17 Reasons Not To Move to Birmingham, Alabama (Voted by the locals!)

Are you considering moving to Birmingham, Alabama soon? Are you wanting to way all your pros and cons, but are wanting to get a better understanding of the reasons not to move to Birmingham? This article can help you consider some of the cons.

Keep reading to learn about some reasons you should not move to Birmingham, Alabama.

1. Poverty Rate Is High

Poverty is extremely high in Birmingham. With the poverty rate typically being 13% on average throughout the United States, the 23.3% poverty rate in Alabama is significantly higher and has become quite an issue for the state to address. While there are always improvements being made, there is still a lot of work to be done to dig the state out of the hole they have been in regarding poverty for years. It can be difficult to find a stable job in a community with a poverty rate that high, which is something to consider before moving there unless you already have a job offer lined up before moving there.


2. Public Transportation System Is Not Ideal

While it is not as large and wide as San Francisco or New York City, Birmingham is a fairly large city. The public transportation system does not reflect nor cater to the size and need for a more ideal public transportation system. It has been recorded that 3% of the Birmingham population uses public transportation which possibly would be much higher if the system was more accessible. Every state has a walkability score which states how smooth of a terrain it is for residents to walk or ride a bike through the city. That being said, Alabama received a relatively low score making it less desirable to skip public transportation.


3. Summers Are Extremely Hot

Some may move to more southern states like Alabama for the luxury of their mild winters, but what they lack in cool temperatures in the winter gets made up for in the hot, humid temperatures in the summers. It is typical for the temperatures to exceed 97 degrees and has high humidity percentages as well all summer long. While you would assume many residents would stay in their houses with their air conditioning units on full blast, most homes in Alabama don’t have air conditioning at all and will rent out storage units that in particular that have air conditioning to store temperature-sensitive belongings.


4. Sales Tax Is High

Similarly to the state having a significantly high poverty rate, the sales tax rate is not much different. With the nationwide average being 7.25%, paying 10% in sales tax seems a little steep to pay in comparison with other states. While paying almost 3% more in sales tax on everyday things such as food, clothing, and activities is not a huge difference, that 3% can add up over time, and to be honest, you would save a significant amount of money simply by living in a state with a lower sales tax. The 10% is only in Birmingham, so any other city in Alabama is between 2-5% of what you would be paying in sales tax.


5. Sports Team Ownership Is Required

It is an unspoken expectation in the state of Alabama that you have a sports team that you are a diehard fan of and support through and through. Most people throughout the United States have a sports team that they claim to be theirs, but in Alabama, you are either one of two types of supporters. You are either a supporter of the University of Alabama or Auburn University. You are either on the sidelines screaming “roll tide” or “war eagle”. Either way, you are expected to choose a side. Even if you already have a sports team you are dedicated to, you are to adopt one of Alabama’s teams and make them your number one.


6. Manners Are Not Only Respectful But Expected

If you didn’t grow up in the South or if you haven’t been around people who were, you most likely aren’t prone to addressing people, particularly adults, by the titles “sir” and “ma’am”. That is a cultural expectation and tradition of sorts from the South and children who are raised there are taught to address their elders by those titles as a sign of respect. Those who don’t know this practice and come to Southern communities can risk offending older members of the community by neglecting to address them by their expected title. This is not to put people down or above others, but as a respectful cultural practice.


7. REAL Humidity

If you are deciding whether or not to move from somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of humidity, you are in for an unpleasant shock to the system to experience a southern Alabama type of humidity. With the average humidity percentage being above 80% throughout the duration of the summer, it is needless to say that if you want to constantly sweat, Birmingham is the place to be. With the winters being so mild in the state, the summers are really a sacrifice to be made if you choose to live in Alabama. If you are used to the humidity, this should be no problem for you.


8. “Sweet Home Alabama” Is Not The Official State Song

As popular and as catchy as the Lynyrd Skynrd song “Sweet Home Alabama” is, it is not the official state song of Alabama as some want to believe. If you think that you hear the song played repeatedly on the radio and at music festivals anywhere else in the country, you would be overwhelmed by the number of times it is proudly played in the state of Alabama, which may be the cause of the false belief that it is in fact the official state song. If that dream is a dealbreaker for you, then moving to Birmingham may be disappointing in that regard.


