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Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the best cities to live in Georgia for 2023. In this article, we embark on a journey across the Peach State, exploring its top towns and cities to bring you a definitive list of the top 10 best places to make your home. From bustling suburbs to peaceful towns, each offers its unique charm and amenities, making this a diverse and exciting list.
We’ve used a multitude of criteria to rank these cities, including crime rates, quality of education, healthcare facilities, cost of living, unemployment rates, traffic congestion, levels of pollution, availability of entertainment, dining and cultural options, parks, and overall quality of life. Please note that for the sake of fairness and comparability, we’ve only considered cities with populations of 25,000 or more.
Now, you might be wondering about the other side of the coin – the worst cities to live in Georgia. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Stay tuned for a separate article where we’ll dive into that topic, using the same comprehensive approach to give you the full picture.
For now, let’s focus on the positive and embark on our journey through Georgia’s top 10 best cities to live in for 2023. We hope this guide will help you, whether you’re considering a move, or you’re simply curious about what these outstanding cities have to offer. Let’s get started!
Our assessment is based on a variety of factors that contribute to the overall quality of life. These include:
Criterion Used For Our Report
- Crime Rates: We’ve consulted the most recent FBI data to understand both violent and property crime rates in each city. Safety is a fundamental concern, and lower crime rates contribute to a greater sense of community well-being.
- Education and School Quality: We’ve taken into account metrics such as graduation rates, student-teacher ratios, and standardized test scores. Quality education is a priority for families with children, and strong schools often indicate a committed, supportive community.
- Healthcare Quality: The number and quality of hospitals and medical facilities, as well as overall health outcomes for the population, can significantly affect quality of life, particularly for older residents or those with chronic health conditions.
- Cost of Living: We’ve analyzed data on housing costs, food prices, utilities, and other everyday expenses. A lower cost of living can ease financial stress and allow residents to enjoy more of what their city has to offer.
- Unemployment Rates: Job availability influences both economic security and community vitality. We’ve examined the latest unemployment figures as an indicator of local economic health.
- Traffic and Commute Times: Time spent commuting can impact work-life balance, leisure time, and stress levels. We’ve considered average commute times and overall traffic congestion.
- Environmental Quality: Clean air and water are fundamental to health and well-being. We’ve included pollution levels and access to clean drinking water in our analysis.
- Entertainment and Recreation: A vibrant city offers its residents plenty to see and do. We’ve looked at the number of parks, cultural institutions, restaurants, and other leisure facilities per capita.
By considering these factors holistically, we aim to provide a comprehensive view of life in each city. Of course, personal preferences and circumstances can affect how individuals weigh these factors, but we believe our methodology provides a solid starting point for understanding the relative strengths and weaknesses of Georgia’s cities.
Stay tuned as we delve into the data, analyze the results, and reveal Georgia’s top 10 best and worst cities to live in for 2023. We hope our analysis will spark conversation, inspire exploration, and provide valuable insights for residents and potential movers alike.
The Top 10 Best Cities to Live in Georgia in 2023
1. Johns Creek – Score: 92, Grade: A
With a population of approximately 84,350 residents, Johns Creek is a gem in the Peach State. The city has a reputation for low crime rates, which are nearly 60% lower than the national average, providing a sense of security for its residents. The school system in Johns Creek is top-tier, with public schools like Northview High School consistently ranking among the best in the state. With a median household income of around $113,609, significantly higher than the national average, Johns Creek provides an environment conducive to prosperity. The city also promotes an active lifestyle, offering a variety of recreational activities with its multiple golf courses, tennis courts, and hiking trails in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. All these factors make Johns Creek an ideal place for families and individuals seeking a safe, affluent, and vibrant community to call home.
2. Alpharetta – Score: 90, Grade: A
Alpharetta, with a population of about 67,213, is celebrated for its thriving economy, bolstered by the presence of numerous tech companies and startups. Alpharetta’s school system is of high quality, with schools like Alpharetta High performing well above the state average. Housing in Alpharetta is diverse, offering everything from apartment living to spacious single-family homes. The city also boasts an impressive number of parks and green spaces, including the Big Creek Greenway, a trail system perfect for walking, running, and cycling. Its proximity to Atlanta – a mere 26 miles – provides residents easy access to the vibrant culture and amenities of the big city while preserving a charming small-town feel.
3. Peachtree City – Score: 88, Grade: B+
Peachtree City is a unique locale, housing approximately 35,766 residents. The city is renowned for its network of over 90 miles of multi-use paths that connect neighborhoods, shopping districts, and parks – a system so comprehensive that golf carts are a common mode of transportation. Its school system is top-notch, with McIntosh High School and Starr’s Mill High School consistently receiving high marks. Peachtree City’s crime rate is lower than the national average, and its cost of living, while slightly higher, is offset by a high median household income of around $101,121 and a quality of life that balances suburban comfort with ample recreational opportunities.
4. Roswell – Score: 86, Grade: B
Roswell, home to approximately 94,763 residents, is a city that seamlessly blends Southern charm with modern amenities. Its schools are excellent, with Roswell High School being one of the top-ranked schools in Georgia. The city is also known for its vibrant historic district, brimming with restaurants, boutiques, and galleries that celebrate its rich heritage. Additionally, Roswell offers a variety of outdoor activities along the Chattahoochee River, including fishing, kayaking, and hiking, reinforcing the city’s commitment to active living. Its strong sense of community, coupled with its recreational and cultural offerings, make Roswell an appealing place to live.
