Poorest Cities In Georgia For 2020


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

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the poorest places in Georgia.

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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 127 places in Georgia with more than 5,000 people.

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.

What's the poorst city in Georgia? According to the facts, Fort Valley is the poorest place in Georgia for 2020.

Rich people more 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.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the poorest states in America or the poorest cities in America.

For more Georgia reading, check out:

The 10 Poorest Cities In Georgia For 2020

Fort Valley, GA

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 8,740
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $23,542 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.0% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 38.3% (6th highest)
More on Fort Valley:  Data | Photos

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 8,740 people averages the 2nd lowest median household income in Georgia and the 6th 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.

Cordele, GA

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 10,793
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Income: $23,554 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.8% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 46.7% (1st highest)
More on Cordele:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Georgia is Cordele.

The city ranks as having the 1st highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 7th highest in the Peach State.

Milledgeville, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 18,813
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $25,652 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.9% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 41.2% (3rd highest)
More on Milledgeville:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Milledgeville's median income ranks as the 6th 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 41.248277219925185% 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.

Statesboro, GA

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 31,001
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $26,750 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.3% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 45.2% (2nd highest)
More on Statesboro:  Data | Photos

Statesboro ranks as the fourth poorest place in Georgia.

The town ranks as having the 9th lowest median household income and the 2nd 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.

Barnesville, GA

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 6,608
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $27,017 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.5% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.6% (14th highest)
More on Barnesville:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Georgia is Barnesville.

The city ranks as having the 11th 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 14th highest in Georgia.

Still not the best news for Barnesville.

Swainsboro, GA

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 7,347
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $26,604 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (17th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.7% (12th highest)
More on Swainsboro:  Data | Photos

Swainsboro ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Peach State.

It ranks as having the 12th highest incidence of poverty and the 17th highest unemployment rate.

Moultrie, GA

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 14,109
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 7)
Median Income: $25,512 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (26th highest)
Poverty Rate: 35.9% (11th highest)
More on Moultrie:  Data | Photos

Moultrie places as the seventh poorest city in Georgia.

The city of over 14,109 ranks as having the 11th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Thomson, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,603
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $22,157 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (24th highest)
Poverty Rate: 32.2% (20th highest)
More on Thomson:  Data | Photos

Thomson ranks as the eighth poorest city in Georgia.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 24th highest in the state.

Thomaston, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,802
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $26,899 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.7% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 31.0% (26th highest)
More on Thomaston:  Data | Photos

Thomaston couldn't stay out of the top ten poorest places in Georgia; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 10th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Thomaston ranks as having the 26th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Georgia.

Americus, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 15,659
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 5)
Median Income: $31,703 (21st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.1% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 33.9% (15th highest)
More on Americus:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Georgia is Americus.

The city of 15,659 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Peach State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Georgia for 2020

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 2014-2018 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 127 places with more than 5,000 people in Georgia, we ranked each place from 1 to 127 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 2020". You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Poorest Places In Georgia For 2020

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

For more Georgia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Georgia

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Fort Valley 8,740 38.3%
2 Cordele 10,793 46.7%
3 Milledgeville 18,813 41.2%
4 Statesboro 31,001 45.2%
5 Barnesville 6,608 35.6%
6 Swainsboro 7,347 35.7%
7 Moultrie 14,109 35.9%
8 Thomson 6,603 32.2%
9 Thomaston 8,802 31.0%
10 Americus 15,659 33.9%
11 Brunswick 16,034 37.5%
12 Albany 74,631 32.3%
13 Monroe 13,370 30.7%
14 College Park 14,819 31.5%
15 Sandersville 5,616 35.6%
16 Eastman 5,209 26.8%
17 Cedartown 9,930 31.5%
18 Valdosta 56,074 33.0%
19 Clarkston 12,762 33.1%
20 Fitzgerald 8,865 40.1%
21 Forest Park 19,483 28.1%
22 Vidalia 10,473 25.2%
23 Conyers 15,882 30.5%
24 Palmetto 5,089 30.9%
25 Griffin 22,725 30.8%
26 Cairo 9,528 31.9%
27 Covington 13,844 31.0%
28 Bainbridge 12,152 28.4%
29 Carrollton 26,397 30.0%
30 Dahlonega 6,556 30.6%
31 Toccoa 8,274 22.2%
32 Sylvester 5,926 36.1%
33 Lagrange 30,412 27.7%
34 Thomasville 18,546 26.6%
35 Hawkinsville 5,310 40.3%
36 Augusta-Richmond County Consolidated Government (Balance) 196,807 23.5%
37 Dublin 15,869 32.9%
38 Riverdale 16,289 23.9%
39 Waycross 13,836 30.5%
40 Perry 16,031 18.9%
41 Waynesboro 5,558 36.6%
42 Savannah 145,342 22.9%
43 Jesup 9,814 29.8%
44 Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (Balance) 123,310 31.6%
45 East Point 34,977 22.4%
46 Rome 36,185 25.6%
47 Lafayette 7,191 27.5%
48 Douglas 11,556 30.6%
49 Union City 20,960 16.6%
50 Lovejoy 6,484 23.7%
51 Columbus 196,670 21.1%
52 Hinesville 33,258 16.4%
53 Tifton 16,603 37.0%
54 Adel 5,290 27.0%
55 Eatonton 6,529 26.3%
56 Cumming 6,027 18.3%
57 Dalton 33,458 22.2%
58 Cusseta-Chattahoochee County Unified Government 10,767 16.8%
59 Glennville 5,078 21.5%
60 Calhoun 16,708 28.8%
61 Stone Mountain 6,251 18.0%
62 Fairburn 14,708 22.1%
63 Garden City 8,936 23.7%
64 Atlanta 479,655 21.6%
65 Lawrenceville 29,401 21.5%
66 Douglasville 33,210 13.5%
67 Locust Grove 6,540 22.1%
68 Morrow 7,238 10.2%
69 Warner Robins 74,762 19.2%
70 Canton 27,127 19.9%
71 Grovetown 13,658 13.1%
72 Stockbridge 28,648 15.4%
73 Dacula 5,644 8.7%
74 Austell 7,276 8.4%
75 Cartersville 20,467 18.2%
76 Villa Rica 15,124 13.7%
77 Commerce 6,742 17.9%
78 Winder 15,827 17.0%
79 Norcross 16,369 18.1%
80 Auburn 7,303 12.1%
81 Gainesville 38,624 22.9%
82 Richmond Hill 12,203 18.2%
83 St. Marys 17,921 12.5%
84 Kingsland 16,784 12.2%
85 Marietta 60,410 16.4%
86 Mcdonough 24,102 12.0%
87 Chamblee 28,748 21.4%
88 Loganville 11,665 13.9%
89 Newnan 37,818 17.9%
90 Byron 5,108 15.2%
91 Centerville 7,671 12.3%
92 Powder Springs 14,945 10.4%
93 Hapeville 6,581 15.0%
94 Doraville 10,471 18.7%
95 Dallas 13,014 16.3%
96 Fort Oglethorpe 9,852 11.2%
97 Acworth 22,336 10.4%
98 Buford 15,185 15.1%
99 Hampton 7,604 12.8%
100 Fayetteville 17,349 7.7%

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One thought on “Poorest Cities In Georgia, 2020

  1. I’m just curious as to why Louisville and Wadley GA are not listed on this. This data is incorrect or there are places not being reported

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