Birmingham is a city that exudes Southern charm--in fact, this city of about 230,000 has been called the last major Southern city in America. Birmingham has come a long way from the tumultuous racial tensions that plagued the city in the 1960s. The opening of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in the early 1990s was seen as a healing step nationwide. Tucked away in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, scenic Birmingham has many top-notch attractions, including the Birmingham Zoo, nearby Alabama Adventure Water and Theme Park in Bessemer, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, and the McWane Science Center. The city also is home to the Birmingham Sabres of the Continental Basketball Association, and the Birmingham Barons minor league baseball team, which plays in the Southern League.
Studying at Schools and Universities in Birmingham
There are many well respected colleges in Birmingham, including:
- Samford University--a private, co-ed Baptist university
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Birmingham-Southern College--a private liberal arts institution
- Birmingham School of Law
- Lawon Statel Community College--Birmingham Campus
- Jefferson State Community College
Birmingham has a pleasant climate: Average temperatures are a pleasant 62 degrees--but it does rain a lot, with 117 days of precipitation and 52 inches of annual average rainfall. The city is served by Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Students at Birmingham schools might find internship or career opportunities at the University of Alabama Medical Center, or the Southern Research Institute, two of the most respected institutions in the Southeast.
Working in Birmingham
Birmingham formerly depended on the iron and steel industries for employment, but its economy today is more dependent on the medical, trade, finance and government employers. Mercedes-Benz operates an American production plant in neighboring Vance, and other big-name companies in the region include BellSouth Telephone Company, Alabama Power Company, and ENERGEN Corporation. Unemployment in the Birmingham-Hoover area was 10 percent in July 2010 compared to the national average of 9.7 percent. Mean annual wages were $40,060, a little shy of the national average of $43,460, but the city's cost of living also came in about 8 percent below the national average.