Birmingham, Alabama, metropolitan area
As of 2013, the federal government defines the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area as consisting of seven counties (Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby, and Walker) centered on Birmingham. The population of this metropolitan statistical area as of the 2010 census was 1,130,047, making it the 49th largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States as of that date.
The seven counties in the Birmingham–Hoover metropolitan statistical area are combined with the Cullman micropolitan area (Cullman County) and the Talladega-Sylacauga micropolitan area (Talladega County) to form the federally defined Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, AL Combined Statistical Area.
According to the United States Census 2013 estimate, the combined statistical area has a population of 1,302,652. It is the 42nd largest population sub-region in the United States, and the largest population region in Alabama, constituting roughly 1/4 of the state's population. Nearby counties Tuscaloosa, Etowah, and Calhoun, while not officially a part of Greater Birmingham, contribute significantly to the region's economy.
Suburbs with more than 10,000 inhabitants
- Center Point
- Mountain Brook
- Pell City
- Pleasant Grove
- Vestavia Hills
The economy of Greater Birmingham is the most diversified of any metropolitan area in Alabama. Many of the region's major employers are located in Birmingham and Jefferson County. The economy of Birmingham ranges from service industries such as banking and finance to health-related technological research and heavy industry. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is Alabama's largest employer as well as the area's largest, with some 20,000 employees. The area is world headquarters for Regions Financial, one of the nation's top 10 banks, and Books-A-Million, the second largest book retailer in the United States.
- Alabama Power
- AT&T (formerly BellSouth)
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama
- Compass Bancshares
- Drummond Company
- EBSCO Industries
- Hibbett Sports, Inc.
- Liberty National Life Insurance Co. (part of Torchmark)
- McWane, Inc.
- Regions Financial Corporation (merged with AmSouth)
- Royal Cup Coffee, Inc.
- Southern Research Institute
- Sloss Industries
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Vulcan Materials Company
- Wells Fargo (formerly SouthTrust and then Wachovia)
Greater Birmingham is at the convergence of four major interstate highways: Interstate 65 (which connects with Mobile and Nashville); Interstate 20 (which connects with Dallas and Atlanta); Interstate 59 (which connects with New Orleans and Chattanooga); and Interstate 22 (which connects with Memphis). Interstate 459, completed in 1984, forms a southern bypass around Birmingham. It runs through portions of Bessemer, Vestavia Hills, and Trussville, and forms a main route through the primary city of Hoover. Interstate 422, the Birmingham Northern Bypass is planned to run from the current I-20/59/459 interchange near Bessemer to Interstate 59 and US Route 11 near Argo. It is planned to be completed by 2048.
Four U.S. highways, US-31, US-11, US-78, and US-280, run through Greater Birmingham. US-31 parallels Interstate 65 for its entire route, including Greater Birmingham. US-280 runs southeast of the city, connecting it with Auburn and Auburn University. The corridor through suburban Birmingham is notorious for its severe congestion as it carries about 200% of its traffic capacity. US-31 and 280 merge in Homewood to form the Elton B. Stephens Expressway. This expressway goes through a geologic cut through Red Mountain, connecting downtown Birmingham to its southern suburbs. US-78 parallels Interstate 22 to the northwest of Birmingham, and Interstate 20 to the east. US-11 parallels Interstate 59 for its entire route. All four of these highways meet in downtown Birmingham.
Birmingham received $87 million from the US Congress to help fund a regional transportation system. However, no progress has been made. The only form of regional mass transit is the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) bus system, which has been severely underfunded.
Greater Birmingham is served by the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, with service by American Airlines, American Eagle, Southwest, US Airways, United, and Delta. Many Birmingham air travelers make the trip to nearby Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the World.
- Red Mountain
- Oak Mountain State Park
- Double Oak Mountain
- Black Warrior River
- Cahaba River
- Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge
- Talladega National Forest (Oakmulgee Division)
- Coosa River
- Cahaba River
- Black Warrior River
- Coosa River
- Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River
- Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River
- Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River
- Piedmont Atlantic
- Table of United States Combined Statistical Areas
- Table of United States Metropolitan Statistical Areas
- Birmingham Business Alliance, a co-operative that involves many of the counties in Greater Birmingham