These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Georgia

We used science and data to determine which Peach State cities are the cream of the crop.

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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:

  1. Alpharetta
  2. Roswell
  3. Mountain Park
  4. Sandy Springs
  5. Decatur
  6. Johns Creek
  7. Druid Hills
  8. Wilmington Island
  9. Suwanee
  10. Dunwoody

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.

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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.

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1. Alpharetta

Source: City of Alpharetta on Facebook

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.

2. Roswell

Source: City of Roswell on Facebook

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

Source: Mountain Park Volunteer and Fire Rescue on Facebook

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

Source: Sandy Springs, GA City News on Facebook

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.

5. Decatur

Source: Downtown Decatur on Facebook

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

Source: Johns Creek Chamber on Facebook

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

Source: Google Maps

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

Source: Google Maps

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?

9. Suwanee

Source: City of Suwanee on Facebook

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?

10. Dunwoody

Source: City of Dunwoody on Facebook

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?

Mobile users: Click here to see the complete data list from best to worst in Georgia.

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.

  1. Swainsboro (Pop. 7,331)
  2. Bainbridge (Pop. 12,669)
  3. Thomaston (Pop. 9,169)
  4. Eastman (Pop. 5,280)
  5. Fitzgerald (Pop. 9,070)
City Population Worst Score Rank
Alpharetta 58,075 18.5 1
Roswell 89,294 21.67 2
Mountain Park 12,946 28.17 3
Sandy Springs 94,816 29 4
Decatur 19,443 29.08 5
Johns Creek 77,338 29.75 6
Druid Hills 14,321 31.75 7
Wilmington Island 15,360 32.58 8
Suwanee 15,442 32.67 9
Dunwoody 46,133 32.92 10
Duluth 26,995 33.33 11
Sugar Hill 18,674 33.67 12
Tucker 27,700 33.75 13
Woodstock 23,849 34.25 14
Acworth 20,367 34.42 15
Peachtree City 34,437 35.33 16
North Decatur 17,142 36.25 17
Kennesaw 29,826 36.75 18
Holly Springs 9,145 39.08 19
Skidaway Island 7,967 41.58 20
North Atlanta 37,700 42.58 21
Evans 30,200 42.67 22
Mableton 37,896 43.25 23
Whitemarsh Island 7,297 44.08 24
Snellville 18,540 44.83 25
Martinez 35,698 45 26
Powder Springs 14,027 45.08 27
Milton 32,428 45.58 28
Smyrna 51,466 45.58 28
North Druid Hills 18,416 46.58 30
Fayetteville 15,881 47 31
Canton 22,680 47.42 32
Flowery Branch 5,635 48.58 33
Lilburn 11,909 49 34
Braselton 7,667 49.33 35
Pooler 18,921 49.42 36
Tyrone 6,789 49.83 37
Chamblee 13,297 50.08 38
Vinings 9,326 54.08 39
Grovetown 11,264 54.83 40
Centerville 7,178 55.17 41
Norcross 12,869 56 42
Loganville 10,395 56.08 43
Athens 117,762 56.25 44
Rincon 8,786 56.42 45
Georgetown 11,819 57.42 46
Doraville 8,380 57.58 47
Lakeview 5,456 58.67 48
Redan 34,322 59.42 49
Richmond Hill 9,549 59.67 50
Belvedere Park 14,361 59.75 51
Gresham Park 7,710 60.08 52
Jefferson 9,296 62.08 53
Marietta 57,451 62.75 54
Candler-Mcafee 22,448 63.08 55
Scottdale 10,038 64.42 56
Buford 12,575 65 57
