Birmingham ( BUR-ming-ham) is a city in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2019 population of 209,403, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2018, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,151,801, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.
Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post–Civil War Reconstruction era, through the merger of three farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the United Kingdom's second largest city and then a major industrial city. The Alabama city annexed its smaller neighbors as it developed into a major industrial center based on mining, the iron and steel industry, and rail transport. Most of the original settlers were of English ancestry. The city was developed as a place where low paid, non-unionized immigrants (mainly Irish and Italian), along with African-Americans from rural Alabama, worked in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces and gave it a competitive advantage over unionized industrial cities of the Midwest and Northeast.
From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the southern United States.