The 10 Worst Atlanta Suburbs

The worst Atlanta suburbs are Forest Park and Morrow based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Atlanta to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: what suburbs of Atlanta are the worst?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Atlanta ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Atlanta area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Atlanta proper, although Avondale Estates certainly tries.

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.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 worst suburbs around Atlanta for 2024

  1. Forest Park
  2. Morrow
  3. Jonesboro
  4. Lithonia
  5. College Park
  6. Palmetto
  7. Conyers
  8. Clarkston
  9. Union City
  10. East Point

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Atlanta? Forest Park ranks as the worst suburb of Atlanta for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

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.

The 10 Worst Atlanta Suburbs To Live For 2024

Forest Park, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,619
Median Income: $41,837 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $177,768 (lowest)
More on Forest Park: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

We’ll get the ball rolling with Forest Park, the absolute worst place to live around Atlanta according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Forest Park 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 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 Forest Park.

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.

Morrow, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,563
Median Income: $64,890 (19th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $227,622 (2nd lowest)
More on Morrow: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

This city is 13.7 miles to Atlanta. Income levels here are the 19th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $64,890 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.

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

3. Jonesboro

Jonesboro, GA

Source: Wikipedia User Www78 | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,415
Median Income: $33,621 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $247,639 (6th lowest)
More on Jonesboro: Cost Of Living

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Atlanta suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Jonesboro 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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Atlanta suburbs.

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

4. Lithonia

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,614
Median Income: $45,431 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $265,761 (8th lowest)
More on Lithonia:

If you live in Lithonia, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest Atlanta suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 6th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Atlanta. Remember, we looked at 53 cities for this study.

Lithonia is about 18.5 miles to downtown.

College Park, GA

Source: Wikipedia User Robert S. Donovan | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,113
Median Income: $47,706 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.0% (highest)
Median Home Value: $292,210 (13th lowest)
More on College Park: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

College Park has the distinction of being a Atlanta suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, College Park has the 13th lowest home values in the metro Atlanta area, where the median price is $292,210. The median income is $153,882.

College Park has an unemployment rate of 12.97% which ranks worst.

6. Palmetto

Palmetto, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,650
Median Income: $52,444 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $240,512 (4th lowest)
More on Palmetto: Crime

Palmetto has 4,650 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 11.717391304347824%.

Conyers, GA

Source: Wikipedia User The original uploader was Skarg at English Wikipedia | CC BY 2.5
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 17,415
Median Income: $53,500 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $303,333 (16th lowest)
More on Conyers: Data | Cost Of Living

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

It’s the place with the 3rd most out of work residents in the Atlanta metro area (10.54%).

Clarkston, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,553
Median Income: $51,122 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $273,169 (9th lowest)
More on Clarkston: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Clarkston is a city about 10.9 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. Clarkston has the 12th most uninsured people, 7th worst incomes, and has the 5th highest unemployment rate (8.62%) in the entire Atlanta metro area.

Homes only cost $273,169 for a reason. That’s cheap for Atlanta standards.

Union City, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 26,869
Median Income: $46,696 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (24th highest)
Median Home Value: $247,142 (5th lowest)
More on Union City: Data | Cost Of Living

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

About 4.63% of residents are out of work.

East Point, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 38,113
Median Income: $59,602 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $262,257 (7th lowest)
More on East Point: Data | Cost Of Living

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

Located 6.9 miles outside the city, East Points is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 7th highest unemployment rate (7.14%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Atlanta for 2024

To figure out how bad a Atlanta suburb is to live in, we used Saturday Night Science to identify the kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2018-2022, 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 dropouts
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Atlanta.

We also limited the analysis to places with 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 looking at you, Forest Park.

We updated this article for 2024, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Atlanta.

Summary: The areas around Atlanta where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2024

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Atlanta with Forest Park casting itself ahead of the pack.

The worst suburbs of Atlanta are .

