Oh, sweet home Alabama! These are the lyrics to a song representing Alabama in its glory. These may glorify Alabama and the pride of the South, however, does Alabama remain glorified and worth living as this song suggests? Here we are going to explore reasons not to live in Alabama, specifically, Tuscaloosa, AL.
The only time people may have heard of Tuscaloosa, AL is for the University of Alabama. Yes, this is a college town and much more. Let’s now understand why one should not move to Tuscaloosa, AL, and embrace their culture and way of life.
1. University of Alabama
As mentioned just earlier, Tuscaloosa, AL is indeed a college town, and as we know, college towns tend to be naturally rowdy and loud. The city is heavily influenced by this university nearly everything is based around this university. This may be good for the enrolled students, but what about those who are not currently enrolled? Those who are simply residents of Tuscaloosa, AL must deal with the ongoing traffic of students and the busyness of the day-to-day life of a college student. This may include bad drivers, jaywalking individuals or groups, crowded local parks/shopping/ food areas, and finally, students studying everywhere. Overall, the pride and joy of the university are huge students can be found in every corner of the city.
2. Young Population
The city of Tuscaloosa, AL is by no means a small city. Not including the incoming students per semester, the baseline population for Tuscaloosa, AL is about 102,000 residents. Including the students, the size can increase drastically, in which also adjusts the median age for the city to 28 from the US’s median age of 37.4. Because of this young population, we should expect kids to do “kid” things, such as staying up late at night, being loud and noisy throughout the day, and following major trends that may be unattractive to everyone else. For those looking for a peaceful place to stay with nothing to bother them, Tuscaloosa is not the place for that. It is quite the opposite of what you would ever want.
3. Sports Fanatics
Next in line is the brief discussion about sports, and what can we say about the pride of sports in Alabama other than that it is insane? Though Alabama itself lacks any professional sports team to root for, it does have the University of Alabama. From I have been told by a former roommate who is into sports, states that the University of Alabama has one of the best basketball teams in its region. People go crazy for sports and will take any opportunity to see it in person and/or gather enough people for a watch party. The pride of these fanatics will turn a lot of individuals off and detract them from being caught in the crossfire of these major events.
4. Not Much to Do Outside College
Though we just said that sports bring many together for a time of party and socialization, there isn’t much else to do outside of that. In other words, most activities that are available in Tuscaloosa are college bound, meaning that nearly all of the activities at the University of Alabama are only offered to those enrolled at the school.
Sure, there are opportunities to be involved with the school without being a student, but it is better to know someone currently enrolled to have a connection and justification to be part of the activity. Focusing on non-enrolled students, what is there to do but to be bored and watch others having an enjoyable time than us? Not much. It will be boring for everyone who is not a part of the university and worth avoiding.
5. Noisy Neighborhoods
What we mean by this refers to the culture of a college town. No matter what time of day, there will always be a flow of chatter and noises of cars and footsteps. The nature of the college town means there will always be something going on, whether large or small, and there is a consistent noise that echoes through the streets and in your hallways. The actual residents in Tuscaloosa do not seem to be that bad, perhaps they are all too busy trying to avoid being a part of the college experience and not provide any more annoyance. Again, a noisy neighborhood does not mean the intensity, though it can be a factor, but instead the frequency of the noise. And for the college town, it is very frequent.
6. Bring Your Own Car
Other than Tuscaloosa’s downtown environment, there is nowhere else to travel without a vehicle. Using public transportation is an option, and in fact, the most common form of transportation for university students. To be frank, why would anyone dare to compete for a spot on this public transportation where it would far be convenient to own and operate your own transportation wherever and whenever? If you can, invest and operate your own vehicle. It will allow more freedom and ability for one to get to places that are not easily accessible through walking, and honestly, public transportation itself.
7. Horrendous Traffic
We did say having your own vehicle is the way to go when traveling to all other places outside downtown, however, we should warn you that traffic is going to be a nightmare, especially during large events such as the sporting events mentioned. Competing for space on the road and finding parking space is going to be a daily hassle for almost everyone.
Even bikers will have such issues with this. Let’s take sporting events as an example. During these events, we should expect a larger than usual crowd, and avoiding the road during that time is the key. Prepare to stay home when these happen to avoid being part of the problem: traffic congestion. If you are easily angered by road rage, make sure you are prepared to stay home or simply not live in Tuscaloosa, AL.
8. High Sales Tax Rate
The overall cost of living is not that bad in Tuscaloosa, AL, having almost all categories being significantly beneath, slightly above, or right at the US’s standard cost of living index mean of 100 with housing being the best at an index mean of 66.1, just 33.9 below the national average.
Though these are excellent numbers to see, what we should be concerned about is the sales tax. For all of 2022, the combined tax rate for Tuscaloosa, AL is 10%, while just Tuscaloosa by itself is 3% above the US average. Sale tax is any tax on any items listed for sale. This is a detriment for most purchases as they involve sold necessities such as groceries and personal hygiene. Good luck finding a nearby state to avoid sales tax as there are none nearby Alabama.
