No matter where you live in the United States, each state has desirable locations and places where people avoid living. Georgia is no different from anywhere else, as it has both great and terrible cities. Some of the best places and worst places to live in Georgia might even surprise many people.
While where you live is a matter of personal preference, there are some indicators to look for that are a sure sign that life is not great for residents of the worst cities to live in Georgia. These include problems like poor safety, high crime rates, bad education, and weak amenities.
Economic issues also play a role, as areas with high unemployment, low property values, and below-average median household incomes are unlikely to offer a high standard of living. Especially if you have kids, you deserve better.
After all, as Lewis Grizzard once said: “If I ever get back to Georgia, I’m gonna nail my feet to the ground.” There are definitely great places to live here, but you should avoid a few. With these factors in mind, here are the 20 worst places to live in Georgia.
Each list we produce goes through careful research and analysis to ensure it’s as accurate as possible. We try to provide detailed information and do our due diligence to find accurate data that helps you better understand Georgia’s worst cities. As a result, you won’t find a list of the worst places to live in Georgia with better or more accurate information. In our process, we:
- Examine important government sites ranking cities based on multiple factors
- Check listicle sites to find common cities mentioned as the worst in Georgia
- Research more information about each city to create an accurate understanding of its value
- Compile this information into an easy-to-read article
- Update our articles, as needed, to keep them accurate and relevant
Worst Places to Live in Georgia
When examining the worst cities to live in Georgia, we looked at a lot of important statistics that examined each city’s livability. However, as legendary statistician Thomas Sowell once said, “One of the first things taught in introductory statistics textbooks is that correlation is not causation. It is also one of the first things forgotten.” With that in mind, we’ll provide a bit more context to explain vitally important statistics that make a place a little questionable to live in in Georgia.
Overall, Thomasville is the 28th most dangerous place to live in Georgia, which partially explains its inclusion here. With a population of just 18,836, it experiences 4,348 crimes per 100,000 people, which isn’t a great rate.
Property crimes are the more significant issue, as Thomasville is ranked as having the eighth-most property crimes in the state. However, it is also in the top 20 locations for violent crimes, as Thomasville has the 18th most violent crimes in Georgia.
Thomasville is also very undiverse, with a rating of 0.5 out of 10. That makes it a poor place to live if you want an exciting and vibrant community. In fact, it makes it one of the worst cities to live in Georgia if you’re part of a minority.
A lack of job opportunities is also an issue in this area. There are some positive elements of this location that prevent it from ranking higher. For example, there are many leisure activities to enjoy in this area, and the public schools are rated above average.
The main reason Fairburn is on the list of the worst places to live in Georgia is that it is the 11th most dangerous place to live in the state due to its alarming crime rates. It has the 11th most violent crimes and the 15th most property crimes in Georgia. It’s only safer than 26% of all American neighborhoods.
The public schools in Fairburn are also below average. According to Great Schools, the top schools in the area rank only a 6 out of 10. That’s pretty sad, especially if you have children you want to have a diverse and exciting education.On the other hand, there are plenty of things to do in the area, and the community is diverse, says Niche. Whether you want to deal with a fun area that also features a lot of shooting deaths is up to you to decide.
A year ago, Clarkston only just made it into the top 40 most dangerous places to live in Georgia, and it is now the 10th most dangerous place to live in the state. On a total crime index, it’s only safer than 18% of all neighborhoods in America. That makes it one of the worst places to live in Georgia.
In fact, the dramatic rise in crime rates in Clarkston is shocking. It now has the sixth most violent crimes and the 16th most property crimes in Georgia. You shouldn’t hang around this area for too long, especially if you look a little different.
While there are some highly ranked private schools in the area, the public schools are also poor in this Atlanta suburb. Many Clarkston children regularly experience crime problems and other issues due to the dangerous nature of this community.
Some of the more positive features of Clarkston are community diversity, employment opportunities, and good transport links. But its cost of living of 104.8 (out of 100) puts it well above Georgia. So you can spend a lot of money to live in a dangerous area: does that sound inviting to you?
Located approximately 30 miles south of Augusta, Waynesboro is only a small town with a population of 5,387. Despite its small size, crime is a big problem in Waynesboro. It has the ninth-most property crimes and the 13th-most violent crimes in the state. It’s safer than only 5% of all American communities.
Although crime is problematic, there are many positive features to life in Waynesboro. The cost of living is very low at just 77.5 out of 100. That makes it surprisingly affordable for most people, though who would want to live here?Well, let us fairly point out that it also has decent (but let’s be frank, not exactly great) public schools for your kids, a diverse community, various employment opportunities, and a range of activities to enjoy in the area.
Bainbridge is the county seat of Decatur County, and it has a population of just under 12,000. It is the fifth most dangerous place to live in Georgia in terms of violent crime, as residents have a one in 81 chance of becoming a victim of this type of crime. It’s more dangerous than 97% of America.
