The 10 Worst Places To Live In Georgia For 2020

We used science to determine which places in Georgia are the real (Peach) pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst places to live in Georgia.

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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:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Georgia For 2020

  1. Swainsboro
  2. Monroe
  3. Moultrie
  4. Forest Park
  5. Cedartown
  6. Brunswick
  7. College Park
  8. Eastman
  9. Cordele
  10. Thomaston

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.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Georgia reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Georgia For 2020

Swainsboro, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,347
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $69,300 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (18th worst)
More on Swainsboro:  Data | Photos

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.

Monroe, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,370
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $123,700 (47th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (15th worst)
More on Monroe:  Data | Photos

Monroe ranks as the 2nd-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 61st-worst commute of any place in the state.

Moultrie, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,109
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $85,900 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (26th worst)
More on Moultrie:  Data | Photos

Moultrie is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Moultrie is the 3most dangerous place you can live in Georgia.

Residents in Moultrie have a 1 in 20.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.

When you're considering home prices, you can't do much lower than in Moultrie, where average homes are valued at only$85,900. That's the 12th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.

Forest Park, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,483
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $63,200 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.3% (20th worst)
More on Forest Park:  Data | Photos

Forest Park doesn't have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 11.3%, and people average less than $34,839 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $63,200, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Georgia.

And again, in terms of the overall 'enjoyment' factor, it's not easy to find fun on a Friday night.

Cedartown, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,930
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $80,000 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (40th worst)
More on Cedartown:  Data | Photos

Cedartown is the 33rd most dangerous place in the state of Georgia. That's part of the reason it's the 5th worst place in Georgia.

The fact remains, that when you're within Cedartown city limits, you have a 1 in 20.4 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?

Did you know Cedartown also has the 40th highest unemployment rate in the state at 8.2%? Or that homes are only valued at $80,000?

Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's little demand to live in Cedartown.

Brunswick, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,034
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $94,200 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (39th worst)
More on Brunswick:  Data | Photos

Brunswick seems to be the have's and have not's. While the annual average income levels here are respectful ($25,896), about 1 in 12.0 people here are without jobs. Homes are valued at only $94,200.

But the biggest eye opener is the sheer crime here. It seems as if just about everyone in town without a job is pillaging the community. Brunswick has the 11th highest crime rate in Georgia, where 1 in 91 people has a statistic chance of being attacked, raped or murdered each year.

Plus, 1 in 18.6 people are robbed.

If you're headed past Brunswick and stop for gas, make sure you lock your doors.

College Park, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,819
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $167,900 (82nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (23rd worst)
More on College Park:  Data | Photos

You can sure expect that College Park is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 7th in our analysis. It is. In fact, College Park has the 8th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.

There were 156 violent crimes here in 2020, and residents have a 1 in 14.3 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 10.2% which is the 23rd worst in Georgia.

Eastman, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,209
Rank Last Year: 27 (Up 19)
Median Home Value: $100,600 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.9% (2nd worst)
More on Eastman:  Data | Photos

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.

Cordele, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,793
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $82,600 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.8% (7th worst)
More on Cordele:  Data | Photos

The real issue with Cordele is blight. Families here live well below the poverty line.

Thomaston, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,802
Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 11)
Median Home Value: $84,200 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.7% (10th worst)
More on Thomaston:  Data | Photos

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

The data comes from the Census's most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

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:

  1. Johns Creek (Pop. 83,637)
  2. Decatur (Pop. 23,054)
  3. Alpharetta (Pop. 64,672)

For more Georgia reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Georgia?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Swainsboro 7,347 11.4% $69,300
2 Monroe 13,370 11.8% $123,700
3 Moultrie 14,109 10.1% $85,900
4 Forest Park 19,483 11.3% $63,200
5 Cedartown 9,930 8.2% $80,000
6 Brunswick 16,034 8.3% $94,200
7 College Park 14,819 10.2% $167,900
8 Eastman 5,209 16.9% $100,600
9 Cordele 10,793 14.8% $82,600
10 Thomaston 8,802 13.7% $84,200

How Is The Area In ?

101 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Georgia For 2020

  1. You based this on data!?! What a crock…visit these towns and you will find happy people enjoying their lives and family. I am from Sandersville and you are very wrong about it. You act like it is 1,000 miles from anywhere. Crime is low because it is a small town and you know your neighbor and probably their entire family. Talking about a Days Inn at the only exit..what are you talking about? What exit? There isn’t an interstate near there. There are other hotels in town. It is a wonderful town, a community with pride and love. Trust me, I live near Lake Norman, NC now. There are expensive houses and people making lots of money but most have friends based on status and not true lose your money, you lose your friends. In Small towns like Sandersville, they might not have the most money but the whole community comes together to make it a wonderful cute little town. They will treat strangers like friends and make you feel welcome and at home….you can’t judge a town by data. Data doesn’t have a heart and soul like this wonderful little town. Plus you live in Dunham…not a place I would recommend. (And before you say something about me not living in Sandersville because my job brought me to NC..but love my hometown)

  2. I do not live in any of these cities but am aware of them. The author evidently wrote this for shock value or is an absolute idiot.

  3. This article is absurd. If you ever bothered to visit any of these towns you might see how lovely they really are. I’m from Sandersville and proud to live here. We’re not “Crap in the cream”. We’re a great little town with a lot of history and some of the friendliest places you’ll “never” visit. Ridiculous article.

