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:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Alabama
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Alabama
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live 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 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.
Let’s take a look at why Mountain Brook is a great place to call home for 2018.
There’s low crime in Mountain Brook, and the residents here are gainfully employed (1.9% unemployment rate).
You can make Mountain Brook your home for only $557,300 which won’t be too hard on a $129,777 household salary.
Who doesn’t want to live in Vestavia Hills? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.
Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 2.5%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.
Expect to see more of Vestavia Hills in the news in the coming months.
Madison 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 Madison 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 Madison residents to work is significantly higher than average.
If you don’t have a job in Homewood, you’re most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get — 3.2%. 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 $66,573.
That’s actually not a bad idea…
Helena takes 5th place on our list of best places in Alabama for 2018 thanks to a strong showing in unemployment rate (6th overall) and things to do.
Helena is no stranger to top ten lists, being named one of the best places to live in the country by multiple outlets over the past ten years. And that tends to happen when home prices hit $185,000 at the median.
Hoover isn’t just the nicest place to live in Alabama – it’s also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.
It’s got the 13th lowest unemployment rate, the 8th highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.
When you’re looking at science and data, Hoover definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2018.
Southside’s unemployment rates are some of the lowest in the state and the median income is the 14th highest, making Southside a great place to work and settle down if you’re look for a stable job with a stable income.
Additionally, Southside has above average education and low crime, making this place a safe place to live.
Well, I guess technically 5.1% of Fairhope residents who want to have a job can’t find one, so not everyone has a job, but it’s the 23rd closest of any city in Alabama.
You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.
In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Fairhope also ranked well for crime (34th) and median income ($61,723).
The Town of Daphne consistently ranks as one of the best places to live. There aren’t any surprises here. Which probably adds credibility to our data, right?
Let’s see why Daphne ranks so high. First of all, the homes in Daphne are the 15th most expensive in the state of Alabama, with the average home worth a whopping $184,600. We’re not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes means a better place to live. But price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in Daphne if they can afford it.
Other numbers that stand out: Daphne residents have the 20th highest income in the state, and the 12th lowest crime numbers in Alabama.
If you want to live in Alabama, you can’t go wrong if you decide to make the Northport area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.
Can you blame them? It’s a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $52,281 median income will do that).
Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Northport as great as possible. You can’t get it much better than in Northport.
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:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Alabama
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Alabama For 2018
- 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