Located in the southeast, Alabama has a population of almost 5 million residents. Alabama is the only state in the United States that provides the natural resources needed to make iron and steel. As a result, Alabama is the largest supplier of cast-iron and steel pipe products in the U.S.
The state slogan of Alabama is “Audemus jura nostra defendere”. Translated from Latin, this means “We Dare Defend Our Rights.”
This slogan is extremely fitting, as Alabama was home to many changes throughout history that helped shape our country.
Alabama was an important landmark during the American Civil Rights Movement. The city of Birmingham houses the infamous 16th Street Baptist Church. Now a museum, this was the protest headquarters in the 1960’s for the Civil Rights Movement.
In Montgomery, there is the Martin Luther King Jr.’s Church and The Rosa Parks Museum, which are dedicated to the activists themselves. These historical landmarks provide a place to reflect on the progress that has been made in our country.
Things to Know Before Moving to Alabama
Before moving to Alabama, you’ll want to know the basics. Things such as climate and geography are important to keep in mind as you begin to plan your move.
For most of the year, the weather in Alabama is beautiful. Temperatures can range between 30 and 90 degrees depending on the time of year.
- Summer can reach a high of 90 degrees, with lows typically around 72
- Spring has average highs of 77 degrees and lows of 55
- Fall usually fluctuates between 44 and 72 degrees
- Winter temperatures average between 30 and 60 degrees, with only 2 inches of snowfall each year.
In addition to the great weather all year round, Alabama offers an amazing coastline. Located next to the Gulf of Mexico, you can visit the white sandy beaches and wade in the gentle surf all day. In addition, the shore is lined with amazing restaurants and awesome nightlife.
Largest Cities in Alabama
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. With a population of about 212,237, it’s also the government seat of Jefferson County. Birmingham houses the infamous Red Mountain Park — one of the biggest urban parks in the country. At 1200-acres, Red Mountain Park is 40 percent larger than Central Park in NYC. Also, Birmingham was chosen to host the 2021 World Games.
The state capital of Montgomery is the second biggest city, with a population of around 206,000. Montgomery is mostly known for its rich history. It is governed by a “mayor-council” government, which means the mayor heads the executive branch.
Starting with the Creek Indian tribes in the early 1800s, settlers quickly established themselves in Montgomery. The city was incorporated on December 3, 1819. The American Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1950s began and ended in Montgomery.
Mobile is positioned right below Montgomery and has a population of approximately
195,111. This city was settled by the French in 1702. Mobile has the 9th largest port in the country, only about 32 miles from the Gulf of Mexico coast.
If sunny weather is what you are after, Mobile may not be the best city for you. It is named the rainiest city in the U.S. since it receives more than five feet of rain each year.
Based on the state’s census, Huntsville is expected to become the largest city in Alabama in the next 10 years. Located in Madison County, Huntsville is home to around 188,000 residents.
Huntsville is known as the “rocket capital of the world” largely due to the city’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. Visitors are welcome to tour the facility, experience interactive exhibits and explore old artifacts.
Housing Market in Alabama
If you’re moving to Alabama, you are lucky with the housing market. Birmingham is deemed one of the most affordable cities in the U.S. Home prices are historically low.
However, 46% of Alabama’s population are renters. Unfortunately, the rental rate is rising, and the demand for rentals is currently high. The average monthly rent for a furnished 900-square-foot home in a luxury preferred area is around $1,550. However, the same apartment type in a less populated area is only around $920.
If it is within your budget, buying a house in Alabama may be a more money-conscious move. The average cost to purchase a home in Alabama is $189,900.
Cost of Living and Expenses
Alabama is the 36th fastest-growing state in the country. There are 94.4 people per square mile. Since the general sales tax is only 4%, Alabama is the fifth most tax-friendly state in the US.
