The 10 Best Places To Retire In Alabama For 2019


We analyzed over 52 places in Alabama to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best places to retire in Alabama.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Alabama.

Where exactly in Alabama is the best place to retire? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data — which returns Cullman as the best place to hang up your cleats.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Alabama that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Cullman don’t mind us spreading the word.

Why did Cullman take the top spot? And where are Montgomery and Mobile?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details.

For Alabama state reading:

Cullman, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 15,156
Rank Last Year: 63 (Up 62)
Median Rent: $598
Distance to Closest Airport: 42 miles
More on Cullman: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cullman is a city and the county seat of Cullman County, Alabama, United States. It is located along Interstate 65, about 50 miles north of Birmingham and about 55 miles south of Huntsville. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 14,775, with an estimated population of 15,496 in 2016.

Talladega, AL

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 15,793
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 6)
Median Rent: $548
Distance to Closest Airport: 38 miles
More on Talladega: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Talladega is a city in Talladega County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1835. At the 2010 census the population was 15,676. The city is the county seat of Talladega County. Talladega is approximately 50 miles east of Birmingham.

The city is home to the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and the Talladega Municipal Airport, a public general aviation airport. The Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega College and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame are located nearby. The First National Bank of Talladega is the oldest bank in the State of Alabama, being founded in 1848.

Hartselle, AL

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 14,475
Rank Last Year: 77 (Up 74)
Median Rent: $600
Distance to Closest Airport: 61 miles
More on Hartselle: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hartselle is the second largest city in Morgan County, Alabama, United States, about 10 miles south of Decatur, and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, and the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.

As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of the city was 14,255. Hartselle was founded in 1870 with the arrival of the South and North Alabama Railroad. It takes its name from George Hartsell, one of the railroad’s owners. The post office opened in 1873. It was formally incorporated on March 1, 1875. Most of the oldest buildings were destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1916.

Irondale, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 12,388
Rank Last Year: 49 (Up 45)
Median Rent: $909
Distance to Closest Airport: 5 miles
More on Irondale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Irondale is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is a suburb of Birmingham, northeast of Homewood and Mountain Brook. At the 2010 census the population was 12,349. The setting of the book Fried Green Tomatoes, by Irondale native Fannie Flagg, is loosely based on the town and the landmark Irondale Cafe, known as The Whistle-Stop Cafe in the book & film. Irondale is also the location of Catholic radio/television broadcaster EWTN. The city’s annual Whistle-Stop Festival attracts thousands to its eclectic mix of art, food and music.

Fort Payne, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 14,101
Rank Last Year: 29 (Up 24)
Median Rent: $566
Distance to Closest Airport: 86 miles
More on Fort Payne: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fort Payne is a city in and county seat of DeKalb County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 14,012.

Review Of Fort Payne by HomeSnacks User

The worst thing about this small rural town- Is good healthcare and no decent hospitals. Chattanooga, Gadsden or Huntsville is where you need to go in case of severe life threatening emergency. Otherwise, young families would do great here but not so much for the chronically ill or elderly. That’s why I try to grow most all my food but since I’m getting older, I’d rather move to a more upscale rural area in a different state. But plenty of good stuff to say about Fort Payne AL as well.

No crime at all on lookout mountain.

I don’t see many high paying jobs but I’m retired so I am not looking. It’s a great place to raise children because there’s no crime like in big cities or really busy counties. There lots to do outside to get kids off the internet so much. That’s important in my opinion in today’s world.

Schools are good if you help your child with homework. You can pass the test for graduation and still remain not too Smart. So I suggest that you work with your child and make sure they’re getting help with good education but this is the same everywhere. If parents aren’t involved with they’re children and the schools then your going to get less no matter where you live.

Very small class room size. The kids stay in one school until high school. So they don’t have to switch schools so often.

Again, help your children with home work and ask the teacher to give your children harder more challenging studies if they’re ready to move up and on.

Athens, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 24,461
Rank Last Year: 69 (Up 64)
Median Rent: $614
Distance to Closest Airport: 84 miles
More on Athens: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Athens is a city in Limestone County, in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 21,897. The city is the county seat of Limestone County and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.

Gardendale, AL

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 13,750
Rank Last Year: 78 (Up 71)
Median Rent: $892
Distance to Closest Airport: 8 miles
More on Gardendale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Gardendale is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States and a northern suburb of Birmingham. The population was 13,893 at the 2010 census.

Scottsboro, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 14,748
Rank Last Year: 35 (Up 27)
Median Rent: $572
Distance to Closest Airport: 84 miles
More on Scottsboro: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Scottsboro is a city in Jackson County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 14,770. Named for its founder Robert Scott, the city is the county seat of Jackson County.

Leeds, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 11,701
Rank Last Year: 68 (Up 59)
Median Rent: $736
Distance to Closest Airport: 10 miles
More on Leeds: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Leeds is a tri-county municipality located in Jefferson, St. Clair, and Shelby counties in the State of Alabama and is an eastern suburb of Birmingham. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 11,773.

Jasper, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 14,137
Rank Last Year: 23 (Up 13)
Median Rent: $629
Distance to Closest Airport: 35 miles
More on Jasper: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Jasper is a city in Walker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 14,352, up from 14,052 in 2000. The city is the county seat of Walker County, and once ranked among the world’s leading producers of coal.

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Heart Of Dixie for 2019

To create our list of the best places in Alabama to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Heart Of Dixie — 574 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 10,000 people that weren’t townships. This left us with 52 places from across the state.

For these 52, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 52, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Cullman, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire In Alabama Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Alabama goes to Cullman.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  1. Prichard
  2. Mobile
  3. Auburn

For more Alabama reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Alabama?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Cullman 15,156 $598
2 Talladega 15,793 $548
3 Hartselle 14,475 $600
4 Irondale 12,388 $909
5 Fort Payne 14,101 $566
6 Athens 24,461 $614
7 Gardendale 13,750 $892
8 Scottsboro 14,748 $572
9 Leeds 11,701 $736
10 Jasper 14,137 $629

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