These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Georgia For 2018

We used science and data to determine which places in Georgia are basically dead broke.

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Georgia brings to mind images of Atlanta, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, Georgia has certain places that are going on hard times. These places have an above average percent of people that are living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.

With all the talk about income inequality going on around the country, we thought it prudent to take a look at the places in each state that are struggling to make it even as the economy continues to improve. So we set our sites on bringing attention to the places in Georgia that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 128 places in Georgia with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Peach State for 2018:

  1. Fort Valley
  2. Cordele (Photos)
  3. Americus (Photos)
  4. Statesboro (Photos)
  5. Milledgeville
  6. Swainsboro (Photos)
  7. Cairo (Photos)
  8. Thomson (Photos)
  9. Barnesville (Photos)
  10. College Park (Photos)

Again, this isn’t a commentary on the people that live there or the vibrant culture and traditions of these places. Instead, it’s just a look at the facts.

And according to the facts, Fort Valley is the poorest place in Georgia for 2018.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Georgia or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

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How We Determined The Poorest Places In Georgia For 2018

The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the poorest places is to simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established level of income for a household of a certain size.

However, we don’t think that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the ‘poorest places’. So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2012-2016 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income adjusted for the cost of living
  • Unemployment Rate

The ‘median household income adjusted for the cost of living’ attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

After we collected the data for all 128 places with more than 5,000 people in Georgia, we ranked each place from 1 to 128 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.

We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a ‘Poor Score’ with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Fort Valley, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Georgia For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 128 places.

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1. Fort Valley

Fort Valley, Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,975
Median Income: $20,664
Unemployment Rate: 21.1%
Poverty Rate: 43.1%
Fort Valley, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Georgia thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 8,975 people averages the 3rd lowest median household income in Georgia and the 5th highest poverty rate. At the very least, the cost of living ranks in the bottom 15% of place in the state, so things like housing are relatively affordable.

2. Cordele

Cordele, Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,015
Median Income: $23,294
Unemployment Rate: 18.0%
Poverty Rate: 49.6%
The second poorest city in Georgia is Cordele.

The city ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and 5th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 6th highest in the Peach State.

3. Americus

Americus, Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 16,185
Median Income: $24,882
Unemployment Rate: 19.6%
Poverty Rate: 42.2%
Placing as the third poorest city, Americus’s median income ranks as the 10th lowest.

And that’s a sign that there’s a relatively substantial jump in the quality of the economy from second to third place on our list. The poverty rate is 42.2% and ranks near the bottom of places in the state.

But what makes up for the relatively low incomes of the city is its low cost of living. The income you do make here goes further than in most parts of the Peach State.

4. Statesboro

Statesboro, Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 30,597
Median Income: $24,499
Unemployment Rate: 13.3%
Poverty Rate: 51.5%
Statesboro ranks as the fourth poorest place in Georgia.

The town ranks as having the 7th lowest median household income and the 1st highest incidence of poverty in the state.

That being said, there’s still a ton of cultural diversity in the city as it hosts many events throughout the year.

5. Milledgeville

Milledgeville, Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 19,146
Median Income: $21,158
Unemployment Rate: 12.9%
Poverty Rate: 43.3%
The fifth poorest city in Georgia is Milledgeville.

The city ranks as having the 4th lowest median income in the state. However, an extremely low cost of living prevents a good number of folks from living in poverty as the poverty rate only ranks as the 4th highest in Georgia.

Still not the best news for Milledgeville.

6. Swainsboro

Swainsboro, Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,504
Median Income: $27,942
Unemployment Rate: 15.0%
Poverty Rate: 42.4%
Swainsboro ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Peach State.

It ranks as having the 6th highest incidence of poverty and the 17th highest unemployment rate.

7. Cairo

Cairo, Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,708
Median Income: $25,161
Unemployment Rate: 13.5%
Poverty Rate: 42.2%
Cairo places as the seventh poorest city in Georgia.

The city of over 9,708 ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

8. Thomson

Thomson, Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,699
Median Income: $19,611
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Poverty Rate: 43.7%
Thomson ranks as the eighth poorest city in Georgia.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 42nd highest in the state.

9. Barnesville

Barnesville, Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,611
Median Income: $28,209
Unemployment Rate: 17.1%
Poverty Rate: 34.3%
Barnesville couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Georgia; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 19th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Barnesville ranks as having the 21st most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Georgia.

