Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012)

This article, the twenty-seventh in a 50-state series, ranks the best places to live in Alabama based on three criteria: (1) median household income (adjusted for cost of living); (2) educational attainment (% of residents 25 years and over who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher); and (3) property crime rates per 1,000 residents (burglary and automobile thefts). For purposes of these rankings, “places” are incorporated municipalities with populations greater than 2,000.

Among the twenty best places to live in Alabama, thirteen are suburbs or exurbs of Birmingham, three are suburbs of Mobile, two are suburbs of Huntsville, one is a suburb of Montgomery, and one is a suburb of Pensacola, Florida. By county, eight of the best places to live in Alabama are located in or partially in Jefferson County, seven in or partially in Shelby County, four in Baldwin County, one each in Etowah, Montgomery, and Morgan counties, and one each partially in Limestone, Madison, and St. Clair counties.

After reading “Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012),” return to this link to read “Largest Cities in Alabama (2012).” A collection of similar articles for the remaining 49 states can be found at these links: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

For the culmination of the 50-state series, read “Best Places to Live in America (2012).”

This article may be updated as new data becomes available.

1. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Mountain Brook, AL (Jefferson County)

Population: 21,060

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $141,891
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 82.0%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 2.94*

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 91 miles SSE
Birmingham, AL: 5 miles NW

2. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Pike Road, AL (Montgomery County)

Population: 4,397

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $109,553
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 55.5%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 1.35*

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 13 miles NW
Auburn, AL: 51 miles NE

3. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Indian Springs Village, AL (Shelby County)

Population: 2,571

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $107,450
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 54.8%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 2.64*

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 81 miles SSE
Birmingham, AL: 13 miles NNW

4. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Vestavia Hills, AL (Jefferson and Shelby Counties)

Population: 31,127

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $89,208
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 63.8%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 5.63

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 86 SSE
Birmingham, AL: 6 miles N

5. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Madison, AL (Madison and Limestone Counties)

Population: 40,802

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $94,953
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 56.3%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 5.22

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 182 miles SSE
Huntsville, AL: 11 miles NE

6. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Helena, AL (Jefferson and Shelby Counties)

Population: 15,713

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $86,844
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 48.8%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 1.12

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 76 miles SSE
Birmingham, AL: 20 miles N

7. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Chelsea, AL (Shelby County)

Population: 4,396

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $94,439
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 43.8%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 2.64

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 76 miles SSE
Birmingham, AL: 18 miles NW

8. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Hoover, AL (Jefferson and Shelby Counties)

Population: 71,381

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $83,859
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 55.2%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 7.31

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 84 miles SSE
Birmingham, AL: 10 miles N

9. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Pelham, AL (Shelby County)

Population: 21,232

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $76,173
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 42.8%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 4.74

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 73 miles SSE
Birmingham, AL: 20 miles N

10. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Trussville, AL (Jefferson and St. Clair Counties)

Population: 18,283

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $93,002
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 36.9%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 7.3

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 101 miles S
Birmingham, AL: 14 miles SW

11. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Daphne, AL (Baldwin County)

Population: 19,036

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $69,566
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 41.9%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 4.8

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 166 miles NE
Mobile, AL: 14 miles NW

12. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Spanish Fort, AL (Baldwin County)

Population: 6,081

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $69,962
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 35.6%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 2.24

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 162 miles NE
Mobile, AL: 10 miles WNW

13. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Alabaster, AL (Shelby County)

Population: 29,334

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $77,202
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 33.7%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 3.77

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 70 miles SSE
Birmingham, AL: 23 miles N

14. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Orange Beach, AL (Baldwin County)

Population: 5,864

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $73,061
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 41.7%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 7.31

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 190 miles NNE
Mobile, AL: 52 miles NW
Pensacola, FL: 29 miles ENE

15. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Southside, AL (Etowah County)

Population: 8,265

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $79,460
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 24.6%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 1.63

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 135 miles S
Birmingham, AL: 61 miles SW

16. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Fairhope, AL (Baldwin County)

Population: 16,584

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $58,858
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 46.7%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 7.28

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 173 miles NE
Mobile, AL: 20 miles NNW

17. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Homewood, AL (Jefferson County)

Population: 23,971

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $67,585
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 60.8%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 17.97

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 88 miles SSE
Birmingham, AL: 5 miles N

18. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Pleasant Grove, AL (Jefferson County)

Population: 10,308

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $70,968
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 24.7%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 4.34*

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 100 miles SSE
Birmingham, AL: 11 miles ENE

19. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Priceville, AL (Morgan County)

Population: 2,537

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $78,765
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 16.4%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 3.02

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 165 miles SSE
Huntsville, AL: 27 miles NE

20. Best Places to Live in Alabama (2012) – Irondale, AL (Jefferson County)

Population: 9,632

Median household income (adjusted for cost of living): $56,502
Bachelor’s degree or higher (25 years and over): 29.4%
Property crime rate per 1,000 residents (burglary and auto thefts): 4.34*

Distance to Familiar Cities:

Montgomery, AL: 96 miles SSE
Birmingham, AL: 6 miles WSW

*In some cases, municipalities either do not report their crime statistics to the FBI or they contract for services with the state or a county law enforcement agency. For those towns, crime rates are extrapolated from municipal, county, state, or contiguous municipality data.

Source(s):

“All Cities in Alabama,” City-Data.com
” American Community Survey ,” U.S. Census Bureau
” American Fact Finder ,” U.S. Census Bureau
“Uniform Crime Report,” Federal Bureau of Investigation