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)
- Moultrie (Photos)
- Forest Park (Photos)
- Fort Valley (Photos)
- Monroe (Photos)
- Brunswick (Photos)
- Clarkston (Photos)
- Cedartown (Photos)
- Cordele (Photos)
- College Park (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.
Moultrie is another place in the Peach State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Moultrie is a staggering 10.3%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($24,173 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $79,700, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Moultrie is bad, but not horrible.
Forest Park ranks as the 3rd worst city in Georgia. Located in Clayton County, Forest Park has the 32nd lowest income levels in the state of Georgia ($33,208), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 11.9%.
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.
The city of Monroe is the 5th worst place you can live in the state of Georgia in 2019.
It’s unlucky for Monroe, which has the 14th highest unemployment rate (13.6%), the 30th lowest household incomes ($32,510) and the 51st lowest home prices in the state ($120,500).
Basically, a lot of people in Monroe are out of work. And crime is certainly a factor here as well. Although it’s not one of the most dangerous places we’ll look at, it’s in the top 20%.
Add it all up, and this is truly one of the worst places you could live in Georgia.
Here in Brunswick, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in Georgia. That’s not a good combination.
Located in Glynn County, you have a 1 in 18.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Brunswick city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (9.6%). That’s good for the 46th highest unemployment rate 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%.
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Cedartown ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 10th cheapest in the state here at $81,400. 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 Cedartown.
The median income levels here are the 21st lowest in the state of Georgia, at $30,252. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 10.2% of people in Cedartown were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
The real issue with Cordele is blight. Families here live well below the poverty line.
You can sure expect that College Park is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 10th in our analysis. It is. In fact, College Park has the 6th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 222 violent crimes here in 2019, and residents have a 1 in 12.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in College Park, 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 12.1% which is the 23rd worst in Georgia.
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)
- Milton (Pop. 37,556)
- Alpharetta (Pop. 63,929)
For more Georgia reading, check out:
- Most Ghetto Cities 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