A new survey by the online financial services firm WalletHub has studied which cities across country most resemble the United States as a whole, socially and economically.
The Birmingham-Hoover metro area topped Alabama cities as that most indicative of the nation as a whole: It landed at No. 19 out of 381 cities included in the rankings.
Huntsville wasn’t far behind at No. 23, while the firm also found that Montgomery and Mobile were also reckoned to approximate the country’s makeup in terms of “sociodemographic” traits, housing conditions, education levels and personal income-related measures.
The study used statistics derived from the U.S. Census as well as private data to determine those U.S. cities most like the country as a whole including the following, per WalletHub’s explanation of their methodology:
- Male-to-female ratio
- Relative racial/ethnic proportions
- Household size per capita
- Levels of public assistance received
- Employment & income, and
- Educational attainment.
The Birmingham-Hoover area, combined for the purposes of this study, ranked especially high on mirroring educational statistics of the county writ large. It was ranked No. 3 overall. The study found that 29.1 percent Americans age 25 and above have attained an associate’s degree or “some college” experience, while an identical percentage has attained a bachelor’s degree by that time. So it is in the greater Birmingham area as well, according to the study.
Tuscaloosa, a city known for its educational facilities and therefore not likely to match a national sample in that category, was tied for first when it came to the makeup of individual households.
Nationally, just about two thirds or 66.1 percent of single-family homes contain a nuclear family, compared with almost exactly the same figure (66.2) in the home of Alabama’s flagship university.
Gadsden, Ala., on the other hand was found to be an outlier: It is far poorer and with a less stable family structure than a typical model of an American city would predict.