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The Growth of Birmingham's Economy

Aug 7, 2008
Founded in 1871 and name for a major industrial city in England of the same name, Birmingham, Alabama was started as an industrial enterprise shortly after the end of the Civil War. However, over the course of a century, Birmingham's economy diversified to include banking, insurance, biotechnology and more, although the iron and steel industry continue to play a major role. It's this diverse economy that helps Birmingham real estate retain and increase its value.

Birmingham's Early Economic Development

Interestingly, Birmingham was founded by real estate promoters who sold plots of land from a nearby railroad crossing. Thanks to the fact that Birmingham is pretty much the only place in the world where the minerals of coal, limestone, and iron ore can be found in such close proximity to each other, Birmingham got its start in steel making.

However, it was a slow start as progress was hampered by a cholera outbreak and stock market crash in 1873. But it didn't take long after for the new city to get back on its feet as the downtown area saw the building of many high-rise buildings and streetcars.

Birmingham enjoyed continued economic growth with major companies setting up shop there. Although the city was hit pretty hard with the rest of the country from the Great Depression, war brought relief as the demand for steel grew to feed the war machine.

Birmingham's Modern Economy

During the 1970's, an effort at urban renewal was made. This included the University of Alabama being converted into a major medical research center and the upgrading of public parks.

Although the population of Birmingham itself has dropped over the last 50 years, growth in the suburbs has maintained the population of the Birmingham metropolitan area. Today, hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in the reconstruction of the downtown area.

The 1980's saw economy-transforming investments in medical research as well as biotechnology at the University of Alabama Hospital. The University of Alabama Hospital today is now the area's largest employer.

Additionally, major banks and telecommunications companies are either headquartered or have a strong presence in Birmingham, providing added strength to its economy. All this has combined to make Birmingham one of the nation's best places to find employment and earn a living.

Birmingham's combined resident earnings were estimated to be over $48 billion in 2006 alone. With such a strong economy and continuing growth, it makes Birmingham real estate a solid investment.
About the Author
Remax Alabama (http://www.remax-alabama.com) specializes in the sale of Birmingham real estate and other Alabama real estate and homes. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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