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Best counties to live in Alabama

More counties in the United States experienced population growth in the last year, according to the latest Census data, even as pandemic-related moving trends begin to normalize.

Counties in the South continued to experience growth, particularly in Florida, where 96% of its 67 counties gained new residents. Polk County, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, added the most, with 26,000 people moving there in 2023.

Meanwhile, counties in the Midwest and Northeast continued to lose population, but at slower rates than the year before. Some of the biggest losses were in counties home to large cities, including Cook County, Illinois (home of Chicago) and the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens in New York.

Many counties are experiencing growth due to their job opportunities, education, or relatively affordable housing costs. Others are favored for their historic or well-designed downtowns or access to cultural opportunities.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to live in Alabama using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks counties by various factors including public schools, educational attainment, cost of living, and housing.

Keep reading to see if your county made the list.

#30. Russell County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 1,353

- Population: 58,849

- Median household income: $47,420

- Median home value: $141,900 (61% own)

- Median rent: $908 (39% rent)

- Top public schools: Sherwood Elementary School (grade A minus), Central High School (grade B), Mt. Olive Elementary School (grade B)

- Top private schools: Phenix Christian School (grade unavailable), Teen University (grade unavailable), Mother Mary School (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Phenix City (grade B), Ladonia (grade B minus), Hurtsboro (grade B minus)

#29. Talladega County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 1,249

- Population: 81,105

- Median household income: $52,457

- Median home value: $131,900 (72% own)

- Median rent: $750 (28% rent)

- Top public schools: Oxford Middle School (grade A minus), Fayetteville High School (grade B+), Munford Elementary School (grade B)

- Top private schools: First United Methodist Kindergarten & Daycare (grade unavailable), Knollwood Christian School (grade unavailable), Hope Academy (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Oak Grove (grade B), Sylacauga (grade B minus), Childersburg (grade B minus)

#28. Washington County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 1,149

- Population: 15,434

- Median household income: $51,184

- Median home value: $138,100 (88% own)

- Median rent: $698 (12% rent)

- Top public schools: Millry High School (grade B+), Chatom Elementary School (grade B), Fruitdale High School (grade B)

- Top private schools:

- Top places: Leroy (grade A minus), McIntosh (grade A minus), Chatom (grade B+)

#27. Colbert County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 1,105

- Population: 57,270

- Median household income: $56,149

- Median home value: $148,500 (71% own)

- Median rent: $810 (29% rent)

- Top public schools: McBride Elementary School (grade A), Muscle Shoals Middle School (grade A), Muscle Shoals High School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: Covenant Christian School (grade B+)

- Top places: Muscle Shoals (grade A), Tuscumbia (grade B+), Sheffield (grade B)

#26. DeKalb County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 1,095

- Population: 71,680

- Median household income: $47,920

- Median home value: $129,000 (74% own)

- Median rent: $684 (26% rent)

- Top public schools: Plainview School (grade A minus), Sylvania School (grade A minus), Fyffe High School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: Cornerstone Christian Academy (grade C minus), Beth Haven Christian Academy (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Fort Payne (grade B), Rainsville (grade B+), Sylvania (grade B+)

#25. Tallapoosa County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 1,074

- Population: 41,251

- Median household income: $53,282

- Median home value: $127,100 (75% own)

- Median rent: $701 (25% rent)

- Top public schools: Horseshoe Bend High School (grade B), William L. Radney Elementary School (grade B), Reeltown Elementary School (grade B)

- Top private schools: Southern Preparatory Academy (grade A)

- Top places: Alexander City (grade B), Tallassee (grade B minus), Daviston (grade B+)

#24. Etowah County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 1,047

- Population: 103,348

- Median household income: $52,177

- Median home value: $148,400 (73% own)

- Median rent: $779 (27% rent)

- Top public schools: Eura Brown Elementary School (grade A minus), John S. Jones Elementary School (grade B+), Whitesboro Elementary School (grade B+)

- Top private schools: Westbrook Christian School (grade B), Coosa Christian School (grade C), St. James Catholic School (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Rainbow City (grade B+), Glencoe (grade B+), Southside (grade B)

#23. Montgomery County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 956

- Population: 228,132

- Median household income: $56,707

- Median home value: $151,300 (57% own)

- Median rent: $1,028 (43% rent)

- Top public schools: Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School (grade A+), Brewbaker Tech Magnet High School (grade A), Pike Road Junior High School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: The Montgomery Academy (grade A+), Saint James School (grade A+), Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School (grade A)

- Top places: Pike Road (grade A minus), Montgomery (grade B minus)

#22. Covington County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 758

- Population: 37,542

- Median household income: $48,772

- Median home value: $124,300 (75% own)

- Median rent: $701 (25% rent)

- Top public schools: South Highlands Elementary School (grade A minus), Andalusia High School (grade A minus), Straughn Middle School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools:

- Top places: Andalusia (grade B+), Opp (grade B), Carolina (grade B+)

#21. Marshall County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 713

- Population: 97,923

- Median household income: $58,272

- Median home value: $165,600 (75% own)

- Median rent: $746 (25% rent)

