Off grid living in Alabama ( Heart of Dixie )

Alabama is located in the southern part of the country, and in many cases, it is a typical southern state although in some cases it is actually worse than most of the southern states. Life in Alabama is fairly cheap, although this is mostly because of the high poverty rate in this state and the numerous problems which the state is currently working on. Alabama has one of the worst healthcare systems in the nation and its education system is also lacking in many aspects.

Living off the grid in Alabama is legal, and this is one of the better states for off grid living. Alabama has cheap land and one of the lowest property taxes in the country, on top of that you will have no problem growing crops and generating power, in fact, the state offers generous rebates and incentives for solar and wind power systems. On the other hand, Alabama has one of the worst healthcare systems in the nation, and its crime rate is also fairly high.

If you want to live off the grid in Alabama then you will need to use a dehumidifier as the high humidity will cause a lot of problems, my personal recommendation is to use one that is suitable for 2100 cubic feet Click here to check it out on Amazon.com

As I have said in some of my previous articles if a state is fairly poor and has a lower standard of living that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad place to live off the grid. A lot of people in Alabama have a more or less self-sufficient lifestyle, and living off the grid here will be a lot easier than in the northern states, mostly because everything is a lot cheaper. Although not a lot of people wish to move to this state, but the truth is that Alabama’s population is increasing even faster than the population of the states which are located on the east coast.

Currently, the population of Alabama is around 4.99 million and the population is steadily increasing over the past couple of decades. Although Alabama is considered a fairly large state, it only has around 4 cities that have over 100k population, and no cities with over 500k population. The biggest cities in Alabama are Birmingham with 215k, Montgomery 200k, Mobile 195k, and Huntsville with 195k population.

There are two things that most of the states in this area have, high humidity and plenty of bugs. In some areas of Alabama, the high humidity is so bad that people have black mold growing in their houses if they do not ventilate often, this is why you will see a lot of houses with doors and windows open most of the time. When it comes to bugs the only state which has it worse is Mississippi,  if you want more information about this state then check out my recent article Off grid living in Mississippi ( Top 12 Pros and Cons ).

Alabama climate

Alabama has a humid subtropical climate, which means that the summers are fairly hot and humid and the winters are mild and humid. The average temperature during the summertime is around 90°F and during the wintertime, it is around 35°F, although in some years the winters can be a lot hotter. From an off grid living perspective this means that if you want to grow crops you will have a fairly easy time as the growing period is long, on the other hand, you will be constantly fighting the high humidity.

The highest temperature ever recorded was 112°F in 1965 and the lowest temperature was at -17°F in 1899. Due to global warming, this state has a lot of heatwaves, so if you are elderly or you have heart problems then you probably shouldn’t move here. If you are not a fan of Alabama’s climate then check out my recent article Off grid living in Minnesota ( Land of 10,000 Lakes ).

Best crops to grow in Alabama

The local climate is great for growing crops, the problem is that Alabama doesn’t really grow a lot of crops, as it is producing only around 4% of the country’s crops. You can grow here anything from cotton, corn, grain, soybean, and plenty of types of vegetables and fruits. Unlike in the northern states, you will not have to set up a greenhouse, as the temperatures are high enough for almost a year-long growing period.

On the other hand, you will constantly have to fight with bugs eating your crops, some of them are even resistant to pesticides. If you are looking to buy land in Alabama for a homestead and you want to grow your own crops, make sure that the land is actually suitable for growing crops. If you want to take a look at another fairly good start then check out my recent article Off grid living in Tennessee ( The Volunteer State ).

Freshwater availability in Alabama

Due to the high rainfall and high humidity, Alabama doesn’t have any problems with freshwater. With that being said you should test the water if it is groundwater as it might be contaminated with runoff from farms or in some areas even with saltwater. The good news is that due to the high amount of rainfall you will have no problem harvesting rainwater, as long as you keep the water cistern or tank clean, you should have no problems.

