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According to a recent study by United Van Lines, more people moved to Alabama in 2020 than left the state. We wanted to know what that meant for Alabama, and for places like Birmingham—so we spoke to several local experts to learn more.
United Van Lines’ 2020 National Movers Study
Each year, United Van Lines’ “Annual National Migration Study” helps identify population movement trends throughout the country. In addition, United Van Lines also studies the reasons why people decided to move.
In 2020, United Van Lines ranked Alabama #8 on their list of top inbound states, with an inbound percentage of 60%. As for why people moved to Alabama?
- Job (46.72%)
- Family (29.93%)
- Retirement (21.17%)
- Lifestyle (8.76%)
- Health (7.30%)
During their study, United Van Lines noted that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the recent trend of migration to western and southern states, such as Alabama.
What does this mean for Alabama + Birmingham?
What factors do you see that are attractive to people and companies that want to move to Birmingham?
Karla: “The combination of housing options, diverse jobs and industries, and general affordability in Birmingham is our greatest selling point for success. Birmingham is in a great position of growth during this economic downturn because there is growing demand for health care workers, engineers and others that colleges and universities in our region are supplying. Our region has a unique blend of urban, suburban and rural that provide room for people without pushing others out. More people moving to Alabama means more dollars circulated and that means more dollars for our local businesses, local school systems, better health care and increased in prosperity for all.”
What implications does this data have for Birmingham?
Karla: “Increased migration to Alabama is also an opportunity to change the perceptions that people might have about Alabama and the South. We experience it all the time, once people get here they experience our thriving downtown, beautiful green hills, outstanding schools, warm climate and unrivaled quality of life. And that’s the type of activity that spurs projects like the Birmingham Xpress Bus Rapid Transit system currently underway and Protective Life stadium at the BJCC and attracts global events like the World Games in 2022.”
We also spoke with Britney Summerville, VP of Economic Development & Social Impact at Shipt and Founder of Birmingham Bound. Birmingham Bound works with and recruits tech companies in a bid to build up and improve Birmingham’s technology ecosystem.
Is the higher rate of migration a good thing for Alabama and Birmingham?
Britney: “That likely depends on the industry. For tech, yes, it’s a very good thing. Birmingham Bound has more than 100 open positions posted on our website from partners that opened an office here, relocated here through an Alabama Futures Fund investment, or were founded here and it seems like we’re updating this page with new jobs everyday.”
In what ways is Birmingham Bound involved in the recent increase?
Britney: “We’ve recruited a handful of tech companies to Birmingham since the pandemic started and have several more in the pipeline. I also get several emails a month about people moving back who want an idea of what the workforce landscape looks like. We’re getting the message out anyway we can that Birmingham is an emerging and thriving tech city. Those who want to work at a tech company have a lot of options here. When folks in our industry dig deep into Birmingham they realize there’s something quite special here that they want to be a part of.”