The best places to live in Alabama surpass most other Southern places for their beauty and all-around charm.
When you have the Gulf Shores and the Talladega National Forests in your backyard, it’s hard not to find a great place to call home in Alabama.
But where is the best place to live in Alabama? That’s what we set to find out based on the most recent FBI and Census data.
We analyzed everything from crime, cost of living, household incomes, and median home values to find out, once and for all, the best cities to make a home in the Yellowhammer State. Living in the greater Birmingham region is a little slice of heaven, according to the data.
And since Alabama is one of the cheapest states to live in America, you’ll be able to afford a great place to live.
After analyzing almost 100 places, we created this list as the top ten places to live in Alabama. So grab some fried catfish and bbq and read on.
What’s the best place to live in Alabama for 2023? Mountain Brook ranks as the best place to live in Alabama for 2023 based on general quality of life factors.
None of the largest cities in Alabama made the top ten, but their suburbs are apparently more desirable, according to scientific data.
No one can argue that almost every nook and cranny in Alabama has something unique and extraordinary about it.
For more Alabama reading, check out:
- Best Counties To Live In Alabama
- Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Alabama
Article Table Of Contents
The 10 best places to live In Alabama for 2023
|Rank Last Year||1|
|Median Home Value||$697,800|
It’s hard to know where to begin with a city as awesome as Mountain Brook, which appears in the top five statewide for just about every category we measured. The economy of Mountain Brook is as solid as it gets, with the lowest unemployment rate and 5th lowest poverty in Alabama, at 1.4% and 4.0% respectively. There’s also very little to fear in terms of criminal activity, seeing as Mountain Brook has the 11th lowest crime rate in the state. And if you do run into an unfortunate situation, you should be just fine, seeing as Mountain Brook has the highest rate of health insurance coverage in Alabama at 98.7%.
Education is also taken very seriously in Mountain Brook. The city spends about 20% more than the statewide average per student and it shows. Of the six schools in Mountain Brook’s district, half have received a Blue Ribbon award. And that love of learning isn’t just for the kids; over 40% of adults living in Mountain Brook have a master’s degree or higher. This obviously raises the earning potential of residents, who enjoy the highest median household income in the state, $150,268/year. Which is good when homes cost about $697,800, the 1st costliest in Alabama.
There are some other perks that come along with being a Birmingham ‘burb. The first of which is that Mountain Brook employees enjoy the 3rd shortest commute time in the state at just 17 minutes. The other is having access to the best of B-ham, like the Vulcan Park and Museum, without having a weaker economy and more crime.
|Rank Last Year||2|
|Median Home Value||$402,100|
Another affluent Birmingham suburb, Vestavia Hills has held the top spot on this list more than once over the years. For starters, it’s one the safest places in Alabama, so there’s no need to fear Amazon porch pirates here. If you’re moving here with children, you’re in luck, because GreatSchools gave Vestavia Hills public schools an average score of 9/10.
Of course, all these awesome things don’t come free of charge. Homes in Vestavia Hills are the 2nd most expensive in Alabama at $402,100. Residents don’t sweat it much, though, since they also earn a median household income of $118,539/year, the 2nd highest in the state. And it’s not like Vestavia Hills leaves some people in the dust while the 1% celebrate, because at 3.8%, it has the 4th lowest poverty level in Alabama.
Not to mention that, with the Birmingham Zoo right down the road, you’ll always have something to do when out-of-towners come for a visit.
|Rank Last Year||4|
|Median Home Value||$279,800|
We’re taking our first foray outside of the Birmingham area to reach our 3rd best city in Alabama, Madison. A suburb of Huntsville, Madison has a much lower cost of living than the top three cities on this list, making it an attractive budget choice. Homes are a tad cheaper, but the median household income in Madison is still the 5th highest in Alabama at $105,335/year.
