We in Birmingham should be growing weary.
Another national publication has punished Birmingham with a low ranking.
Our self-esteem drops and our reputation is damaged.
But this is ironic, because the ranking, like many others, is neither accurate nor fair.
Birmingham ranked 6th worst city in America.
Here’s how 24/7Wall Street described Birmingham…
“Birmingham’s median home value of $84,400 is roughly $100,000 less than the national median home value. Low home values are often indicative of a poor population and a weak economy, and indeed, many area residents are struggling financially. The typical Birmingham household earns only $30,043 a year, and the city’s poverty rate of 30.5% is nearly double the national poverty rate.
Like many cities with pervasive poverty, Birmingham is a relatively dangerous place. The city’s violent crime rate of 1,588 incidents per 100,000 people is more than four times the national violent crime rate.”
Sounds pretty awful—but 24/7 Wall Street measured the City of Birmingham without its suburbs. Surrounding municipalities like Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Homewood, and Trussville were not included.
We are compared with other cities with their wealthier suburbs:
The City of Nashville includes all of Davidson County.
The City of Louisville includes all of Jefferson County.
The City of Jacksonville includes all of Duval County.
The City of Birmingham includes only the City of Birmingham—less than 1/3rd of the population of Jefferson County.
Nashville, Louisville, and Jacksonville have county-city governments. The city and the county are the same. Jefferson County Alabama includes 35+ municipalities.
No wonder income, property values, and crime appear to be grim in Birmingham.
Again the City of Birmingham is measured against broader geographic areas.
Birmingham is not even close to being one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.
- Birmingham 3,163
- Nashville 7,339
- Memphis 10,336
I could easily make a case that Birmingham is one of the most livable cities in America.
But in the meantime, we’ll continue to be negatively measured and judged because we have divided ourselves into multiple competing governments.
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David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).