The 10 Worst Atlanta Suburbs For 2022

We used science and data to determine which ATL burbs are the real pits.

RoadSnacks is reader-supported. When you click through real estate links on our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Atlanta.

So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?

Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Atlanta 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Atlanta area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Atlanta proper, although Avondale Estates certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Atlanta are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..

We examined the 53 biggest suburbs of Atlanta to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Georgia lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Atlanta in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Atlanta for 2022:

  1. Lithonia
  2. Forest Park
  3. Conyers
  4. Clarkston
  5. Jonesboro
  6. Morrow
  7. Fairburn
  8. College Park
  9. Palmetto
  10. Austell

What's the worst suburb of Atlanta? Lithonia ranks as the worst suburb of Atlanta for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Atlanta that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.

Or, if you're thinking of moving to elsewhere in Georgia check out the best places in Georgia overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Atlanta too.

Editor's Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it's because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

For more Georgia reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Atlanta Suburbs To Live For 2022

We'll get the ball rolling with Lithonia, the absolute worst place to live around Atlanta according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Lithonia beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 2nd worst in the Atlanta area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 4th worst when it comes to home values.

But hey, at least it's cheap to live there. But there's a reason for that... it's Lithonia.

You won't feel bad about not having a great income for the area, there aren't a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,488
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Income: $29,537 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.0% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $111,000 (4th lowest)
More on Lithonia:  Data

Welcome to Forest Park. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 10.5 miles to Atlanta. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $35,585 a year, which doesn't go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,884
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Income: $35,585 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $76,800 (lowest)
More on Forest Park:  Data | Photos

Forest Park, GA

Source: Public domain

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Atlanta suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Conyers on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that's an understatement.

In terms of numbers, it's in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school drop out rate is poor compared to other Atlanta suburbs.

But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,705
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Income: $42,919 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $151,600 (14th lowest)
More on Conyers:  Data | Photos

Conyers, GA

If you live in Clarkston, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 6th lowest Atlanta suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 4th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Atlanta. Remember, we looked at 53 cities for this study.

Clarkston is about 10.9 miles to downtown.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,747
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $40,105 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $151,500 (13th lowest)
More on Clarkston:  Data | Photos

Clarkston, GA

Source: Public domain

Jonesboro has the distinction of being a Atlanta suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Jonesboro has the 2nd lowest home values in the metro Atlanta area, where the median price is $80,700. To put that into perspective, in Avondale Estates, the median income is $135,579, which is the best in the area.

Jonesboro has an unemployment rate of 3.19% which ranks 46th worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,428
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Median Income: $29,375 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (46th highest)
Median Home Value: $80,700 (2nd lowest)
More on Jonesboro:  Data | Photos

Jonesboro, GA

Morrow has 7,061 residents that probably know it's a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you've ever been there, you don't need to look at the data.)

Incomes are towards the bottom and the poverty rate sits at 5.859701992298678%.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,061
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $51,991 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.8% (highest)
Median Home Value: $111,500 (5th lowest)
More on Morrow:  Data | Photos

Morrow, GA

Source: Public domain

Ah, Fairburn. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Atlanta.

It's the place with the 14th most out of work residents in the Atlanta metro area (6.29%).

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,956
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Income: $55,198 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $148,300 (10th lowest)
More on Fairburn:  Data | Photos

Fairburn, GA

Source: Public domain

College Park is a city about 8.9 miles from Atlanta, but Atlanta probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.

You'd be hard pressed to find a worse place to live. College Park has the 22nd most uninsured people, 4th worst incomes, and has the 2nd highest unemployment rate (11.88%) in the entire Atlanta metro area.

Homes only cost $199,200 for a reason. That's cheap for Atlanta standards.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,479
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $39,164 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $199,200 (28th lowest)
More on College Park:  Data | Photos

College Park, GA

If you absolutely have to live near Atlanta, then Palmetto might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Atlanta suburb.

About 6.51% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,802
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Income: $50,417 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $123,200 (6th lowest)
More on Palmetto:  Data | Photos

Palmetto, GA

Source: Public domain

Rounding out the ten worst Atlanta suburbs to call home is Austell.