  4. Don’t claim science guides this ignorance-in-the-making. You are scaling and ranking the places where people may not have much money or job opportunities- but they have their families, their worlds, their lives. This isn’t ‘scientific’ of you and your merry band of rankers, this is ‘elitist’. We would gladly invite you into our public schools to discuss the difference with you.

  5. This article is lacking in any factual support and sources that prove the statements to be true. Any individual that lives around the mentioned areas knows there are much worse cities and places than any of the ones mentioned in this article. Crime rates can vary based on population. For example a city of 60,000 is going to have more crime than one of 10,000. This article is the highest for of ignorance at best. Articles like this show that any undereducated individual can create a list.

  6. I have lived in 18 Georgia cities, including your #4 “best”, Sandy Springs. I wouldn’t trade the experiences and friendships my family and I made in your #10 ” worst”, Vidalia, for anything, and I wish we had not moved from there. Some schools don’t need the extra government funding and refuse to give in to current fads to get it. 😉 The heart and soul of a town can’t be measured by data.

    1. I have lived in Vidalia, (the #10 worst city to live in) for 36 years and I have to say I totally disagree with this data. Vidalia is a great place to live and raise your children and now a place my grandchildren are raised. Your data just does not match my 36 years of experience in this city.

  7. As a naitive of Sandersville, I am shocked that my little hometown is one of the worst places to live. Seeing as I was part of a graduating class of 254 very successful individuals I can already tell your “science” is crap. This town is filled with more compassion, history, and character than you can find in all of Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs that you doted as being the best places to live in Georgia. I recommend stopping to talk with some of the many generations of families that have chosen to call Sandersville home, so they can give you the proper tongue lashing you deserve. Some of us that have moved away would trade it all to be back in that tiny town.

  8. Mr Writer of this Artical, I would like to invite you to visit our town before you put us on a list like this. I will personally take the time to show you how wrong you are.

    Vidalia, GA

  9. I currently live in Vidalia, but my family comes from the Bainbridge area. I would have to say I guess you have never taken the time to visit neither of these two towns. Or any of the others on the list. Until you visit them personally and spend at least a week or two in these towns then I don’t think you have right to post any articles.

  10. You people have never been to Vidalia and don’t know what your talking about. You need more than your so called science to know a bad town from a good one. Science doesn’t make a good town or bad one the people do. Vidalia has a bunch of good hard working people. The cream of the crop. So stick your science where the sun don’t shine.

  11. Its very sad to see this in 2015. This list is very accurate, these type of towns have little to no opportunities. The are riddled with poverty. These back hill towns make their biggest revenue from traffic tickets etc. You are more likely to be incarcerated than go to college or get a job starting above minimum wage. The towns listed are even worse places to live if you are a minority…there is still quite a bit of systematic racism at play within these small legal jurisdictions…beware ifbyou have to stop near either of these (again especially if you are a minority)

    1. But yet Clarkston is the city to have changed the law on Marijuana – less than one ounce is a ticket; not a free ride to jail! Of course crime is going to be higher where there are less than 15k residents.

  12. Half of the places on the list aren’t even real cities. They are Census Designated Places for ultra wealthy neighborhoods in Atlanta that aren’t incorporated. Of course they are all at the bottom of the list and their numbers are skewing the actual relativity of what’s “good and bad scientifically”.

  13. This list is garbage. I have lived in vidalia for 61 years and the only thing I see wrong is that I wish it had more chain restaurants than it does but it does have many privately owned one’s. I don’t see a high crime rate either. Most people will speak to you. Very friendly people.

  14. Diane is absolutely correct about Sandersville and the bases for the article is fraud at best and therefore it has no real value. Nick has no credibility on this subject matter or any other if this is a sample of his work or lack of. I’m happy in Evans, Ga. but had rather live in a town like Sandersville, Ga. with ‘real’ people.

  15. I can’t believe these towns are supposedly the ten worst.I’ve been to all of the town’s mentioned and I have enjoyed every visit. I’d say whoever did this survey needs to ‘re evaluate this.

  16. As someone who works in the Thomaston school system, our classrooms may be more crowded because of funding but the students definitely don’t get less attention. Our teachers work hard everyday to make sure each and every child learns to the best of their ability. We also have some of the best technology around to help them learn. I have worked in other schools that don’t even have half of the support our students get from special ed, to regular ed, to gifted. Our students are pushed to learn and to do their best. We have some of the hardest working and most caring teachers and staff.

  17. I guess numbers don’t lie like you said, but they certainly don’t tell the whole truth. I grew up in Fitzgerald. I love that town and will protect it, but I can’t live there. The economic base has crumbled and with that all the other numbers go swirling in the toilet together. Fitz has a spectacular history that NO other Ga town has. Yankees retired after the Civil War to 1 square mile known as Fitzgerald. It is known for having a healing past where both sides came back to function as one. But the interstate system being then 30 miles (now 21) away put Fitzgerald pretty much off the map. River traffic used to be the economic life line in the 1800s then the trains, then the interstate made it really difficult. There were 4 city fathers in the 70/80’s that really helped Fitzgerald – got the only non-union Delco battery plant (now closed and wiped off the planet), and many other industries, but those guys are gone. Now Fitzgeraldlites are trying to find their footing it the 21st century. There is a decent downtown but that SuperCenter Walmart ruined it if you ask me. Walmart sucked the life out of the downtown. I’d rather see WalMart buy ALL of downtown and turn it into a walking mall, keeping the good facades and running it like a business on the backside. I’ve seen that work — in Regina Canada.
    It’s hard to find fun in Fitz now. There used to be great places to go, but those have died. You have to make your own fun. I love Fitzgerald, but I have a little tear in my eye.

