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Atlanta's neighborhoods conjure up too many stereotypes to count. You've got hipster areas, preppy places, neighborhoods where college kids thrive, and of course, ghettos.
It seems as if there's a neighborhood for everyone in Atlanta.
And while the city consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the country thanks in part to a strong economy and tons of entertainment, it's not all rainbows and sunshine in Atlanta. Some neighborhoods aren't as great as others.
So the question arises, which Atlanta neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Atlanta hoods need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Atlanta area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although Virginia-Highland ranks way above the rest.
We examined 32 of Atlanta's neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don't quite measure up to Atlanta's reputation.
So what's the worst neighborhood to live in Atlanta for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Grove Park looks to be the worst neighborhood in Atlanta.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Atlanta that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.
Once you're done, you can look at the bottom of the story for a complete chart of every neighborhood we looked at from worst to best. Looking for places to avoid outside of the city? You can also check out the worst suburbs of Atlanta.
For more Georgia reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Atlanta For 2022
Originally developed in the 1920s by a successful local businessman named Dr. Edwin Wiley Grove, Grove Park sits in the eastern part of the city. Despite the entrepreneurial spirit that created the neighborhood, a feeble economy has let it down in the 21st century. As a result, it counts as the number 1 least alluring area of Atlanta.
Jobs are hard to come by for the 15,307 locals. The unemployment stands at 10.8%, while the median income reaches just $28,202.
Otherwise, life in the area has its charms. Homes are affordable at a median price of $46,616. There are also plenty of amenities, including the area's namesake park.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $46,616 (2nd worst)
Median Income: $28,202 (5th worst)
More on Grove Park: Data
Nestled into the intersection of I-20 and I-285 in the western section of the city, Adamsville provides a home to 11,775 residents. It's difficult for these folks to find good-paying jobs, as a feeble economy leaves the area as the number 2 worst part of Atlanta.
The area's unemployment rate comes in at a lofty 15.3%. Even those people who can land work have trouble paying the bills. The median income hovers at only $29,150.
There are bright spots to life in Adamsville. For some family-friendly fun, residents can head over to Cascade Family Skating or cross over I-285 to reach the nearby CT Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $78,167 (8th worst)
Median Income: $29,150 (8th worst)
More on Adamsville: Data
There really is an Adair Park. In fact, there are two of them in this centrally located section of the city, known as Adair Park I and Adair Park II. Unfortunately, access to pleasant outdoors activities doesn't pay the bills. With a scarcity of jobs in the region, Adair Park stands as one of the worst places in the city to put down roots.
The 5,299 residents of this neighborhood have to make due with a median income of $27,752. That is, if they can find a job at all. The unemployment rate stands at an imposing 13.9%.
Located near downtown Atlanta, Adair Park was originally a planned community in the 19th century. This location allows locals an easy trip to any amenities the city can offer.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $47,760 (3rd worst)
Median Income: $27,752 (3rd worst)
More on Adair Park: Data
As you might guess, Lakewood Heights-Southeastern Atlanta is located in the southeast section of the city. High unemployment and substandard schools contribute to the neighborhood's reputation as the number 3 least inviting part of the city.
A sluggish economy leaves the unemployment rate at a lofty 10.3%. What jobs that exist are low-paying as well. The median income stands at $27,867.
Not everything in Lakewood Heights is dreary. Residents can head over to South Bend Park for a nice day outdoors. Meanwhile, the cost of living is relatively low, with a median home value of $53,753.
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $53,753 (5th worst)
Median Income: $27,867 (4th worst)
More on Lakewood Heights-Southeastern Atlanta: Data
You'll have trouble finding a job in Adams Park. The unemployment rate in the neighborhood runs a scary 11.8%. This weak job market makes the area one of the least inviting places in all of Atlanta.
Unemployment isn't the only economic pressure in the area. Low-wage jobs also hurt the neighborhood's 11,352 residents, with a median income of just $28,578. Locals also struggle with a below-average school system.
Located in the southeast part of the city, Adams Park does provide its namesake recreation area. In the park, locals can find a swimming pool and a golf course.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $66,500 (6th worst)
Median Income: $28,578 (6th worst)
More on Adams Park: Data
Though its bounded to the north by downtown Atlanta, with easy access to both I-20 and I-85, Mechanicsville doesn't exist as a commuter's paradise. In fact, the 3,231 residents of the neighborhood have trouble taking advantage of the city's opportunities. This economic stagnation creates the number 6 most unappealing sector of the city.
