Birmingham, Alabama is the largest city in the state of Alabama, with around 250,000 people in Birmingham. Around a million people live in the Birmingham metropolitan area. Birmingham and its environs is home to 24% of Alabama’s total population.
Birmingham’s demographics have changed radically since the 1960s due to white flight to the suburbs; about three quarters of the population is now black. Birmingham’s population within the urban core has dropped from 340,000 in 1960 to less than 250,000 today. Some of the biggest suburbs of Birmingham are Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Alabaster and Bessemer. There are 33 separate municipalities in Jefferson County, most of which have grown since the 1960s.
Birmingham, Alabama is in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains.
Birmingham is in a temperate or subtropical region, with an average low of 51F, with an average high of 65 F.
Birmingham proper sprawls over 151 square miles. Its metropolitan area encompasses 5,332 square miles of 6 Alabama counties: Bibb County, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker Counties.
Birmingham is flanked by parallel mountain ridges. Red Mountain is to the south. Sand Mountain is to the north. Ruffner Mountain is to the east and home to a large urban nature reserve.
Birmingham was founded by investors who hoped to develop an industrial base off of low cost local labor, much of which was former slaves and farm laborers. The railroad crossing held large amounts of limestone, coal and iron ore all in close proximity; Birmingham is one of the few places in the world where all three are found abundantly close by. Birmingham quickly became a major steel producer.
Birmingham, Alabama generates around a third of all payroll dollars earned in the state.
There are two major railroads that cross-sect in the city. Birmingham was founded in 1871 by the merging of three existing towns with the intent of capitalizing on the railroad intersection. By 1880, 3000 people lived there.
Because Birmingham was a major steel producer, it has been called the “Pittsburg of the South”. (It is also nicknamed the Magic City.) CMC Steel, U.S. Steel, Nucor and McWayne have facilities in Birmingham. Vulcan Materials Company, a gravel and crushed stone provider, is also based in Birmingham.
The largest employers in the Birmingham metropolitan area are the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Jefferson County Public Schools, Bell South (the phone company) and the Baptist Medical health network. Regions Financial has its headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama and owns one of the tallest buildings in the city.
There are three universities, four colleges, four junior colleges and several technical schools in Birmingham. The University of Alabama campus is the larger, hosting a dental school, medical school and several law schools.
Birmingham, Alabama is a home of the Southeastern Conference, a sports association that competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Railroad cars and rails were manufactured there since the 1870s.
Birmingham in History
Birmingham is sometimes called the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement. It is the home of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a group Martin Luther King Jr. founded after the Montgomery bus boycott’s success. Dr. King is famous for writing a major treatise from the Birmingham jail.
Birmingham, Alabama is named for Birmingham, England.