The 10 Worst Birmingham Suburbs For 2021


We used science and data to determine which Birmingham suburbs are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst suburbs around Birmingham.

Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Birmingham.

So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?

Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Birmingham 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Birmingham area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Birmingham proper, although Mountain Brook certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Birmingham are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..

We examined the 40 biggest suburbs of Birmingham to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in alabama lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Birmingham in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Birmingham for 2021:

  1. Cordova
  2. Dora
  3. Tarrant
  4. Bessemer
  5. Brighton
  6. Adamsville
  7. Warrior
  8. Midfield
  9. Columbiana
  10. Center Point

What's the worst suburb of Birmingham? Cordova ranks as the worst suburb of Birmingham for 2021 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Birmingham that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.

Or, if you're thinking of moving to elsewhere in alabama check out the best places in alabama overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Birmingham too.

Editor's Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it's because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

For more Alabama reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Birmingham Suburbs To Live For 2021

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,006
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $29,606 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.2% (highest)
Median Home Value: $64,100 (2nd lowest)
More on Cordova:  Data

We'll get the ball rolling with Cordova, the absolute worst place to live around Birmingham according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Cordova beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 2nd worst in the Birmingham area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 2nd worst when it comes to home values.

But hey, at least it's cheap to live there. But there's a reason for that... it's Cordova.

You won't feel bad about not having a great income for the area, there aren't a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,209
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $35,536 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.6% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $103,700 (10th lowest)
More on Dora:  Data

Welcome to Dora. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 21.5 miles to Birmingham. Income levels here are the 6th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $35,536 a year, which doesn't go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

Tarrant, AL

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 6,174
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $30,485 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $78,200 (5th lowest)
More on Tarrant:  Data | Photos

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Birmingham suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Tarrant on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that's an understatement.

In terms of numbers, it's in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school drop out rate is poor compared to other Birmingham suburbs.

But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.

Bessemer, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 26,680
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $32,301 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $86,500 (6th lowest)
More on Bessemer:  Data | Photos

If you live in Bessemer, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 5th lowest Birmingham suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 2nd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Birmingham. Remember, we looked at 40 cities for this study.

Bessemer is about 14.7 miles to downtown.

Brighton, AL

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,810
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $27,250 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.2% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $49,800 (lowest)
More on Brighton:  Data | Photos

Brighton has the distinction of being a Birmingham suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Brighton has the lowest home values in the metro Birmingham area, where the median price is $49,800. To put that into perspective, in Mountain Brook, the median income is $152,355, which is the best in the area.

Brighton has an unemployment rate of 11.17% which ranks 6th worst.

Adamsville, AL

Source: Wikipedia User |
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 4,340
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $46,322 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $101,700 (9th lowest)
More on Adamsville:  Data | Photos

Adamsville has 4,340 residents that probably know it's a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you've ever been there, you don't need to look at the data.)

Incomes are towards the bottom and the poverty rate sits at 23.696461824953445%.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,214
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $31,074 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (2highest)
Median Home Value: $108,900 (11th lowest)
More on Warrior:  Data

Ah, Warrior. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Birmingham.

It's the place with the 2most out of work residents in the Birmingham metro area (3.76%).

Midfield, AL

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,085
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $38,750 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $73,600 (3rd lowest)
More on Midfield:  Data | Photos

Midfield is a city about 8.7 miles from Birmingham, but Birmingham probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.

You'd be hard pressed to find a worse place to live. Midfield has the 2nd most uninsured people, 8th worst incomes, and has the 11th highest unemployment rate (7.92%) in the entire Birmingham metro area.

Homes only cost $73,600 for a reason. That's cheap for Birmingham standards.

Columbiana, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 4,481
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $36,583 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.5% (32nd highest)
Median Home Value: $125,000 (13th lowest)
More on Columbiana:  Data | Photos

If you absolutely have to live near Birmingham, then Columbiana might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Birmingham suburb.

About 2.46% of residents are out of work.

Center Point, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 16,353
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Income: $43,515 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $97,800 (7th lowest)
More on Center Point:  Data | Photos

Rounding out the ten worst Birmingham suburbs to call home is Center Point.

Located 10.4 miles outside the city, Center Points is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 7th highest unemployment rate (11.09%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Birmingham for 2021

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2015-2019, this is the criteria we used:

  • High unemployment rate
  • Low median household incomes
  • Low population density (no things to do)
  • Low home values
  • A lot of high school drop outs
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Birmingham.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 40 suburbs to evaluate around Birmingham.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 40 in each category, where 1 was the "worst".

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index the "Worst Suburb near Birmingham." We're lookin' at you, Cordova. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.

The areas around Birmingham where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2021

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Birmingham with Cordova casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Birmingham aren't all bad. Mountain Brook takes the cake as the best place to live around Birmingham.

  • Mountain Brook
  • Vestavia Hills
  • Helena

For more Alabama reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Birmingham Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Cordova 2,006 $29,606 $64,100
2 Dora 2,209 $35,536 $103,700
3 Tarrant 6,174 $30,485 $78,200
4 Bessemer 26,680 $32,301 $86,500
5 Brighton 2,810 $27,250 $49,800
6 Adamsville 4,340 $46,322 $101,700
7 Warrior 3,214 $31,074 $108,900
8 Midfield 5,085 $38,750 $73,600
9 Columbiana 4,481 $36,583 $125,000
10 Center Point 16,353 $43,515 $97,800
11 Sumiton 2,472 $44,293 $128,900
12 Fairfield 10,720 $40,652 $99,100
13 Wilsonville 2,268 $58,375 $154,400
14 Irondale 12,637 $56,445 $142,500
15 Montevallo 6,693 $49,650 $160,300
16 Hueytown 15,540 $51,519 $116,700
17 Fultondale 9,179 $62,825 $147,700
18 Mount Olive 2,062 $50,865 $73,700
19 Leeds 12,600 $60,863 $160,500
20 Moody 12,840 $63,607 $162,200
21 Argo 4,220 $72,643 $182,800
22 Alabaster 33,176 $80,072 $173,000
23 Gardendale 14,016 $72,351 $171,700
24 Pinson 7,109 $69,764 $137,400
25 Calera 13,856 $61,594 $148,000
26 Pelham 23,428 $80,510 $189,000
27 Pleasant Grove 9,651 $70,526 $157,400
28 Margaret 4,819 $72,200 $152,900
29 Odenville 3,848 $82,582 $158,900
30 Clay 9,888 $74,387 $155,000
31 Chelsea 13,098 $97,727 $232,700
32 Lake View 2,452 $82,455 $208,400
33 Hoover 85,175 $89,452 $291,000
34 Springville 4,257 $83,488 $214,900
35 Trussville 21,876 $97,226 $255,100
36 Kimberly 3,444 $82,647 $195,800
37 Homewood 25,534 $84,157 $347,800
38 Helena 18,463 $87,781 $195,100
39 Vestavia Hills 34,307 $109,485 $376,200
40 Mountain Brook 20,436 $152,355 $628,800

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