Birmingham shrinks as other Alabama cities swell

By Larry Copeland, USA TODAYUpdated 21m ago |

The population of Alabama's largest city, Birmingham, shrank 12.6% from 2000-2010, while the capital city of Montgomery grew by 2.1%, according to Census data released Thursday.

The University of Alabama helped Tuscaloosa grow by 16.1%, making it the state's growth powerhouse, according to new Census data.

The state's two growth powerhouses were Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama, which grew by 16.1%, and Huntsville, home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the Army's Redstone Arsenal and defense industries, which grew by 13.8%.

Overall, the state's population grew 7.5% to 4,779,736.

ALABAMA: Local county, city Census data
CENSUS NUMBERS: Interactive map shows your state, county, locality

Birmingham's population decrease over the past decade is tied to the troubled economy, says Annette Watters, manager of the University of Alabama's Alabama State Data Center. "Birmingham had a big presence as a financial center," she says. "There's been a lot of upheaval in the financial sector over the past decade."

Census numbers where you live
Click here for an interactive map with data representing where you live.

The new data show heavy movement of people out of rural areas. "Most rural counties in Alabama lost population," Watters says. "All of the growth in the state happened in the top major metro areas."

There were large shifts in the state's black population. Most of the state's Black Belt counties recorded decreases in the black population.

Alabama remains largely a black-white state, where whites make up 67% of the population and blacks 26%. However, the Hispanic population more than doubled, growing from 1.7% of the total population to 3.9%.

Watters says she believes the Hispanic population was undercounted. ... nsus_N.htm