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
  • Dunwoody
  • Berkeley Lake

For more Georgia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Atlanta Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Forest Park 19,619 $41,837 $177,768
2 Morrow 6,563 $64,890 $227,622
3 Jonesboro 4,415 $33,621 $247,639
4 Lithonia 2,614 $45,431 $265,761
5 College Park 14,113 $47,706 $292,210
6 Palmetto 4,650 $52,444 $240,512
7 Conyers 17,415 $53,500 $303,333
8 Clarkston 14,553 $51,122 $273,169
9 Union City 26,869 $46,696 $247,142
10 East Point 38,113 $59,602 $262,257
11 Lilburn 14,741 $61,347 $385,612
12 Austell 8,109 $64,071 $295,883
13 Hapeville 6,566 $62,117 $273,382
14 Lawrenceville 30,465 $55,608 $374,957
15 Fairburn 16,469 $67,245 $331,795
16 Stone Mountain 6,638 $44,950 $281,949
17 Doraville 10,691 $59,636 $352,077
18 Lovejoy 10,429 $59,184 $287,995
19 Dallas 14,126 $60,032 $346,508
20 Norcross 17,530 $74,921 $314,441
21 Douglasville 35,252 $72,753 $307,358
22 Riverdale 14,933 $61,622 $236,180
23 Stockbridge 28,858 $72,175 $298,450
24 Hiram 4,911 $81,055 $316,693
25 Villa Rica 17,354 $82,373 $312,462
26 Chamblee 29,980 $76,682 $457,676
27 Marietta 61,387 $67,589 $452,424
28 Mcdonough 29,134 $77,804 $347,529
29 Hampton 8,244 $67,808 $330,762
30 Acworth 22,318 $74,643 $400,640
31 Kennesaw 33,360 $81,467 $401,282
32 Fayetteville 19,010 $79,865 $410,964
33 Snellville 20,895 $88,586 $350,856
34 Peachtree Corners 42,147 $74,716 $521,450
35 Powder Springs 16,930 $88,311 $358,104
36 Chattahoochee Hills 3,273 $84,605 $530,420
37 Suwanee 21,238 $100,780 $578,726
38 Duluth 31,742 $88,915 $418,705
39 Smyrna 55,863 $92,258 $448,692
40 Brookhaven 56,848 $114,570 $677,272
41 Holly Springs 16,675 $108,332 $411,079
42 Grayson 4,572 $121,421 $423,969
43 Roswell 92,770 $122,924 $610,721
44 Tyrone 7,710 $112,898 $479,618
45 Woodstock 35,171 $100,913 $434,309
46 Sandy Springs 107,221 $93,303 $636,700
47 Decatur 24,421 $129,992 $309,943
48 Milton 41,029 $142,845 $866,981
49 Alpharetta 65,884 $141,402 $671,145
50 Johns Creek 82,230 $153,882 $658,732
51 Berkeley Lake 2,527 $152,908 $728,718
52 Dunwoody 51,458 $106,710 $623,116
53 Avondale Estates 3,507 $136,250 $536,016
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.

19 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Atlanta Suburbs

  1. Just wondering if maybe you should tell that 25 years ago Conyers had the lowest crime rate around and the best schools around and was definitely the place to live! Check out the statistics and see whats changed. This was absolutely one of the best places to grow up. Now people cant get away fast enough!!

      1. Uncontrolled growth is what killed Conyers. Rockdale county allowed just about any housing development to be built without taking consideration to schools, jobs, public services, and traffic. So you end up with an area full of people without local jobs, with overcrowded schools, bad traffic, and underfunded public services. Basically not a place most would want to live.

        I grew up there and my parents still live there. I can get better, but it is going to take time and cost property owners a lot more in taxes, something that people never like.

  2. Well I live in the city limits of forest park and I can truley say I would rather live here then any other place cause at least if there is a crime commited at least ur not going to have to wait for the police to come if at all…. Cause f.park police never take more than 7 mins to arrive at any call they have to them so at least if their is a crime happening to u or ur property at least u would have a chance of something happening or capturing the suspect. But I guess u dont consider those % when ur naming the worse places to live around the Atlanta area.

  3. This is a list used with cherry picked data intended to get the result it did. I would never live in several of the northside communities listed as good because of the massive traffic issues, high cost of living and home prices making it difficult to afford home ownership. A couple decades ago lists like this were produced with similar statistical sets and their publishers were accused of attempting to rank along racial lines. The idea that low home prices is an indicator of a bad place, for example is entirely wrong. In the high priced northern suburbs there are fewer small homes and condos which bring down the average substantially in many southside suburbs. East Point and College Park have high crime rates in a large part because every crime committed at the airport are divided among those two communities. If you report something missing from your luggage, that is a theft in East Point. Millions of people pass through the Atlanta Airport as it is the busiest in the world. Take those crimes and divide by the 34,000 residents in the area and it appears you have massive crime. The truth is the majority of the communities in the area are comprised of nice neighborhoods. Morrow has had 2 murders in 20 years and one was a body dumped by the highway. 20 rapes in 20 years in Morrow, yet it is apparently crime central based on this article. Morrow has one of the handful of Master degree issuing institutions in the state, the National Archives for the southeastern US and the Ga Archives among other things. It is also hurt by the low housing costs, low cost of living, sounds terrible, right? Don’t believe the claim that this is simply based on science, it is more like science fiction. When you start out with a goal and pick the statistics that will support your case, you are not just the messenger. The sources he used ranked many other things he decided were not important to include.