    1. Dan, I certainly agree with you on the WallMart assessment. The store is sucking the blood out of hundreds of small towns in the U.S. They feature poor service and squeez suppliers to the brink of bankruptcy to get the last drops of profit over to their P&L sheets. If small towns realize what a WalMart does to their town, they would help close those stores by refusing to shop there and support the local businesses instead.

  18. I know the internet allows anyone to say anything, but somehow this seems like kicking a man while he is down.

  19. I would argue that less dense population and affordable housing are not bad things. Which private country club is in Vidalia? Vidalia Country Club became a public golf club (Hawk’s Point) years ago. The country club started back when the Piggly Wiggly headquarters were a major presence in Vidalia.

  20. Fitzgerald is my home town, although my family moved away when I was 2 and I didn’t get to move back until I was 43. I spent as much time here as I could in between, and we are happily retired here. Yes, once children finish college, there aren’t a lot of job opportunities to bring them back, but Fitzgerald is a unique place, established in 1896 as a haven for Union soldiers wbo weren’t thriving in the harsh northern winters. The former bitter enemies from the Civil War learned to live together in harmony. All the street names reflect officers from both sides. The two main north- south streets, for example, are Lee and Grant. As others have suggested, you could do a much better job if you’d come spend a few days with us. Then you could do a more accurate assessment.

  21. Apparently you have not visited Millen, that place is awful , run down , nothing for kids , jobs are finally coming there

  22. After reading so many comments attacking the writer of the article it reminds me of an old saying I heard many years ago, “A worm in horseradish thinks horseradish tastes wonderful.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to troll here – my hometown is among the worst in that list but I don’t necessarily disagree with Mr. Johnson. I moved away nearly 30 years ago and the memories of my hometown are great. It was a great place to live, I (and my classmates) got an excellent education and the majority of us have done really well. However, the town hasn’t fared as well as we would have liked it to. It is true, the per capita crime rate has soared over the past 10 to 15 years, the education system has not performed as well and property values are not as high as it has in the past. You can blame it on whatever you like, but it doesn’t change things.

    I am not arguing that all of your towns don’t have good, hard-working citizens and are full of interesting history. I think the point Mr. Johnson was trying to make is – in order to determine the best or worst towns, you must have some common yardstick to measure them by. I believe that population density, per capita crime rates, median income, unemployment levels and home values, among others are a meaningful measure.

    Don’t shoot the messenger when he brings you a message you disagree with.

    1. Sad but true. There are usually 1 or 2 “business persons” who make sure these towns stay where they are so they can control.

        1. Central Georgia is ran by crooked old money and Masons and unless you are one of them work for them or kiss their butts you’re quality of life will suffer. Born here moved away. Back here not by choice. Highly educated and aware and for the most part wisely silent.

  23. Ugh. This comment board doesn’t allow for editing and I have made some mistakes in grammar at the very least. I guess I should learn to proof read twice before I post. The next to last sentence should end with “are meaningful measures.”

  24. This article is a crock. Where did you get your stats. I have lived in Emanuel county 90% of my life and Swainsboro is our county seat. What are you considering violent crime? Would I walk the streets of Savannah at night NO! Augusta NO! in fact none of the larger cities. Swainsboro sure… nothing is going to happen to you there. Folks here are happy and healthy. This is small town USA everyone knows everyone and we like it that way. You may list us as the worst but I can’t think of anywhere else I would like to live.

    1. If you walk the streets of Swainsboro at night, I suggest you choose the streets wisely. Anywhere north of Highway 80 and still in the city limits is not a good place to be. I understand wanting to stick up for your hometown, but the truth can sometimes hurt. Outside of a few decent neighborhoods, Swainsboro is not a nice place. I lived there for most of my life. I would not recommend it.

  25. I’m from Bainbridge and I agree that it sucks. The people here aren’t trustworthy. They’ll talk about you behind your back but will be your friend to your face. This town has nothing to do except bowling and a few basketball courts and baseball fields. I wouldn’t suggest Bainbridge to anyone.

  26. You people have no idea what you’re talking about. Sandersville is a very comfortable town, with excellent schools and we don’t even have exit. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, keep your mouth shut.

  27. Does anybody notice that at least four of the supposed best places are just North of that cancer on the butt of GA called Atlanta. I am not sure about Mountain Park as I have never heard of it. These are somewhat bedroom communities. Many of the people who live there work in Atlanta. These are places with much higher incomes AND much higher taxes.
    All of the 10 worst places are in middle or South GA. We work our butts off down here in order to send tax money to Atlanta. Then our hard earned money is used for roads and other things to help out the rich folks in North Fulton, Gwinnet, Cobb, etc.
    My Grandmother lived in Alpharetta when I was growing up and I still have family there. It would take a lot of money to get me to live there. All the transplants have ruined it.
    I have an idea. Let’s split GA into two or three states. Let us middle/South Georgians keep our tax money down here. Then let’s see what happens to the “best” and “worst” places in GA.

