Four Georgia cities make list of “brokest” in America. Can you guess them?

First, the good news: Atlanta is not the “brokest” city in the country. It’s not even in the top (bottom?) 30, according to a list you can peruse at The Daily Beast.

The bad news is that Georgia cities were more than adequately represented on the list, with four of them making it.

Bonus: One of our state’s fair cities even ranked No. 1!

Try to guess which one, and why, before reading through to the end.

To find the most struggling cities in the country, we used three data points weighted equally: the most recently available unemployment rate (August 2011), median household income, and average debt. Data is from a recent report by Experian and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

46 comments Add your comment

Clay

November 1st, 2011
9:07 am

This blew me away…Columbus, GA is the brokest city in America? The home of AFLAC? The birth place of Coca-Cola? The site of Fort Benning, the home of the Infantry, that keeps growing and pumping billions into the local economy? What can I say, I’m surprised.

ken

November 1st, 2011
9:09 am

Wow, Augusta, Macon, Columbus, and Savannah. The south it looks like was hit the hardest with basically all of GA and FL, and most of AL, and even NC on the list. But, I bet we have a heck of a comeback!!

Nathan Dill

November 1st, 2011
9:13 am

Augusta
Albany
Macon
and Savannah were my choices.

Nathan Dill

November 1st, 2011
9:15 am

Cant believe Columbus is broke. I thought Ft Benning was getting it done.

Quinsho

November 1st, 2011
9:22 am

Chamblee, Forest Park, Riverdale, and Douglasville all look pretty bad to me.

roughrider

November 1st, 2011
9:23 am

Georgia is a republican state and this is proof that the republican’s ” trickle down ” theories do not work.

JB

November 1st, 2011
9:23 am

Augusta has a great mayor but a horrible racially split city council with all the power. Example. a developer wanted to build a high rise condo project on the river downtown. The white members saw 200 new property tax payers in $400,000 condos and people with disposable income. The black members saw 400 new white voters, thus wanted to let a hotel go there as to create housekeeping jobs….Thus nothing got built. Race is still alive and costing cities big revenue losses.

Quinsho

November 1st, 2011
9:26 am

Roughrider – you’re stupid. Your boy in Washington gets all the blame in my mind.

JP

November 1st, 2011
9:35 am

Quinsho, your boys in Congress should actually get most of the mind. They actually pass bills and control spending.

Dirty Dawg

November 1st, 2011
9:42 am

You just keep believing that crap Quinsho – about ‘our boy’ in Washington, that is. Not only are you wrong, your continued racist crap, while probably earning you points in ‘our’ racist state, will be the thing that kills any Republican candidate yet participating. This country is still, fundamentally, driven by ‘The Golden Rule’ – not so much around here, but the country.

JP

November 1st, 2011
9:54 am

I meant most of the blame.

JB

November 1st, 2011
9:57 am

Examine the cities this country run by Democrats vs Republications and see the difference. Cry racism all you want, but let the facts do the talking.Growth and prosperity vs decay and blight.
One breeds revenue and one breeds debt. Make it a black/white thing if you want to, but facts are facts.

AmericaBroke

November 1st, 2011
10:00 am

I’m from Macon and you know why we are broke. Democrats run this city and have for years, it’s just like DC run by complete idiots!! Roughrider who’s running DC now, the change you voted for is taking America down city by city. As Hank Williams Jr says YOU CAN KEEP YOUR CHANGE, leave me alone!!!

Republic

November 1st, 2011
10:03 am

California is broke. It is a democratic state and this is proof the democrats/socialists theory of high taxes and big government does not work.

JB

November 1st, 2011
10:06 am

Stopped in Macon two weekends ago and ate at Fresh Air BBQ. Dang son, almost worth moving there. Best I’ve ever had, and I’m a pro at eating Q.

ousted

November 1st, 2011
10:09 am

Dalton, Ga. With 4 plant closings in last 2 weeks, downtown fires, foreclosures, and unemployment over 13%, if not the #1 then very close.

JB

November 1st, 2011
10:15 am

California on the cusp of total failure. Illegals tapped into the system and unfunded 100K per year state pensions bout to bring that place down.

JB

November 1st, 2011
10:17 am

Dalton Area is is total default almost. Have a friend with the AGC who works North Georgia and says that area almost ready for federal disaster relief.

Jeff

November 1st, 2011
10:17 am

Columbus, Savannah, and Augusta do not surprise me. Anytime you have large populations of military you will also have those military members making relatively less and carrying debt to make ends meet. Also present in these cities are great wealth disparities and the only form of a middle class are the military populations. These towns are also dependant upon seasonal tourism which is harder to predict than the wind. I would have thought Valdosta, Cairo, and more southern parts of the state to be there b/c of the large hit in MFG they have taken.

