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City Summary - Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, the largest city in Alabama, is a diverse city known for its southern hospitality. While it is one of the largest cities in the Southeastern United States, and is an important business center, it still retains a small-town feel. Residents can see the Alabama Symphony Orchestra play at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, bicycle at Ruffner Mountain (a park larger than New York's Central Park), or eat at any of Birmingham's nationally renowned restaurants.

Birmingham is home to a number of universities, providing it with a college-town feel. University of Alabama at Birmingham, Samford University, the Birmingham School of Law, and Miles College are all based in Birmingham.

While the city of Birmingham's crime rate is one of the ten highest crime rates in the nation, the entire metropolitan area's crime rate is lower than the national average. This is because downtown and the suburbs are very safe, which balances out the less safe areas of the city, such as the West and North sides.

Most transportation in and around Birmingham is by car. However, the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority serves the metropolitan area, and the Metro Area Express (MAX) bus system provides acces into and out of the city to the suburbs.

The cost of living in Birmingham is in line with the national average. Residents must pay a state income tax of about 3%, and Jefferson County levies an income-tax for employees who do not reside in the county. Food and other necessities cost less than in big cities such as New York and Chicago.
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