Article Table Of Contents
People from Alabama are really passionate about being from Alabama. As a state, Alabama doesn't necessarily get a lot of media attention, but it's also a quiet gem, tucked away in the deep south.
This article isn't a knock on Alabama, it's just a scientific analysis on where the worst places to live there are. Of course, there are a lot of awesome places to live in Alabama. This is, though, isn't that. It's the opposite.
It's the places you don't want to live in.
After analyzing 100 of the largest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Alabama:
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we're picking on small town America, that's not the case.
We understand there's a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn't measure things like beauty and 'friendly people'), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Alabama? That would be Tarrant.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.
For more Alabama reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Alabama For 2021
Tarrant, where there's absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the worst city in Alabama.
Besides the lack of pure amenities, Tarrant has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 11.4%, and families earn around $30,485 a year. It's also the 10th highest in Alabama for crime, where 1 in 44.3 people gets robbed every year.
Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?
The city of Bessemer, a Birmingham suburb, has tried to rebound from a loss of manufacturing and railroad jobs, but its population has shrunk nearly 20% in the last 20 years.
The hometown for NFL quarterback Jameis Winston has very bad crime (10th worst) and an employment rate that's nearly the highest for cities of its size 14.9%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
Atmore, a Mobile suburb, is the smallest city on our entire list. As Alan Jackson says, "It's alright to be itty bitty", but when you have a high unemployment rate, 1 in 6 houses are vacant, and household incomes are far below the state average, it's not the first place you might want to move to.
On the bright side, Atmore has more sunny days a year than almost any other place in Alabama. And former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield was born there, so they have that going for them.
The unemployment rate in Midfield is a sky high 7.9%, which is the 26th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Midfield is $38,750. That means 23.5% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn't horrible here, but you have a 1 in 44.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within city limits every year.
The same problems that plague other cities on the list also affect Clanton. The only real difference is Clanton is a tiny bit safer, and the schools are rated a lot higher in terms of resources for students.
However, the unemployment rate in Clanton is at 6.6%, which is the 33rd worst in Alabama. And households earn a combined $44,782 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in Clanton is merely $131,700.
Clanton is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.
Eric Church recently released a song praising Talladega as being a fun place for boyhood memories (not sure if he actually spent time there or not). Nowadays, Talladega is a fairly dangerous place, statistically, with a household income much lower than the state average.
Like other places on this list, Talladega has failed to adjust to a new economy, as the population and overall economic output has shrunk in the last 30 years.
If you live in Birmingham, you're either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn't matter, because science says it's the 7th worst place to live in the state.
You've got the 10th highest crime rate in Alabama, which saw 80 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 44.3 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 747 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Birmingham.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Birmingham sports the state's 19th highest unemployment rate (9.0%), and families bring in a combined $37,375 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $91,100.
Prichard, a Mobile suburb, has the 7th lowest income in Alabama. The unemployment rate here is almost higher than in any other place in Alabama, and nearly 1 in 5 homes is vacant.
Additionally, Prichard is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings, and has seen its population cut in half over the last 20 years.
Anniston is out in an area on its own, about an hour drive east of Birmingham. In 2002, it was determined by 60 Minutes that Anniston was one of the highest-contaminated cities in the country.
Crime is bad here, houses are vacant, and the unemployment rate is nearly 1 in 9.9. As several residents of Anniston said on City-Data, don't move there.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Alabama, Center Point came in 10th. Let's see why.
When you're comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Alabama residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Alabama, you can see some really big differences. In Center Point, the number of people out of work is 11.1%
In Alabama, that's the 10th highest in the state.
The residents in Center Point have the 4lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Center Point average $43,515 a year. Which isn't too shabby in comparison to the other 'lowest' income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $97,800 on average. That's the 20th lowest in the state.
How we determined the worst places to live in Alabama 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 don't think it's a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight -- if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered -- leaving 100 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 100 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one "Worst Place To Live Score".
Finally, we ranked every city on the "Worst Place To Live Score" with the lowest score being the worst city in Alabama -- Tarrant. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Alabama. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Alabama
If you're looking at areas in Alabama with the worst economic situations, where there's higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Tarrant ranks as the worst city to live in Alabama for 2021.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Alabama:
- Homewood (Pop. 25,534)
- Mountain Brook (Pop. 20,436)
- Madison (Pop. 49,327)
For more Alabama reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Alabama?