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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.
What's the worst suburb of Birmingham? Warrior ranks as the worst suburb of Birmingham for 2022 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.
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 2022
We'll get the ball rolling with Warrior, the absolute worst place to live around Birmingham according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Warrior beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 4th worst in the Birmingham area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 12th 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 Warrior.
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.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 6)
Median Income: $34,620 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $116,000 (12th lowest)
More on Warrior: Data
Welcome to Bessemer. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 14.7 miles to Birmingham. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $30,284 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.
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.
If you live in Adamsville, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 10th lowest Birmingham suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 4th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Birmingham. Remember, we looked at 40 cities for this study.
Adamsville is about 11.5 miles to downtown.
Dora has the distinction of being a Birmingham suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Dora has the 10th lowest home values in the metro Birmingham area, where the median price is $100,200. To put that into perspective, in Mountain Brook, the median income is $152,646, which is the best in the area.
Dora has an unemployment rate of 8.32% which ranks 9th worst.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 4)
Median Income: $50,195 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $100,200 (10th lowest)
More on Dora: Data
Brighton has 2,873 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 35.45067423704755%.
Ah, Lipscomb. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Birmingham.
It's the place with the 13th most out of work residents in the Birmingham metro area (7.34%).
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $35,417 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $79,300 (4th lowest)
More on Lipscomb: Data
Graysville is a city about 13.2 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. Graysville has the 22nd most uninsured people, 13th worst incomes, and has the 3rd highest unemployment rate (12.08%) in the entire Birmingham metro area.
Homes only cost $92,200 for a reason. That's cheap for Birmingham standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Birmingham, then Midfield might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Birmingham suburb.
About 9.06% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Birmingham suburbs to call home is Wilsonville.
Located 26.6 miles outside the city, Wilsonvilles is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the highest unemployment rate (15.1%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Median Income: $56,786 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.1% (highest)
Median Home Value: $164,100 (24th lowest)
More on Wilsonville: Data
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Birmingham for 2022
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 2016-2020, 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, Warrior. 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.
Summary: The areas around Birmingham where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022
Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Birmingham with Warrior 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
For more Alabama reading, check out:
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- Worst Places To Live In Alabama
Detailed List Of The Worst Birmingham Suburbs