Quinsho

November 1st, 2011
10:18 am

Livin’ the good life in Decatur – reading your uninformed comments above (except for JB and AmericaBroke – you guys ARE informed and it is noticeable) – and laughing all the way to the bank. Taking control of my life so that no matter who is in Washington, I’m still successful. I’ve never voted for a candidate who promised to “hand out” anything to me – how utterly selfish and lazy are those who did.

marc g

November 1st, 2011
10:20 am

Columbus being number one in the nation definitely doesn’t surprise me. I drove through Columbus three weeks ago on the way to Charleston and was amazed to be told as we drove through that Columbus was the 2nd biggest city in Georgia. Was definitely not inspiring place to witness first hand.

moops

November 1st, 2011
10:21 am

Dirty Dawg – I love how the ony comeback when someone criticizes the president, is that they are racist. Fact of the matter is , there is no excuses. Don’t worry, not too much longer.

Victor

November 1st, 2011
10:34 am

No surprise that most of these cities are in the south.

Surprised

November 1st, 2011
10:37 am

Interesting that the “cities” are declared “brokest,” but the data are created by averaging community (unemployment rate) with individual statistics (income, debt). High unemployment would seem to drive average income down and average debt up, so I don’t know that this shows the actual “brokest” cities…some are actually quite vibrant. It may actually be a picture of the easiest places for the unemployed to survive for reasons not captured. Climate, availability of part-time work, public programs, etc. might be part of the mix in each “brokest” city. Just sayin’.

S

November 1st, 2011
10:37 am

I am absolutely amazed that Doraville did not make the list!

MiltonMan

November 1st, 2011
10:51 am

Most of the cities are ran by Democrats.

Atlanta is not broke because of the massive infusion of money from North Fulton. As soon as Milton County comes on-line, Atlanta will be on the list.

Jay

November 1st, 2011
11:13 am

Oh no I live in Columbus on Fort Benning and 90% of the population is military. The economy down here is doing very well . In columbus you everyone own their property and never see homless people.
So how bad are we really doing!!!!!!

Get the facts, please

November 1st, 2011
11:18 am

Let’s not forget that California’s last governor was a Republican. Good job, aye?

JB

November 1st, 2011
11:37 am

Yes he was a Republican, who could not get the democratic state house to move ONE INCH on spending cuts….and that is fact….aye back at you.

Clay

November 1st, 2011
12:02 pm

marc g–you’re confusing Columbus with Augusta. Columbus is 100 miles south west of Atlanta on the Alabama state line. Augusta is east of Atlanta on the South Carolina state line.

CHRIS

November 1st, 2011
12:54 pm

I WAS BORN IN COLUMBUS,GA. I LIVED THERE FOR 43YEARS IT IS DIVIDED IN THE NORTH AND SOUTH AND THE BLACK AND WHITE THERE IS THE “OLD” MONEY THERE,AND THEN THERES EVERBODY ELSE.THE CRIME IS TERRIBLE,THE POLICE ARE DIRTY,AND THERES NOTNING TO DO BUT GO TO BARS AND TAKE A CHANCE ON LOSING YOUR LIFE.I HATE IT.

BECKY

November 1st, 2011
1:07 pm

MY HUSBAND AND I MOVED HERE 2YEARS AGO FROM PINE MOUNTAIN,GA. WE ONLY MOVED 20 MILES.YOU WOULD THINK WE MOVED TO THE BRONX OR QUEENS.THE CRIME IS UNTHINKABLE AND THE SOUTHSIDE IS NOWHERE TO BE,EVEN IF YOU WERE RAISED THERE,WITH ALL THE PROJECTS,IT IS JUST A NASTY AND CORRUPT PLACE TO LIVE.WE ARE MOVING BACK TO PINE MOUNTAIN.YOU CAN KEEP COLUMBUS

markie mark

November 1st, 2011
1:35 pm

@ Chris and Becky…..just for the record….CAPS = SHOUTING

Fred

November 1st, 2011
1:47 pm

It’s a flawed way of assessing a cities worth. It has nothing to do with the “City” but everything to do with the % of people not working, but living off of social programs. Nice choice of picture for columbus. It’s nothing like that here.

BECKY

November 1st, 2011
1:51 pm

MARKIE MARK…SERIOUSLY?HOW ADULT YOU ARE.I BET MOMMAS PROUD OF HER “BIG BOY” WHAT A DORK!

Quinsho

November 1st, 2011
1:56 pm

now this is getting interesting……….

Richard Bagge

November 1st, 2011
1:57 pm

Columbus’s population growth slowed and it was passed by Augusta in the last decade; it’s now the third largest city (population) in Georgia, followed by Savannah and Athens.