  28. Although there is some questionable statistical analysis going on in determining these results, the part I hate is that articles like this will only push small towns into having fewer opportunities. If a developer is trying to decide if they want to move to one of these small towns, this type of article, with much of the text being incorrect and unsupported, may sway them away. I have lived in 3 towns that make the top 100 list and my hometown, Sandersville, is listed at number 6. Instead of incorrectly pointing out that, “You can’t miss it; there’s a Day’s Inn at the only exit”, you need to actually visit Sandersville to determine that it isn’t near an interstate and there are more places to stay than a Day’s Inn. Judging by sad the photo you picked, you are purposefully trying to sway readers using your journalistic view. Turn the photo around ( and you would see the beauty of the downtown square. By the way, my family was not “strapped for money”, but the low cost of housing helps those who are. Also, I would love to review your statistical analysis, I have a PhD and would gladly demonstrate how easy it can be to falsify data for journalistic purposes.

  29. Ilive in the Tampa Bay area I just recently visted Jessup Georgia stand over a week therevery friendly clean town.I’m actually thinking about moving there

  30. I grew up in Fitzgerald as well . Its a great town , wonderful folks . It will always be home to me… Every small town everywhere isn’t the way it was years ago, mostly due to the economy and Business logistics changes to OUR nation… BUT …. You say what you want Id rather be living in any of the small towns you named. Thank a bunch more of the crime ridden cites in Ga. I wont call any names but two of them start with and A……..For myself I Will take Fitzgerald any day…..

  31. Typical Northern Liberal Rubbish. Where’s the the report on how poverty and crime is on the rise in NYC?

  32. Whoever came up with this article is a d*ckface and whoever agrees with this article is also a d*ckface.

  33. I think this article is based off appearances of these cities instead of actual factors. & they missed sooo many cities! I’ve lived in Georgia my entire life, I grew up in Savannah, later to move on to pooler and now Ellabell. I’ve been to most of these places and they’re quiet & country. Everybodys friendly, just because we don’t have a bunch of restaurants or stores, or malls etc doesn’t mean they’re crappy. I keep migrating further towards the country away from Savannah & life couldn’t be better. Basing things off population is rude, not everyone wants to live in a city with 70,000 people, my town MIGHT have 1-2 thousand people, this is a no stop light town the only food place we have is subway & grocery stores, the next city being Pembroke has a little more but if you ask me that town should’ve been first compared to Swainsboro. Georgia is an awesome place to live and I would never think about leaving. I’ve been to many places up north and no offense but the people up north are much more rude & judgemental, you don’t get that here.

  34. I moved to Vidalia from a suburb of a major city. I feel safe in Vidalia. To assume only poor people live here is wrong. There are a lot of well to do families here. Yes, there are the poor too, but every city has poor too. There is help here to get an education if you want to do so. The sports teams through high school and recreational sports teams are among the best in the state. The thing that makes Vidalia so wonderful is the people and their love for God and one another. Next time you want to bash cities, go visit them, talk to the people. This is a place you want to raise your children. I invite you to come visit.

  35. I grew up in Fitzgerald and as a former resident ,Fitzgerald thrived in the 1970-1990’s until the Delco-plant closed and with that—- the economy went way south.These small towns in which you list as the worst places to live are hurting because there are no business or industries that help with the economic issues.Thus a domino effect happens with the education system and recruiting perspective companies to locate.INSTEAD ON SPENDING SO MUCH TIME PUTTING OUR MILLIONS INTO OTHER THIRD WORLD ,HOW ABOUT OFFERING TAX INCENTIVES BREAKS TO BRING BACK INDUSTRIES TO HELP THE SOUTHERN TOWNS. We don’t have a connected Georgia anything above Macon gets the red carpet treatment-below we are considered red headed step children.Families leave because these small towns can’t function like a bigger city- Well duh huh your survey is a bull crap

    1. Fox, you are dead on with your statements. Looking at the pics of the main-streets of these towns, it is really heartbreaking. It is a sign of the times that these stores are closed due to economics. The mayors or city managers of these towns need to get together to form a coalition to go to Atlanta and demand the governor do something to help these small towns. They are beautiful towns. Life in these towns has got to be better than anything that the rat hole of Atlanta has to offer. One of the biggest reasons for these stores closing is the competition from all the damn malls around Atlanta metro. I live in northern Gwinnett and I would trade living in small town middle and south Ga in a heartbeat. Where I live, there are at least 6 malls. How is mom and pop stores and restaurants suppose to survive? They can’t compete. People that currently live in these small towns KNOW they have a little slice of heaven on earth. They just need a little boost of industry to get people working and taking care of their little town. People of these little town, fight to keep them alive. I pray you do because it would be a shame to let them die.
      You know high tech business, internet business is the boom now. All many people need is a good solid high speed internet connection to work from home. That would really help the small towns because people could have the best of both worlds. High paying job while living in the small town atmosphere. Keeps their money more in the small town area than big ole’ Atlanta.
      People of the small town Georgia, God bless you all. Keep your towns alive!

  36. I came from a way smaller town than Swainsboro and it has no place to eat within the town now . Did in the 1950s. One Resturant ,one soda fountain Malt shop. A few clothing (stores maybe two) couple gas
    stations ,an ice house,,,Yes an ice house. You gotta remember this is in the 50s…
    Gas station there now , a Dollar store has replaced my house where I used to live.
    So where is that one on your list? Empty
    fallen down store. smelly store run by immigrants that you didn’t stay in long for the smell . You must have buzzed right thru there ! Or not at all.”” It was the best little town when I lived there. Clean ,lawn s mowed walked he streets up towe to the post office. Great people lived ther and every one knew each other,,,,,,we loved it!

