Generally, the south is known to have its own culture. This generally includes thick accents, churches on every corner, cotton fields, and a cup of tea on the front porch. Many of these stereotypes and more wonderful southern traits can be found in Huntsville, Alabama.
However, it is all too simple to find raving praises about the city online or in conversation. It is best to learn the good and the bad before making a move to a new city, so this article explains some of the reasons that Huntsville, Alabama may not be the best place for you.
1. Huge Bugs
When living in Huntsville, you will quickly learn that some types of pest management, control, or efforts are more than simply a suggestion. They are a must!
There are all kinds of pests in the area that are itching to enter and inhabit your home. Some of the most common pests include cockroaches (predictable of the south), hornets, huge mosquitos, regular and fire ants, love bugs, and even small rodents like lizards or scorpions! Residents often hire a pest control business to spray their entire property with strong repellants, but many even spray other repellants themselves to be safe!
2. Extreme Bible Belt
This is, clearly, something that would be more of a positive aspect of the city to many people. However, to some potential newcomers, moving into the thick of the Southern Bible Belt sounds far from appealing. If moving to Huntsville, know that nearly everyone attends a church, and there are plenty of options to choose from! True to the south, there are churches on every corner around town.
Discussing the sermon on Sunday, church choir songs, or favorite bible verses will all be common topics of conversation in town. When moving into town, it would be wise to keep an open mind to religion and join in on the activities! Church groups and communities are a family to people in the south and can help you make a lot of friends very quickly.
Obviously, people who are not religious can also enjoy living in Huntsville, as being religious is absolutely not a requirement to live here by any means. It is important to keep in mind, however, that this is a large aspect of life in the city and will be difficult to avoid discussing.
3. Confederate Flags and Racism
This will be extremely important to understand if you are moving to Huntsville, Alabama, or nearly anywhere else in the deep south. Many southern residents, but not all, still harbor some beliefs that slavery was not wrong and that the northern states had no business ruining their way of life.
It will not be uncommon to see confederate flags flying in front of homes, on signs, or on cars throughout the city. For some, it is a way of being true to these beliefs, and for others, it simply represents their southern heritage and history. Either way, newcomers should be prepared for this, as it is rather largely present in southern culture.
There will likely also be other Confederate mementos such as statues of Confederate generals or other references to the Civil War. For anyone that will be unsettled or upset by this, it would be best to steer clear of all southern states, including Alabama.
4. Town Hero is Ex Nazi Leader Von Braun
It is a bit difficult to explain this point, but I suppose it begins with the city’s rocket obsession. The city hero is Von Braun, who was a Nazi who used Jews for slave labor in the manufacturing of V2s. Clearly, his record was whitewashed prior to his arrival in the town, and residents will be staunchly defiant in declaring the man free of all involved with the Nazi group or Germany’s role in World War II.
They will, however, speak of Braun’s creation of rockets! He is responsible for the Saturn V, and other famous projects in the town. There is a Civic Center in his name in the town, and a Redstone Arsenal complex named after him as well!
5. Highly Conservative
Again, this may be a pro for some potential newcomers, but it is also a downside for many. The city is very strongly Republican, and many residents are vocal in discussing these beliefs. Having liberal views on nearly any topic is likely to create tension in one way or another with other people in Huntsville.
6. Very Humid
The average humidity in Huntsville, Alabama ranges from 74% to 100% throughout the year. The area is known to experience weather extremes, and humidity levels are no exception. In the summer, intense heat and high temperatures are not the only sources that will suck energy from you just by walking outside. The air is also thick with moisture, and the humidity will leave you feeling wet, sweaty, and hot within minutes.
Humidity also impacts a variety of other areas in everyday life. Baking and cooking need to be catered to the humidity in the area, and recipes generally require adjustments when made in dry areas. Mold grows much more quickly with humidity, and you will need to wipe down surfaces regularly to avoid this quick growth. Moisture will also begin to collect more quickly in many containers. Hair will react differently in humid or dry environments as well.
7. Tornado Alley
Northern Alabama is one of the most dangerous areas in tornado alley. In fact, Huntsville was ranked as #1 in a ranking of top tornado cities in the United States in 2013! Moving to the city will place you at great risk of experiencing a tornado. Schools will prepare kids for emergency tornado procedures, and it will be important to have emergency plans prepared in your home and with your family as well.
8. Pouring Rain, Some Snow
The average amount of rainfall in the United States is about 38 inches per year. Huntsville receives a lot of rain yearly, especially in the month of July. August, September, October, November, and December are part of the drier season in the area. On average, Huntsville receives about 55 inches of rain per year! This is 17 inches above the national average! When moving here, be ready for some rain showers and storms.
