Recent population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau have shed light on where Alabama is growing or, in many cases, shrinking, as nearly half of cities and towns lost population in the first year of the pandemic.
Cities along the Gulf Coast and in fast-growing areas like metro Huntsville and suburban Birmingham continued to grow from July 1, 2020 through July 1, 2021, according to new federal estimates. The city of Auburn added more people to the total than any other city in the state during this time.
But Alabama itself only added 15,000 people, as many cities and towns shrank. This includes Birmingham, which fell down the list and is now the third largest city in the state. It also includes Montgomery, who, despite losing more than 1,300 people, overtook Birmingham for second place.
A total of 221 of Alabama’s 462 census-designated cities and towns lost at least one person from 2020 to 2021. That’s about 48%, or nearly half of all cities and towns. 38 others remained exactly the same size. This leaves 203 places that have grown, adding at least one person. That’s 44% of towns and villages.
More from the census: These are the fastest growing counties in Alabama from 2020 to 2021
Birmingham falls below Montgomery in 2021 census estimates, now Alabama’s third-largest city
Alabama’s population grew slightly in 2021, despite heavy toll of COVID pandemic
You can see the total population trend for each city and town in Alabama from July 2020 to July 2021 in the list below. The list is in alphabetical order, but you can sort by total population, population change, and percent change by clicking on each heading.
You can also search for a specific town or city in Alabama by typing in the search box.
[Can’t see the list? Click here.]
There is no doubt that much of the population loss during this period is due to deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic, with Alabama having recorded 10,402 COVID deaths during the period from 1 July 2020 to July 1, 2021. In 2020, for the first time in the state’s recorded history, Alabama had more deaths than births — and the trend likely continued into 2021.
Alabama, and many growing counties within it, grew population only through net migration – meaning more people from out of state moved in than people from within. Alabama. Deaths from the pandemic have meant that Alabama has seen a net loss of natural change, but migration has been enough to offset those losses. Data on what exactly is driving population change in Alabama is not available at the city level, but can be seen at the county level here.