    It is becoming very apparent that you haven’ been to most of the places you wrote about either. You certainly could not have. Missed this place and others like it that are worse than those you listed.. And Macon is more than an hour away from Swainsboro . You need to update your walk/ abou
    T! That for sure!!

    Me s

  37. Having lived in Bainbridge majority of my 24 years of life, I find this list absolutely laughable and frustrating. I have yet to know anyone that has been raped, beaten, or murdered. I also find it intriguing that with all of the developed businesses and roads, the picture that is used is one of the rare streets Bainbridge has that is run down. I respect journalists in all forms, but I’m not sure how you received your information, if by statistics then maybe the towns should be visited and that factored in as well. And maybe next time you shouldn’t let the condescending remarks and your obvious distaste for southern and/or small cities roll off your tongue so easily.

  38. This article is a clear case of manipulating statistics to get a desired outcome !!! These guys are idiots !!! There are Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics !!!

  39. I was curious why the city of Dacula does not appear on your list of 157. Auburn and Lawrenceville appear, Dacula is between these to cities.

  40. LOL This has got to be a joke. I lived in fort valley for almost 20yrs. “Crime” in these small farming towns? Good one… LOL

    Id rather walk through any of these small towns at night compared to Macon, ATL, Albany and Columbus.

  41. My husband and I CHOSE to move to Bainbridge 35 years ago. Raised 3 college educated kids. We are blessed to have a beautiful river for fishing and water sports. Folks travel from many surrounding counties and states to enjoy it every weekend. Schools have dedicated staff. People will give their all to help their friends, neighbors, and strangers in times of need. I remember maybe 2 or 3 murders in thWe don’t WANT high density ant beds! That’s why we are there!

    1. D’Boi, I’m white and can never relate exactly but we both bleed American red. I spent time in federal projects as a kid. We had a plan to get out of them. It’s not to be a way of life, but a safety net. I may have had it easier than you, we’ll never know but you must believe in yourself, expect a lot from yourself and slowly (it will take sacrifice of short-term pleasure) find a way to increase your skills. Self-respect and skills are the way out. Self-respect means that you make choices that improve you rather than bring you down and hold you under the Fed gov’t thumb. Key steps that an able-bodied person can do: Mentally, work for the good of your employer, not against them. If you don’t have an employer, you have to make it a priority to act the part and start somewhere. There’s never any shame for an honest day’s labor regardless of the task. I’ve worked some pretty dirty jobs in my day. Learn your job, do it better than anyone else. Make the boss happy. That applies to every job; even jobs where folks get to live in the big white mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Then exchange some leisure time for self-improvement. You got to keep bettering your skills. Then you can go up to your own lil mansion – whatever that is for you. I feel your anger, but I’d like to see that morph into positive passion.

    2. Who’s fault is that? The city or town or the people living in your community? Are you saying that white folks put up with far less BS in their neighborhoods than black folks are willing to put up with? Seems that is why you are implying.

  42. Clearly, this article was mostly for fun, but let’s continue having some fun. I grew up in Eastman, GA. I’ve also lived in Boston, Mass. Let’s do a little comparison. Suppose my budget for a house is $225,000, and I want to raise my kids in a house, not an apartment. In Boston, this will buy me a home out in Hyde Park that has1872 sq ft @ $120/sq ft on a seventh of an acre lot. It was built in 1968 and is advertised as “needing work.” To get into the city, I’ll walk or drive to the commuter rail station (rain, shine, or snow). I’ll likely walk because there isn’t sufficient parking at the station, and it will be very expensive. After the commute into Boston, I will have to wait in a subway station to catch another train to wherever I need to go. After I get to my stop, I may have to walk several blocks (in rain, shine, or snow) to get to work. I’ll allow at least an hour for all of this travel.

    In Eastman, $225,000 will buy a 2678 sq. ft home at $84 / square foot on a 2.9 acre lot with my own little creek in the backyard on a quiet, safe street with no HOA fees and friendly neighbors. There may not be corporate jobs available, but if I can work online, the possibilities are endless. I can drive anywhere in town within 5 minutes and park there for free. I will make less money working in Eastman, but the cost of living compared to Hyde Park is about 37% lower.

    To be sure, I’ll have a world of cultural activities and fancy restaurants available to me in Boston – most of which are very expensive and will require that I either repeat that commute on the train or take my life into my hands by driving and then pay out the nose for parking. I will likely choose to do this only rarely. If I’m only going to attend such things rarely, I may as well live in Eastman where I can be in Atlanta in about 2.5 – 3 hours. Or the beach in about 3 hours. For that matter, perhaps living in Eastman will encourage me to develop my own artistic or culinary skills. In Eastman, I can shop at Nordstrom online and have a guaranteed parking space in my own garage.

    The public schools in Eastman are ok – they’ve produced a whole bunch of successful people because they turn out students who have initiative and persistence, the two most important qualities for success. If you prefer private school, there are plenty of online options. In Eastman, you can attend the Georgia Aviation and Technical College or even Mercer University. Eastman has a 5-screen movie theater. And nothing to do? Seriously? In Dodge County, you can kayak the Ocmulgee river, ride a bike for hours, water ski, go fishing, ride horses, and enjoy some of the best hunting in the state. Ever heard of playing the piano – guitar – violin – flute – trumpet? Living in EASTMAN, I developed enough skill at the piano to earn a scholarship to undergraduate school and then admission into one of the finest conservatories in the country. If you can’t find a local teacher, Mercer University is only an hour away. Also, more and more good teachers are utilizing Skype which means they can teach students who live anywhere. In Eastman, I might have to drive out of town to hear a classical concert, but Macon’s Mercer U. brings in world class performers, and I can listen to / watch the greatest performers from all over the world online, and even watch masterclasses by some of the world’s finest teachers – free.

