The last time we visited Georgia, we did a comprehensive look at which cities in the Peach State are the cream of the crop. And, since Georgia is widely considered as the finest state in the south, the best in Georgia is certainly quite a distinction.
But today, we’re not going in that direction. We’re going in the opposite direction, in fact. The purpose of this post is to figure out which of Georgia’s cities are the worst.
So, where are the worst places? Where would the least amount of people want to call home, if they looked at all of the factors that we all agree are important?
After analyzing all 122 cities with a population over 5,000, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Georgia:
- Swainsboro (Photos)
- Monroe (Photos)
- Forest Park (Photos)
- Moultrie (Photos)
- College Park (Photos)
- Clarkston (Photos)
- Fort Valley (Photos)
- Vidalia (Photos)
- Brunswick (Photos)
- Cedartown (Photos)
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case.
We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Georgia? That would be Swainsboro.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Georgia reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Georgia
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Georgia
- 10 Most Dangerous Places In Georgia
How we determined the worst places to live in Georgia for 2019
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 don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 122 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 122 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Score”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score” with the lowest score being the worst city in Georgia — Swainsboro. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Georgia.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
The residents in Swainsboro are unemployed at a very high rate of 9%, which is tied for the ninth highest in the state, and three full percentage points above the national average. But that’s just the beginning.
Swainsboro has the 12th highest crime rate in Georgia, and just about double for the state average. Residents have a 1 in 167 chance of being the victim of a violent crime here, meaning a rape, murder or aggravated assault. For a small town of just over 7,000 people, that’s pretty scary.
Plus, residents earn about $24,000 a year, and a family of four would be on the verge of poverty.
Swainsboro is located out in the middle of nowhere, about an hour east of Macon.
You can sure expect that Monroe is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 2nd in our analysis. It is. In fact, Monroe has the 34th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 109 violent crimes here in 2019, and residents have a 1 in 20.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Monroe, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.
You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits — the unemployment rate sits at 13.6% which is the 14th worst in Georgia.
Located on your way to somewhere else you’d want to be, Forest Park has few options for some sort of entertainment.
The main issues here are economic and education. The unemployment rate is also sky high here (11.9%) and homes are the 1st cheapest in the state ($58,300).
Say what you want about ‘cheap living’, the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s absolutely no demand to live in Forest Park.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Georgia, Moultrie came in 4th. Let’s see why.
When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Georgia residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Georgia, you can see some really big differences. In Moultrie, the number of people out of work is 10.3%
In Georgia, that’s the 38th highest in the state.
The residents in Moultrie have the 5th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Moultrie average $24,173 a year. Which isn’t too shabby in comparison to the other ‘lowest’ income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $79,700 on average. That’s the 6th lowest in the state.
College Park is the 5th worst city in Georgia for 2019. When you’re comparing other cities to College Park, things just don’t look great, at least according to science.
College Park is the 6th most dangerous place in Georgia, according to FBI statistics. And the residents here have a hard time keeping a job — at least in comparison to the rest of the state. The unemployment rate is 12.1%, worse than the state average.
Home values are really low ($154,700), and residents earn just $29,087 a year.
Clarkston needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Clarkston. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Clarkston. Of the 122 cities considered in this ranking, Clarkston had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Clarkston have Georgia’s 37th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 26th and 50th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of “Worst City in Georgia.”
If you know anyone in Clarkston, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
Fort Valley, GA needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 19.5%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 49th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 27.6 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
There’s a country club in Vidalia. For a town of 11,000 financially-challenged residents, that seems a bit?.odd.
The same problems that plague other cities on the list also affect Brunswick. The only real difference is Brunswick is a tiny bit safer, and the schools are rated a lot higher in terms of resources for students.
However, the unemployment rate in Brunswick is at 9.6%, which is the 46th worst in Georgia. And households earn a combined $24,417 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in Brunswick is merely $91,800.
Brunswick is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Cedartown is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of Georgia. Let’s see why.
Residents who live in Cedartown, located in Polk County, have the 40th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level–per resident–and homes valued around $81,400, and you’ve got yourself a crummy place to live. In terms of comparing it to the rest of Georgia, that is.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Georgia
If you’re looking at areas in Georgia with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Swainsboro ranks as the worst city to live in Georgia for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Georgia:
- Johns Creek (Pop. 83,397)
- Decatur (Pop. 22,022)
- Alpharetta (Pop. 63,929)
For more Georgia reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Georgia
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Georgia
- 10 Safest Places In Georgia
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Georgia
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Georgia