Review of Birmingham, Alabama

Stay away if you are not white and from the area
Star Rating - 12/5/2018
Birmingham might be a good place for people who have lived there for generations.

However, if you are a professional from other regions of the country or god forbid from other countries, try to stay away from it.

My spouse and I are both professors and we lived in BHM for 7 years. We almost had to socialize exclusively with transplants like us the entire time. If you are not originally from the Alabama area, the locals won't hang out with you, their kids won't have playdates with your kids, you are discriminated at work, even universities, which are probably the most liberal place in the city. My former next door neighbor told me that she moved to Birmingham from Atlanta because Atlanta is too diverse. I find that to be the kind of mindset of Birmingham.

The city is extremely segregated. Neighborhoods are either almost completely white or complete Black, with later having bad public schools. We bought a house in a city with good schools, but we are not white. We left after seven years, before our first kid is about to start elementary school. She would be the only non-white kid in that year in the school we are zoned to.

We realized all our colleges and friends, Americans and foreign, as long as they are not from the area, have left at approximately the same time.

L | Katy, TX
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2 Replies

I totally agree. I lived in Birmingham for about 5 years and felt it was very isolating. If you are not from the area, (meaning, your grandparents and parents better have been born there, at a minimum), people will not socialize with you, period. My boss lived in Alabama for 25 years and was still introduced as "Hank from New Jersey". Twenty-five years later, and he was still considered an "outsider". The only reason people in the area will invite you to socialize is to get you to join their church because people are competitive about having the most "popular" church (!!!). Even if you join a church, that is not a guarantee you or your kids will make friends. People still won't talk to you beyond polite small talk. Your kids won't be invited to play, they will not be invited for parties and will be harassed if your family is not a member of the "right" church and religion. I lived in Alabama for 10 years and made *1* friend that was not a transplant. The area is incredibly segregated and hostile to any kind of integration. For whatever it's worth, I am white and female and can't imagine willingly living there as a person of color because the community will absolutely not welcome your family.
elizabeth | Seguin, TX | Report Abuse

I have to agree. I have lived in Birmingham (Bham) for 8 years. I love Bham and I do miss it but like Katy said, you either live in a predominantly black neighborhood or a predominantly white (if it comes to houses) in in the south side which is the most diverse area there. I have lived near UAB so it's very diverse there. I used to have many friends but like Katy said, the local people won't deal with you so consequently, my friends were White from Europe, some Whites from AL, most were Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans and blacks from Africa. So, I you can see, only a few were local (less than 4 in total in 8 years!)...
Rashad | Arlington, VA | Report Abuse
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