    I currently live in the Augusta area. I spend about 5-6 hours each week just getting places in my car, and my husband drives 10-13 hours a week. So, if I lived in Eastman and had to do some driving out of town occasionally to enjoy a few amenities, I think that’s a fair trade-off.

  43. I am Vidalia’s Main Street Director – I have lived in Vidalia/Toombs County all of my life, reared my children and my grandchildren here. I am offended at your comments about Vidalia being the #10 worse town to visit. As a CITY OF EXCELLENCE I want to shame you for such a posting of Vidalia…you obviously have not visited Vidalia and experienced our quaint little “HISTORIC CITY”…like others have said, this is incorrect information and I would like to invite you to visit VIDALIA!
    Our city, the Main Street program and our merchants who have invested in the “Sweet Onion City” have received awards from State & National Main Street for the historic preservation ethics – receiving numerous grants for beautification and it goes on and on to prove our “Excellence”.
    The information/data you posted is “incorrect” and needs updating…
    We have the best in education, sports, safety and a high quality of excellence in the work force…so please check your data!
    We are a wonderful city that works together for the betterment of our community.
    Thank you! Paula Dees-Toole – 16 years Vidalia Main Street “Downtown Vidalia Association”.

  44. I think you should pull out the ‘low density’ population count since it is not a reflection of the quality of life for many that live there. Many people prefer low density! I would never want to live in a grimy city. I live in Cali (formerly from Fitz) and I live in what I call a border town. On the border of San Francisco GMA, but I can see cows past my backyard, BUT I live so close to my neighbor I have heard them argue about who should clean the toilet. Low density is refreshing and preferred by those who can afford to earn enough while living far enough away from the city. More power to them.

    1. Yea all this quiet living and extremely low crime rates are just killing us down here in middle to south Georgia. (Sarcasm off)

  45. I like how the #1 Swainsboro picture actually shows a store front being rehabed! progress proven by Google.

  46. Swainsboro has become a drug infested hell hole. The local police (city and county) are a joke. Dope smokers and lowlifes walk the streets in full view and no one cares. The crime rate is astronomical for a town this size. Swainsboro has a well earned reputation for being one of the most officially corrupt cities in the state. The city fathers are just a pack of small town hick good ol’ boys who wash each other’s backs day after day to make sure they succeed while as many others (the little people) don’t. Wouldn’t trust a one of them if my life depended on it. Trust me when I say that far too many of the top city/county officials are awash in their own personal and not so well hidden scandals. Drunkards, womanizers, and we wouldn’t even want to know what else.

    1. Tell me what large to mid-sized populated metropolitan city in the USA that does not have massive issues with illicit drug abuse, rape, robbery and corruption?

  47. I was born in Macon, and grew up in Forsyth. I have lived in Alaska since 1992, but I still have family in Georgia, and I visit 1-2 times per year. I think it is difficult for most of us to receive criticism, and I can’t say how accurate the data is behind this article, but I think many of the towns on this top 10 list are very depressing places to visit. I have no desire to move back to Georgia, even though it is still very dear to me. I have visited each of the towns on the top 10 list, and I would say towns like Macon, Augusta, and Columbus would have been my numbers 1, 2, and 3. I spent a great deal of time in Macon growing up, and it is as backward, violent, and as depressing as any place in the state.

  48. You missed the mark big time on Moultrie, in South GA. Just based on one criteria alone it would be in the top 5, easily. I still have friends there, grew up there, and visit occasionally and read the daily newspaper frequently. It is mind-boggling at how much crime there is, mainly due to a high concentration of illegal immigrants, and the high black population. Illegals run about 17% there which is high. Daily there are arrests for Hispanics driving without a license, and DUIs usually included. If it is not a “sanctuary city” then it is pretending to be one. I have decided not to go back unless I stay in a motel 25 miles away out on I75. It is just that dangerous. It is a very poor agricultural area with nothing to do except watch high school football in the winter months. Even the coach there just recently said that the “black players needed to get scholarships so they could get out of Moultrie”. That says it all.

  49. There are some people in this world who had rather live in a dirty, crime infested, overcrowded city that to live in the country. And one of them wrote this article. People live in the small towns listed in this article and leave their doors unlocked at night, but they don’t dare to go to Atlanta at night or without carrying their pistol.

    you guys apparently didn’t research very well cause Fairmount, GA would definitely be one of the top five

    1. If it’s based on the size and what’s there then I’m sure you may be right. However, you won’t find a community better than Fairmount when it comes to helping someone in need. Every town has it’s own problems and issues, that’s a given, but there is nowhere else that I would even think about raising my kids than Fairmount.

  51. My advice to the proud Georgians who got all upset and excited by this article is to “Man Up!”. If you were genuinely confident that your town is really great, you’d just chuckle and ignore all the blather. “Someone is wrong on the internet!!!!” seems to be a real big emergency in the sensitive southern cities mentioned.

