Birmingham slammed twice by national publication

Creek along Jemison Train, Mountain Brook--calm and peaceful
Jemison Trail, Mountain Brook, located in our Birmingham region (no stress here) Photo by Barry Leff

Okay, we were embarrassed again…

…actually twice within two weeks by the same publication.

But I keep having this unsettling thought.

What if we live in one of the most livable cities in America, but these preposterous loony rankings convince us and people elsewhere that we’re a bunch of losers?

WalletHub recently published “2016’s Best-Run Cities in America.”

Birmingham ranked 128th out of 150 cities.

The Birmingham Business Journal quickly followed with the headline, Birmingham receives low ranking for city management.

Then YellowHammer piled on,Birmingham ranked one of the worst-run cities in America.”

Tweets and retweets spread the bad news everywhere.

But the ranking is baloney.

First of all, the study shows nothing about how well the City of Birmingham is managed. Financial stability was measured, but Birmingham’s finances remain in good order. The other measures have nothing to do with governance.

WalletHub says it “examined each city’s performance on six key indicators, including financial stability, education, health, safety, economy as well as infrastructure and pollution.”

As usual, the city of Birmingham was ranked without its wealthier suburbs against cities like Louisville, Kentucky which has a county-city government. (Louisville combined its county and city government in 2003)

Louisville, which includes all of Jefferson County Kentucky, ranked 26th and Birmingham, which includes less than 1/3 of Jefferson County Alabama, ranked 128th.

Making matters worse, a week earlier, WalletHub, rated Birmingham the 3rd most stressful city in America—based on high divorce and crime rate, percentage of adults in fair/poor health or who had been diagnosed with depression, suicide rates, average weekly work hours and unemployment rates.  WalletHub again measured Birmingham without its suburbs like Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills with cities with much broader boundaries.

If you were a business or an individual looking to move to a new town, would you select Birmingham with its low rankings or would you pick a higher rated city?

And do you really think Birmingham is the 3rd most stressful city in the U.S.?

That’s nonsense.

Birmingham is likely one of the least stressful cities in America.

Newcomers always comment on our comfortable way of life and our hospitality.

But it certainly may be stressful for people who live in the urban areas of Birmingham, but WalletHub ranked Birmingham 3rd in stress and Chicago 33rd.

As of the end of July there had been 2,120 people shot and wounded and 414 homicides in Chicago–compared to 57 homicides in Birmingham. Do you really think urban Chicago is less stressful than urban Birmingham?

I love Birmingham.  And I’m sure you do too.

Don’t believe for a minute the nonsense published by website and media people who’ve never visited here and have never experienced our beauty and generosity.

Also read:

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

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).

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6 thoughts on “Birmingham slammed twice by national publication”

  1. For the record, Louisville became Louisville Metro on January 6, 2003. Neighboring Lexington had consolidated its county earlier – in the 1970s.

  2. *Excellent  article.   Most of those publications reflect the prejudice of the writer or the media rather than fact.

  3. Ratings have never been kind to the city, but for those considering a move I would hope they take the time to visit and see the homes, schools and villages that make this such a nice place to raise a family. In answer to your question about whether Birmingham is less stressful than living in Chicago, I offer the following. We moved to Chicago three years ago and love the fact that we do not need a car, can enjoy restaurants and shopping regardless the weather, the theater district offers the best of broadway, The Joffrey Ballet along with numerous free outdoor concerts from the Chicago Symphony, and of course sailing on Lake Michigan or just walking down the new riverwalk make Chicago a great place to live. So for us, yes life is less stressful for us here in The Loop. While rankings limit the full picture of Birmingham, the crime statistics in our neighborhoods cast a shadow over a remarkable city. We loved raising our family in Birmingham and enjoy our visits, but we also love our second life in the second city. 

  4. *Yet again the piece fails to point out that the Birmingham government is so dysfunctional because of the voting populace in the city. Is it that hard to understand that the filth that abandoned the city and the losers who still continue to live outside the city are the direct reasons the government is bad? If Vestavia didn’t exist and all of those residents lived in the city of Birmingham, do you think the city government would be so bad? 

    Government consolidation WILL NEVER HAPPEN in Jefferson County. Period. NEVER. The only solution is to live INSIDE the city of Birmingham and starve the suburbs of their precious population. When everyone in Jefferson county lives inside the city of Birmingham then you have created a consolidated government! 

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