Birmingham is one of the largest cities in Alabama, and it also has one of the most active economies in the state. After its 1871 founding, the city quickly blossomed into a major industrial center of the American South, a title it maintains today. An economy that was originally fueled by a booming steel and iron industry has undergone major diversification, with a large number of jobs in banking, engineering and biotechnology. It's also a hub for higher education, with a number of reputable universities, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama School of Medicine.
The city has also benefited from recent rejuvenation efforts, and it's home to a rich arts and cultural scene that includes the Southeast's largest art museum, the Birmingham Museum of Art. Birmingham's prominent role in the civil rights movement can be explored at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and many historic theaters and music venues point to the city's deep musical roots.
Living and Working in Birmingham
With a range of attractions and activities for both adults and children, Birmingham attracts families, young professionals and retirees alike. From the Birmingham Zoo to Red Mountain Park, there are a variety of places to enjoy in the city and surrounding areas. Birmingham also hosts many different festivals and city events, many of which celebrate the local heritage, arts and culture. The Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival is an international festival, drawing filmmakers from around the globe. Thousands of people travel to Birmingham for its annual Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival, where you can attend shows from both local and nationally successful jazz musicians.
With the number of universities in the city, it's no surprise that the education sector is one of the largest employers in Birmingham. The steelmaking companies Nucor, McWane and U.S. Steel are also major employers, providing both white- and blue-collar jobs. The banking sector also offers plenty of opportunities, boosted by the presence of international groups such as Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. Highly competitive salaries and ample jobs have consistently earned Birmingham a place on many "best places to work" lists.
Neighborhoods in Birmingham
Here are a few of the great neighborhoods you'll want to explore in Birmingham:
Southside, nestled on the forested slopes of Red Mountain, is one of Birmingham's historic communities. Its homes date as far back as the late 1800s, and the old-fashioned design of the community has inspired many others in the state.
Crestwood North is another of the city's historic neighborhoods, with the distinction of being on the National Register of Historic Places. Because its homes were constructed during several different architectural areas, the community is a unique collection of many different styles.
Vestavia Hills is a suburb of Birmingham and named after the expansive estate of past mayor George B. Ward. His former home is now a local landmark, with a distinct design that was modeled after Rome's Temple of Vesta.
The suburb of Hoover is one of Birmingham's largest, situated along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. This family-oriented community is home to several sports venues and was the settling for NBA star Michael Jordan's brief baseball career.
Birmingham City Schools is the main public school district for the area, but there are also several independent school systems, including the Jefferson County School System. Several high schools, both public and private, have received national recognition for their students' academic achievements.
If you're planning to pursue your college degree in Birmingham, you'll find a range of options. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of the largest universities in the city, and there are several community colleges as well.
Resources for Moving to Birmingham
Here's some helpful information that can make your move to Birmingham a bit easier:
Utilities: Alabama Power is the primary electricity provider in Birmingham, and the Birmingham Water Works Board manages water services. Jefferson County Environmental Services provides sewer services. If your home uses natural gas, you'll receive services from Alagasco.
Garbage and Recycling: The city provides curbside trash collection, and there are several drop-off locations for recyclables.
Transportation: The main forms of public transit in Birmingham are bus and trolley, with designated downtown circular routes that make it convenient to get around.
The cost of living in Birmingham is among the lowest in the nation, making it possible to find suitable housing on any budget. Many housing developments are close to the city center and social amenities as well as golf courses and other attractions. In Birmingham, houses outside the downtown area are larger, with multi-family housing more common in the city center.