  52. The article was not based on emotion or compassion or history or any of that.

    I know many in #9 and wholeheartedly agree. I truly think it should have been #1. Yes, most of the people are polite to each other and tourists. Nice, but let’s focus on opportunities for its residents (next to none), economic investment in its residents (next to none), institutionalized racism (are there still two separate proms- whites and everyone else) and I could go on to infinity.

    I have seen people fare better economically, education attainment and access to diversity when they leave Cordele, Georgia.

    Let’s can the heartstrings and tell people the truth.

  53. The fact that Disgusta (Augusta) is not on this list proves it is bulldung. Mosy of these places are friendly quaint small towns. Disgusta is a Hellhole with rampant crime and lots of urban decay. Hw is it not listed?

  54. I have had the opportunity to live all over the United States and there is no place like home. I am a Fort Valley native and would like for you to add on your list that Several major manufacturing corporations have relocated to Northern states therefore taking viable employment with them. However, Fort Valley has produced many successful people who have become military officers, educators, professional athletes, doctors, lawyers, accountants just to name a few and who are actively trying to change the blight of the city. Furthermore, Fort Valley State University ,a HBCU, produces the highest number of African American Math graduates in the nation & is a major resource for agricultural research. You should probably visit Lane packing with the endless amounts of peaches or attend a Peach County high school game and see that our city, though not perfect, but definitely NOT dead!!!!!! Maybe YOU should appeal to major businesses to bring their businesses from overseas or ATLANTA to help these smaller cities who were built around manufacturing that you call desperate. This would be a major benefit to my community and not just an article on uninformed facts who lists all of the best cities directly located outside of Atlanta.

  55. If the study considered the percentage of teenage pregnancy , drug use, alcoholism , government “relief”, female obesity, ignorance and chronic public ” Moo Moo” attire and snake handling, then I am shocked Calhoun did not score number one!

  56. Disgusta is the ass crack of Georgia.. and according to wikipedia is one of the city’s official nicknames. Look it up. IF Disgusta does not make a top 10 worst list for Georgia then I know the research is suspect. It is without a doubt, the trashiest, most corrupt and Stink Hole city in Georgia and possibly the entire USA. The whole city looks like a crack den and its inhabitants look like meth addicts or extras from The Walking Dead.

  57. Are there animal control shelters in these small towns or how is the dog/ cat population. I hear there are shelters but NO one is allowed inside to adopt a dog or cat. we are not even told WHERE they are, only that they are 3 hours south of atlanta and the workers do not care about any animal. it sounds like a very poor area, so do they fund animal controls in these Middle GA. towns ?

  58. Bainbridge may not be my pick to live in but there is NO way it’s the second worse city in which to live in GA – not even top 10. It’s affordable, and you have Lake Seminole for recreation and can day trip to the gulf coast at any given moment. Also, 30 minutes from Tallahassee. Bad call putting Bainbridge on the list.

  59. I also have to wonder about the accuracy of this article. I live in McRae GA aannnnddd I’m pretty sure this is the worst town in GA. Most people here work or are housed in prison. Very shady utility fees\taxes. Surprised we didn’t make the cut. Ah! Crime rate is low. Very sleepy place. I’m dying to escape.

  60. This website, while it is very opinionated as you stated, is VERY offensive to the people who live here. I am not sure of your motive for such degrading and offensive comments about these places but what you are doing with this website is horrible.

  61. Disgusta is a Stink Hole. Stink balls big time. I should know, I was mayor of that Stink hole for 9 long years.

  62. Cedartown has to be the worst of all. Familial neglect of vulnerable people, bullying at their schools, mass abuse of animals (dogs used for dog fighting), pharma abuse is everywhere.

    One example of how horrible the town is, with its illusion of community and family, can be revealed by looking into a local tragedy involving one Katelyn Nicole Davis. When you begin digging into the story it really reveals the illusion of the “great place” that Cedartown tries to portray itself as for the tourists.

  63. DISGUSTA! You can smell it miles away. Polluted. High Crime. Trashy looking. Dead downtown. Just plain UGLY. Also the local government is very corrupt. Good-ole-boy Boss Hogg style politics.

    1. Lived and worked in Disgusta 4 years ago, never lived in a place like that in my life. I’m currently stuck in hurricane-blighted Puerto Rico and living here is no fun most of the time, but given a choice between Disgusta and getting on a queue to gas up a generator every day in PR, I’d pass on Disgusta, wooo…

  64. You might check a map of Forest Park.

    “Forest Park is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50” is a really, really bad data point… try scraping Wikipedia, o data-worshipping clickbait farmer!

    I live in Forest Park and know enough not to mix up the southern part of the Atlanta MSA with Chesapeake Bay.

    This little burg has its issues, but what town doesn’t? It’s the last place in metro Atlanta with affordable housing. We elected our first African-American mayor (a woman with multiple degrees in public policy). And the city’s diverse population finally has a voice in its own governance.

  65. Morrow ga has become the jankiest, shadiest city in decades. I worry about the power bills of the city’s residents. I’ve seen more all nite yard sales and cars with no tags and imoroper tail lights and Undercovers and bandos occupying agents or squatters than I have in the West end and that’s kinda screwed up.

  66. I call BS because somehow, Union City is nowhere on the list. Maybe my yuppie Yankee butt is used to better living conditions, but this place is GHETTO! I can’t WAIT until my lease expires so I can get the hell out of here…..

