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:
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
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Georgia For 2019
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.
According to science, Monroe is the 2nd worst place you can live in Georgia.
Let’s see why. Monroe has the 34th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Monroe is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($120,500), and the 14th-highest unemployment rate in the state (13.6%), and across the board, Monroe doesn’t sound like the best of the best.
Plus, there’s simply not a lot to do here (unless you count having a Walmart and a Piggly Wiggly as fun). We’re aware that people enjoy outdoor activities, but in terms of pure entertainment, you’d have to drive a ways away.
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Forest Park ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 1st cheapest in the state here at $58,300. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Forest Park.
The median income levels here are the 32nd lowest in the state of Georgia, at $33,208. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 11.9% of people in Forest Park were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
The unemployment rate in Moultrie is a sky high 10.3%, which is the 38th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Moultrie is $24,173. That means 36.0% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn’t horrible here, but you have a 1 in 17.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within city limits every year.
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, College Park is the 5th worst place in the state of Georgia.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. College Park is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in College Park are the 80th lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can’t get much worse in Georgia.
Clarkston is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we’re aware that it’s beautiful and “fun”. But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Clarkston residents earn the 43rd-lowest salaries in the state. At $35,934 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $110,200, which means there isn’t a lot of demand.
Crime is the 50th highest in Georgia per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 26th highest in the state, at 11.6%.
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.
If you’re looking to live in Georgia, Brunswick might not be the best choice as it places 9th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Peach State for 2019.
The average family earns $24,417 a year out here, and 39.0% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 9.6% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it’s just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you’re in Brunswick, every year, you have a 1 in 18.4 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it’s an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it’s the 21st most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
Cedartown needs some tough love as it ranks as the 10th worst city to live in Georgia for 2019.
Crime in Cedartown is the 40th highest in the state, where 1 in 20.9 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Additionally, the income is almost dead last in Georgia.
If commute time is important, Cedartown residents have the 72nd longest commute of any residents on our list.
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.
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)
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