But yes, it should be obvious that any town with a large military or student population will be a town carrying a lot of personal debt. In Columbus, just look at all the payday loan places on Victory preying on servicemen who don’t understand that the terms of a month-to-month loan add up to 3-400%.

Clay

November 1st, 2011
2:33 pm

Actually, Augusta passed Columbus a few years ago when they voted to merge with the county to form a consolidated government–not because of a slowing population growth.

I agree about the picture given of Columbus–most other cities were given a nice picture of the town. I guess they had to drive home a point about Columbus.

Richard Bagge

November 1st, 2011
2:56 pm

Columbus and Athens also have consolidated governments. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:GALargestCities “Augusta, Columbus, and Athens are consolidated city-counties, but have independent municipalities within them, so the balance is used here.”

Clay

November 1st, 2011
4:27 pm

I was aware of that. Columbus consolidated back in the 70s, I believe. That’s why it was #2 in the state. When Augusta consolidated with the county (Richmond county?) it passed Columbus for #2. That’s why Augusta passed Columbus. However, the population has stayed pretty steady. The city of Columbus population is not really growing.

Dennis

November 2nd, 2011
12:30 am

I currently live in Columbus ,been here most of my life and i have to agree that its a very poor city and its also racially divided. Macon Rd separates the city. To the north of this road you have the middle to upper class (mostly whites) to the south you have the poor (Blacks and Hispanics).The population of the poor is a least 6 time more than the middle class.Most of the area to the south are project BTW,Chase,Warner Williams,E Canty, Farley Holmes ill stop there too many to name. The schools to the south are horrible ,kids learn nothing here. The city lacks any kind of opportunities.The crime rate is high …3 weeks ago my home got broken into while i was there sleep and i came face to face with the intruder. The cops are corrupt, and I’m not exaggerating ,do your research and see how many cops have been busted for dealing in drugs here, and those are just the one that got caught. This is no place to raise a family, i leave here in two months and its been a long time coming ,i been here for 33 yrs and had some close calls ,i think god everyday that I’m still alive.

dem

November 2nd, 2011
2:20 pm

I am from Columbus,but moved away some years. I still go back because I have family there. The government need to build up in all areas of the city, not just north Columbus. The mayor, or whomever; make decisions also need to take a look at San Antonio’s Riverwalk (it is so nice), put shops,and restaurants on Columbus Riverwalk. Please do something with Victory Drive, Cusseta Road, Brown Avenue, and some parts of Buena Vista Road. Columbus should be a a thriving city ,especially with such a large military base. Do of something with all those Cash til’ payday stores. the last thing the citizens of Columbus , and the Service Members need is to be taken advantage of. It is so wrong to bulild up one area and not the other, if the Northside get buildup,then so should all areas of Columbus. Victory Drive really do need to be made over.

i hate columbus

November 2nd, 2011
4:59 pm

i was born @ ft benning and both of my parents were born, raised, met and married in racist columbus. my father was military so we would always visit both sides of the family when my father had military leave time. i always hated those visits due to the racisim i felt as a child. columbus was then and still is bumbling/backwards. it’s as though the Blackfolk don’t kno or don’t care that they’re being openly discriminated against. being a military brat i’ve lived all over the world so visiting columbus was actually painful 4 me. i went 2 college in san antonio and DEM ur right, the sa riverwalk w/surrounding malls, shopping etc. iz utterly gorgeous, but don’t wait on columbus 2 catch-up w/texas ‘cuz it will never, ever happen. all of my cousins and kinfolk still live in columbus except one male (hiz mom and sis are still there) like they’re waiting on some great white rapture 2 save them all. this 2 iz never gonna happen. if any of u have seen the help…u have seen columbus @ itz finest! glad they were voted the brokest, thier mindsets are broke!

Al

November 2nd, 2011
5:32 pm

The article was wrong wtvm reports that college professors in Georgia reran the numbers and they were wrong. columbus median income is actually off its closer to $39000 and the cities unemployment rate is 9.6% if u come to Columbus you will notice growth throughout the cityresidential construction is one of the strongest in the nation ajc ran a article a couple of years agi aboout Atlanta developers coming to the city after economy slowed because residential growth was still strong in Columbus. Companies in Columbus are still strong and new commercial growth is cropping through the city. Not to mention several public works projects at work in the city including the nations largest urban white water course being built on the Chattahochee river right now. The cities main mall peachtree is at a 95% occupancy rate and the cities population is soaring. Sorry to say Columbus is not the brokest city in America. They need to redo the numbers. And if they dont believe it visit Columbus and look around

Checkedthemath

November 3rd, 2011
1:56 am

As of the 2010 U.S. Census The median income for a household in the city was $34,798
national avg unemployment rate 8.8
Columbus avg unemployment rate 9.8
279th out of 372
http://www.bls.gov/web/metro/laummtrk.htm

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