Moving to Alabama
You’ll find sweet southern hospitality in Alabama, particularly in the southern parts of the state. Perhaps your dream is to live in an old, southern mansion, or antebellum house. Moving to Alabama means you can make this dream a reality, as these types of homes are more affordable than you might think.
Here are some things you should know before moving to Alabama.
Weather is one of the most important elements to think about when deciding on the best time to move to Alabama. Try to avoid moving in March, April, May or November, as these tend to be high-storm months. October may be the best month to move, as this is often the driest, most mild month of the year. Alabama has one of the highest hurricane, tornado and thunderstorm frequencies in the nation, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the weather patterns before moving.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Alabama is lower than the national average by about 12 percent, and has remained relatively stable over recent years. However, keep in mind that the average salary tends to be lower here as well. Huntsville has one of the highest yearly salary averages in the state, while Gulf Shores has one of the lowest.
The state of Alabama does not have a minimum wage, so the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hr.) is used. The biggest difference you may find in Alabama is that if you are a tipped employee (meaning the majority of your wage is based on tips), your hourly wage can be as low as $2.13. This can mean a huge income difference for someone who, for example, is coming from California and receives the full minimum wage ($10.00) plus tips.
Alabama climate in a nutshell: hot, humid, with heavy rainfalls and frequent, extreme weather storms in the form of hurricanes, thunder and tropical storms. Most parts of the state also see the occasional tornado. Rain often comes in a torrential downpour, but usually only lasts for a short while before the sun and humidity take over again. Hurricanes, tropical storms and tornadoes are all common, frequent occurrences, but locals are well informed on how to prepare properly. Warnings and drills are regularly performed to keep you up-to-date on proper safety precautions and evacuation routes when necessary.
Temperatures, total rainfall and storm frequency differ greatly between the northern (Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa) and southern (Mobile, Dothan, Montgomery) parts of the state. Winters, for the most part, are cool and mild with rare occurrences of freezing and snow, especially in the southern half of the Alabama.
Many Alabama schools, especially elementary and high schools, have risen considerably in ranks for the national averages in math, science and reading. Alabama boasts not one, but two highly competitive colleges, which will forever be the topic of football rivalry: University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and Auburn University. Also included on the list of top five colleges in the state are University of Alabama at Birmingham, Samford University (a private, Baptist-affiliated University), and Troy University, which works closely with the American Armed Forces to offer satellite campuses in 17 states and 11 countries. In Alabama, Troy’s main campuses are located in Troy, Dothan, Montgomery and Phenix City. It’s also an excellent choice for those who prefer distance learning, or do not live near a campus.
The following are the top high schools in Alabama:
- Loveless Academic Magnet Progressive High School (Montgomery)
- Mountain Brook High School (Mountain Brook)
- New Century Tech Demo High School (Huntsville)
- Vestavia Hills High School (Vestavia Hills)
- Bob Jones High School (Madison)
- Booker T. Washington Magnet High School (Montgomery)
- Oak Mountain High School (Birmingham)
- Hewitt-Trussville High School (Trussville)
- Spain Park High School (Birmingham)
- James Clemens High School (Madison)
Moving to a state that you are unfamiliar with can be a daunting task, so take advantage of the valuable government resources that has been made available online. The following are a few helpful links to help you tackle necessary moving tasks—from getting an Alabama driver’s license to registering to vote in your new home state.
- The Official Website of the State of Alabama
- Alabama Career Center System
- Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
- Alabama DMV
- Trip and Fuel Permits
- Alabama Voting Registration
- Alabama Excise Taxes/Forms
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