Report says Birmingham one of the neediest cities in the U.S.

Jan 20, 2021

The city of Birmingham is starting off the new year as one of the “neediest” cities in the nation.

The financial website Wallethub did a study that looks specifically at the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The list includes job losses, homelessness, food insecurity, and cities whose residents lack insurance. Birmingham came in at No. 6 nationally.

Wallethub analyst Jill Gonzales said the coronavirus outbreak did more than just threaten the health of residents of the Magic City.

“So we looked at cases and deaths, just the sheer prevalence of it. But, then we also looked at the unemployment rate, which obviously, typically when you have higher cases, you have a higher unemployment rate,” Gonzales said.

The Wallethub report singled out Birmingham and Montgomery for specific issues related to the study. Montgomery was listed third in the nation for food insecurity. That’s when households have difficulty in putting food on the table. St. Louis and New Orleans led the worst five cities for this problem.

Birmingham came in at No. 5 for child poverty, just ahead of Buffalo and Rochester in New York State, Cleveland, and Detroit.

Wallethub analyst Gonzales said the health toll from COVID-19 was just the beginning for Birmingham’s poor showing.

“You also see higher poverty rates, higher homelessness levels, higher bankruptcy rates,” Gonzales said. “We’ve seen a lot more bankruptcy filings in Birmingham. So, it is a snowball effect.”

In the overall ranking, cities like Memphis, Cleveland, and Brownsville, Texas are listed as worse than Birmingham for being needy. Detroit was worst in the country. Huntsville was ranked at No.98, Montgomery came in at 31, and Mobile at 32.