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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 2020.
For more Georgia reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Georgia For 2020
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.
Say what you want about how beautiful Monroe might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.
The unemployment rate rankss 15th highest in the state at 11.8%. Homes are the 47th lowest priced ($123,700), and the median income per household is just a tad over $31,916.
The fact is most of the people who live here are having a hard time making ends meet, when you consider their earned incomes and lack of jobs.
Moultrie's situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.
Moultrie has the 3worst crime index of any place in Georgia, and has the 5th lowest income.
If you live in Georgia, you may or may not be surprised that Forest Park ranked, at least on paper, as the 4th worst place to live in the state. It has the 20th highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 29th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Forest Park is the 96th most densely populated city in Georgia. Draw your own conclusions.
Cedartown ranks as the 5th-worst place in Georgia due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.
On top of that, residents have the 72nd-worst commute of any place in the state.
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 8.3%, which is the 39th worst in Georgia. And households earn a combined $25,896 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in Brunswick is merely $94,200.
Brunswick is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.
While the median household income in College Park is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of "worst cities", College Park still has the 23rd worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 8th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average College Park household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn't help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.
Nothing to do but watch the Bulldogs every fall.
Eastman is home to the world's first Stuckey's roadside convenience store. At least they have that.
The real issue with Cordele is blight. Families here live well below the poverty line.
Public education in Thomaston means students get some of the least support from the government. Which means more crowded classrooms and less attention. And, 1 in 10 parents of the kids in Thomaston are unemployed, and those who have jobs make less than $25,000 a year.
The average cost of a home in Thomaston is $60,000.
Thomaston is located out in the boonies about 90 minutes south of Atlanta.
How we determined the worst places to live in Georgia for 2020
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. You can download the data here.
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 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Georgia:
- Johns Creek (Pop. 83,637)
- Decatur (Pop. 23,054)
- Alpharetta (Pop. 64,672)
For more Georgia reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Georgia
- Richest Cities In Georgia
- Safest Places In Georgia
- Best Cities For Singles In Georgia
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Georgia?