- Top public schools: Arab Elementary School (grade A), Arab Junior High School (grade A minus), Brindlee Mountain Primary School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: Marshall Christian Academy (grade C+), Grace Classical Christian Academy (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Guntersville (grade B+), Albertville (grade B+), Arab (grade B)

#20. Mobile County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 702

- Population: 413,878

- Median household income: $55,352

- Median home value: $164,600 (63% own)

- Median rent: $973 (37% rent)

- Top public schools: Alabama School of Mathematics and Science (grade A+), Saraland Elementary School (grade A), Saraland Middle/Nelson Adams (grade A)

- Top private schools: St. Paul's Episcopal School (grade A), UMS-Wright Preparatory School (grade A), McGill-Toolen Catholic High School (grade A)

- Top places: Satsuma (grade A minus), Saraland (grade B+), Mobile (grade B)

#19. Marengo County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 648

- Population: 19,180

- Median household income: $42,975

- Median home value: $98,600 (68% own)

- Median rent: $702 (32% rent)

- Top public schools: Sweet Water High School (grade A), Demopolis High School (grade B+), U.S. Jones Elementary School (grade B+)

- Top private schools:

- Top places: Demopolis (grade B+), Sweet Water (grade B+), Thomaston (grade B)

#18. Morgan County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 634

- Population: 123,102

- Median household income: $61,588

- Median home value: $174,800 (73% own)

- Median rent: $791 (27% rent)

- Top public schools: Barkley Bridge Elementary School (grade A), Hartselle Intermediate School (grade A), Hartselle High School (grade A)

- Top private schools: Decatur Heritage Christian Academy (grade A minus), Cornerstone Christian School (grade B), Bethel Baptist School (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Hartselle (grade A), Priceville (grade A minus), Decatur (grade B+)

#17. Crenshaw County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 600

- Population: 13,205

- Median household income: $48,557

- Median home value: $100,400 (75% own)

- Median rent: $595 (25% rent)

- Top public schools: Brantley High School (grade B+), Highland Home High School (grade B+), Luverne High School (grade B minus)

- Top private schools: Crenshaw Christian Academy (grade C+)

- Top places: Luverne (grade A minus), Brantley (grade B), Dozier (grade B minus)

#16. Henry County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 596

- Population: 17,282

- Median household income: $58,395

- Median home value: $132,400 (82% own)

- Median rent: $678 (18% rent)

- Top public schools: Headland Elementary School (grade B+), Headland Middle School (grade B), Abbeville High School (grade B)

- Top private schools: Abbeville Christian Academy (grade B minus)

- Top places: Headland (grade A), Abbeville (grade B), Newville (grade B minus)

#15. Coffee County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 572

- Population: 53,559

- Median household income: $62,199

- Median home value: $162,200 (69% own)

- Median rent: $921 (31% rent)

- Top public schools: Dauphin Junior High School (grade A), Enterprise High School (grade A), Hillcrest Elementary School (grade A)

- Top private schools: Wiregrass Christian Academy (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Enterprise (grade A minus), New Brockton (grade B+), Elba (grade B)

#14. Dale County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 539

- Population: 49,455

- Median household income: $52,813

- Median home value: $123,800 (60% own)

- Median rent: $829 (40% rent)

- Top public schools: George W. Long High School (grade A), Ariton School (grade A minus), Newton Elementary School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: Harvest Christian School (grade B+), Fort Rucker Child Development Center (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Newton (grade B), Daleville (grade B), Ozark (grade B)

#13. Jefferson County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 455

- Population: 672,265

- Median household income: $63,595

- Median home value: $208,900 (64% own)

- Median rent: $1,086 (36% rent)

- Top public schools: Alabama School of Fine Arts (grade A+), Homewood High School (grade A+), Mt. Brook High School (grade A+)

- Top private schools: The Altamont School (grade A+), John Carroll Catholic High School (grade A), Mountain View Baptist School (grade A)

- Top places: Homewood (grade A+), Hoover (grade A+), Vestavia Hills (grade A+)

#12. Calhoun County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 446

- Population: 116,162

- Median household income: $54,339

- Median home value: $140,500 (71% own)

- Median rent: $806 (29% rent)

- Top public schools: Piedmont Middle School (grade A minus), De Armanville Elementary School (grade A minus), Piedmont Elementary School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: The Donoho School (grade A), Faith Christian School (grade A minus), Trinity Christian Academy (grade B)

- Top places: Oxford (grade A), Weaver (grade A minus), Jacksonville (grade A minus)

#11. Houston County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 431

- Population: 107,040

- Median household income: $55,064

- Median home value: $164,900 (65% own)

- Median rent: $858 (35% rent)

- Top public schools: Wicksburg High School (grade A minus), Rehobeth Elementary School (grade A minus), Rehobeth High School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: Providence Christian School (grade A+), Houston Academy (grade A), Emmanuel Christian School (grade B minus)

- Top places: Taylor (grade B+), Dothan (grade B+), Rehobeth (grade B)

#10. Pike County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 420

- Population: 32,997

- Median household income: $42,616

- Median home value: $144,500 (63% own)