You may want to brush up on your trivia before making the move to Madison, though, because people here are no dummies. About a quarter of the population has a master’s degree, PhD, or professional degree, which does help explain the high pay here. In terms of entertainment, being surrounded by the rapidly growing economic hub of Huntsville does a lot for your choices. But between Rainbow Mountain and a top-notch local farmer’s market, you don’t have to leave Madison for a good time.
|Rank Last Year||6|
|Median Home Value||$231,000|
We’re heading back to the Mobile suburbs to reach our 4th best place to call home in Alabama, Daphne. Here you’ll find Blue Ribbon schools, low unemployment, and streets that are safe for everyone. In fact, Daphne experienced the 4th least amount of violent crime in Alabama for 2023. At $74,701/year, Daphne has the lowest median household income on this list, but that’s still about 40% higher than the Alabama average.
Daphne also has the good fortune to be on the eastern shoreline of Mobile Bay, meaning that the sunsets from Daphne Bayfront Park are truly a sight to behold. One last thing to note is that Daphne’s median age is 37, making it the second youngest city on this list. So if living in a vibrant, youthful city is a priority, Daphne might make an excellent choice.
|Rank Last Year||3|
|Median Home Value||$391,500|
Our 5th best city in Alabama, Homewood, is a suburb of 26,206 located between Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills. The median age in Homewood is 30, making it the youngest city we’ll be covering. That’s part of the reason we named Homewood one of the best cities for singles in Alabama. It also helps to have great things to do around, like hiking in nearby Red Mountain Park.
Homewood is also the 2nd most densely populated city in Alabama, so you know you’ll never lack for action here. It also cuts down on commute times, seeing as Homewood residents have an average commute of just 16 minutes, the 2nd shortest in the state. Just be warned that Homewood comes with a steep price tag; by housing costs, Homewood’s cost of living is nearly triple the Alabama average.
|Rank Last Year||5|
|Median Home Value||$337,100|
Let’s take a trip down the Gulf Shore for our 6th best city in Alabama, Fairhope. The median age in Fairhope is 43, making it the oldest city on this list. Depending on your priorities, this might be a positive or a negative thing. Living on Mobile Bay, however, is a positive for anyone and everyone. Who wouldn’t like shopping and strolling down Fairhope Avenue, grabbing a pint from the local brewery, followed up by catching a gorgeous sunset from the pier?
Word to the wise, though; Fairhope ranks among the most expensive cities in Alabama, so you might want to make sure you lock down a job paying $83,258/year before packing your bags. But Fairhope is worth every penny in our opinion. Evidently, people agree, because Fairhope is one of the fastest growing places in Alabama. Safe streets, top schools, and a job market that works for everyone — it’s hard to put a price tag on all that.
|Rank Last Year||22|
|Median Home Value||$316,700|
Hoover sits at the outskirts of Birmingham. This makes it an excellent place for commuters to put down roots, with just a 15-minute drive taking them to the heart of the state’s most important commercial center. More than that, Hoover provides the number 7 best location to live in all of Alabama.
With a population of 91,371 residents, Hoover itself stands among Alabama’s biggest cities. It comes in at number 6.0 on that list. The community also has one of the most thriving economies in the area. The area’s median income is $95,970, the 7th best figure in Alabama. The median home value here comes in at $316,700.
For a key suburb of a major urban market, Hoover remains relatively affordable, with its cost of living closely matching the national average. The community also has fine schools, scoring a 7/10 on Great Schools.
Along with these core benefits, Hoover also provides access to a number of amenities. The Oak Mountain State Park is a short drive outside of town. Want to do a little shopping? Well, you can head to Riverchase Galleria, one of the largest shopping malls in the region.
|Rank Last Year||8|
|Median Home Value||$287,700|
Next up on our list of best places to live in Alabama is Trussville, a Birmingham suburb of 25,027. GreatSchools gave public schools in Trussville an average rating of 9.5/10, so you know that you’re giving your kids the best possible start if you’re living here. In fact, Trussville has the 10th lowest high school dropout rate in Alabama.
