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Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham Alabama
Full nameBirmingham, Alabama
Official nameBirmingham, Alabama
Settlement typeCity
CountryUnited States
CountiesJefferson, Shelby
IncorporatedDecember 19, 1871
TypeMayor Council
MayorWilliam A. Bell
Total Area151.9 sq mi (393.4 km2)
Land Area149.9 sq mi (388.2 km2)
Water Area2.0 sq mi (5.2 km2)
Elevation644 ft (196.3 m)
Total Population212237 (2010)
Density (pop.)879.78/km2 (2278.6/sq mi)
Metro (pop.)1212848
Other information
Time zoneCST (UTC-6)
- Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
Area code205
InterstatesI-20, I-22, I-59 I-65, and I-459
AirportsBirmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport
FIPS code01-07000
GNIS feature ID015817

     Home | City | Birmingham Alabama

Birmingham (c-eniconˈbɜrmɪŋhæm ) is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009, had a population of about 1,212,848; approximately one-quarter of Alabama's population.

Birmingham was founded in 1871, just after the American Civil War, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton. It grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading. Birmingham was named for Birmingham, one of the major industrial cities of the United Kingdom. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. The city was planned as a place where cheap, non-unionized, and African-American labor from rural Alabama could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.

From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the South. The pace of Birmingham's growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South. Much like Pittsburgh, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South were nearby Atlanta and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day. The economy diversified during the later half of the twentieth century. Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in Birmingham, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature. Mining in the Birmingham area is no longer a major industry with the exception of coal mining. Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States. In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500 company: Regions Financial. Five Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered in Birmingham.

In the field of college and university education, Birmingham has been the location of the UAB School of Medicine and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947, and since that time, it has also become provided with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded circa 1969), one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama, and also with the private Birmingham-Southern College. Between these two universities and Samford University, the Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. Birmingham is home to three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School.

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