    1. Numbers numbers numbers- yet no talk or even mention of what all these communities have to offer. Many of these areas have been struggling and trying hard for years to turn their bad reputations around and you just come in and want to insult and knock them down based on your statistics. Well guess what- life is more than just numbers. I have lived in MANY different areas in Atlanta and I love East Point above all. Not just East Point- but the whole tri-cities area which includes College Park and Hapeville. All of these 3 little cities have such a nice small town feel- but with all the amenities of a big city. They are abundant with great locally owned shops and restaurants- yet close to Camp Creek shopping center which has all the bigger shops and restuants one could need and a world class liquor store. And Hapeville especially! Have you seen how cute downtown Hapeville is these days? Have you seen all the cool street art? Have you been to the small production theatre company there? Have you checked out the cool growler shop Beer Girl with their amazing craft beer selection? We are within minutes of all of Atlanta’s major highways- 5 min from 75 & 85 & 285, 10 min from I20. We are 10 min from downtown (going AGAINST traffic I might add) and short taxi ride to the airport. My mortgage is low (is that a bad thing?). My cost of living is low despite your claim of the opposite- and I’m the one who actually lives here so I think I know. I live on a quiet street with a lot of elderly people. I walk my dogs often late at night and feel completely safe doing so. My husband and I have had only 1 incident in 12 years involving a stolen car radio. Meanwhile my friends who live in Grant Park and East Atlanta deal with crime on a regular basis- one of them having her house broken in to 3xs in 1 year. I shop down in Forest Park and Morrow quite often because there are amazing farmer’s markets and ethnic stores and restaurants- all of whom are owned and run by some of the friendliest most hardworking people you’ll ever meet. You may want to take some of these things in to consideration next time you want to write a list insulting a whole slew communites and the people who live there.

      1. Thank you for your review. I’m relocating and trying to decide where to look and not to look. I had marked some of these off the list, but I’m going to reconsider and at least visit some of the things you have mentioned before I decide!

  4. I watched it growing up, having kids and looking for a safer place to live. It was like the plague, black people started taking over. When I started High School in Hapeville, we had a couple of black students, good people. The next year it was about 40%, it was like the plague. I moved to Forrest Park, then they came, I then moved to Riverdale, then they came, I moved to Morrow and had a car stolen, stripped to the ground in two days, found on the side of 75, by the stadium. Then to Douglasville. Now I live in Virginia. What a shame. Like I said, it was like the plague. Black population. Who are in jail, come on people, they know it too, it’s a way of life and i’m pretty sure there are most of them who wish it would stop. I know i do.

    1. Well this is the VERY FIRST person I have ever seen to be honest or acknowledge the obvious that has occurred. I moved to GA in 1994 to Riverdale and lived throughout Clayton County. Whites continued to move further and further south since the Olympics and it was amazing. Many moved completely out of Clayton to Henry and have now continued South to the bottom of Henry County and this will continue.
      However, they are kicking many of our people out of certain areas of Atlanta as far down as East Point. I lived in a house near East Point station two years ago to see Whites starting to move back in. And this is obviously happening in Atlanta because of the Beltline.

  5. This comment is so blatantly and horribly racist that I can only assume you’re just spewing off this nonsense simply to get a rise out of people. That’s pretty pathetic. Have fun with your obviously boring and hate filled life.

  6. Douglasville used to be a nice little city. In the past ten years a move toward section 8 housing to bring in a more Democratic voting block has degraded the city. Douglasville is to Atlanta what Ferguson is to St. Louis.

  7. Sometimes it isn’t about the crime numbers but it’s about you. I lived and grew up in Oakland, CA, which at some points had the number one crime rating in the country. Although it was supposedly dangerous, I never felt any danger whatsoever. I lived in all kinds of neighborhoods over my lifetime – from ghetto to upper middle class – and I never felt unsafe (well when I was a kid there was a lot of fighting but I was a good fighter so that didn’t scare me…). I found good people in this city that was supposedly full of criminals – there were neighborhoods that had people who would keep it safe from outsiders who had bad intentions (kind of like the Crips before they went bad).

