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 (Photos)
  2. Cordele (Photos)
  3. Americus (Photos)
  4. Statesboro (Photos)
  5. Milledgeville (Photos)
  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.

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.

1. Fort Valley

Fort Valley, Georgia

Population: 8,975
Median Income: $20,664
Unemployment Rate: 21.1%
Poverty Rate: 43.1%
More on Fort Valley: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

User comment that mentions Fort Valley: LOL This has got to be a joke. I lived in fort valley for almost 20yrs. Crime’ in these small farming towns- Good one… LOL||||Id rather walk through any of these small towns at night compared to Macon, ATL, Albany and Columbus.’

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

2. Cordele

Cordele, Georgia

Population: 11,015
Median Income: $23,294
Unemployment Rate: 18.0%
Poverty Rate: 49.6%
More on Cordele: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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: Public domain

Population: 16,185
Median Income: $24,882
Unemployment Rate: 19.6%
Poverty Rate: 42.2%
More on Americus: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

Population: 30,597
Median Income: $24,499
Unemployment Rate: 13.3%
Poverty Rate: 51.5%
More on Statesboro: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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: Public domain

Population: 19,146
Median Income: $21,158
Unemployment Rate: 12.9%
Poverty Rate: 43.3%
More on Milledgeville: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

Population: 7,504
Median Income: $27,942
Unemployment Rate: 15.0%
Poverty Rate: 42.4%
More on Swainsboro: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

User comment that mentions Swainsboro: I came from a way smaller town than Swainsboro and it has no place to eat within the town now. Did in the 1950s. One Resturant,one soda fountain Malt shop. A few clothing couple gas ||stations,an ice house,,,Yes an ice house. You gotta remember this is in the 50s…||Gas station there now, a Dollar store has replaced my house where I used to live. ||So where is that one on your list- Empty||fallen down store. Windows.one smelly store run by immigrants that you didn’t stay in long for the smell. You must have buzzed right thru there ! Or not at all.’ It was the best little town when I lived there. Clean,lawn s mowed walked he streets up towe to the post office. Great people lived ther and every one knew each other,,,,,,we loved it!||||||It is becoming very apparent that you haven’ been to most of the places you wrote about either. You certainly could not have. Missed this place and others like it that are worse than those you listed.. And Macon is more than an hour away from Swainsboro. You need to update your walk/ abou||T! That for sure!!|| ||Me s ||Rc

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

7. Cairo

Cairo, Georgia

Population: 9,708
Median Income: $25,161
Unemployment Rate: 13.5%
Poverty Rate: 42.2%
More on Cairo: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

User comment that mentions Cairo: I am from Cairo. I graduated high school, and have BSIT and MBA degrees. My IQ is in the upper 0.5% of the global populace. I work as an engineer in high tech.||||So maybe your criteria is less than scientifically derived- Perhaps the compilers and authors of the article should consider themselves for inclusion instead of Cairo.||||If you will notice, those towns that make up the top portion of the list have long and deep Democrat-run roots, which is why they have lost private businesses, are poorer, and rely more heavily on government. Those attributes lead to high dropout rates.||||Now, if you had surveyed known IQs, your results would have been more believable. Less educated does not mean less intelligent.

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

8. Thomson

Thomson, Georgia

Source: Public domain

Population: 6,699
Median Income: $19,611
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Poverty Rate: 43.7%
More on Thomson: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

Population: 6,611
Median Income: $28,209
Unemployment Rate: 17.1%
Poverty Rate: 34.3%
More on Barnesville: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

Population: 14,434
Median Income: $28,191
Unemployment Rate: 14.2%
Poverty Rate: 35.7%
More on College Park: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

User comment that mentions College Park: I agree with all the comments above. Having grown up in low class East Point in the early 60’s and 70’s and now seeing that it has gone from low class to no class due to the white flight caused by black migration, it is one of the most crime ridden cities in GA, apart from College Park. I now live in a suburb of Houston called Humble, moved here in 87 and it has now become crime infested due to the invasion of Mexican peoples and their insane macho driven birthrates and the black gang members who live down the highway. But that’s w hat liberals call diversity…they want everyone of color, oriental and middle eastern to increase in population and fracture the established mores and traditions of a gentile white society to create their interpretation of society, their way of life. White liberals don’t care and don’t associate themselves as being white even though blacks,hispanics ||and most other races do see themselves as a race of people and are proud of that….Not white liberals…they go around making jokes about any white person who doesn’t support their biases toward white society..ie. this article and others. Let’s see…..hmmm… what would define a black city’s amenities to attract blacks…perhaps a Popeyes fried chicken or a coin operated laundromat, tons of basketball courts and maybe a few Seven/ Elevens…can’t forget Walmart….you see how crass and rascist that is- White liberals do this all the time to real white people….to lower and debase them to help the other races become true rascists against white society.

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

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:

  • 10 Safest Places In Georgia
  • 10 Most Dangerous Places In Georgia
  • Most Ghetto Cities In Georgia
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Georgia

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

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