Sweet Home Alabama is a pretty fitting saying for a state that surpasses most other Southern states for its beauty and all-around charm. When you have the Gulf Shores and the Talladega National Forests in your backyard, it’s quite a super place to live.
But where is the best place to live in Alabama? That’s what we set out to find out.
Using science, we analyzed everything from crime, education, weather and amount of income per household to find out, once and for all, the best cities to make home in the Yellowhammer State. Apparently, living in the greater Birmingham region is a little slice of heaven.
After analyzing almost 600 places, we came up with this list as the top 10 places to live in Alabama:
- Mountain Brook (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Vestavia Hills (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Madison (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Homewood (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Helena (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Hoover (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Southside (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Fairhope (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Daphne (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Northport (Photos | Homes For Sale)
It seems that none of the largest cities in Alabama made the top 10, but their suburbs are apparently more desirable, according to scientific data.
No one can argue that overall, almost every nook and cranny in Alabama has something special and awesome about it.
For more Alabama reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Alabama
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Alabama
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Alabama
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Montgomery with a population of 201,717 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 101 cities, 198 towns, and 214 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Alabama
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Alabama across a number of criteria from one to 101, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Alabama”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Alabama? That would be Mountain Brook.
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Alabama.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Mountain Brook at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Mountain Brook is feeling the love as it ranks as the 1st best city to live in Alabama for 2019.
It ranked highly because of its high incomes (1st overall) and low crime (5th overall and one of the best in the top ten).
We think the city should probably change its motto at this point to something like “The Place To Be In Alabama”.
The crime is the 2nd lowest in the state in Vestavia Hills, and there were only 25 violent crimes in the entire city last year. We think it’s even safer here than the numbers indicate.
The schools are some of the best in Alabama, and residents live in very expensive homes. They also earn more than most every other city in the state. Residents in Vestavia Hills earn $93,178 a year.
Perhaps what makes Madison so amazing is the high emphasis they put on quality education: they have one of the highest rate of education at attainment for adults.
However, quality education isn’t all that makes Madison great. They also have the 2nd highest median income and the 22nd shortest commute time.
Homewood is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it’s affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.
Home prices clock in at $299,100 and households earn a median salary of $66,573. One could get used to that.
We think the motto in Helena should be “Everything is greater in Helena,” and that seems to be pretty close to the truth.
Helena has some of the highest home values in Alabama, and they’re going up fast. Additionally, Helena only has 310.0% of its residents living in poverty.
Crime is also well below the state average, making Helena a solid option for people who value safety. At least those who can afford it.
Hoover has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in Hoover has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 4.1% and lowering. And the Hoover police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 98th lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
If you don’t have a job in Southside, you’re most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get — 2.6%. In fact, there are probably enough butler and landscaping jobs available here to put every single unemployed resident to work, what with a median income of $65,561.
That’s actually not a bad idea…
When you’re looking at the best places you could live in Alabama, Fairhope came in 8th. Let’s see why.
It has a low unemployment rate and high incomes.
Plus, Fairhope has an impressive history for a place of just over 17,996 people. The median home costs a cool $243,900 and households make $61,723 which is good for 19th in Alabama.
The Town of Daphne might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.
The crime rate in Daphne isn’t amazing, but it’s far below the state average. The homes are valued at $184,600 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Alabama.
If Daphne can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (5.7% is the 28th highest in the state.
Northport has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Northport had the 32nd highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $52,281.
Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Alabama
If you’re looking at areas in Alabama with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Mountain Brook made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Alabama for 2019.
Best Towns To Live In Alabama
- Highland Lakes (Pop. 4,860)
- Indian Springs Village (Pop. 2,529)
- Lake View (Pop. 2,801)
- Priceville (Pop. 3,060)
- Mount Olive CDP (Jefferson (Pop. 4,237)
- Kimberly (Pop. 2,840)
- Shoal Creek (Pop. 1,448)
- Blue Ridge (Pop. 1,414)
- Trinity (Pop. 2,110)
- Springville (Pop. 4,199)
Best Small Towns To Live In Alabama
- Stockton (Pop. 687)
- Mooresville (Pop. 69)
- Sweet Water (Pop. 332)
- Lowndesboro (Pop. 95)
- Magnolia Springs (Pop. 740)
- McIntosh (Pop. 339)
- Eunola (Pop. 362)
- St. Florian (Pop. 429)
- Coker (Pop. 817)
- Grant (Pop. 961)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Alabama according to the data:
- Anniston (Pop. 22,441)
- Bessemer (Pop. 26,856)
- Prichard (Pop. 22,340)
For more Alabama reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Alabama
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Alabama
- 10 Safest Places In Alabama
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Alabama
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Alabama