Auburn 7,256 66.25 58
Stone Mountain 5,905 67.75 59
Dallas 11,564 68.58 60
St. Marys 17,230 68.83 61
Atlanta 425,931 69 62
Port Wentworth 5,484 70.08 63
Austell 6,676 71.42 64
Hapeville 6,437 71.67 65
St. Simons 12,612 71.75 66
Mcdonough 21,839 71.92 67
Hampton 6,915 72.75 68
Panthersville 10,070 73.25 69
Commerce 6,550 74.08 70
Lawrenceville 28,595 74.17 71
Clarkston 7,612 76.08 72
Newnan 32,724 76.42 73
Stockbridge 25,378 76.42 73
Cumming 5,428 76.75 75
Fair Oaks 8,000 77.25 76
Fort Oglethorpe 9,212 77.5 77
Toccoa 8,507 77.92 78
Warner Robins 67,313 78 79
Kingsland 15,803 78.33 80
Irondale 8,209 78.42 81
Fairburn 12,831 80.5 82
Villa Rica 13,692 80.58 83
Gainesville 33,969 80.92 84
Fairview 6,270 81.58 85
Bremen 6,184 81.67 86
Hinesville 33,904 82.58 87
Valdosta 54,944 82.92 88
Locust Grove 5,366 83.25 89
Cairo 9,657 83.42 90
Perry 13,914 84.17 91
Winder 14,123 84.25 92
Cedartown 9,801 85 93
Cartersville 19,714 85.08 94
Savannah 137,690 88.92 95
Douglasville 30,748 89.33 96
Thomasville 18,516 91.58 97
Lithia Springs 16,550 91.83 98
Dalton 33,049 92.25 99
Country Club Estates 9,536 92.92 100
Milledgeville 18,879 93.08 101
Hawkinsville 5,204 93.5 102
Dahlonega 5,481 93.67 103
Riverdale 15,256 94.58 104
East Point 34,515 95 105
morrow 6595 95.08 106
eatonton 6510 95.17 107
conyers 15102 95.58 108
garden_city 8868 96.25 109
jackson 5030 96.5 110
rome 36277 97.58 111
barnesville 6684 97.92 112
monroe 13330 98.75 113
lafayette 7111 98.92 114
lovejoy 6285 99.42 115
statesboro 28527 99.75 116
columbus 191278 100.08 117
griffin 23610 100.08 117
tifton 16469 100.58 119
calhoun 15562 100.92 120
college_park 13781 101.5 121
conley 5989 101.92 122
blakely 5012 102.58 123
union_city 19356 103.5 124
augusta-richmond_county 200337 104.33 125
mcrae 5619 105.08 126
cochran 5070 105.42 127
sylvester 6230 106.67 128
dock_junction 6743 107.42 129
adel 5339 107.92 130
lagrange 29751 108.5 131
cusseta-chattahoochee_county_unified_government 11917 108.83 132
waycross 14576 109.42 133
waynesboro 5806 110.83 134
carrollton 24483 111.67 135
camilla 5233 112 136
forest_park 18856 112.25 137
thomson 6750 112.92 138
dublin 16276 114 139
americus 16835 115.42 140
brunswick 15533 115.42 140
moultrie 14384 115.42 140
albany 77435 117.25 143
douglas 11669 118.42 144
covington 13264 118.92 145
macon 91604 122.17 146
jesup 10262 123.25 147
vidalia 10628 123.75 148
cordele 11228 124 149
sandersville 5914 125.33 150
fort_valley 9744 125.42 151
fitzgerald 9070 125.92 152
eastman 5280 127.33 153
thomaston 9168 129.25 154
bainbridge 12669 130 155
swainsboro 7331 139.75 156

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22 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Georgia

  1. What year was the data from the worst cities in Georgia collected? What was the source from the Internet of the information?

    1. Seems to me that the more affluent the neighborhood and the more expensive the house is what you are predominantly basing your choices on. Also, with the exception of Wilmington Island, which is by far the best of these particular 10, all of the picks are badically Atlanta suburbs. I would not choose a city based on THIS particular article and the criteria that was used. This seems to be for people who want a major city within arms reach. Not everyone likes the congestion associated with the Atlanta suburbs. Big homes and upscale neighborhoods aren’t on everyonesome list…… particularly retirement aged folks 60 and up.