Alabama wildlife

In addition to a lot of bugs in Alabama, you will find a lot of rodents lick the black rack, brown rat, and mice. The larger animals are elk, cougar, American bison, follow deer, and red wolf, as you can see you have plenty of options when it comes to hunting. In the local rivers and lakes, you will find spotted bass, shoal bass, walleye, sauger largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass amongst others. On the coast, you will find barracuda, bluefish, bigeye, amberjack, pompano, and groupers amongst others. Don’t forget that you need a different license both for freshwater and saltwater fishing https://www.outdooralabama.com/licenses/freshwater-fishing-licenses.

Generating power off the grid in Alabama

  • Solar power: The sun is shining fairly strong almost all year round, so generating power with solar panels will be easy. When setting up for a solar power system you should apply for the federal tax credit which is at 30% and also apply for the Alabama solar rebate which is around $1000, you will need to fill out some paperwork both for the rebate and the federal tax credit but it is well worth it.
  • Wind power: You can apply the federal tax credit to wind power also, some counties do offer rebates of around $1000 but not all of them.

Alabama off grid laws

There are no laws prohibiting you to live off the grid as long as you don’t do it in a city but this is true in any state. There are a lot of people in Alabama living off the grid and some of them have a self-sustaining lifestyle. The education system in Alabama is not the best and a lot of people actually homeschool their children when it comes to homeschooling laws, these are fairly relaxed, you will need some paperwork to notify the authorities.

Alabama road access

The roads in Alabama are not the best, this is mostly because the state is fairly poor and due to its large size it is hard to keep up with maintaining the local infrastructure. People who live off the grid and near a body of water often have boats that make getting around a lot easier.

Price of land in Alabama

The price of land in Alabama is extremely cheap, it is around 45% cheaper than the national average, and in some areas land and housing can be even cheaper. Generally speaking a house in Alabama costs around $130k which is $100k less than the national average. The most expensive areas are in the southern part of the state and the cheapest areas for land are in the northern part of the state, the good news is that in the cheapest parts are most of the lands which are great for growing crops.

Alabama property tax

The average property tax in Alabama is at 0.31% which is a lot lower than the national average at 1.08%. Basically, you will pay around 45% less for property and a fraction of the national average property tax, these two alone make Alabama a good state for off grid living.

Alabama cost of living

Overall the cost of living in Alabama is around 18% less than the national average, most notably the cost of property is around 45% lower, and the cost of transportation is around 15% lower. You will also pay less for groceries with around 6%, on the other hand, you will pay more for health care with 2%, and around 3% more for utilities. Do note that Alabama doesn’t have a good healthcare system so the cost might get higher if you have serious health-related issues.

Alabama jobs

Currently, the unemployment rate in Alabama is at 2.8% which is a lot lower than the national average which is at 4%. The minimum wage is at $7.25 which is the nationwide approved minimum wage, basically, it can not get any lower than that. The biggest industries where most people work are commercial fishing, automotive, technology, forestry, chemical, and even the aeronautical industry.

Alabama crime rate

Even though Alabama doesn’t have a lot of large cities, its crime rate is higher than the national average. Generally speaking the crime rate in Alabama is at 5.2 crimes per 1000 people and the national average is at 4 crimes per 1000 people. Alabama has a serious problem with drug abuse, as the state is fairly sparsely populated there are all kinds of labs popping up, and by that I mean the Breaking Bad kind of labs.

The safest areas are around Anderson, Five Points, Fulton, Vredenburgh, and Eldridge. The areas with the highest crime rates are Union Springs, Tallassee, Jasper, and Andalusia.

Alabama natural disasters

Alabama has a couple of natural disasters like floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, heatwaves, and even massive snowstorms. Most of these natural disasters are fairly rare although floods and storms are more common. Although tornadoes and hurricanes are not that common, but when they do hit Alabama they do a lot of damage.

In conclusion

Overall Alabama is a good state for off grid living, the only major drawbacks are the high crime rate, failing health care and education systems. Some will find it extremely difficult to live here due to the constant heat and high humidity, on the other hand, the threat of hurricanes and tornadoes might even get worse due to global warming.