Best Places To Retire In Alabama For 2020


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

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to retire in Alabama.

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Want to see why Alabama is one of the best states to retire in America?

Now that you're here, HomeSnacks is going to tell you how Alabama earned the above ranking. And, folks, it starts with the top ten best places to retire in the The Yellowhammer State for 2020. And lucky for you, we have them listed below.

But first, a look at how we identified Alabama's best places to spend your retirement years. We looked at the FBI and Census data for 49 cities with 10,000 residents. To narrow down our list even further, we looked at important factors like crime, affordability, rent, and how close a place is to an international airport.

Our research concluded that The Heart of Dixie's best places to retire are some of the safest in the state, they are also some of the most affordable, and the people that reside in these southern gems are super nice. And if you're thinking about renting before you buy, you should: Alabama's current rental rates are below the national average. More importantly, if you want to live close to an airport, the odds are in your favor: there are six passenger airports and two international.

Want to know more? We suggest that you grab a cold glass of sweet tea, a sunny spot at Anchor Bar on Orange Beach, and read on as we uncover Alabama's top ten best places to retire.

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

If you're the type of retiree that likes to socialize, Alabama's best places to retire do not disappoint. There's the Parrot Head Club in Gulf Shores, shuffleboard clubs in Foley, and a bunch of knitting clubs in Madison. Whatever you decide, you'll have plenty of options and plenty of money because Alabama is one of the most tax friendly states.

So, what is the best place to retire in Alabama for 2020. According to the latest data, Cullman is the best.

To see the other great Alabama places that made our list, continue to scroll; and if you don't find what you're looking for there, the rest are just a click away.

For more Alabama state reading:

The 10 Best Places To Retire In Alabama For 2020

Cullman, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 15,558
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Rent: $622
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.

Athens, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 25,176
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $645
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.

Hartselle, AL

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 14,405
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $664
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.

Talladega, AL

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 15,609
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $555
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.

Gardendale, AL

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 13,875
Rank Last Year: -
Median Rent: $940
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.

Gadsden, AL

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 35,624
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Rent: $637
Distance to Closest Airport: 52 miles
More on Gadsden: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Gadsden is a city in and the county seat of Etowah County in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is located on the Coosa River about 56 miles northeast of Birmingham and 90 miles southwest of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is the primary city of the Gadsden Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 103,931. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 36,856, with an estimated population of 35,837 in 2016. Gadsden and Rome, Georgia, are the largest cities in the triangular area defined by the Interstate highways between Atlanta, Birmingham, and Chattanooga.

Review Of Gadsden by HomeSnacks User

I live in gadsden and I like it!!

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,185
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Rent: $1,162
Distance to Closest Airport: 13 miles
More on Pleasant Grove: Real Estate | Data

Pleasant Grove is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area. Its nickname is "The Good Neighbor City". At the 2010 census the population was 10,110.

Jasper, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 13,727
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Rent: $599
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.

Anniston, AL

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 21,924
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Rent: $631
Distance to Closest Airport: 54 miles
More on Anniston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Anniston is a city in Calhoun County in the state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666. The city is the county seat of Calhoun County and one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Scottsboro, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 14,527
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $623
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.

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Heart Of Dixie for 2020

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 49 places from across the state.

For these 49, 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 49, 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. You can download the data here.

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. Millbrook
  3. Saraland

For more Alabama reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Alabama?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Cullman 15,558 $622
2 Athens 25,176 $645
3 Hartselle 14,405 $664
4 Talladega 15,609 $555
5 Gardendale 13,875 $940
6 Gadsden 35,624 $637
7 Pleasant Grove 10,185 $1,162
8 Jasper 13,727 $599
9 Anniston 21,924 $631
10 Scottsboro 14,527 $623

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.