  2. This was a nice read, but concerning city #3, Mountain Park, you’re using the stats of two different locations, that share the same name. There’s the City Of Mountain Park, incorporated in the late 1920s, with a population of about 550. It’s located in Fulton Co, northwest of Roswell. You have a photo of the Mountain Park Volunteer Fire Dept in your article. Then there’s Mountain Park, a census designated place in Gwinnett County, which has a population of 11,500. They’re protected by a paid fire department. You might want to correct you’re article. I vote the City Of Mountain Park as being the better of the two.

  3. Your use of both population density and housing values as criteria seem to skew your choices towards suburbs packed to the gills with subdivisions stuffed with houses.

    Did each of your criteria get equal weight? I would’ve thought factors like low crime and high education might be more valuable to new arrivals than how many people are packed into an area and how rich the neighbors are.

  4. the higher income cities get the most education and money for security and then the next generation can’t rise above it from the poverty. Education equals a higher standard of living and less crime and hopelessness.

    1. They go hand in hand. That would be poverty and crime.

      Eliminate poverty and watch crime just magically dwindle.

  5. Wow! The third best place to live in Georgia, and the first and second are cities next to us. I’ve got to wonder about this reports journalistic standards. There is no way we have 13,000 people here, and we’ve been a real incorporated city since 1927.
    Thank God we don’t have that many people in Mountain Park. Someone would have to build a high rise. That’s not the tradition we have here. We were founded as a place to retreat from Atlanta during prohibition. Even the slightest research would have revealed that. I love it here and I have since the 50’s but your misinformation makes me wonder about the validity of the rankings.

  6. Suwanee WAS a great place to live. Until the late 80’s/early 90’s. Now you can just call it Sprawl-Ville. It’s overdeveloped and filled with either overpriced cookie-cutter McMansion subdivisions or new Townhome communities that further increase density (overcrowding/traffic/noise). The traffic is HORRENDOUS if you work normal hours, their vaunted Town Center Park is nothing more than a retail center masquerading as a very poorly planned “Park”. It has too little parking for the events they try and hold there, so the overflow is directed to local small businesses and residential areas. Shall I go on? If you’re looking for a “Stepford” community then by all means go to Suwanee. If you want peace, quiet and quality of life then stay away.

  7. I notice that my earlier comment was rejected. What a surprise. I guess the truth has no place here. Unlike the author, I actually lived in Suwanee. Your stats are only a very small part of the overall picture, and unfortunately the day to day reality of living in Suwanee isn’t all it’s reported to be. Your censorship has only confirmed the lack of even basic journalistic standards for this website. How much did Suwanee pay you to write yet another puff piece on how wonderful they believe they are? You’re a perfect fit for the Suwanee elite.

  8. You have my apologies. I ASSumed enough time had passed for approval. I was obviously wrong. I still stand by the Suwanee comments though. ; ) Stats NEVER tell the complete story. They’re important, but still only a part of the picture. There’s a reason so many homes are for sale in the area…

  9. This list is absolute garbage and so skewed towards ATL slumburbs it is ridiculous. I lived in GA most of my life and I wouldn’t live within 50 miles of ATL. I live in south Peachtree City and that is almost too close to ATL. I’m not saying PTC should be at top of the list, but certainly above all of the ATL subturds. How about next time you try to make a decent attempt at building a list and consider quality of life, which is really what people care about? Population density and property value should be weighted very low (if even included). Who is this list for, real estate flippers and criminal justice degree graduates? No sane person would want to deal with the 24/7 horrible traffic, stones throw from thug crime (yes, it does spill over), and substandard schools (you have to live in the pocket exclusive areas to get the few good schools) . On a positive note, you got Macon right, towards the bottom of the list.

