Today, nearly one out of every four residents of the State of Alabama resides in the Greater Birmingham Metro Area. This historic city in Jones Valley lies in the north central part of "The Heart of Dixie". It serves as the seat of Jefferson County. The City of Birmingham boasts an urban population of over 200,000, with well over a million people residing in the surrounding suburban statistical area.
The City of Birmingham developed several years after the end of the Civil War. The population grew as steel mills arose in this part of Alabama. Located at the junction of two important railroad lines, Birmingham became an industrial and manufacturing center. A focal point for the Civil Rights Movement's reforms during the 1960s, in the 1970s the City underwent extensive urban renewal. In this century, the aging Downtown section of Birmingham has undergone revitalization yet again. People relocating here will appreciate knowing the cost of living remains low compared with most other metropolitan areas in the United States. Additionally, local employers offer competitive salaries.
Birmingham serves as a regional transportation hub. In addition to commercial air service, residents can access an extensive highway transportation network via private vehicles, city buses and trollies, taxis and ridesharing. Three freight train carriers operate here also.
The city does suffer from a comparatively high crime rate and high rates of poverty. Rainfall occurs frequently here, contributing to a humid climate with mild winters and sweltering summers. Average daily temperatures fluctuate from around 43 degrees Fahrenheit during January to 81 degree Fahrenheit during July.
Major employers include the University of Alabama at Birmingham, several national insurance companies and banks, and a number of construction, steel and manufacturing enterprises, including Nucor. During recent decades, a growing senior population has relocated to the Birmingham area, which offers over 20 retirement communities. Tourism has also become a more significant economic sector. Popular landmarks include the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, the Birmingham Zoo and a large cast iron statue of Vulcan on Red Mountain. Numerous local celebrations, including music festivals, draw visitors to the city annually.
Property values in Birmingham range from under $100,000 to well over $700,000. In general, new spacious homes with many amenities command higher rental and sales prices than smaller older or poorly-maintained properties. During recent decades, developers constructed a number of apartment complexes and senior living communities in South Birmingham and its environs. The warm climate, the availability of affordable housing and a well-developed medical services infrastructure appeal to many seniors.