Most students never have to consider moving off campus, unless they find a cheaper option than the dorms; therefore, the number of off-campus students is very small in comparison to those who live on campus. The neighborhoods around the school are residential, but most of the places to live are family homes which are not really available for rent or conducive to college living. With the exception of one apartment complex right next to the school, which was recently purchased by the school and now known as the Hilltop Village Apartments, there are very few apartment complexes near campus. Also, due to the issue of safety, very few students consider living outside of the gates. Those students that live off campus live in other parts of the city, such as Southside, Homewood, Hoover, or Vestavia. There are tons of apartments in Birmingham; the catch is that they are all a fairly decent drive from campus. Traffic through the city is notoriously bad during rush hour, so commuter students are often at a disadvantage.
If you're simply not interested in living in a dorm, then there are a few other options to consider before looking for a place off campus. There are student apartments that are owned by the school and are within the gates so that they receive excellent security. If you end up being involved with a Greek organization, each fraternity and sorority has its own house that upperclassmen can live in. By and large, it is the most convenient option to live on campus at Birmingham-Southern.