The last time we visited Georgia, we did a comprehensive look at which cities in the Peach State are the worst of the worst. It wasn’t pretty, and we heard from many people who weren’t too happy about it.
This will be a much more happier time. We get to talk about all of the great things Georgia has to offer. It is, after all, a really awesome place, and deserves some good karma coming its way.
Where would all of those places be? Will they be larger cities, or suburbs of the larger cities, as is the case most of the time? Where does science say the best places in Georgia are?
After analyzing all 157 cities with a population over 5,000, we came up with this list as the 10 best places in Georgia:
- Mountain Park
- Sandy Springs
- Johns Creek
- Druid Hills
- Wilmington Island
Surprised? Maybe not. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. Additionally, for mobile users there’s a link to a data chart at the bottom with all of the rankings.
While Alpharetta came in as the best city, you might be surprised to hear that Swainsboro is the worst city in Georgia, according science. More on that later.
How do you decide if a place is awesome or not?
In order to rank the best places to live in Georgia, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, great weather, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we crunched the numbers
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s best Places, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The higher the better)
- Lowest Unemployment Rates
- Highest Home Values
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (High expenditures per student and low Student Teacher Ratio)
- Low Crime
If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, from best to best, there’s a link to the data to see the complete results. If you’re curious, Atlanta landed somewhere in the middle.
Don’t blame the messenger. Blame science.
If you look at it from a scientific standpoint, Alpharetta is by far the best place to live in the state of Georgia.
The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Georgia, as there were only 47 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the fourth-lowest in Georgia (5.2%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.
Additionally, homes are the 10th most expensive in Alpharetta ($302,400), meaning a lot of people want to live there. Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $91,991 a year.
Alpharetta is an Atlanta suburb. We’ll be seeing a lot more of those on this list.
Another Atlanta suburb, Roswell is another gem. It, too, has great schools, and the unemployment rate is also really low at 5.3%. The crime is also much lower than the state average, and the folks who live in Roswell also earn really great salaries. Plus, the kids have a ton of options, since there are 18 parks in the city.
3. Mountain Park
Mountain Park is a teeny place of 600 people located a half hour north of Marietta. The crime in Mountain Park is almost as low as you can expect in the state.
The population of Mountain Park has been steadily increasing, and the home values have climbed an astounding 16% in the last year. Which means, once again, people really want to live here. And who can blame them?
4. Sandy Springs
A very large city just north of Atlanta, Sandy Springs, with a population just under 100,000 people, has the fourth-highest home values in the state ($368,300). Students in Sandy Springs schools get the third-most spending in Georgia, and the unemployment rate here is 5.3%.
Sandy Springs has several great, well-defined neighborhoods, and the community puts on many events and festivals each year.
The city motto in Decatur is “Everything is greater in Decatur,” and that seems to be pretty close to the truth.
Decatur, a small city in the Atlanta metro area, has some of the highest home values in Georgia, and they’re going up fast. Additionally, Decatur students see the 2nd-highest spending, which means they are getting lots of personal attention. Crime is also well below the state average, making Decatur a solid option for people who want to commute into Atlanta.
At least those who can afford it.
6. Johns Creek
Up near Alpharetta and Roswell on the northern end of Atlanta’s sprawl is Johns Creek, a fairly large city with a population of nearly 80,000.
The crime is the ninth-lowest in the state in Johns Creek, and there were only 37 violent crimes in the entire city last year. If it wasn’t for an unfortunate one-time incident that happened last year, the crime would be considered far lower.
Which means it’s even safer here than the numbers indicate.
The schools are some of the best in Georgia, and residents live in very expensive homes. They also earn more than any other city in the state except for the city of Evans. Residents in Johns Creek earn $110,000 a year.
7. Druid Hills
Druid Hills is an interesting location. It’s not a city, it’s part neighborhood/part Atlanta suburb/part census designated place.
It’s also part awesome. For the 14,000 people who live here, it’s affluent and relatively safe. We’re not saying that wealth is an indication of ‘best place to live,’ but the more expensive the home, the more desirable it is to live there.
The homes in Druid Hills average $446,900 each. That’s some real demand.
8. Wilmington Island
Most of the wealthier and successful residents who live in Wilmington Island work in Savannah. This little place of 15,000 people has really low crime, great schools and a low unemployment rate.
Plus, they get to work and play in Savannah and enjoy the Atlantic. Is there a better combination?
The little city of Suwanee has received numerous awards from much larger publications than us, including Money Magazine, Kiplinger and Family Circle. The reason? This Atlanta suburb is just all-around awesome. Besides being safe, Suwanee residents have great jobs and their kids enjoy awesome schools.
Plus, the city has numerous parks, lakes and playgrounds that are large and well-maintained. Several were built by members of the community. Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like that?
Several former and recent television and sports celebrities have made Dunwoody home, so you know it must be a great place. This northern Atlanta suburb has great public schooling and some really big companies make Dunwoody home as well, meaning lots of high-paying jobs.
Homes average $349,000 in this city of 46,000. Which is really high for Georgia.
There You Have It
While there are some really awesome places to live in Georgia, the purpose of this post was to use science to identify the places that are the most desirable. If you’re analyzing places in Georgia with the best economic situations, where there’s low crime and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Looks like living in northern Atlanta is the best place in the state. The data never lies, does it?
We also ran the data for the worst places to live in Georgia. Click here if you want to read that story. If you’re curious enough, here are the top 5 worst places to live in Georgia, according to science.
- Swainsboro (Pop. 7,331)
- Bainbridge (Pop. 12,669)
- Thomaston (Pop. 9,169)
- Eastman (Pop. 5,280)
- Fitzgerald (Pop. 9,070)