Category Archives: Population

3 hellish numbers wrecking Birmingham

Hellish number wrecking Birmingham
Hellish number wrecking Birmingham

Here are those ‘hellish’ numbers:  37, 53, and 24.

But you will have to see the list at the end of this piece to understand the magnitude of the problem.

Let’s start with a question:  Would you know where to drive if I invited you to lunch in North Johns?

How about Maytown?

Or Sylvan Springs?

Don’t know where these cities are located?

Well you should. Continue reading 3 hellish numbers wrecking Birmingham

Birmingham is surprisingly awesome

Rotary Trail--Birmingham is surprisingly awesome
Rotary Trail–Birmingham is surprisingly awesome (Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Birmingham)

Surprisingly Awesome is my favorite podcast.  Each episode explores topics that would put most people to sleep, but the show makes boring topics interesting and fun.

Subjects like pigeons, mold, or concrete become fascinating.

Birmingham, Alabama would be the perfect topic for the show.

Birmingham may sound boring—but Birmingham is Surprisingly Awesome. Continue reading Birmingham is surprisingly awesome

Did Birmingham blow its one big chance?

Alabama's four largest cities
Alabama’s four largest cities–Birmingham’s population has been in free fall

I got into a heated conversation with a good friend.

She told me she read that Huntsville may soon pass Birmingham as the largest city in Alabama–and was sure Birmingham would soon be relegated to second place.

This made no sense to me.

Who really cares if the City of  Huntsville is bigger than the City of Birmingham because Metropolitan Birmingham is nearly three times as large as Metropolitan Huntsville.

Huntsville’s not even in the same league as Birmingham.  Continue reading Did Birmingham blow its one big chance?

Atlanta more screwed up than Birmingham

Atlanta traffic
Atlanta traffic can sometimes be out of control

I have mixed emotions about Atlanta.

There’s no doubt I feel a certain amount of envy —probably because I grew up in the ‘50’s when Birmingham and Atlanta were about the same size. I have fond memories of my dad taking me to Rickwood Field to root for the Birmingham Barons when we played the evil Atlanta Crackers in Southern League baseball. Continue reading Atlanta more screwed up than Birmingham

Alabama: A great State unless you are black, gay, or Hispanic

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore
Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore

I recently wrote a piece, “Birmingham punished for being in Alabama,” where I pointed out that job growth in Birmingham and around the state has been relatively flat while other cities in the South are flourishing.

Our Birmingham-Hoover seven county metropolitan area has fewer people working now than we did at the beginning of the recession.

I regularly blame Birmingham’s lack of job growth on too many competing governments, but being located in Alabama is not a positive. Continue reading Alabama: A great State unless you are black, gay, or Hispanic

Nashville whipping Birmingham’s butt


I’m jealous.

I recently read a piece in the Nashville Business Journal that made me ill.

The nausea was amplified by the memories of a humiliating Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA) trip I took with about one hundred corporate, community, and political leaders to Nashville ten years ago.

None of us were prepared for the way we were mistreated.  One Nashville speaker called us racists; another attacked our healthcare industry; and third referred to Birmingham as ‘Bombingham.’  (Nashville spits on Birmingham)

Continue reading Nashville whipping Birmingham’s butt

The hole in Jefferson County no one seems to know about

HoleWhere are they?

At first I thought they had moved to surrounding counties—and some did, but that’s not the hole story.

It’s common knowledge that Jefferson County’s population is stagnant—but I got curious about the details.

According to the 2010 Census, Jefferson County lost .5% of its population from 2000-2010– 662,047 to 658,466.

Not a big deal –we only lost 3,581 people.

But then I found the hole. Continue reading The hole in Jefferson County no one seems to know about

Is Birmingham destined to become a suburb of Atlanta?

The Southeast in 2060
The Southeast in 2060

Folks in Birmingham squabble a lot, but there’s one thing we agree on —none of us want Birmingham to become another Atlanta.

Because the growth of metropolitan Birmingham has been so slow, I haven’t spent much time worrying about Birmingham getting too big.  In fact, I’ve been much more concerned about Birmingham staying the size of Birmingham.

Then I read that researchers from North Carolina State project that the South’s explosive growth rate for the past 60 years will continue and metropolitan Birmingham could be part of an “urban megalopolis” by 2060. Continue reading Is Birmingham destined to become a suburb of Atlanta?

This number will scare the bejeebies out of you

Birmingham job growthDo you have bejeebies?

If you do, your bejeebies will be obliterated when you see the one  depressing statistic that best describes the economic health of metropolitan Birmingham.

Please note we’re not talking about just the City of Birmingham or Jefferson County.  We’re talking about the Birmingham Hoover Metropolitan area—defined by our seven counties: Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby, and Walker.

So the folks in our suburbs are impacted by this number just as much as our local residents.

What is that statistic?

Continue reading This number will scare the bejeebies out of you

An idea that would transform Birmingham

Sam Addy
Sam Addy, Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama

How about an idea most people think would transform Birmingham–but they will not consider because they think it would be impossible to implement?

You may say we don’t need to do anything different because we’re making progress.  We are making progress, but let‘s look at how metro Birmingham compares to our regional rivals in several key areas. (Birmingham Business Journal January 10, 2014).

Comparison of eight peer cities:  Birmingham, Austin, Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City: Continue reading An idea that would transform Birmingham