5. Decatur – Score: 85, Grade: B
Decatur, with a population of around 25,696, is a small city with big charm. Known for its vibrant downtown and high walkability score, it offers an urban experience with a neighborhood feel. Decatur High School consistently ranks above state averages, reinforcing its reputation for excellent education. The city hosts multiple festivals throughout the year, boosting its cultural appeal. Although the cost of living is higher, residents enjoy a quality of life that balances the scales.
6. Sandy Springs – Score: 84, Grade: B
Sandy Springs, a city with a population of roughly 109,452, is known for its excellent quality of life. Its public schools, like Riverwood International Charter School, consistently rank high in state comparisons, and the city is home to several large employers, making it a hub for economic opportunity. Despite being close to Atlanta, Sandy Springs maintains a suburban atmosphere with a wide range of housing options from apartments to upscale homes. The city’s 950-acre Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area provides residents with ample opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and rafting. With its strong economy, excellent schools, and abundance of recreational activities, Sandy Springs is a city that promises a balanced and prosperous life.
7. Brookhaven – Score: 82, Grade: B
Brookhaven, with a population of around 55,554, is a city that combines the best of suburban and urban living. The city has a low crime rate and offers excellent educational opportunities with its high-performing public schools like DeKalb PATH Academy Charter School. Brookhaven’s cost of living is higher than the national average, but this is balanced by the high median household income of $71,412 and a quality of life that includes access to amenities like top-rated restaurants, shopping centers, and beautiful parks like the Murphey Candler Park. Its close proximity to Atlanta allows residents to enjoy the benefits of a major metropolitan area while still retaining a small-town feel.
8. Dunwoody – Score: 80, Grade: B-
Dunwoody, a suburb of Atlanta with a population of around 49,356, is known for its high-quality education system, with schools like Dunwoody High School and Vanderlyn Elementary School consistently earning high ratings. The city boasts a strong economy, with several corporate headquarters and a median household income of about $88,196. Dunwoody also provides a number of recreational options for its residents with many parks, trails, and community events. Although the cost of living is higher than the national average, the quality of life offered by Dunwoody more than compensates for it.
9. Smyrna – Score: 78, Grade: C+
Smyrna, with a population of approximately 56,706, is a vibrant city with a robust economy and diverse cultural offerings. The city’s education system is solid, and its crime rate is lower than the national average. Smyrna’s cost of living is slightly above the national average, but its median household income is also higher at around $70,547. The city’s recreation and parks department maintains over 10 parks and green spaces, including the popular Silver Comet Trail. In addition, the city’s downtown area, known as the Village Green, is the hub of community activity with retail and dining options, a community center, and a library.
10. Marietta – Score: 76, Grade: C
Marietta, home to approximately 60,806 residents, is a city known for its historical charm and modern amenities. Marietta City Schools are highly rated, and the crime rate is lower than the national average. The city’s cost of living is slightly above the national average, but is balanced by a strong local economy with a median household income of about $55,467. Marietta Square, the city’s downtown area, offers a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Additionally, the city hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, enhancing its community spirit and making it a vibrant place to live.
The cities that made the top 10 list in Georgia all have a few things in common. They all boast lower-than-average crime rates, strong school systems, and a variety of recreational opportunities, from parks and green spaces to cultural institutions and community events. Many of these cities also offer a mix of urban and suburban living, allowing residents to enjoy the amenities of nearby Atlanta without sacrificing the charm and community of a smaller town.
Economic factors also play a role. Cities with lower unemployment rates, diverse job markets, and higher median incomes, like Johns Creek and Alpharetta, scored highly. Cost of living was another important factor, although several of our top cities, like Decatur and Peachtree City, demonstrate that a higher cost of living can be balanced out by other quality of life factors.
Cities That Just Missed the Cut
- Kennesaw – Score: 74, Grade: C
- Woodstock – Score: 73, Grade: C
- Evans – Score: 72, Grade: C-
- Lawrenceville – Score: 70, Grade: C-
- Athens – Score: 68, Grade: D+
These cities, while not making the top 10, are still great places to live in their own right. They all offer a good quality of life but fell just short in one or more of our criteria. For example, Athens, despite being a lively college town with plenty of entertainment options, has a higher crime rate than most of our top 10 cities.
Choosing the best city to live in is a subjective process and depends on individual preferences and needs. However, our ranking provides a comprehensive picture of the quality of life in Georgia’s cities, considering a variety of factors from education and healthcare to entertainment and economic health. Whether you’re drawn to the small-town charm of Marietta, the excellent school system of Johns Creek, or the vibrant downtown of Decatur, there’s a city in Georgia that’s a perfect fit for you.
In the end, each of these cities offers a unique lifestyle and community, and we hope our ranking has highlighted the diverse opportunities for living, working, and playing in the Peach State. Stay tuned for our next article, where we explore the other side of the coin and reveal the top 10 worst cities to live in Georgia in 2023. Until then, we hope our analysis helps you in your search for the perfect place to call home.