Living in Huntsville Alabama (The Ultimate Guide)

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Living in Huntsville

Regardless of the reservations, people have about settling down in the state of Alabama, Huntsville is proof that things aren’t always as they seem. This rapidly developing city is one of the cities that appeals to and draws people to the heart of southern America. Thousands of people moved into the city during the last decade, pushing its population to over 200,000 as of 2021. What motivated all these people to begin living in Huntsville?

To put it simply, Huntsville is a place of opportunity for people from different works of life. We’re going to discuss some of the reasons why you might want to make Huntsville your new home, as well as the things you should watch out for.

But first, its nickname.

Rocket City!

Huntsville earned this moniker for being the birthing ground for the rockets that put men on the moon. The city is also actively involved in NASA’s plans to reach our neighbor planet, Mars.

Not only is this very, very cool, but it’s also the reason behind some of the benefits of living in Huntsville. The first (and arguably the foremost) of these benefits would be the employment opportunities.

Pros of living in Huntsville

1.      Jobs!

You would be hard-pressed to find anywhere in the USA with better opportunities for engineers hoping to go into the aerospace industry than Huntsville.

The city has more degreed engineers per capita than almost every other region in the country. Yet, it maintains an unemployment rate of well below 5%. This is because Huntsville’s aerospace sector is still growing, and it isn’t showing signs of slowing down.

Companies like Blue Origin and Boeing are just some of the big names in the industry that have recently set up more of their operations in the city.

Google and Facebook have also recently commenced work to bring their data centers to the city. Both will spend well over half a BILLION dollars in the process. The jobs expected to be created as a result number well into the thousands.

So regardless of your engineering discipline, your skills will be more than welcome in Huntsville. Such growth and expansion will also have positive effects on other sectors within the city, ensuring that no one is left out.

2.      Low Cost of Living.

House prices in Huntsville have been increasing steadily for the past few years, as is expected of a city with a rapidly growing economy. However, the average cost of a house in Huntsville is still almost $100,000 cheaper than the national average, with houses going for about $292,000.

Huntsville residents have a median household income of over $50,000 and spend the lowest percentage of that income on rent of almost any city in the USA. This leaves them with one of the highest amounts of disposable income in the country.

3.      Space Exploration.

For people interested in the history and future of aerospace exploits, Huntsville is the place to be. The city has the highest number of aerospace engineers of any metro area in the USA.

A lot of the experience and knowledge in this city are on display at the US Space and Rocket Center in a fun way. The annual Space Camp held there brings thousands of children and their parents to Huntsville every summer.

If you’d like your kids to grow up with a love for aerospace engineering, it would be a great place to visit, and to keep in mind if you’re thinking of moving to the city.

4.      Huntsville International Airport.

Yes. You heard that right. This city has a fully functional airport, with regular flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Miami, and Washington DC, just to name a few stops. The airport is also easily accessible from all parts of the city.

5.      Great Road Infrastructure.

Another great thing about the city is how well served and well connected it is by a good road network. As such, traffic isn’t much of an issue in the city even if a lot of its residents regularly make use of the roads.

6.      Quality Education

The engineering-dependent economy in Huntsville imposes high education demands. However, the schools in the city consistently meet those standards. As such, Huntsville was ranked among the 25 most educated cities in the USA by Forbes in 2015.

One of the top public tertiary institutions in the USA is the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

7.      The Great Outdoors

Huntsville is situated in the Tennessee River valley and the hills that surround the city provide some of the best sights in the entire state of Alabama. Many hiking routes are also available, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty.

The stunning Monte Sano State Park is just a couple of miles from downtown Huntsville.

Related Article- Living in Ohio (The Complete Guide)

Cons of living in Huntsville

1.      The Weather

Depending on what part of the world or country you currently live in, the weather in Huntsville could pose an issue. For example, people moving from cooler areas might struggle during the summer.

Summer conditions are harsher in Alabama than in many parts of the USA. This becomes obvious when you notice that most outdoor recreation generally involves large bodies of water.

2.      It’s in Alabama after all.

For a city in Alabama, Huntsville is a relatively diverse and open place, but it’s still in the deep south. Politically conservative views are mainstream in the area, and the state is relatively religious.

Some people might not have issues with this, and it might be a deal-breaker for others. So, think of it what you will.

3.      Don’t have a car? Get one!

Public transit isn’t non-existent here. But you shouldn’t depend on it. For the most part, everyone gets around using their vehicles. The suburban layout of the city is the major reason for this.

Hiking and cycling are common pastimes for people in Huntsville, but that’s just what they are: Pastimes. Almost no one walks or cycles to work in this city. At least not yet.

4.      If you have allergies, beware.

Pollen-laden air and weed killer. The combination isn’t uncommon in some parts of the city. This is likely to be an issue for those with sensitive lungs, and some locals say it has even resulted in some residents moving out of the area.

Something to keep in mind, and to research thoroughly before moving.

Cost of Living in Huntsville, Alabama

Rent

According to Numbeo renting a one-bedroom apartment in a normal area in Huntsville for a month will cost about $650. A similar accommodation in a more expensive area would cost about $1050.

A family-sized(three-bedroom) apartment on the cheaper outskirts of the city costs about $1220 while one in the city center could go for as high as $1800

These are generalized figures and may vary depending on several factors.

Transportation

As mentioned earlier, a car would be a valuable investment if you’re hoping to settle in Huntsville. A simple, brand new sedan (Toyota or a similar make) goes for about $25,000. Fuelling the car would be somewhat cheap, at about 58 cents a liter.

Huntsville’s bus transit system, Orbit, operates from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Mondays to Fridays, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. One-way tickets cost $1, but you could pay half that if you’re a student, senior citizen, etc. A monthly pass costs about $30

For the most up-to-date information about Orbit, click here.

Food

For the groceries required to prepare Western-style dishes, a budget of $340 is recommended. If you fancy Asian dishes, on the other hand, $270 would be sufficient. These budgets both exclude any special or uncommon ingredients.

To see what both lists look like in detail, click here.

Utilities

The basics like electricity, heating (more like cooling in this case), water, and trash disposal would cost just under $140 in total. The monthly cost for a data connection is a little over $60, bringing the total to about $200.

In total…

A family of four would do fine with a budget of $5000 monthly, while a single individual could live comfortably with a budget of $2000 to $2500.

Places to visit in Huntsville

US Space and Rocket Center!

I can’t say it enough. If you have time to see only one place in Huntsville, this should be it. The space history of this city is arguably the most special thing about it, and this major tourist attraction brings the best of that history and culture together under one roof.

Monte Sano State Park.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when you see one of Monte Sano, you’ll immediately understand what makes it one of the most popular destinations in Huntsville. Simply breath-taking. Also, the trees aren’t evergreen, so there’s a unique view almost every season.

Huntsville Museum of Art

Unique art pieces, housed within stunning architecture, surrounded by cleanly landscaped greenery. Beauty from the inside out. Be sure to make out time to visit if you’re interested in visual aesthetics.

Conclusion

Huntsville has that rare mix of small city vibes and big-city opportunities. For many people looking to settle down, that’s more than they could ask for.