Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, AL Combined Statistical Area
The Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, AL Combined Statistical Area, sometimes known as Greater Birmingham, is made up of eight counties in Central Alabama.
According to the United States Census 2013 estimate, the greater Birmingham area has a population of 1,302,652. The statistical area consists of the Birmingham–Hoover Metropolitan Area (metropolitan statistical area), the Talladega-Sylacauga μSA (micropolitan statistical area), the Cullman, AL μSA (micropolitan statistical area). 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.
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Suburbs with more than 10,000 inhabitants
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.
Major employers in the Greater Birmingham area
- 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 to Mobile and Nashville, Tennessee, Interstate 20 which connects to Dallas and Atlanta, Interstate 59 which connects to New Orleans and Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Interstate 22 which connects to 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 is colloquially known as simply "280" and is notorious for its traffic. 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 Transportation Authority bus system which has been severely underfunded.
Birmingham ranks as one of the top automobile cities, and routinely fails EPA air quality standards.
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 United States.
- Birmingham Business Alliance, a co-operative that involves many of the counties in Greater Birmingham