Keeping your finances in mind, let’s explore some statistics related to the cost of living in Alabama:
- $44,765 — average household income
- $57,160 — average combined, family income
- $825 — average cost of living for one person (excluding rent)
- $2,860 — average cost of living for a family of four (excluding rent)
- 2.5% — state income tax
Alabama Job Market
Some job markets may be better than others within the state of Alabama. Cities such as Montgomery came in at 77th for employment, followed by Huntsville (96th), Birmingham (125th) and Mobile (139th).
What Recruiters Are Saying
There are few things that recruiters in Alabama are looking for more than employers in other states.
- 80 percent of Alabama recruiters said they were mostly seeking candidates with some type of higher education
- 14.2% of Alabama recruiters are seeking candidates with master’s degrees
- 2.9% of Alabama recruiters are seeking candidates with associate’s degrees
Based on recruiters’ data, candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree are in high demand in Alabama.
Unfortunately, the unemployment rate in Birmingham is a bit higher than the national average. Also, the average annual salary is slightly lower than the national average.
Safety and Crime
Even with all the benefits about moving to Alabama, it’s important to be aware of the safety and crime statistics for this state.
Total violent and property crimes reported in Alabama annually is 167,698. The city of Mobile is considered safer than 13 percent of the US. The crime rate has recently dropped by 6 percent.
Entertainment, Food and Culture
There is plenty of entertainment in Alabama, so you won’t have to worry about running out of things to do in your new state.
Bridge Street Town Centre — Huntsville, AL
One of the most popular shopping malls is the Bridge Street Town Centre. Located in Huntsville, this center boasts over 70 upscale shops, fine dining options and a movie theater. This is the perfect place to shop ’til you drop!
The Summit — Birmingham, AL
In Birmingham, you can stop by The Summit, a 1 million-square-foot mall that offers upscale shops, various dining options, and a movie theater.
Saw’s Soul Kitchen — Birmingham, AL
According to local Alabamians, there are a few restaurants in the state that can’t be missed. Saw’s Soul Kitchen, located in Birmingham, is self-described as a “hole-in-the wall”. They serve delicious barbecue and a sweet tea chicken sandwich that all new Alabama residents must try at least once.
Los Dos Hermanos Taco Truck – Birmingham, AL
Also in Birmingham is the Los Dos Hermanos Taco Truck. This cash-only food truck is closed on Monday, but worth the trip any other day of the week. Their menu is described as the most authentic and reasonably priced Mexican food in Alabama.
Po Boy Factory — Mobile, AL
If you’re looking for something with a little more flavor, head to Mobile and visit the Po Boy Factory. This New Orleans style restaurant loves its creole and cajun seasoning, which gives its food that infamous New Orleans flavor. And don’t forget to try the “hot-damn” hot sauce!
Attractions in Alabama
There is always something to do or see in Alabama. Whether a day trip or a long vacation, countless attractions in this state are sure to entertain.
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Due to the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, one of the “must-see” attractions is the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
It features both permanent and temporary exhibits and galleries that provide a glimpse into what it was like in Alabama during the 1950’s. The attraction portrays the struggles in Birmingham that eventually lead to major changes and social movements in the U.S.
USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
Another great place for history buffs to visit is the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. Located in Mobile, AL, the main attraction in the park is the 1940’s Alabama Battleship docked right at the waterfront.
In the park, there is a variety of aircraft and equipment from past war-time experiences (including a B-52 bomber). The park is dedicated to all those who served in WWII and in memorial for veterans in recent wars.
The Birmingham Zoo is a perfect spot for a day of family fun. With over 200 species and 800 individual animals, this 122-acre park is a beautiful attraction for the whole family.
The Birmingham Zoo started in 1955 with just a few exotic animals housed in a firehouse. More than 470,000 people flock to the zoo each year to see the wildlife. Some featured exhibits include the Primate Building, Kangaroo Kountry, Alligator Swamp and the Sea Lion Splash Show.