    I even lived in the heart of a gang territory, during a time when two rival gangs were blowing each other away – but when people saw me and my wife, they gave us respect because they knew we weren’t into that – but at the same time we didn’t look down on them. Those “violent criminals” kept their crap away from us and we never felt in danger.

    So I take these types of reviews with a grain of salt – it isn’t people who are any way comfortable with a certain class or income type writing these reviews. They represent the people who lock their doors when they see a black person walking down the street. They are unsafe anywhere they live, because they have prejudices and hatred.

    1. I moved to Forest Park before my 3rd birthday in 1953 until 1969, Then after 4 yrs. in the USAF, moved to Morrow in1973 until 1979. During the earlier part of that period this area, like a lot of the deep south, was loaded with racist bigots that thought black people were sub-human. Luckily my Mother was not one of them. With her also working full time she hired a black lady to help with her 5 kids I have many fond memories of this lady and I’m sure she is the reason I grew up with a different view of black people. Looking back. it seems that white people were taught to fear black people so when a black family moved into a white neighborhood instead trying to learn to live together as neighbors, they ran scared. This opened up a lot of cheap housing and enabled black families to afford the “American Dream”.Most of the problems sited in these numbers can be attributed to greedy white officials and their cronies that over developed these areas and didn’t invest back into infrastructure. “What about crime?” you say. We live in a criminal world today.Governments, organized crime, gangs, religious groups, and any one that preys on the rest of humanity. This is all done in the name of their God, and make no mistake the most powerful God today is MONEY. Those with the power to either save or destroy our world have all the money, but that’s how greed works: If they can’t have it, nobody can, Booommm!!!!!

  8. WOW! Someone pinch me! A lot of diverse opinions about the suburbs of Atlanta and the safety factor. I’m considering relocating to GA and wasn’t sure where to move to but confused now more than ever. All I have as a reference are the aforementioned comments and the supposedly unbiased, scientific findings of the independents that post these articles. I consider myself unprejudiced but if it looks like a thug, walks and talks like a thug, well guess what!!??….And the jails in this country are overloaded with them, the rest haven’t been convicted yet and still out on the streets. Science IS the same as MONEY!….FACT…they’re both KING and we need them in order to survive. I’ve lived in all kinds of neighborhoods too, some safe, some not. Thank God I have choice today and prefer to live where the so-called white race is 75% and higher.

    1. So, Popeye8843… where are you going to run when the opiate addicted group starts breaking into your home? Believe me… it will happen!

  9. Yup, Clarkston is so terrible, we definitely don’t have incredibly kind neighbors, amazing restaurants, and cheap houses. Please don’t move here and ruin things for us… I mean– subject yourself to the horror…..

  10. This article is blatantly based solely on economics and poor statistics. I have personally lived in East Point Ga for 9 years and loved very minute of it. I found a great small house that was affordable on a cudle sac street. The street was so quiet at night if a car drove through my neighborhood it would awake me. Traffic was not a fight and I lived near the freeway to get every where. My traffic woes started when I drove up north to the Buckhead area. Buckhead has a very high crime rates, burglaries, murders, carjackings that seems to be swept up under the rug. This article clearly states that if you live in a high income area with high prices you will have a better quality of life. Based on gentrification, the areas with the best ratings the average person can no longer afford to live there. In every area listed in this article you can find affordable houses and nice quiet streets . I encourage you do not let this blatantly racist article swear your opinion on finding affordable houses in areas surrounding Atlanta. Check out your neighborhoods and look at the statistics directly within that neighborhood. I agree with the previous writer, crime statistics are included with per capita populations and locations, especially the petty crime that is committed at the airport, the busiest airport in the world.

  11. Been in jonesboro for 53 years. The whole clayton county area has went down the drain. People who have moved here don’t care. Trash just threw out everywhere, don’t take any pride or respect where they live. Only thing people care about is themselves, what they wear or what they drive. Then complain for the government to clean it up when they have messed it up. Crime which you never hardly ever heard is just got ridiculous. You would think clayton county is a major city, like downtown Atlanta, Chicago, or even New York city. Business leave because of all of this and the county government could care less as long as they get what they want. Schools have lost credidation on several occasions. The governor needs to start by firing every clayton county leader and start over. The truth hurts but it’s the truth. I even called the police on a domestic dispute in a front yard the other day and it took 30 minutes before any showed up. By then someone could have already hurt someone. Couple years ago late one night when I had my son with me there was a man in the yard next door waving a gun. More than 30 minutes again.

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