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)
Well, it looks like you should check out Mountain Brook if you’re thinking of moving to Alabama — it’s the best the Heart of Dixie has to offer according to the data.
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Alabama.
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
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 Place 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
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.
Taking its place as the 1st best place in Alabama is Mountain Brook. Residents here earn a really high salary each year, and crime is fairly low, in comparison to the rest of Alabama.
It’s considered a cultural community, as it boasts an arts scene, and many ethnic restaurants, too. Which means you can’t be bored here.
An unemployment rate of only 1.9% helps thing too.
In Vestavia Hills, everyone loves to call Vestavia Hills home! The median home value is the 2nd highest in Alabama.
Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 3rd lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Heart of Dixie.
In Madison, everyone loves to call Madison home! The median home value is the 10th highest in Alabama.
Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 23rd lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Heart of Dixie.
Madison should consider renaming to Paradise Valley in our humble opinion.
Homewood has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Alabama. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Homewood is a real gem.
With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Homewood residents to work is significantly higher than average.
The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Alabama, as there were only 25 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 6th lowest in Alabama (2.9%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.
Additionally, homes are the 14th most expensive in Helena ($185,000), meaning a lot of people want to live there.
Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $84,888 a year.
Hoover is another great city in Alabama with a low unemployment rate and where residents earn high salaries.
Said one reviewer on City-Data.com: ” We feel incredibly safe in Hoover. The houses and neighborhoods are beautiful, the people are friendly, and it’s wonderful to have such good neighbors. People watch out for each other here, they teach their children to be respectful of others and things.”
Crime is something that doesn’t happen very often in Southside. Statistically the 6th safest place in the state, there were only 17 violent crimes in the entire city last year.
It’s really beautiful in Southside, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $65,561 a year, and homes are valued at more than $153,400.
What else could you possibly want if you’re someone who likes the good things in life?
Fairhope is feeling the love as it ranks as the 8th best city to live in Alabama for 2016.
It ranked highly because of its high incomes (19th overall) and low crime (34th 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”.
Who doesn’t want to live in Daphne? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.
Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 5.7%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.
Expect to see more of Daphne in the news in the coming months.
Northport is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 10th best place in Alabama?
Homes are priced around $162,400 and residents have the 30th shortest commute in Alabama.
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 2018.
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 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