Despite the proximity of the downtown area, good jobs are hard to come by. The median income sits at $18,460 and the unemployment rate comes in at 11.5%. Housing is at least affordable, with a median home value of $49,750.
Given its location near the center of the action, Mechanicsville does grant its residents plenty of amenities. This includes its share of green spaces, like the Rosa L. Burney Park.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $49,750 (4th worst)
Median Income: $18,460 (worst)
More on Mechanicsville: Data
Located in the western part of Atlanta, Center Hill stretches from Frederick Douglass High School and Lincoln Cemetery on the southern end to Center Hill Park at the northern end. Jobs are the major issue for this neighborhood, making this one of the least attractive spots in the city.
The unemployment rate sits at 9.3% and the median income hovers at $29,047. Concerns about schools also hold the area back. Despite the financial troubles, you can find affordable housing in Center Hill. The median home value comes to $44,455.
Meanwhile, you can find lots of amenities in the area. Center Hill features a number of churches, plus a thriving commercial stretch along Highway 78.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $44,455 (worst)
Median Income: $29,047 (7th worst)
More on Center Hill: Data
As the name suggests, Oakland City was once its own municipality. It became part of Atlanta in 1910. Unfortunately, these days, it exists as a particularly unappealing part of the metropolis, ranking as the number 8 worst spot to live in the city.
A lack of jobs weighs on the 26,146 residents. They suffer with an unemployment rate of 11.1%. On top of that, local jobs leave a lot to be desired in the wage department, with a median income of $26,100.
Oakland City works hard to foster a connection to its historic roots. Check out the neighborhood's Historic District for a glimpse into the past.
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $67,128 (7th worst)
Median Income: $26,100 (2nd worst)
More on Oakland City: Data
What comes to mind when you hear the name "Sandtown?" Waterfront fun? Beach volleyball? Hardly. How about a lack of jobs and low paying gigs? Those are what you'll find in this, the number 9 worst place to live in Atlanta.
Take a look at the figures. The unemployment rate stands at 11.1% and the median income comes in at $36,018. At least the area provides affordable housing, with a median home value of $91,214.
Despite its current struggles, Sandtown comes with a distinct sense of its rich past. The story of the area stretches back to the Creek Indians who once called the area home.
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $91,214 (11th worst)
Median Income: $36,018 (12th worst)
More on Sandtown-Southeastern Atlanta: Data
Cascade Heights has had its share of upscale residents. Civil rights legend John Lewis and baseball great Hank Aaron both called the area home at one time. These days, though, this spot in southwest Atlanta counts as the number 10 worst place to live in the city.
Blame the economy for the neighborhood's lack of appeal. Cascade Heights suffers from a $36,682 median income and a 10.0% unemployment rate. The 22,613 residents of the area also have to deal with weak public schools.
There are attractions in the area as well. The neighborhood is centered on the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, which provides a natural sanctuary in the middle of one of the country's most famous urban areas.
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $82,126 (10th worst)
Median Income: $36,682 (13th worst)
More on Cascade Heights: Data
Methodology: How we determined the worst Atlanta neighborhoods in 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 places have the least amount of those things. We threw the following criteria into this analysis in order to get the best, most complete results possible. We used this set of criteria for each neighborhood in Atlanta:
- High unemployment (Less jobs)
- Low median income (Less pay)
- Low population density (No things to do)
- Low home values (No one's willing to pay to live here)
- High crime (Estimated)
Then, we ranked each neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia for each of these criteria from worst to best.
Next, we averaged the individual rankings for each criteria into a "Worst Score".
The neighborhood with the lowest "Worst Score" ranks as the worst neighborhood of Atlanta.
Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Atlanta to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 32 neighborhoods ranked from worst to best.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Hold on to your pants.
Summary: The Worst Neighborhoods Around Atlanta
Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Atlanta with Grove Park landing at the bottom of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Atlanta aren't all bad. Virginia-Highland takes the cake as the best place to live in Atlanta.
We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.
For more Georgia reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Neighborhoods To Live In Atlanta For 2022?
|4||Lakewood Heights-Southeastern Atlanta||23,547|
|21||Old Fourth Ward||12,054|
|23||Ormewood Park-East Atlanta||11,918|