  10. Much censoring lately? Criticism of poor research and flawed metrics frowned upon here? Where’s my previous comment?

  11. I’m a native of Roswell of 46 years, and in many ways, it is a great city, yes. But in one way, it’s a traffic nightmare, because the entire town relies mainly on just two highways. Those two being US Hwy 9, and Holcomb Bridge/Crossville Rd.

    Thus, not just Roswell’s 100,000+ residents, but also the hundreds of thousands of others who pass through on their way to Atlanta, Woodstock, Alpharetta, Cumming and Norcross must all access these two roads to get anywhere.

    I realize this is a problem in most big cities, since we have all, since WWII, abandoned the traditional logical grid system in favor of the suburban “design” centered wholly around the automobile, with its cul-de-sac ridden sub-division pods, strip malls and “office parks” all separated from one another in what has become a public domain nightmare.

  12. You may as well have just put “Atlanta” and covered about 10 or 15 “cities.” If you live in Decatur or Sandy Springs or Alpharetta or Johns Creek or wherever it’s not like you’re going to tell someone “I live in Sandy Springs.” You’re going to say Atlanta, unless you’re getting specific about where it is in Atlanta you actually live.

    In looking at your complete list, I was expecting many of the top cities on the list to be Coastal Georgia cities. I was shocked to see Wilmington at 8th seeing as they don’t have a beach (not to mention Chatham County/Savannah is one of the most dangerous cities in the state, nor is Wilmington Island an incorporated city or CDP), and I am extremely curious how St. Simons is ranked 44. Really?? Property values are extremely high compared to nearby South Georgia towns, and I’d imagine there is very little crime that would stem mostly from DUI’s and other nonviolent crimes (not that DUI’s are a good thing). Plus there is an extreme lack of traffic unless it’s a holiday. And you live at the freakin’ beach for gods sake! Who in their right mind would pick a concrete jungle over the beach??

    And you say don’t blame the messenger and to blame science and the numbers, but that’s really frivolous. Quality of life is not measured by the value of your property or how much money goes into your public schools. And far too often it is a lack of common sense that dictates crime rates (going into neighborhoods that you don’t belong) and we all know common sense is an intangible figure.

    I have a friend who lives in Mississippi, and he recently showed me an article that surveyed citizens of all 50 states that basically asked “Are you happy, yes or no?” Ironically, Mississippi and Louisiana, two of the “worst” states according to your “science,” were the happiest. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, but I think it goes to show that “best” is an opinion that should be based on more than a few factors.

    1. I am thinking of moving to Ga from NJ when I retire in 2 more years from teaching. I am not sure where to go. I love nice beaches and parks and do not want to be too far from them, with that said, I hate traffic. I also would like to be in a safe diversed area that is a mixture of a nice looking city/suburb with many amenities nearby. Does this type of area exist in Georgia? I am a little spoiled being a Jersey gal.

  13. Wondering really what this list is based on. Cities like Kennesaw and Peachtree City and Fayetteville….like how did those not make the cut? Mountain Park, Druid Hills, Decatur…those are questionable.

  14. The data used to make this list is skimpy and apparently leaves out factors affecting quality of life such as traffic, access to public transit, and career mobility. The commute times in some of these suburbs especially Suwannee and Alpharetta, can be horrific. The absence of effective public transit contributed to the Snowmagedon outrage a few years ago when a simple show storm crippled the city for days and commuters suffered a terrible night. Plus, if someone’s job moves to another part of the metropolis, they could easily face 1-2 hour commutes daily.

  15. I lived all over Georgia. Parts are very dangerous,such as Stone Mountain,and the Savannah suites in downtown Atlanta. I was even warned by a man at the motel to never drink the tap water. Also a baby was shot in its stroller not to far from the motel and there were homeless people everywhere. They fed them in a parking lot right next door. Many had makeshift shelters rihht on the sidewalks. When we went for walk in a park near the motel we noticed no benches were provided. There was a garbage can filled with empty purses n human waste evevery where. It was not a nice experience. But my fav place n where i felt safest was Kennesaw Ga. But Atlanta was terrible.

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