THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Georgia For 2020

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

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in Georgia.

When you think of Georgia, what usually comes to mind?

Atlanta, sometimes referred to as "Hotlanta?" Peaches? Savannah?

Well, this Peach State is famous for more than a massive metropolis of a city and a bunch of ripe, delicious fruit. They also have some of the world's sweetest onions.

OK, OK, OK. Outside of fruit and vegetables, Georgia actually has a lot to offer and is one of the best places to live in the South.

For one, Georgia is incredibly cheap. In a recent article, we ranked the Top ten Cheapest Places to Live in Georgia. If you are wanting your money to go far, just move to Blakely, Georgia. But that may be all that you get there.

So what makes a city a great place to live? If you are in love with Southern sunshine, BBQ, and walks along Savannah's riverfront, Georgia may be the place to you but the real question is, where? Luckily, HomeSnacks has got the method of answering these questions down to a science. We have ranked the top ten best places to live in Georgia and took into account all the aspects of a good place to live: safety, cost of living, commute time, and even population density.

If you want to be where the action is, you have to be around where the people are. You also need to be able to afford it and not feel like you are endangering your life.

What is the best place to live in georgia? Alpharetta ranked #1 on our top ten best places to live in Georgia for 2020. If you haven't heard of Alpharetta, Georgia, yet, then maybe you should.

Alpharetta continues to hold #1 since last year and we are not surprised. Nothing like an average salary of $93k a year to put a smile on your face.

So why didn't Atlanta, Hilton Head, or Savannah rank first?

Read on to learn more about the 122 cities we evaluated for this article and to learn more about how the best becomes the best.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Georgia reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Georgia For 2020

Alpharetta, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 64,672
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $392,200 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (32nd best)
More on Alpharetta: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Georgia, as there were only 42 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 32nd lowest in Georgia (4.6%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.

Additionally, homes are the 6th most expensive in Alpharetta ($392,200), meaning a lot of people want to live there.

Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $105,908 a year.

Alpharetta is an Atlanta suburb. We'll be seeing a lot more of those on this list.

Johns Creek, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 83,637
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $382,400 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (42nd best)
More on Johns Creek: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The crime is the 2nd lowest in the state in Johns Creek, and there were only 34 violent crimes in the entire city last year. We think 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 most every other city in the state. Residents in Johns Creek earn $116,070 a year.

Sandy Springs, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 105,411
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $447,800 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (21st best)
More on Sandy Springs: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sandy Springs has several great, well-defined neighborhoods, and the community puts on many events and festivals each year.

Who wouldn't want to live in a place where there's low crime and everyone is rich? That's the case with Sandy Springs.

Things are looking peachy keen here. The unemployment rate is the 2lowest in Georgia and the median income comes in at $74,093.

Milton, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 38,171
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $534,400 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (13th best)
More on Milton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

There's two types of people who live in Milton. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $534,400 home there.

Either way, you're set. Your kids go to great schools, there's a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Milton is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.

Decatur, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 23,054
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $466,800 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (34th best)
More on Decatur: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Dunwoody, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 49,016
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $418,800 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (16th best)
More on Dunwoody: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Dunwoody is by far one of the best places to live in Georgia: the math proves it! This city has the 16th lowest unemployment rate and the 5th highest median income in all of Georgia.

And if all of that isn't enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 69th lowest in the state, making Dunwoody a safe and great place to live.

Roswell, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 94,257
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $355,900 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (15th best)
More on Roswell: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Roswell ranks 7th on our list of best places to live in Georgia thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.

Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in Georgia that we examined.

People have been flocking to Roswell over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.

Woodstock, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 30,362
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $222,500 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (10th best)
More on Woodstock: Real Estate | Data | Photos

With the unemployment rate being the 10th lowest in Georgia and very stable household median incomes, it's easy to see why someone would want to live in Woodstock.

Plus, the crime rate is the 15th lowest in the state!

Suwanee, GA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,215
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $292,900 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (12th best)
More on Suwanee: Real Estate | Data | Photos

With the unemployment rate being the 12th lowest in Georgia and very stable household median incomes, it's easy to see why someone would want to live in Suwanee.

The crime rate is the 32nd lowest in the state.

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?

Braselton, GA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,509
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $297,200 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (1st best)
More on Braselton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Who doesn't want to live in Braselton? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.

Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 1.5%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.

Expect to see more of Braselton in the news in the coming months.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Georgia

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Atlanta with a population of 479,655 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 5,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 122 cities, 198 towns, and 226 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Georgia have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Georgia

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Georgia across a number of criteria from one to 122, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Georgia".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Georgia? That would be Alpharetta.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Georgia.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Alpharetta at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Georgia

If you're looking at areas in Georgia with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Alpharetta made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Georgia for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Georgia

  1. Isle of Hope (Pop. 2,564)
  2. Talahi Island (Pop. 1,454)
  3. Lookout Mountain (Pop. 1,754)
  4. Avondale Estates (Pop. 3,095)
  5. Watkinsville (Pop. 2,872)
  6. Berkeley Lake (Pop. 1,924)
  7. Grayson (Pop. 3,008)
  8. Cleveland (Pop. 3,750)
  9. Thunderbolt (Pop. 2,606)
  10. Gray (Pop. 3,281)

Best Small Towns To Live In Georgia

  1. Dutch Island (Pop. 943)
  2. Vernonburg (Pop. 120)
  3. Moreland (Pop. 463)
  4. Calvary (Pop. 106)
  5. Sky Valley (Pop. 310)
  6. Bishop (Pop. 271)
  7. Woolsey (Pop. 178)
  8. Franklin Springs (Pop. 889)
  9. North High Shoals (Pop. 848)
  10. Hiawassee (Pop. 887)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Georgia according to the data:

  1. Cedartown (Pop. 9,930)
  2. Moultrie (Pop. 14,109)
  3. Swainsboro (Pop. 7,347)

For more Georgia reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Georgia?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Alpharetta 64,672 4.6% $392,200
2 Johns Creek 83,637 5.0% $382,400
3 Sandy Springs 105,411 3.6% $447,800
4 Milton 38,171 3.2% $534,400
5 Decatur 23,054 4.7% $466,800
6 Dunwoody 49,016 3.4% $418,800
7 Roswell 94,257 3.3% $355,900
8 Woodstock 30,362 2.9% $222,500
9 Suwanee 19,215 3.2% $292,900
10 Braselton 10,509 1.5% $297,200

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

29 thoughts on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Georgia For 2020

  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.

  16. Don’t move to Atlanta or the metro area. It’s not what it’s put up to be! Too many cars and no one seems to know or trust any one. Stupidity and ignorance is passed off as a virtue while male/female relationships seems a thing of antiquity

  17. At the beginning of your article you mention Atlanta, Savannah, and Hilton Head! The last time I checked Hilton Head is in South Carolina. Here is some “food for thought” to, learn geography. Obviously education was not one of the criteria used to rank towns in Georgia or abroad. Had it been the home town of this articles editor would have been #1 on the list of worst places to live in the United States.

  18. My wife and I are recently retired and after 60+ years of Midwest winters are looking to move to warmer climes in the SE. We have spent considerable time in the SW and are not fond of the arid climate and miss the color green there. What are some great Georgia towns for retirees? We have two wants, paved bike trails of considerable length and proximity to good healthcare. Also how does Georgia compare to North Carolina? We are currently living in a very liberal community…for the Midwest, and hope to find a progressive-minded area.

  19. Hilton Head wasn’t included (since you asked) because, though close, it is in South Carolina, not Georgia.

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