Of the all the major cities in America in which to raise a family, some of the most populous in the state of Alabama barely crack the top 150 according to a newly released study. And those both ranked near the bottom of the list, with Montgomery ranked 132nd, Mobile No. 145 and Birmingham — often thought to be a paragon of modern Southern livability — coming in at 149.
That’s according new survey conducted by WalletHub, an Internet-based financial services company. The study took into account some 30 metrics using both self-reported responses and publicly available data to create a matrix of attributes such as unemployment, local air and water quality, childcare costs, and rates of divorce and separation meant to form a composite view of each city in brief.
Huntsville put up a relatively strong showing, registering a No. 107 ranking in the survey, bolstered by high marks in affordability and “socioeconomic environment,” which takes into account things like income inequality and segregation among neighborhoods.
Montgomery, for instance, did well according the survey’s health and safety criteria (No. 22), but not as well in education and childcare (No. 141). Huntsville cracked the top 50 in affordability (No. 44) but was dragged by middling scores in the other life quality aspects.
Topping the list were a list of locales that might surprise you — Kansas’ Overland Park took top overall honors, followed by Plano, TX; Virginia Beach, VA; Lincoln, NE; Sioux Falls, SD; Madison, WI; and Fremont, CA.
Chesapeake, VA, Colorado Springs and Grand Prairie, TX rounded out the top ten. See the full rankings here.
The humble rankings come just weeks after voluntary pre-Kindergarten programs in the Yellowhammer State were ranked the nation’s very best, despite nagging issues related to access.
As we wrote about last month, national best/worst rankings have largely been hit or miss affairs for Alabama of late.