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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.
Monroe 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.
Monroe residents earn the 22nd-lowest salaries in the state. At $31,916 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $123,700, which means there isn't a lot of demand.
Crime is the 35th highest in Georgia per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 15th highest in the state, at 11.8%.
Moultrie places 3rd in our ranking of the worst places to live in Georgia. Here, 26.0% of the adult population lack's even a high school degree. That makes Moultrie have the 10th highest adult drop out rate in Georgia.
Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $85,900 each -- the 12th lowest in Georgia.
As you can imagine, there's not a lot of demand to live here.
Forest Park is the 4th worst city in Georgia for 2020. When you're comparing other cities to Forest Park, things just don't look great, at least according to science.
Forest Park is the 29th most dangerous place in Georgia, according to FBI statistics. And the residents here have a hard time keeping a job -- at least in comparison to the rest of the state. The unemployment rate is 11.3%, worse than the state average.
Home values are really low ($63,200), and residents earn just $34,839 a year.
Located on your way to somewhere else you'd want to be, Cedartown has few options for some sort of entertainment.
The main issues here are economic and education. The unemployment rate is also sky high here (8.2%) and homes are the 6th cheapest in the state ($80,000).
Say what you want about 'cheap living', the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's absolutely no demand to live in Cedartown.
When you're looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Brunswick is the 6th worst place in the state of Georgia.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Brunswick 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 Brunswick are the 19th 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.
College Park doesn't have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 10.2%, and people average less than $32,039 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $167,900, 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.
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?