Atlanta’s suburbs conjure up images of technology and startups, tons of safe neighborhoods, and amazing colleges and health care. The region consistently ranks as one of the best places to live across the country thanks in part to a strong economy and tons of entertainment.
There seems to be a little mini competition among cities within the greater Atlanta area. Which city is the best? Perhaps it’s a pride thing, or due to the fact that many cities in this area rank nationally on a lot of leading publications for being among the best places to live in the nation, not just in Georgia itself.
So the question arises, which Atlanta suburbs are the best of the best? We’re finally ready to settle this debate once and for all.
We examined the 44 largest cities that are considered Atlanta suburbs, and these are the 10 best:
- Sandy Springs
- Powder Springs
Read on to see how we determined the places in the Atlanta area that deserve a little bragging rights. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
How we determined the best Atlanta suburbs to call home
To figure out how good a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the highest amount of those things. We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:
- Most jobs
- Highest incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- High home values
- Lower crime
- Low cost of living
We crunched the numbers from the Census’s 2009-2014 American Community Survey and — like magic — got the list from best to worst. Then, we ranked the list based on places that are the best in all of these categories.
Read on below to learn more about these places around the Atlanta area to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 44 cities ranked best to worst.
Note: Crime index numbers are based on an average of 100, so anything higher than 100 is worse. Cost of living numbers are also based on a scale of 100.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Crime Index: 6th safest
Unemployment rank: 2nd lowest
Alpharetta is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Atlanta area. We’ll tell you the good and bad about “Awesome Alpharetta.”
First, the good. Everyone here is rich; families average $91,000 a year, which is the 2nd highest in the Atlanta region. And only 5.2% are out of work. Homes average more than $300,000 each.
The bad: The cost of living is the 4th highest in the region, and the schools are only about average. The teacher-student ratio is a little higher than in lots of other suburbs.
Incomes: 4th highest ($85,401)
Crime: 7th safest
Roswell has almost the exact same numbers as Alpharetta does. It’s slightly safer in Alpharetta, and a bit more expensive in Alpharetta. There’s a great historic area downtown with great restaurants.
Crime Index: 5th safest
Incomes: 3rd highest ($85,401)
Here in Suwanee, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Atlanta metro area. The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.
But when Money Magazine names it as one of the top places to live in Georgia, that means it’s wildly popular.
Crime Index: Safest
Median Income: 3rd highest ($88,505)
You won’t find a safer place to raise your kids in the region than in tiny Tyrone, where you have a 1 in 75 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime for every year you live here.
To put that into perspective, in the most dangerous Atlanta suburb – Clarkston – you have a 1 in 18 chance of being a victim.
5. Sandy Springs
Homes: Most expensive
Cost of living: Highest
Sandy Springs gets kudos for having the most expensive homes in the Atlanta area, where houses sell for an average of $368,000. However, the cost of living here is the highest in the area.
Crime is a little below average, and the schools are average as well, when measuring the teacher to student ratios.
Crime Index: 8th safest
Unemployment rate: Lowest
Duluth is really safe, and the cost of living makes it actually a lot more affordable than the cities listed above. Most residents have great jobs, but are lower earners than in the cities above.
According to online reports, Duluth is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Atlanta area, meaning the cost of living might go up in the next 10 years.
Schools: 6th best
Crime: 10th lowest
Tucker’s schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. However, the unemployment rate here is above average (6.8%). The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.
And, it’s close to downtown, which is a good thing.
Incomes: 8th highest ($69,033)
Unemployment rate: 5.3%
Woodstock is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. But the cost of living is reasonable.
Schools are towards the higher end when it comes to teacher-student ratios, meaning a little more crowded than the other cities listed above.
Schools: 6th best
Incomes and homes: 6th highest
Is ‘Everything Better In Decatur?’ Almost. It’s really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, and it has more of its own downtown feel than most other cities on this list.
10. Power Springs
Crime Index: 11th safest
Schools: 13th best
Rounding out the ten best Atlanta suburbs is Powder Springs.
This small city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It’s far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.
The areas around Atlanta that are just peachy
Well there you have it — the best of the ‘burbs surrounding Atlanta’s metro area, with Alpharetta (no surprise) carrying itself to the head of the pack.
For the chart below, these are ranked from best to worst.
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In The Atlanta Metro Area