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


Profile written by local expert:

Rick Harmon

If you love history, you will love Montgomery, Alabama, a prominent place during the Civil War and birthplace of the modern civil rights movement. Once home to Hank Williams, Nat “King” Cole and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Alabama’s capital city is where the Wright Brothers set up their first flight school and where the first citywide electric streetcar ran. Besides its history, the city has a thriving arts scene and has seen its downtown take on new life thanks to growth planning, a flourishing entertainment district and rapidly increasing civil rights tourism.

Montgomery sits in east central Alabama, about two and a half hours southwest of Atlanta, one and a half hour south of Birmingham, and just over three hours from the white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.

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.

Montgomery, Alabama is ranked:

#123 in Best Places to Live

#98 in Best Places to Retire

#3 in Best Places to Live in Alabama

#11 in Most Dangerous Places

6.1

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    5.5
  • Value
    7.0
  • Job Market
    6.4
  • Quality of Life
    6.0
  • Net Migration
    5.1

Read how we rank places

Montgomery, AL Quick Stats

  • 373,589

    Metro Population

  • $42,510

    Average Annual Salary

  • N/A

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 37.1

    Median Age

  • $138,367

    Median Home Price

  • N/A

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.0%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $876

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 23.1 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Montgomery, AL?

A vibrant arts scene and family activities ensure there is plenty to do. Blount Cultural Park is home to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival as well as the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, with exhibitions including works by Rembrandt, Whistler, Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. The city also has a symphony orchestra, multiple ballet companies, art galleries and amateur theater.

A multitude of bars and restaurants are in entertainment areas, one downtown and one in Cloverdale. The Cloverdale neighborhood is also home to The Capri, a vintage movie theater that is the heart of the city’s independent film scene.

There are plenty of family-friendly activities downtown in Riverfront Park, Riverwalk Amphitheater and the Montgomery Zoo. Blount Park has a dog park, miles of walking trails and statuary.

Montgomery has more sites on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail than any other city. Eleven of the trail’s sites are in Montgomery, including the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, The Civil Rights Memorial Center with a memorial created by Vietnam Memorial designer Maya Lin, the Rosa Parks Museum and a church where Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor.

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

With affordable home prices, inexpensive taxes and a low cost of living, Montgomery is a great city to stretch a salary or a pension. The city is a paradise for homebuyers, with family homes costing lower than the national average. Alabama also has some of the lowest property tax rates in the nation, and Montgomery’s is lower than the state average. But the low property taxes are balanced by a state income tax and a Montgomery sales tax.

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

Value Index

Index Score: 7.0 /10

How we calculate this.


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

Housing Costs 2019


Montgomery
$138,367

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 Montgomery, AL.

What's the weather like in Montgomery, AL?

If you dislike cold weather, you’ll like Montgomery. Snow and ice are rare enough that any occurrence is talked about for years, and the average low temperatures even in the coldest months are above freezing. Typical weather is warm and sunny with moderate winters, pleasant springs and falls and steamy summers.

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

In Montgomery, you need a car. Although the city has a major bus system, few commuters use public transportation to get to work. Although almost everyone drives a personal vehicle, there are few traffic jams. The city does have a bike-share program downtown, where you can rent a bicycle at about a dozen locations and return it at any of them.

Montgomery Regional Airport, seven miles southwest of Montgomery, has Delta Air Lines and American Airlines flights.

Commuting in Montgomery, AL

Means of Transportation
Driving
94%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
1%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
0%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

23.1 minutes

3.5 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 Montgomery, AL?

The median age of Montgomery residents skews slightly younger than the rest of the state, thanks partially to the city’s four universities: Alabama State University, Auburn University at Montgomery, Faulkner University and Troy University--Montgomery.  

Although Montgomery is in the Bible Belt, the city leans somewhat liberal in a state that trends toward conservatism. 

The Montgomery population hovers around 200,000 people. About 20% of the population is part of the military community, including active military, people working with the military and military retirees.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


More single people in Montgomery than
national average

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