The Magic City
Founded in 1871, Birmingham soon blossomed into an industrial center and was known for its iron and steel production. The city's rapid growth in its infancy in the late 19th century earned it the nickname "The Magic City," but the magic didn't stop there. Low cost of living, low unemployment (the second lowest among metro areas in the Southeast), steady job growth, a now-diversified economy and the fastest income growth in the South make Birmingham an excellent place to live and work. Such excellence receives attention.
- Birmingham is listed among the most affordable 150 cities in the United States and is praised for its diverse residents and affordable housing prices in the book Life 2.0: How People Across America Are Transforming Their Lives by Finding the Where of Their Happiness.
- The Birmingham metro area ranks not only regionally but nationally for income growth rate. A national study using figures from the latest Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the area's income growth rate at seventh in the entire country over a 20-year period.
- Birmingham was named one of the 20 most livable cities in the United States by Washington, D.C.-based Partners for Livable Communities in 2004 - thanks in part to its weather, which allows residents and visitors to enjoy the city's wide variety of attractions on a year-round basis.
- In 2005, Expansion Management magazine ranked metropolitan Birmingham 15th among "America's 50 Hottest Cities" ahead of Salt Lake City, Chicago, Miami, Memphis, and Raleigh-Durham. Learn more from the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau and Operation New Birmingham.
- Birmingham International Airport, Alabama's largest airport, ranks in the country's top 75 in terms of passengers served annually. It provides service to 50 cities with more than 160 arrivals and departures each day.
The Diverse City
Because of its legacy as a crucible for the Civil Rights movement, Birmingham has become, to quote the legend on the statue at historic Kelly Ingram Park, "a place of revolution and reconciliation." That park, the Civil Rights Institute, and the 16th Street Baptist Church all stand as reminders of the struggles so many endured in the pursuit of justice.
Diversity Fact File
- The Birmingham metro area had a population of more than 1 million as of the 2000 census. Of those, 69.9 percent were white, 27.6 percent were black, and 2.5 percent were of another race; 48 percent were women, and 52 percent were men.
- In 2004, Black Enterprise magazine named Birmingham in the Top 10 U.S. cities for African-Americans to work, live, and play, with the highest percentage of African-American homeowners of any of the Top 10 (58 percent).
- In 2005, DiversityBusiness.com ranked three Birmingham businesses on its list of the Top 500 women-owned businesses in the country. Two made the Top 50, and one, Mayer Electric Supply Co., made the Top 10.
- Birmingham's commitment to diversity is such that the Birmingham Pledge Foundation has been established to recognize the dignity of all people and encourage respect.