Birmingham, Alabama Population 2019
Birmingham is a city located in the state of Alabama. It is the most populous city in the state, with a population of 217,158 inhabitants according to estimates taken in 2017. The last census in 2010 recorded the city’s population as 212,237. The city’s metro area has a population of over 1.1 million and accounts for about one-quarter of the state’s total population. The city was founded in 1871 and was once one of the primary industrial centers of the United States’ southern region. Today, while its industries have changed, it remains one of the country’s most important business and banking centers in the US.
Birmingham was founded in 1871 through the merger of three farm towns. In its earliest years, it became a center for railroad transportation and mining, iron and steel industries. It was developed primarily to use immigrants for cheap labor, whereas other cities at this time were unionized. The city was named after Birmingham, England, which at the time was a leading industrial city.
The city began growing at a rapid rate, although a cholera outbreak and the stock market crash – both which occurred in the 1800s – did slow growth temporarily. However, the early 1900s saw extensive growth and the city became known as “The Magic City.” The Great Depression brought about another set of challenges for Birmingham. As its industries were struggling, farm laborers also flooded the city in hopes of finding employment. It was so bad that the president said that Birmingham was the “worst-hit town” in the US.
However, Birmingham bounced back fairly quickly as demand for steel during World War II boosted the economy. It was during this time that the city’s manufacturing sector also grew, while schools, parks, and museums were erected around the area. The city faced more controversy during the 1950s and 1960s when racially-charged bombings occurred to the homes of black families, and Birmingham became known as “Bombingham.” Martin Luther King, Jr. came to the city to take part in a non-violent demonstration and was jailed in the city, where he wrote the “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
In more recent years, the city has focused on urban-renewal efforts and has upgraded its city center, developed the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and has completed other improvements throughout the city. The downtown area is in the process of being reconstructed, bringing in new housing, retail, restaurant and cultural options to bring in new residents and visitors. It has also become a leading business and banking center in the US.
Birmingham Population and Diversity Statistics
The city of Birmingham has an estimated population of over 217,000 inhabitants. The city stretches across over 148 square miles, and it has a population density of over 1,453 people per square mile. Breaking down the population from the 2010 census shows that almost three-quarters of Birmingham’s total population is Black or African America.
Breaking down the population by age shows that one-quarter of the population is under the age of 18. The largest age group is the 25 to 44 demographic, which makes up 30% of the population. The median age is 34 years. The city has a higher proportion of female to male inhabitants, with 85.7 males to every 100 females. Over one-quarter of the population lives below the federal poverty line, with almost 42% of children under the age of 18 living in poverty.
The city is not just ethnically diverse but also is very diverse when it comes to religion. It is the site of many Christian churches, as well as mosques, Hindu temples, and synagogues. The city has the highest ratio of Protestant followers in the country based on 2010 data.
The city also has a very high rate of crime and was ranked 20th in the country based on the highest crime rates. Violent crime has continued to rise over the last few years, particularly in low-income areas. The city is ranked the third most violent in the US.
Birmingham Population Growth
The city of Birmingham saw population growth through its earliest years, but since the 1970s has posted population losses in every 10-year census. Most recently, the population dropped by over 12% between 2000 and 2010. Estimates from 2017 show that some growth has occurred since the last census in 2010. The high crime rates have contributed to the falling population numbers. “White flight” has also occurred as people move from the city to the suburbs following the loss of jobs. Birmingham’s plans to revitalize the city could contribute to future population growth, and the current numbers showing that it’s on the upswing again could be a positive sign for this Alabama city.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Birmingham was:
- Black or African American: 71.55%
- White: 24.59%
- Other race: 1.46%
- Two or more races: 1.35%
- Asian: 0.85%
- Native American: 0.19%
- Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.01%