Even worse, Bainbridge is also the tenth-worst place to live for property crimes, meaning it is the ninth-most dangerous place to live overall. So why exactly isn’t this dangerous city even higher on our list of the worst cities to live in Georgia?
Well, the reason that Bainbridge does not rank higher as the worst place to live is that the median home value (just $145,100) and household income are not bad, so poverty is not a significant issue. Walkability and commutability are also decent at 62 out of 100.
Crime rates in Morrow have risen significantly over the last year, and it is now the seventh-most dangerous place to live in Georgia. While it is only the 14th most dangerous place to live for property crimes, Morrow is the most dangerous place to live for property crimes. Shockingly, it’s more dangerous than 100% of all American neighborhoods.
Then why isn’t it at the top of our list? Well, there are more complex statistics to crunch here. For one thing, it has decent schools, with many of the private schools getting very high marks. That makes it worth considering in some ways.
While the cost of living is below average (92.3 out of 100), the home prices are a shocking $221,900 median. Again, you can pay a lot to live somewhere dangerous. Where can we sign up? At least it’s somewhat walkable (52 out of 100).
Douglasville is one of the many locations in Georgia that makes it onto the list based on its crime rates. This city is located about a half-hour’s drive from Atlanta, and it has a population of 34,609. It’s slightly safer than Morrow (as it’s only scarier than 98% of all American communities) but worse in other ways.
First, the greatest problem in Douglasville is property crimes, and there were between five and six of these types of crimes reported every day throughout 2019. Although the violent crime rate is not as high, rape and aggravated assault cases are high.
Furthermore, the city is not walkable or bikeable (18 and 20 out of 100, respectively), and the schools are only middling. The cost of living is a clean 100 out of 100, and while home prices average at $302,400, the median income is $61,729. Not great.
13. Warner Robins
Warner Robins is the second-largest city in Georgia, with a population of 76,623, and it is one of the worst places to live in Georgia. It is also the fifth-most dangerous place to live in the state. Property and violent crimes are both significant issues in this city. It’s safer than only 4% of all American cities.
Tragically, Warner Robins third-most rape cases anywhere in the state, which is enough to make it scary. Even if the schools get great scores, would you want to take your son or daughter here? With crime rates like that, probably not.
Albany is the seat of Dougherty County and the third-largest city in Georgia, with a population of just under 80,000. It is the crime rates in Albany that mean it ranks so highly on this list of the worst places to live in Georgia. Only 1% of all American neighborhoods are more dangerous (most, it seems, in Georgia).
Albany is the second-worst location for violent crimes and the sixth-most dangerous for property crimes. However, life is not all bad for the residents of Albany, as it has a vast array of leisure activities to enjoy for people of all ages, and the schools are strong. That said, its walkability and bikeability are mediocre, though it’s cheap to live here.
Not only is Americus the second-most dangerous place to live in Georgia, but it is also the place in the state where women are most likely to get raped. Furthermore, Americus has the fourth-worst murder rate and the third-highest burglary rates in Georgia.
Sadly, crime rates are increasing. It’s safer than just 2% of American neighborhoods. Crime is not the only issue, as the schools are poor, job opportunities are limited, and there is a lack of family-oriented activities. On the other hand, the community is diverse, the nightlife is vibrant, and the transport links are good. Walkability and bikeability are middling, but the cost of living is reasonably affordable, even if the median income is ridiculously low.
The public schools in Thomaston are underfunded and overcrowded, which are big concerns for families considering moving to the area. Poor education is just one of the indicators of a weak economy in Thomaston. On the plus side, the city is somewhat walkable, but also not a great place to live.
The unemployment rate of 13.7 percent is the 10th worst in the state, and those who do work have a median household income of under $25,000. The cost of living is reasonable, barely, and the climate is way too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.
It is also worth noting that Thomaston is the fourth-worst place for women to live in Georgia. The only plus side for Thomaston is that it does not rank in the top 20 for the most dangerous places to live. That said, it’s more dangerous than 95% of the nation.
Cordele’s main problem is its economy, and a significant proportion of its residents are living below the poverty line. That makes it one of the worst places to live in Georgia, which is hardly surprising when the unemployment rate of 14.8 percent is taken into account.
At $118,900, Cordele’s median home value is one of the worst in Georgia, which indicates a lack of demand for housing in the area. The schools are always far below part, with a 3 out of 10 rating for the best of them. Seriously, that’s the best.
Cordele also has the third-lowest median household income. It is worse for the female residents of Cordele, who only earn $0.68 for every male dollar earned, and 49.3 percent of women in this city live in poverty. On the plus side, Cordele is not in the top 20 for crime rates. It ranks 24th for violent crime and 25th for property crime. It’s also pretty walkable. Why is it that cities with crime issues and low-income rates are always so walkable?