9. Cockroach Infestation
Anyone with a cockroach phobia, perhaps stay far away from this area and state as possible. The cockroach infestation is more common in Alabama and nearby states than in all others in the country. From what I have heard, anyone can come across cockroaches daily no matter where you are. Within your own home, on the streets, or in local stores, nowhere is safe from these pests and other related infestations. Bring the bug repellent, because, again, that is perhaps the only best option to combat the such severe infestation.
10. Phrases Could Be Seen as Insults
When moving to a different environment, it is best to learn the culture and the lingos that accompany them. One such is understanding how such phrases can be either good or bad, depending on where you are. For example, in Alabama, some phrases such as “roll tide” may be seen as a generous gesture towards others outside of the Alabama area, however, within Alabama, it is seen as a rude comment towards someone, and others will surely let you know.
This is very important to be culturally aware and even then, one may not know everything that one must know in order to fit in. If you are not good at adapting effectively to new environments such as having to learn and understand new meanings of phrases, remain where you are.
11. Unpredictable Weather
From what I have heard from native Alabama residents and those visiting, is that the weather can be severe and unpredictable. I can compare this to Washington state in that the weather will change on a dime on its own schedule. The schedule of the weather change is unpredictable so one does not know whether to bring shorts or a raincoat. It is best to bring a little of everything to adapt to any extreme weather change. When it comes to severe weather, hurricanes are a popular type of natural disaster that can strike at any moment. Safe to say that no one is satisfied with the weather, no matter how naive they are to Tuscaloosa and Alabama.
12. Sunday Restrictions
For Alabama, it is surprising to me that most stores are closed on Sundays, but then again, Alabama and nearby states are considered some of the most religious states in the nation. This is also known as the Bible Belt, and they are influenced by religion.
Just as states such as Utah are influenced by the Mormon church, Alabama is heavily influenced by a multiplicity of Christian faiths. From this, most places abide by the belief that working on Sundays is not required and should be dedicated to the Lord through prayer and family gatherings. People who enjoy their weekends, which include Sundays, will see their weekends shortened when they realize that Sundays are no longer in their weekly routine. Sundays will be boring for most non-religious.
13. Hard to Attain Alcohol
Again, influenced by the religious aspect, alcohol is hard to attain and in large quantities. Examples are that alcohol is only offered in government-owned locations where alcohol is managed to prevent large buys and irresponsible buyers. Restrictions on alcohol are nearly the same as restrictions for it in places like Utah. The alcohol limit is still .08%, unlike Utah where it is harsher at .05%. Though the percentage is no different from the US standard, higher patrols for drunk driving are present and harsher punishments are enforced. If you enjoy your alcohol, either be careful when handling such drinks in this area or find another place where religious influence is not present.
14. Ranked Low for Quality of Life
For an overall ranking in crime, obesity rate, poverty, and education programs, Alabama in its entirety are ranked as one of the lowest quality of life states. It seems that though the housing market is cheap, it does not satisfy the rest of the issues that the state has. Even the city of Tuscaloosa is subject to such poor quality. Again, if we ignore the college aspect, everything outside is lacking in anything. The city must be part of the university as much as possible to remain presentable and livable. Even if you are a student, if you graduate, make sure to move out as fast as possible to avoid being involved in Alabama’s struggle to break out of its low quality.
15. Segregation Still Remains
What we mean by this is that people still choose to be segregated at times, rather than being bound by law before the civil rights movement. Though the regression of the African American citizens was removed, people naturally retained their segregated outlook, not out of hatred, but to keep close to like-minded people with similar beliefs and interests. They enjoy individualism within their friend and family groups. They will accept that outside of their circle but are not willing to go out to be part of others themselves. This may not be seen as a major issue anymore, but some may feel like outcasts from other groups that do not share their own interests and beliefs.
16. Southerner’s Reputation
For our last segments, we will briefly address the stigma that the South receives and Alabama itself. Firstly, the South gets a bad rep for being hillbillies, racist, gun owners, accents, and religious. The only good “bad rep” is the religious aspect, but everything else gets more negative than positive. Moving to the South will label you as a southerner and everything that comes with the South may or may not be acceptable to you. No one will care where you came from previously, but once you are part of the South for the long term, you will only be seen as the South and its known stereotypes.
17. Poor Jobs Offered
Since Tuscaloosa is a small town and a college one, it is common to have menial jobs that tailor more to the students and not for those who are looking for another professional job. Nearly everything inside this city is only for the students. The “real” jobs are mainly found outside the city and traveling will be required. Local jobs are basic retail, fast food, and campus jobs. The only well-paying job that a non-student may exist in Tuscaloosa is being a professor themselves. If trying to find any job, you will also fight for a position as one of many students who are wanting to pay for college and other payments.