  67. You’ve got to be kidding me! Evidently these folks never bothered to visit or research Trenton in Dade county, GA. It’s located within the Lookout Mountain judicial circuit and is the most corrupt little cesspool in all of the US, let alone GA! Add into the mix that 4-5 inbred families who have been here since Civil War times run everything and keep the poor drug addicted. Dade county refused to join the Union until the 1940s because they enjoyed hanging dark skinned people and little has changed since then. Property values are rock bottom and real estate is impossible to sell. So I recommend doing a tad more research.

  68. It’s all true, true, true. Monroe is the center of hell! The preacher of the largest church there said it was actually the place hell and quit and refused to stay.

  69. I’m just going to throw out facts about Villa Rica in this article. I moved from an area of Indiana that made the “Worst Cities in America” List here – you know right outside of “Chi-Raq” and Gary, IN. Born, raised and despised the entire area because of the drugs, gangs, poverty rates, corruption and horrific weather but then I moved to Villa Rica, GA. I have never heard more sirens daily in my life! This place is riddled with drugs and people are murdered on a weekly basis, it’s insane! I’m not agreeing with this article actually containing any scientific or factual data, but I can verify that Villa Rica and surrounding towns is NOT the place you want to raise a family!

  70. A real weakness in Swainsboro is its technical college. They can’t teach technical programs because the technical programs require math. The math teacher at Swainsboro tech doesn’t have a degree in math. Go figure.

  71. You left out Alma, the armpit of the south, but anyway, I thought I’d shed some light on this. Almost ALL of the placed you listed are less than an hour, often 30 minutes, from highly affluent areas. Georgia is a place of the haves vs the have nots to an extreme sense that I’ve never seen anywhere else, not saying that it doesn’t exist in other places. Let’s look, for example at Brunswick, which has a history of race riots and a high crime rate. However, right across the causeway is St. Simons Island, with multi million dollar homes and skyrocketing prices. It’s where the rich train their horses and the elite go to the resorts at $400 a night. The other causeway goes to Jekyll Island, another beach resort and conference center for the wealthy. You want to go around Brunswick to get where you need to go. Don’t stop, even for the Church’s Chicken. But this is the way it is in almost all of Georgia. You put Alpharetta on the top of the heap as desirable, but the outrageous housing prices make this a place most people can’t live. And, it’s just a hop and skip from Dekatur, a place you don’t want to live. What I’d like to see is an article that compares areas that have declined, like Stone Mountain and Lilburn with those that are improving. I also noticed that you don’t have Augusta on your list. Another place of haves and have nots to the extreme. Augusta is scary. The only thing that keeps it going is the military hospital.

  72. Oh, I forgot to include an explanation for Vidalia. Vidalia has a country club because it has RICH farmers who sell their product worldwide as a collective. They own the trade name, and you can’t call it “Vidalia Onions” unless it comes from there. So, you have these very wealthy farmer families. And their workers. Those are the have nots. Since they aren’t far from the free way, Statesboro college and other areas there is at least access to cities like Macon and Savannah, but for daily fun, there’s the country club where all the good ol boy farmers hang out, and they are living high. They play golf, live well, and drive a new top of the line truck every year. They send all their kids to college to become the lawyers, tax accountants, etc that they need to run their big businesses. Pretty much everything in Vidalia is owned by a handful of families who have holdings spread all over the area. They control everything, including the migrant workers that are in the fields, the churches, and almost every single business.

  73. The almost complete and total illiteracy of essentially all the comments protesting about the poor rating of one or another of these horrific pestholes gives one an accurate impression of the level of education available to the luckless individuals born and schooled there.

  74. DownTown Atlanta In Georgia Has A Very Big Crime Rate Due To Poor Conditions And The Homeless Rate And The High Drug Crimes In The Area.

  75. Everything that has been said in this article about all these small towns it all depends on the person and the choices you make in life rather its in a good, excellent, are bad town because Swainsboro and none of these other towns can make you who you are they are just small towns that people like me and alot of other individuals lived and grew up in you can make good choices are bad choices were you stay it doesn’t matter you can stay in richest and the wealthiest towns in Georgia and still make bad choices i can’t speak for everyone but i grew up around Swainsboro i been living here all my life i must say the living hasn’t been bad at all most of the people here in Swainsboro are friendly and its a good family environment its not bad at all it all depends on individual and what they make of it for as jobs yes the article is right there isn’t plentiful of jobs here in Swainsboro but that’s what comes with living in a small town like Swainsboro and some of the other towns thats on the list but most small town folks like Swainsboro works out of town were there are good jobs making good money but raising there families in small towns like Swainsboro cause the cost of living is cheaper but again small towns can’t defines who you are as a individual it’s up to the individual just got to make smart choices

  76. I have lived in several of these towns and visited many. I’m sure the towns were probably correctly ranked according to the data. However, I don’t believe the data used can accurately determine best or worst places to live.

    Lots of Jobs – In the south there are many who choose to live under government assistance as a way of life, and increase that assistance by spitting out as dependents as possible. Not my way of life, but if you’re using the unemployment rate as a metric to determine job availability, you missed the mark.

    High population density (Lots of things to do) – WRONG! There is such a huge variance in the way people feel about living high and low populated areas, which makes this a useless metric.

    To carry out a study such as this, I think you have to define what constitutes “worst” or “best” town demographically, according to the things the residents think makes it good or bad. This can vary county to county, so it’s a difficult task to accomplish. This is probably more useful for someone moving to GA from New York or California than someone moving from one town to another.

    Interesting bathroom read though. I need to flush.

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