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 5,100, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Georgia:
- Swainsboro (Photos)
- Forest Park (Photos)
- Fort Valley (Photos)
- Moultrie (Photos)
- Brunswick (Photos)
- College Park (Photos)
- Cedartown (Photos)
- Monroe (Photos)
- Sylvester (Photos)
- Clarkston (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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.
How we determined the worst places to live in Georgia for 2018
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 5,100 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.
Population: 7,504Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 14)
Home Values: $67,500 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.0% (16th worst)
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.
2. Forest Park
Population: 19,156Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $55,200 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.6% (20th worst)
The same problems that plague other cities on the list also affect Forest Park. The only real difference is Forest Park is a tiny bit safer, and the schools are rated a lot higher in terms of resources for students.
However, the unemployment rate in Forest Park is at 13.6%, which is the 20th worst in Georgia. And households earn a combined $30,835 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in Forest Park is merely $55,200.
Forest Park is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.
3. Fort Valley
Population: 8,975Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Home Values: $74,000 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 21.1% (1st worst)
Fort Valley, GA needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 21.1%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 51st highest in the state. You have a 1 in 27.1 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
Population: 14,457Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Values: $84,600 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (57th worst)
Would you believe that Moultrie is the 9th most dangerous place in Georgia? That’s the case, as every year, you have a 1 in 14.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within Moultrie city limits.
In addition, every year, you have a 1 in 180 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Moultrie. That means raped, attacked or killed. Again, for Georgia, that’s just unacceptable.
Beyond the crime numbers, Moultrie’s unemployment rate is the 57th highest in Georgia (9.7%), and homes are the 17th cheapest in the state ($84,600). Say what you want about ‘cheap living’, the fact is homes are priced on demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Moultrie.
Population: 15,997Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Values: $95,800 (26th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (35th worst)
While the median household income in Brunswick is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of ‘worst cities’, Brunswick still has the 35th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 31st worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Brunswick 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.
6. College Park
Population: 14,434Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Values: $155,500 (87th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.2% (18th worst)
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Georgia, College Park came in 6th. 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 College Park, the number of people out of work is 14.2%
In Georgia, that’s the 18th highest in the state.
The residents in College Park have the 18th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in College Park average $28,191 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 $155,500 on average. That’s the 87th lowest in the state.
Population: 9,752Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 6)
Home Values: $81,800 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.0% (27th worst)
Cedartown is another place in the Peach State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Cedartown is a staggering 13.0%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($29,353 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $81,800, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Cedartown is bad, but not horrible.
Population: 13,253Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Values: $111,600 (44th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.5% (13th worst)
While numbers in Georgia are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Georgia cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Monroe average $111,600, which is the 44th lowest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Monroe.
Plus, 2830.0% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 12th highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Monroe city limits, you have a 1 in 15.9 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
Population: 6,108Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Home Values: $80,000 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (59th worst)
If you live in Sylvester, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 41st highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Georgia. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 22.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 61 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 100 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 12th lowest salaries in Georgia At $26,017 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Population: 12,594Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 7)
Home Values: $96,600 (27th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.2% (26th worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Clarkston is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of Georgia. Let’s see why.
Residents who live in Clarkston, located in DeKalb County, have the 65th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level–per resident–and homes valued around $96,600, 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 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Georgia:
- Alpharetta (Pop. 63,013)
- Milton (Pop. 36,755)
- Johns Creek (Pop. 82,930)
For more Georgia reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Sexiest Cities In Georgia
- These Are The 10 Drunkest Cities In Georgia
- If You’re From Georgia This Will Be A Highlight Of Your Day. Guaranteed.
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Georgia