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


Profile written by local expert:

Larry Bleiberg

This laid-back waterfront metro area often feels like a mini New Orleans, complete with a Mardi Gras tradition, historic neighborhoods draped in Spanish moss and a year-round "let the good times roll" attitude. But unlike its Gulf Coast neighbor, Mobile, Alabama, has a conservative Southern core.

Part of Mobile's appeal is its proximity to a number of spots for outdoor recreation. Sporting enthusiasts have easy access to hunting areas like the Mobile Delta, and fishing in deep ocean water, lakes and streams. Mobile's location on the Gulf of Mexico puts residents less than an hour away from some of the prettiest beaches in the nation.

Rankings

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.

Mobile, Alabama is ranked:

#135 in Best Places to Live

#136 in Best Places to Retire

#4 in Best Places to Live in Alabama

#21 in Most Dangerous Places

5.8

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    5.6
  • Value
    6.2
  • Job Market
    6.1
  • Quality of Life
    5.3
  • Net Migration
    5.4

Read how we rank places

Mobile, AL Quick Stats

  • 414,659

    Metro Population

  • $44,570

    Average Annual Salary

  • N/A

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 37.6

    Median Age

  • $129,492

    Median Home Price

  • N/A

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.7%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $846

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 25.0 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Mobile, AL?

Mobile likes to tell the world that it hosted the first Mardi Gras in North America, and its social calendar still revolves around the celebration, which is an official holiday in Mobile County. Streets throng with family-friendly parades, and evening balls host thousands of celebrants dressed to the nines. Mardi Gras here relies on dozens of “mystic societies,” which meet throughout the year to build floats and socialize. 

Cultural attractions include art and history museums and the expansive Bellingrath Gardens and Home, which feature public gardens, a conservatory, a lake and a historic estate. Other standouts include the USS Alabama battleship, which anchors at Battleship Memorial Park, and the interactive Gulfquest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico. There are also venues to take in opera, symphony, ballet and theater performances.

Outdoor lovers are drawn to the region's wildlife-rich woods and swamps to hunt duck and deer, and to its waters to fish for everything from speckled trout to Spanish mackerel. Carnival Cruise Lines offers Caribbean cruises from the port. For a quicker break, locals drive about an hour to beach communities like Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

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

Mobile may be a growing, vibrant metro area, but its cost of living falls well below the national average, with housing being particularly inexpensive. Even homes in restored historic neighborhoods can have surprisingly low price points. While salaries generally track below the national average, Mobile is still a bargain, and residents find their dollar goes further here than in many other metro areas.

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

Value Index

Index Score: 6.2 /10

How we calculate this.


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

Housing Costs 2019


Mobile
$129,492

USA
$232,933

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 Mobile, AL.

What's the weather like in Mobile, AL?

Expect mild winters and a glorious spring and fall, but beware the summer, when temperatures and humidity soar. And bring an umbrella, because Mobile is one of the rainiest metro areas in the nation, although the precipitation usually comes in downbursts and may disappear as quickly as it starts. Given its coastal location, Mobile is threatened by hurricanes at times.

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

The Wave bus system provides some public transportation, but most residents rely on cars for commuting, shopping and day-to-day life. And that can get stressful. Located at the head of Mobile Bay and along its estuaries, Mobile is laced with tunnels, bridges and causeways, which can back up with traffic during rush hours and weekends. Ride-share companies like Lyft and Uber also operate here. 

Downtown is beginning to boom with the addition of condos and lofts. With millennials eager for urban living, Mobile is rapidly renovating, creating a pedestrian-friendly core.

Mobile Regional Airport is services by Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines. Some residents choose to drive an hour to catch flights at Pensacola International Airport in Pensacola, Florida, or 90 minutes to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in Gulfport, Mississippi, if a routing is more convenient. There's also Megabus and Greyhound bus service in Mobile, for residents who prefer to travel out of town that way. 

Commuting in Mobile, AL

Means of Transportation
Driving
93%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
1%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
0%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

25.0 minutes

1.6 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 Mobile, AL?

Life centers around family in Mobile, with strong allegiances to neighborhoods, schools and churches that can go back generations. Although Southern Baptists predominate, the Catholic Church has been an important part of the community since Mobile's founding by French settlers in the early 1700s. 

People generally aren't flashy – except during Mardi Gras season.

Although it's Alabama's third largest metro area, Mobile likes to keep to itself, and identifies with the Gulf Coast more than the Deep South. One exception is college football, which is followed with religious fervor. As in the rest of the state, loyalties passionately divide between the University of Alabama and Auburn University, which come to a head at the annual Iron Bowl face-off after Thanksgiving.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


More single people in Mobile than
national average

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