Located in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama (UA) is a very prominent fixture in the state. Founded in 1820, UA is the oldest and largest of the public universities in Alabama. Today the campus houses an art gallery, a 50-acre arboretum, a classroom dating back to pre-Civil War, two museums and the infamous Gorgas House.
In addition to their stellar academics, UA’s football team is among the best in the country. Known for their war-cry of “Roll Tide!”, the University of Alabama boasted a 14-1 season in 2016 under head coach Nick Saban.
Next, Auburn University is one of the state’s largest universities with over 28,000 students and 1,200 faculty members. It was chartered on February 1, 1856, and in 1892, it became the state’s first four-year coeducational college. Auburn University’s high academic status has kept this college ranked as one of the top 50 public universities in the U.S. for the last 20 years.
In addition to college football, Alabama has many other sports teams to be proud of. The Birmingham Barons dominate in baseball, and the Huntsville Havocs rule the ice in hockey.
Alabama is one of the few states that does not have a professional football or baseball team. Even without a pro team, there is still a lot of baseball history rooted in Alabama. Located in Birmingham is the country’s oldest baseball park, Rickwood Field. The park opened in 1910 and baseball legends such as Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lorenzo “Piper” Davis, Willie Mays and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson have played there.
In addition to all of the museums and attractions, there are plenty of recreational activities to keep you busy in Alabama. Of course there is always the option for a beach getaway on the coast. The Alabama sunshine and beautiful shores make for an awesome day trip, or an extended stay.
Golf is a fun activity that many local Alabamians enjoy, thanks to the great weather. Along Alabama’s Gulf Coast alone, there are over 200 holes on multiple courses. Alabama offers Scottish-style greens and tons of courses ranging from fun outings to professional-level golf. Many of the courses were designed by the “golf-greats”, including Arnold Palmer, Earl stone and Bruce Devlin.
Hiking is another outdoor activity that many Alabamians enjoy. Countless parks in Alabama offer hiking trails, wildlife and breathtaking scenery that is sure to impress.
Alabama is considered to be the most “right-leaning” state in the country. A little more than half of the residents identify as conservative. In the 2016 presidential election, 62% voted republican, while 34% voted democrat.
Churches, Places of Worship
About 64 percent of Alabamians are religious and affiliate with some type of religion.
Catholics comprise 4.32% of the population, while 8.31% identify with another Christian faith. 0.16% of the population are Jewish, 0.06% are an eastern faith, and 0.22% affiliated with Islam.
History of Alabama
With all of the history rooted in Alabama, the state’s culture can be labeled Old Dixie. Alabamians love their state and their country. The Confederate flag is still a common sight, and the locals generally hold strong opinions on the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. This state also has a strong African American heritage and is full of rich traditions for music and literature.
Back in 1819, Alabama became the 22nd state in the union. It was first occupied by American Indians about 10,000 years ago. Europeans came across the land in the 16th century. The state also played a pivotal role in the Civil War. The capital, Montgomery, became the Confederacy’s first capital.
In 1965, the infamous “Selma to Montgomery March” led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ended at the steps of the state capitol. In addition, Alabama was where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus, sparking a yearlong bus boycott in Montgomery that eventually led to the American Civil Rights Movement.
Famous People From Alabama
In addition to famous historical Alabamians, there are several recent famous athletes, actors and artists who helped put Alabama on the map.
- Channing Tatum
- Mia Hamm
- Robin Roberts
- Nat King Cole
- Courtney Cox
- Zora Neale Hurston
- Hank Aaron
- Helen Keller
- Evander Holyfield
- Tim Cook
Moving to Alabama — What Are My Options?
When you relocate to Alabama, you’ll need a reliable mode of transportation and a way to transport your personal belongings.
A car and rental moving van will suffice if you live close to the state of Alabama. But if you live further away, having your property shipped by truck or plane may be the most convenient and cost-effective way to move to Alabama.
After reading the information above, hopefully, you are beginning to feel prepared and excited for your move to Alabama.
Congratulations, you are one step closer to becoming an Alabamian!