Located 13.3 miles outside the city, Austells is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 8th highest unemployment rate (7.98%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,783
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 12)
Median Income: $47,123 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.0% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $146,100 (9th lowest)
More on Austell:  Data | Photos

Austell, GA

Source: Public domain

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Atlanta for 2022

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2016-2020, this is the criteria we used:

  • High unemployment rate
  • Low median household incomes
  • Low population density (no things to do)
  • Low home values
  • A lot of high school drop outs
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Atlanta.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 53 suburbs to evaluate around Atlanta.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 53 in each category, where 1 was the "worst".

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index the "Worst Suburb near Atlanta." We're lookin' at you, Lithonia. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.

Summary: The areas around Atlanta where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Atlanta with Lithonia casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Atlanta aren't all bad. Avondale Estates takes the cake as the best place to live around Atlanta.

  • Avondale Estates
  • Berkeley Lake
  • Dunwoody

For more Georgia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Atlanta Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Lithonia 2,488 $29,537 $111,000
2 Forest Park 19,884 $35,585 $76,800
3 Conyers 15,705 $42,919 $151,600
4 Clarkston 12,747 $40,105 $151,500
5 Jonesboro 5,428 $29,375 $80,700
6 Morrow 7,061 $51,991 $111,500
7 Fairburn 15,956 $55,198 $148,300
8 College Park 14,479 $39,164 $199,200
9 Palmetto 4,802 $50,417 $123,200
10 Austell 7,783 $47,123 $146,100
11 Lilburn 12,755 $56,625 $196,900
12 Lawrenceville 30,125 $52,312 $183,300
13 East Point 35,031 $45,411 $159,900
14 Union City 21,976 $39,768 $150,600
15 Norcross 16,876 $65,409 $230,300
16 Chattahoochee Hills 2,780 $57,313 $211,700
17 Lovejoy 6,511 $51,557 $143,200
18 Riverdale 15,455 $55,972 $109,900
19 Hampton 7,887 $54,148 $156,400
20 Hapeville 6,576 $64,235 $150,300
21 Villa Rica 15,803 $70,767 $166,300
22 Douglasville 33,035 $63,858 $196,400
23 Stone Mountain 6,376 $42,894 $128,300
24 Doraville 10,244 $61,007 $230,800
25 Dallas 13,680 $49,589 $162,500
26 Stockbridge 29,446 $58,401 $187,900
27 Chamblee 29,874 $66,607 $301,500
28 Marietta 60,687 $59,594 $310,100
29 Mcdonough 25,572 $69,916 $173,200
30 Hiram 4,021 $76,051 $157,200
31 Acworth 22,683 $66,003 $193,300
32 Fayetteville 17,902 $74,501 $238,300
33 Powder Springs 15,390 $72,810 $181,000
34 Kennesaw 34,232 $72,972 $215,800
35 Duluth 29,538 $74,377 $254,200
36 Holly Springs 13,682 $94,824 $287,400
37 Snellville 19,923 $79,706 $185,200
38 Peachtree Corners 43,516 $65,328 $360,100
39 Suwanee 20,444 $90,372 $325,800
40 Brookhaven 54,727 $101,607 $524,800
41 Tyrone 7,427 $106,422 $308,200
42 Smyrna 56,333 $77,713 $309,000
43 Grayson 4,303 $107,685 $334,200
44 Roswell 94,884 $105,913 $385,800
45 Woodstock 32,310 $81,268 $265,300
46 Sandy Springs 108,180 $80,998 $474,000
47 Milton 39,252 $127,487 $544,600
48 Alpharetta 66,566 $119,568 $447,400
49 Decatur 24,814 $114,615 $547,300
50 Johns Creek 84,551 $125,862 $423,600
51 Dunwoody 49,466 $96,470 $446,800
52 Berkeley Lake 2,324 $135,579 $503,900
53 Avondale Estates 3,142 $112,050 $424,800

How Is Your Town In ?

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 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst suburbs around Atlanta.

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.