The city of Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama and is situated in both Shelby and Jefferson Counties. Birmingham’s population estimate is 209,880, and the Birmingham-Hoover MSA population is 1,151,801. Nestled at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains at the cross-section of two major railroads, the city was once the primary industrial center of the southern United States. At the height of the nation’s manufacturing age, the city grew so fast in population, it was called the "Magic City." Today, Birmingham has transformed itself into a medical research, banking and service-based economy, with more green space per capita than any other city in the nation.
Birmingham was founded on June 1, 1871, by real estate promoters who sold lots near the planned crossing of the Alabama and Chattanooga and South and North railroads. The first business at that crossroads was the trading post and country store Yeilding's, run by the still prominent Yeilding family. The site of the railroad crossing was notable for the nearby deposits of iron ore, coal, and limestone- the three principal raw materials used in making steel. Birmingham is the only place worldwide where significant amounts of all three minerals can be found in such close proximity. Birmingham also boasts 99 historic neighborhoods and is often referred to as the cradle of the American Civil Rights Movement.
The city is centrally located in the southeast and easily accessible to major hubs in the region. The pride of Birmingham is the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), in the past four decades, UAB has evolved into a world-renowned research university and health care center, Alabama’s single largest employer, and the economic engine of Birmingham with an impact of more than $3 billion on the area. With more than 18,000 students, 19,000 faculty and staff, and a campus covering more than 80 city blocks, UAB is on the leading edge of teaching, research, health care, and community service.