- Median rent: $750 (37% rent)

- Top public schools: Pike County High School (grade B+), Goshen High School (grade B+), Banks School (grade B)

- Top private schools: Pike Liberal Arts School (grade B+), New Life Christian Academy (grade B+), Covenant Christian School (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Troy (grade B), Brundidge (grade B), Banks (grade B)

#9. Autauga County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 417

- Population: 58,761

- Median household income: $68,315

- Median home value: $191,800 (75% own)

- Median rent: $1,199 (25% rent)

- Top public schools: Daniel Pratt Elementary School (grade A minus), Prattville High School (grade B+), Prattville Junior High School (grade B+)

- Top private schools: Autauga Academy (grade B), Camellia Baptist Weekday Education Ministry (WEM) (grade unavailable), First Baptist Kindergarten (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Prattville (grade A), Pine Level (grade B), Marbury (grade B+)

#8. Lauderdale County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 391

- Population: 94,329

- Median household income: $56,081

- Median home value: $174,800 (68% own)

- Median rent: $773 (32% rent)

- Top public schools: Kilby Laboratory School (grade A), Forest Hills School (grade A), Florence High School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: Shoals Christian School (grade A minus), Mars Hill Bible School (grade B+), St. Joseph Regional Catholic School (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Florence (grade A), Killen (grade B+), Rogersville (grade B+)

#7. Elmore County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 359

- Population: 87,694

- Median household income: $73,258

- Median home value: $200,400 (77% own)

- Median rent: $982 (23% rent)

- Top public schools: Holtville Middle School (grade A minus), Holtville Elementary School (grade A minus), Millbrook Middle Junior High School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: Prattville Christian Academy (grade A minus), Edgewood Academy (grade B+), New Life Christian Academy (grade B)

- Top places: Blue Ridge (grade A), Deatsville (grade A minus), Millbrook (grade A minus)

#6. Baldwin County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 318

- Population: 233,420

- Median household income: $71,039

- Median home value: $266,000 (78% own)

- Median rent: $1,160 (22% rent)

- Top public schools: Fairhope High School (grade A), Fairhope Middle School (grade A), Spanish Fort Elementary School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: Bayside Academy (grade A), Bayshore Christian School (grade A minus), St Michael Catholic High School (grade B+)

- Top places: Spanish Fort (grade A), Point Clear (grade A), Fairhope (grade A)

#5. Tuscaloosa County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 310

- Population: 231,558

- Median household income: $61,645

- Median home value: $218,800 (62% own)

- Median rent: $974 (38% rent)

- Top public schools: Tuscaloosa Magnet School - Middle School (grade A minus), Tuscaloosa Magnet School - Elementary School (grade A minus), Northridge High School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: The Capitol School (grade A), Tuscaloosa Academy (grade A), Holy Spirit Catholic School (grade A minus)

- Top places: Northport (grade A minus), Tuscaloosa (grade B+), Cottondale (grade B+)

#4. Limestone County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 235

- Population: 104,199

- Median household income: $80,146

- Median home value: $229,400 (78% own)

- Median rent: $861 (22% rent)

- Top public schools: James Clemens High School (grade A+), Brookhill Elementary School (grade A), Julian Newman Elementary School (grade A minus)

- Top private schools: Lindsay Lane Christian Academy (grade A minus), Athens Bible School (grade C)

- Top places: Athens (grade A minus), Elkmont (grade B), Ardmore (grade C+)

#3. Lee County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 52

- Population: 175,126

- Median household income: $59,288

- Median home value: $224,400 (65% own)

- Median rent: $953 (35% rent)

- Top public schools: Cary Woods Elementary School (grade A+), Dean Road Elementary School (grade A+), Richland Elementary School (grade A+)

- Top private schools: Lee-Scott Academy (grade A), Glenwood School (grade B+), The Chanticleer Learning Center (grade unavailable)

- Top places: Auburn (grade A+), Opelika (grade A), Smiths Station (grade B)

#2. Shelby County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 26

- Population: 223,916

- Median household income: $90,618

- Median home value: $276,500 (81% own)

- Median rent: $1,272 (19% rent)

- Top public schools: Spain Park High School (grade A+), Robert F. Bumpus Middle School (grade A+), Greystone Elementary School (grade A)

- Top private schools: Indian Springs School (grade A+), The Westminster School at Oak Mountain (grade A), Evangel Classical Christian School (grade A minus)

- Top places: Meadowbrook (grade A+), Indian Springs Village (grade A+), Pelham (grade A+)

#1. Madison County, Alabama

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- Overall Rank: 8

- Population: 389,781

- Median household income: $78,058

- Median home value: $242,900 (68% own)

- Median rent: $1,043 (32% rent)

- Top public schools: Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering (grade A+), Bob Jones High School (grade A+), New Century Technology High School (grade A+)

- Top private schools: Randolph School (grade A+), St. John Paul II Catholic High School (grade A+), Westminster Christian Academy (grade A)

- Top places: Madison (grade A+), Huntsville (grade A), Meridianville (grade A)

This story features data reporting and writing by Elena Cox and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 50 states.

 

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