9. Alabama Barbeque Will Ruin All Other Barbeque

This may not necessarily seem like a con to living in Birmingham because who doesn’t want good barbeque? The problem with experiencing Alabama barbeque is that it is so good and authentic Southern barbeque, that anywhere else you go for barbeque will just not compare. Alabama is known for its white barbeque sauce and it is served at a lot of barbeque restaurants. If you aren’t familiar with white barbeque sauce it can be a little different and not as satisfying as traditional barbeque sauce and that can be disappointing for some. That being said, be wary about where you get your barbeque.


10. Unique Sayings May Not Make Sense

Just like there are particular manners that longtime residents of Southern states expect, there are unique sayings that are used among the community that may not make sense if you haven’t heard them prior to interacting with someone in that circumstance or didn’t grow up with that kind of language. Some of these sayings include “bless your heart” which in various contexts could be either endearing or said in frustration. Another saying is “Lands Sakes”, which is an expression often used in place of swear words without actually saying any swear words. If those sayings create discomfort it may be better to move.


11. Grits Are a Staple

Grits are not exclusive to Alabama, but they are a staple in Southern cooking. You may have had them in other places across the United States, and while that’s not unusual, grits are served with virtually every meal in Alabama. If you don’t like grits then Birmingham may not be the best place for you to come. You of course could just not eat them, but that does seem a little rude and impolite to eat everything but the grits when they are served at every meal. You could learn to like them if you really wanted to, but it is important to be aware that they are served quite frequently during mealtime in Alabama.


12. Hollywood’s Portrayal Is Inaccurate

There are many films that are set in the beautiful, mesmerizing landscape of the Southern beauty that is found in Alabama, such as Forrest Gump and Sweet Home Alabama. The irony is that neither of those films was actually filmed in the state. Thus, portraying a false idea of not only what Alabama looks like, but also what its people and culture are like. There are many stereotypes that the characters in those movies show but none of it is completely accurate, such as the thick accents. So if you are hoping for the glamourized Alabama that you see in the theatres, you will most likely be disappointed in reality.


13. Florida’s Beaches Are Just As Beautiful

You don’t hear about many people going to Alabama on vacation to visit the beaches. If people are going on a vacation to experience the beaches, they are most likely going to Florida. While there are some that claim that Alabama’s beaches are worth it and are a must-see tourist attraction, Florida’s beaches are just as beautiful. Florida is much more equipped and desirable as a tourist destination anyway, They have plenty of hotels and tourist attractions, specifically on the beach, that Alabama’s beaches don’t have. Save yourself the time and effort of planning a trip to Alabama and go to Florida instead.


14. Mountains All-Around

If you are more of a city person, rather than an out-in-the-mountains, country-type person, Birmingham is probably not the best place for you. Birmingham is its own city, but it is surrounded by mountains, and if that is something you want to get far away from, Birmingham isn’t a great location to do that. In addition to Birmingham being right next to the mountains, there are a few tiny tourist towns as you approach the mountains which surround Birmingham that can get quite noisy and crowded so if you are not a fan of that atmosphere, then Birmingham is not a good option for you to live in or move to.


15. Most Businesses Are Closed On Sunday

If Sunday is your day you typically go out and shop and want to spend time with friends at a restaurant or in public, note that Alabama is not accommodating to that. This is due to the fact that most of their stores, pharmacies, and gas stations are all closed on Sundays in an effort to observe the Christian Sabbath. If this is something you already participate in, then it shouldn’t be that big of a deal to live with, but if this is not something that is a typical part of your week, it could be hard to adjust to and could throw a wrench in your weekly routine.


16. Obesity Is An Issue

Obesity is not an issue that is unique to Alabama, but the fact that it ranked 3rd in the state with the highest rate of obesity is a sign of concern. We mentioned Alabama barbeque earlier, which while it is traditional and delicious, is not among the healthiest of options, and there aren’t many in Alabama, to begin with. You can personally make the effort to make healthier choices, but it is more of a difficult feat to accomplish because the options to make those healthier choices are limited. If this is something that is significantly important to you, you can make it work, but it does take an exerted effort to do so.


17. Intense Real Estate Laws

Some states have some laws that just seem outright ridiculous. Some of the real estate laws that Alabama has can fall under that umbrella. Some of the laws include prohibiting homeowners from renting out their property for a period shorter than one month. Another law is the requirement to use a real estate agent for all real estate-related transactions. These laws are not only inconvenient for homeowners but also make it less accessible for people to have affordable housing.


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