10. College Park

College Park, Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,434
Median Income: $28,191
Unemployment Rate: 14.2%
Poverty Rate: 35.7%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Georgia is College Park.

The city of 14,434 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Peach State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Georgia For 2018

Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Georgia, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Georgia.

When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very bottom of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.

If you’re curious enough, here are the richest cities in Georgia, according to data:

Richest: Milton
2nd Richest: Braselton
3rd Richest: Pooler

For more Georgia reading , check out:

  • These Are The 10 Most Boring Cities In Georgia
  • These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Georgia
  • These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Georgia
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Georgia

    City Rank Poverty Rate
    Fort Valley 1 43.1%
    Cordele 2 49.6%
    Americus 3 42.2%
    Statesboro 4 51.5%
    Milledgeville 5 43.3%
    Swainsboro 6 42.4%
    Cairo 7 42.2%
    Thomson 8 43.7%
    Barnesville 9 34.3%
    College Park 10 35.7%
    Brunswick 11 36.0%
    Thomaston 12 31.8%
    Camilla 13 33.2%
    Albany 14 33.2%
    Forest Park 15 34.5%
    Jesup 16 34.7%
    Fitzgerald 17 42.4%
    Clarkston 18 35.9%
    Folkston 19 29.3%
    Valdosta 20 33.7%
    Toccoa 21 26.0%
    Moultrie 22 34.1%
    Riverdale 23 29.5%
    Cedartown 24 28.7%
    Bainbridge 25 32.5%
    Vidalia 26 27.9%
    Sandersville 27 35.1%
    Monroe 28 28.3%
    Eastman 29 22.7%
    East Point 30 28.0%
    Dublin 31 35.3%
    Lagrange 32 29.4%
    Waynesboro 33 41.4%
    Griffin 34 33.5%
    Conyers 35 31.6%
    Waycross 36 33.6%
    Dahlonega 37 35.8%
    Covington 38 29.5%
    Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (Balance) 39 35.5%
    Tifton 40 39.7%
    Sylvester 41 25.4%
    Thomasville 42 26.0%
    Union City 43 21.3%
    Savannah 44 25.4%
    Palmetto 45 24.1%
    Carrollton 46 25.8%
    Rome 47 26.6%
    Eatonton 48 30.8%
    Augusta-Richmond County Consolidated Government (Balance) 49 25.3%
    Dalton 50 24.5%
    Perry 51 22.6%
    Stone Mountain 52 19.9%
    Douglas 53 28.6%
    Garden City 54 32.5%
    Lafayette 55 24.4%
    Commerce 56 22.2%
    Cusseta-Chattahoochee County Unified Government 57 14.3%
    Hinesville 58 15.7%
    Lovejoy 59 18.5%
    Lawrenceville 60 22.8%
    Columbus 61 20.9%
    Adel 62 30.5%
    Warner Robins 63 23.6%
    Atlanta 64 24.0%
    Villa Rica 65 18.4%
    Grovetown 66 13.5%
    Douglasville 67 17.9%
    Calhoun 68 29.2%
    Hawkinsville 69 25.4%
    Winder 70 20.8%
    Hampton 71 16.0%
    Austell 72 10.7%
    Gainesville 73 29.4%
    Glennville 74 27.0%
    St. Marys 75 15.7%
    Marietta 76 19.9%
    Cumming 77 16.4%
    Norcross 78 25.1%
    Chamblee 79 28.8%
    Mcdonough 80 15.3%
    Stockbridge 81 15.9%
    Cartersville 82 17.3%
    Auburn 83 20.1%
    Loganville 84 13.0%
    Newnan 85 20.4%
    Morrow 86 14.0%
    Locust Grove 87 16.6%
    Doraville 88 18.6%
    Fairburn 89 12.9%
    Canton 90 19.2%
    Powder Springs 91 14.5%
    Lilburn 92 15.2%
    Richmond Hill 93 16.0%
    Snellville 94 14.7%
    Fort Oglethorpe 95 16.1%
    Dallas 96 18.4%
    Bremen 97 19.4%
    Dacula 98 3.8%
    Acworth 99 10.7%
    Hapeville 100 16.4%

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