4 /10

How we calculate this.

Birmingham offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Birmingham, AL.

What's the weather like in Birmingham, AL?

Like much of the South, Birmingham experiences hot and humid summers and typically mild winters, although the area does see ice and light snow sometimes during the winter months. 

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

4.8 in


5.2 in


4.8 in


4.9 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Birmingham, AL?

Many locals in Birmingham, especially those from surrounding suburbs, prefer to drive. The average commute time in Birmingham is about 26 minutes, provided traffic is flowing normally.

The Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) operates a public bus system, which runs throughout central Birmingham and into the surrounding suburban areas. 

The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is located about 5 miles from downtown and is serviced by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses also stop in the city.

Commuting in Birmingham, AL

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

26.3 minutes

0.3 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Birmingham, AL?

The University of Alabama – Birmingham (UAB) attracts students from around the country with its research facilities and medical school.

Young professionals are attracted to Birmingham because of career opportunities and a low cost of living.

Many families live in the Birmingham area, including the surrounding communities of Hoover, Trussville and Pelham. 

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Birmingham as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.