That level of excellence extends to all facets of life in Trussville. For example, at 96.5%, Trussville has the 6th highest rate of residents with health insurance anywhere in Alabama. And the poverty level in Trussville is just 3.7%, the 3rd%. Not to mention that most people in Trussville are far from living in poverty, seeing as the city enjoys the 4th highest median household income in the state at $108,070/year.
To reward yourself for living in the 8th best place in Alabama, we recommend spending a day at Cosby Lake Park; trails for hikers and cyclists, bass and catfish galore, and an abundance of delightful picnic spots make it a local favorite.
|Rank Last Year||14|
|Median Home Value||$196,200|
Northport stands out as one of the best places to live in Alabama due to its low cost of living, attractive median home prices, and abundant activities and attractions nearby. With its low cost of living and median home price of $196,200, Northport offers affordable housing options for residents. The city is known for its Grade A overall ranking, indicating a high quality of life.
Northport’s location within Tuscaloosa County provides easy access to even more amenities and attractions. Just a short drive away, residents can explore Tuscaloosa’s vibrant downtown area, its lively music scene, delicious cuisine, and college-town atmosphere. Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of the city’s beautiful parks and trails, perfect for hiking, biking, and picnicking. For those who enjoy cultural experiences, Northport is home to several art galleries and museums showcasing local talent and history.
|Rank Last Year||17|
|Median Home Value||$285,000|
Real estate experts consider Auburn one of the best places to live in Alabama due to its low cost of living and high quality of life. Located in Lee County, Auburn is a thriving city in Alabama that offers a high quality of life and a low cost of living. With a median home price of $285,000 and a median rent of $925, Auburn provides affordable housing options for individuals and families.
Auburn offers access to Auburn University, which gives the city a lively and youthful atmosphere. The university provides residents with numerous cultural and sporting events, including football games, concerts, and art exhibitions. In addition, Auburn boasts a variety of recreational activities, such as hiking and biking trails, parks, and golf courses, making it an ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts.
Auburn’s central location within the state allows easy access to other major cities in Alabama, including Montgomery and Birmingham.
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Alabama
Best Places To Live In Alabama Size Requirement
Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in Alabama, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Montgomery with a population of 201,022 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 100 cities, 198 towns, and 214 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Alabama have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see the results of those best place rankings at the end of the article.
Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Alabama
Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Alabama across a number of criteria from one to 100, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Alabama”.
The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Alabama? That would be Mountain Brook.
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Alabama.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Mountain Brook at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Summary: The Best Places In Alabama
If you’re looking at areas in Alabama with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Mountain Brook made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Alabama for 2023.
Best Towns To Live In Alabama
- Highland Lakes (Pop. 4,860)
- Indian Springs Village (Pop. 2,529)
- Lake View (Pop. 2,801)
- Priceville (Pop. 3,060)
- Mount Olive CDP (Jefferson (Pop. 4,237)
- Kimberly (Pop. 2,840)
- Shoal Creek (Pop. 1,448)
- Blue Ridge (Pop. 1,414)
- Trinity (Pop. 2,110)
- Springville (Pop. 4,199)
Best Small Towns To Live In Alabama
- Stockton (Pop. 687)
- Mooresville (Pop. 69)
- Sweet Water (Pop. 332)
- Lowndesboro (Pop. 95)
- Magnolia Springs (Pop. 740)
- McIntosh (Pop. 339)
- Eunola (Pop. 362)
- St. Florian (Pop. 429)
- Coker (Pop. 817)
- Grant (Pop. 961)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Alabama according to the data:
- Bessemer (Pop. 26,171)
- Talladega (Pop. 15,782)
- Atmore (Pop. 8,734)
For more Alabama reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Alabama
- Richest Cities In Alabama
- Safest Places In Alabama
- Worst Places To Live In Alabama
Best Places To Live In Alabama