Unemployment is a massive issue in Eastman, which has a population of 5,209 residents and is one of the worst cities to live in Georgia. Currently, 4.1 percent of the population is unemployed, which is not a great level. The median income is just $34,638, which is tragic.
As it is only a small town, it is perhaps a lack of employment opportunities in the town and within a commutable distance that is contributing to the unemployment issue. Furthermore, it probably contributes to the pretty dangerous reputation of the area: safer than just 2% of all neighborhoods.
Those who live in this location may feel that their biggest problem is a lack of amenities and leisure activities, as there is very little for the residents to enjoy in their hometown. There are also very poor schools that might make your children dumber.
7. College Park
It is hardly surprising that College Park is in the top ten worst places to live in Georgia, as it has the highest crime rates, is ranked as the most dangerous place to live in the state, and is safer than 0% of all American neighborhoods. Oddly, it has very good schools, which is surprising to know.
It is the most dangerous for violent crimes and the second-most dangerous place to live in terms of property crimes. Unemployment is also high in College Park, at 4.9 percent. On the other hand, the median home value is reasonable, and the median household income is not depressing.
Brunswick is a city of two halves, as some people in Brunswick seem to enjoy an affluent and enjoyable lifestyle, while the other half are living below the poverty line. That explains why the cost of living is decent even if the median income is below $30,000. Seriously.
Although the median household income is not the worst in the state, 4.9 percent of Brunswick residents are unemployed. Regardless of the financial standing of the residents, Brunswick still has a high crime rate. Property crime is a bigger problem than violent crime in this area.
It’s safer than only 3% of the nation or more dangerous than 97%. That’s a terrible rate, and it’s a big enough problem to make Brunswick avoidable. Oddly, the schools have pretty good scores, but you don’t want to raise your kids here.
Although Cedartown does not rank in the top 20 for the most dangerous places to live, crime is still an issue in this city. After all, it’s more dangerous than 94% of all of America. However, there are bigger problems for the residents of Cedartown.
It is the sixth-worst location for both median household income and median home value, which are both signs of economic issues in the area. That makes it a pretty hard place to live, even if the unemployment rate is surprisingly not bad.
It also has the fourth-highest high school dropout rate in Georgia, with cools that average at 5 out of 10. The unemployment rate is also higher than the state average, at 8.2 percent. On the plus side, it’s decently walkable, but why would you be walking there?
4. Forest Park
Forest Park is the fifth-most dangerous place to live in Georgia, as it has the fourth-most violent crime rate and the seventh-highest property crime rate in the state. As a result, you can easily guess that it’s one of the worst places to live in Georgia, with terrible crime rates.
However, it ranks even higher on the list of the worst places to live in Georgia as there are other factors that mean Forest Park is an undesirable location. For example, median home prices are $166,400, while the median income is $37,370. See a disparity there?
Another problem is the lack of leisure facilities in the area, which means that the overall standard of living is not great. It’s not even particularly walkable or bikeable. Sadly, most people live here because they simply don’t have a choice.
Economic issues are the greatest concern for residents living in Moultrie, which has a population of just over 14,000 people. Not only do they have the fifth-lowest median household income, but the median home value is also the 12th lowest in the state.
Women have it worse than men in this city, as their income is significantly lower, and a whopping 37.4 percent of women in Moultrie are living in poverty. With a median income of just $33,929, at least the city’s cost of living is a paltry 71.6 out of 100. That’s one good thing about it.
Based only on crime rates, Monroe would rank in the 16th position of the worst places to live in Georgia, as it has the 20th most property crimes and the ninth most violent crimes. However, there are other factors that have made this one of the worst cities to live in Georgia.
The median household income is one of the lowest in the state, while the cost of living and median home prices are some of the highest. Those who have jobs may face a long commute to their place of employment.
That said, it’s very walkable and more dangerous than 93% of American neighborhoods. That’s not great, but it's better than some entries on this list. But it's the cumulative effect of everything else that drags this city down.
Topping our list of the worst places to live in Georgia is Swainsboro. What’s wrong with it? A shorter answer would be to list what’s right. It’s easily one of the worst cities to live in Georgia, especially due to the high property crimes in the area. Crime isn’t the worst here, but it is also pretty bad.
However, there are other issues that have put this location at the top of the list. Swainsboro is only a small town with a population of just over 7,000 people, but there are a lot of people who are out of work. It has a 5.3% unemployment rate, a median house income of $32,830, and house prices that average $102,000. So even if you wanted to live here, there are no jobs paying well enough to afford it.
Tragically, this means there are many people below or on the poverty line. Furthermore, Swainsboro is in the middle of nowhere, so job opportunities, commutability, and leisure activities are all weak areas for this location. Its walkability is piddling, and the schools are pretty dang bad.
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Written by Liz Flynn
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