While it is located in the southern United States, Huntsville is also in Northern Alabama, rather than the southern half of the state which consists of areas on and nearby the coast. With this distance from the hotter temperatures and coastal areas, Huntsville receives an average of 2 inches of snow per year.
The population of the city is approximately 199,845 people according to the 2020 census. With a city that is rather spread out, and just below 200,000 residents, Huntsville is a rather small city. It doesn’t have the everyone-knows-everyone truly small-town feel, but Huntsville is far from being labeled a big or lively city.
10. Miserably Hot Summers
Summer temperatures in Huntsville keep heat levels high in the area. From June through August, the lows are in the mid-70s and reach triple digits on some occasions. With high temperatures being added to the humidity in the area, and strong rainfall, Huntsville has wet and miserably hot summer months. On average, the summer temperatures rarely drop below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night, and generally stay around 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
11. Need a Car
While it is normal for most US citizens to need cars, this is true of Huntsville. The city is rather spread out, and taxis and other transportation options are not always reliable. Residential areas are a good distance from city businesses, and even within the city, there are large distances to cover in traveling from one location to another. All in all, it would be best to have a car when living in Huntsville. It will save you a lot of time and a lot of stress in locating public transportation and praying it will arrive on time.
12. Rocket City, Everyone is a Rocket Scientist Here
One of the most famous aspects of Huntsville is that the city is all about rockets. Seriously, almost everyone who lives there is a rocket scientist! The city has a rocket and space theme. Restaurants, art, gas stations, you name it! There are rockets, missiles, spacecraft, and stars all over the city. Huntsville loves its rockets.
The city is home to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command, which are both largely responsible for this theme. You are more than likely to hear thick southern accents discussing engineers and rocket science around town. One thing is for sure, if you don’t love rockets, you will most likely need to change your mind or move to another city. They are a pretty big deal here in Huntsville.
13. Disappointing School System
While the school system in the area receives good ratings in online statistics and test scores, parents of students attending there tend to have many issues with it. Some of the most common complaints from parents of students attending public schools include persistent bullying, segregation issues, lack of attention from staff members, and more.
In fact, many parents in the area have had such strong issues with the Huntsville City Schools that several have even gone as far as to enroll their children in private school or choose to homeschool their children so they don’t have to deal with the Huntsville public schooling system.
14. Crime Rates
As in any other city, there are crimes committed among residents. Some areas of Huntsville are safer than others, but these kinds of events do occur. In Huntsville, you have a 1 in 42 chance of being the victim of a crime.
The overall crime rate in the city is even 3% higher than the national average. This is concerningly high, and something that should be considered before moving to the area permanently or even temporarily.
15. Everything is Closed on Sundays
Being such a strongly religious area, almost everyone attends church. In fact, the whole city respects Sundays as a day of rest and worship. You will quickly find that the city respects this as well! There are many stores, restaurants, and local businesses that are closed on Sundays every week. Residents are best to grow accustomed to making purchases on Saturdays or weekdays.
For those with religious beliefs that encourage the avoidance of purchases on Sundays, this will make little difference in your day-to-day life. However, anyone who does purchase things on Sundays will most likely find this to be an incredibly inconvenient annoyance, especially when in dire need of something that day that they failed to purchase before.
16. Have You Ever Heard of Indoor Football?
Have you ever heard of indoor football? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t, in fact, most people are not familiar with the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL). Residents of Huntsville, however, are well acquainted with the practice. The Alabama Hammers play in Huntsville and are gaining popularity quickly. Supporting the team and watching the games will help you win some fast friends in the city. Conversations, social groups, events, and other outings are often centered around football games, schedules, and victories.
While it may seem off at first, indoor football will definitely grow on you when you can watch from an air-conditioned arena rather than in the blazing heat outside!
17. Use Lots of Strong Weed Killers
This may seem odd, but many locals have commented on the strong weed killers used throughout the city in both public and residential areas. With strong sunlight, high humidity, and lots of rain, Huntsville is a pristine location for thriving plant life of all kinds.
Unfortunately, it is not always the kind of growth that property owners wish to encourage. With the crazy growth rates, residents are known to implement the use of weed killers to keep the plants at bay. In early fall, the herbicide is sprayed on all of the cotton fields as well.
Increasing winds kick up pollen and strong pesticides that can cause allergies and other issues for some people. In fact, it is not uncommon for some people who have strong reactions to quietly move out of town around springtime once they realize how severe their reaction is.