Rich in culture and history, Birmingham is one of the Southeast’s most livable cities, and an economic hub for the region. Ranked among the top 11 best places to live, work and play by Partners for Livable Communities, Birmingham offers residents the third lowest cost of living of any city in the Southeast and access to top-quality health, education and community services.
The economic analysis firm POLICOM has ranked the Birmingham economy in the top 40 for economic growth out of 318 U.S. metropolitan areas. The city has developed a diverse economy, with local industries ranging from bioscience and technology development to banking, health care and the automotive industry.
Birmingham boasts quality educational opportunities, with top-flight schools and post-secondary institutions, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The city also provides residents with many cultural, recreational and entertainment outlets, including the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Alabama Symphony, the Birmingham Zoo, a science museum, a theme park, an annual music festival, minor league baseball, an annual PGA Senior Tour event, a number of college sporting events, and a stop on the legendary Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
What you may not know about Birmingham:
- Vulcan, the mythical god of metalworking, is the largest cast iron statue in the world and is second in size only to the Statue of Liberty. The statue was Birmingham’s entry in the 1904 World’s Fair, where it took first place.
- A 2007 study published by Bizjournals indicated Birmingham enjoys the nation’s best record of long-term income growth. It looked at 25 years of changes in per capita income in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country. Between 1990 and 2005, Birmingham boosted its per capita income by 98%, the largest increase registered by any major market over that span. The national average for the same period was 77%.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s medical center ranked third in the country, behind the Mayo Clinic and Massachusetts General, in overall quality of health care.
- Birmingham's water quality received an "A" ranking in a joint study by the Environmental Quality Institute at UNC, Rutgers University and the National Defense Institute. Only 13 of 101 cities nationwide were ranked as highly, and none higher. (Men’s Health, January 2004).
- Birmingham is known as the founding city for the recognition of Veterans Day and hosts the nation’s oldest and largest Veterans Day celebration.
- Vonetta Flowers, the first African-American to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics (2002-bobsledding), is a track coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- Southern Living is the nation's most successful regional magazine and is published in Birmingham, AL.
- Birmingham is home to the nation's oldest baseball park, Rickwood Field. It opened in 1910 and has hosted baseball greats such as Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.