Job opportunities, personal-income growth and rising home values aren’t the only priorities of parents seeking to find a new home, but those three probably rank high on the list. As the ninth largest state in the U.S. by GDP, Georgia checks all of those boxes and more.
In August 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported statistically significant over-the-year nonfarm employment growth in Georgia, which added over 83,000 jobs between July 2017 and July 2018. In addition, the unemployment rate dropped by 0.2 percent. There has also been healthy growth in previous and projected real-estate values within the state. But other valuable incentives invite families to stick around for the long haul, including Georgia’s HOPE program, which awards scholarships and grants to hardworking students for up to seven years.
Numbers aside, the “Peach State” was also a member of the original Thirteen Colonies. It is rich in historic, cultural and environmental character, giving families plenty of options for activities. For example, you can explore the Savannah and the 400,000-acre Okefenokee Natural Wildlife Refuge. Fans of “The Walking Dead” can visit some of the filming locations from the popular show. The state also has plenty of zoos, amusement parks and museums to keep families occupied.
As in any other state, however, the distribution of wealth, beauty and fun varies across Georgia. WalletHub therefore crunched the data to determine which among 104 cities also meet the criteria for “most conducive to family life.” We compared the cities based on 21 key indicators of family-friendliness, ranging from “number of attractions” to “median family income” to “school-system quality.” Continue reading below to see the winners, expert family-moving wisdom and a full description of our methodology.
Best Places to Raise a Family in Georgia
Overall Rank (1=Best)
‘Family Life & Fun’ Rank
‘Education, Health & Safety’ Rank
|2||Peachtree City, GA||72.02||79||8||2||1|
|5||Johns Creek, GA||71.22||48||12||5||2|
|9||Holly Springs, GA||68.86||34||11||7||10|
|10||Druid Hills, GA||67.94||50||54||6||12|
|11||St. Simons, GA||67.65||29||5||18||11|
|16||Richmond Hill, GA||65.33||17||6||44||22|
|21||North Decatur, GA||62.38||65||76||9||30|
|25||St. Marys, GA||59.86||12||31||46||36|
|26||Mountain Park, GA||59.83||84||95||16||18|
|28||Wilmington Island, GA||59.65||103||2||36||5|
|32||Powder Springs, GA||58.32||82||17||17||48|
|34||Peachtree Corners, GA||57.15||70||94||34||16|
|36||Sandy Springs, GA||56.68||83||43||32||22|
|39||Warner Robins, GA||55.97||30||57||20||52|
|40||Sugar Hill, GA||55.73||87||65||25||19|
|42||North Druid Hills, GA||55.21||66||92||43||28|
|61||Villa Rica, GA||49.45||42||53||69||60|
|86||Lithia Springs, GA||40.18||90||96||59||87|
|88||Union City, GA||39.52||35||102||48||92|
|93||Belvedere Park, GA||37.00||102||76||84||83|
|102||East Point, GA||32.09||99||104||56||90|
|103||Forest Park, GA||30.91||91||100||88||97|
|104||College Park, GA||23.95||56||103||104||104|
Ask the Experts
Families share a number of common priorities when choosing a new place to call home. With that in mind, we asked a panel of experts in fields such as family studies and public health to share their insight regarding the process of evaluating prospective Georgia cities on a family’s shortlist. Click on the experts’ profiles below to read their bios and their thoughts on the following key questions:
- What are some tips for young families looking for quality public schools and affordable housing in Georgia?
- How can local officials in Georgia make their cities more attractive to young families?
- Looking just within Georgia, to what degree is child development and a family’s quality of life influenced by the city in which they live?
Ask the Experts
To help families find the best Georgia cities in which to put down roots, WalletHub compared 104 cities in the state across four key dimensions: 1) Family Life & Fun, 2) Education, Health & Safety, 3) Affordability and 4) Socioeconomics.
We evaluated these categories using 21 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 indicating the most suitable conditions for family life.
We then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.
In determining our sample, we considered only the “city proper” in each case and excluded surrounding cities in the metro area. Other cities were not included in the sample due to limited data access.
Family Life & Fun – Total Points: 25
- Playgrounds per Capita: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
- Number of Attractions: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
Note: “Attractions” includes, for instance, museums, theaters and zoos.
- Share of Families with Children Aged 0 to 17: Double Weight (~8.33 Points)
- WalletHub “Weather” Ranking: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
- Average Commute Time: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
Education, Health & Safety – Total Points: 25
- Quality of School System: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
- High School Graduation Rate: Half Weight (~1.47 Points)
- Air Quality: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
- Pediatricians per Capita: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
- Share of Uninsured Children: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
- Violent-Crime Rate per Capita: Double Weight (~5.88 Points)
- Property-Crime Rate per Capita: Double Weight (~5.88 Points)
Affordability – Total Points: 25
- Housing Affordability: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: This metric was calculated by dividing the median annual family income by housing costs, which account for both rental and sale prices.
- General Affordability: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: This metric was calculated by dividing the median family income by the cost-of-living index.
Socioeconomics – Total Points: 25
- Separation & Divorce Rate: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Share of Two-Parent Families: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Share of Families Living in Poverty: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Share of Families Receiving Food Stamps: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Wealth Gap: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Foreclosure Rate: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
Sources: Data used to create these rankings were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Renwood RealtyTrac, SchoolDigger.com, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Areavibes, County Health Rankings and WalletHub research.
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