Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

According to Ehuacom, Birmingham is the largest city in the state of Alabama, but it is not the capital, which is the southern city of Montgomery. Birmingham is a fairly important center, although the city is not really big by American standards. The city has 198,000 inhabitants, with a larger urban area of 1,114,000 inhabitants (2021).


According to mcat-test-centers, Birmingham itself consists mainly of an office center, surrounded by large industrial estates, and a number of suburbs. Surrounding it are very prosperous suburbs. The agglomeration is quite nicely situated in the wooded hills. The suburbs are very sparsely built-up, and the agglomeration measures 50 by 35 kilometers. The city also has a fairly important airport. Alabama has always been a fairly poor state, but since the 1990s, the city’s average income has risen sharply. It is now one of the major business centers in the Southeastern United States. The population of the city itself has declined by more than 100,000 since the 1960s, but the suburbs have grown, although certainly not as fast as Atlanta, for example.. The metropolitan area is still growing, although not as fast as other southwestern cities such as Atlanta.

Birmingham has a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Birmingham receives quite a lot of precipitation throughout the year, as well as fairly frequent severe weather such as tornadoes, and weakened hurricanes that dump huge amounts of precipitation on the city.

Road network

Birmingham’s motorway network.

Birmingham has a well-developed road network for its size. Three Interstate Highways cross the city, supplemented by a bypass road. In addition, the underlying road network is of a high standard. A fourth Interstate is also being built from Memphis to Birmingham. Public transport in the agglomeration consists of a bus network. The city is not big and dense enough to require a light rail or other form of rail transport. The car is the most important form of transport in and around the city. The highways are not overly wide, but usually have 2×3 lanes, and occasionally 2×4 lanes. Most highways are nicely situated in the hills.


Historically an industrial center, Birmingham became an important hub of railways and the steel industry in the late 1800s. The city was therefore rather comparable to cities such as Pittsburgh or Cleveland than a southern city. The population grew to approximately 340,000 inhabitants in 1960, the highest number. Then the first highways, mostly Interstate Highways, were built. The first freeway was I-20/I-59 west of downtown, which opened in the late 1960s, about the same time as I-65 was built as a north-south axis. Birmingham grew into a fairly important hub in the late 1970s, with the completion of the region’s Interstate Highways, despite being a relatively small city. East-west traffic splits toward Atlanta and Chattanooga, and north-south traffic splits from Montgomery toward Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis.

In 1978, the first section of the city’s bypass, I-459, opened in northeast Birmingham. In the years that followed, the highway was built further through the southern suburbs, which were then growing strongly. I-459 was completed in 1984. Birmingham is not considered an attractive city to live in, and its population has been declining steadily since the 1960s. However, Birmingham’s suburbs are among the wealthiest in Alabama. The population of the urban area has hardly increased since the 1970s, only the southernmost suburbs in Shelby County are still growing strongly, but are not that much in absolute numbers. Birmingham was unable to capitalize on the growth that was taking place in the neighboring state of Georgia, especially around Atlanta. This has the advantage that Birmingham, unlike Atlanta, has remained virtually traffic-free. In more recent years there has been one major highway project and that is the replacement of US 78 with Interstate 22. Birmingham forms the eastern end of this highway. The last section opened to traffic in 2016.


The largest project planned in the Birmingham area is the construction of the Northern Beltline, which may be numbered Interstate 422, although State Route 959 is also mentioned. The highway is to become a northern bypass of Birmingham.


There is virtually no congestion in Birmingham. Delays are only possible in the event of incidents and activities. Travel times are therefore short and reliable.

Birmingham, Alabama