Birmingham Named Nation’s Rudest City

Having spent many years living in Alabama, a generally friendly place, I was shocked to hear that Birmingham was judged the “nation’s rudest city” in a Reader’s Digest survey. It turns out that it was that other Birmingham.

Birmingham named nation’s rudest city (AFP)

Don’t expect a helping hand in Birmingham — after an opinion poll showed that residents there are the rudest people in Britain. “Brummies” were the least likely to pass a series of courtesy tests such as holding the door for someone behind them or stopping to help a person who had dropped their shopping, according to the study by the Reader’s Digest. In contrast, Newcastle residents were most polite, followed by inhabitants of Liverpool and Exeter in the south east.

The Reader’s Digest sent undercover “civility inspectors” to eight British cities to test them with a variety of politeness trials. As well as door-holding and help with dropped shopping, they checked whether shop assistants were well-mannered enough to say “please” and “thank you” and whether drivers thanked those who let them merge into rush hour traffic.

Britons overall were polite 59 percent of the time, while Newcastle residents passed 77 percent of the tests. In contrast, Birmingham natives managed to show common courtesy on only 43 percent of occasions.

I suspect Birmingham, Alabama would have fared better.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DL says:

    I hear it is Paris!

    I know, but the headline didn’t say which nation….so I took the opportunity to remind the French what we think of them.

  2. Ralph Thayer says:

    “Holding the door?” How about storming, stoning, and death threats — don’t they count?

  3. Bham says:

    Hey I live in Birmingham UK. It really is a nice place to visit.