How does Atlanta compare to America’s other big cities?  

When it comes to fun and good livin’, Atlanta’s not an awful place to call home — until you factor in economic, health and safety figures, plus rising housing and rent prices.

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That’s according to a new ranking from personal finance site WalletHub, which compared Atlanta with America’s 61 other big cities with populations of more than 300,000 across five key dimensions: affordability, economy, education/health, quality of life and safety.

Each dimension was evaluated using 56 relevant metrics, including unemployment rate, cost of living, wealth gap, quality of public schools and parks or museums per capita. You find the full list of metrics assessed at wallethub.com.

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Of the 62 cities ranked, Seattle emerged the victor, snagging the top spot in two of the five dimensions (economy and education/health) and fifth for quality of life.

Source: WalletHub

But Seattle ranked poorly for affordability (No. 50) and somewhere in the middle for safety (No. 30).

Detroit scored worst of all, ranking in the bottom five for three dimensions: economy (No. 61), education/health (No. 62) and safety (No. 59).

Atlanta’s overall score tied with Nashville, ranking it the country’s 28th big city to live in, according to WalletHub.


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Here’s more on how Atlanta fared:

  • Overall rank: 28
  • Affordability: 34
  • Economy: 50
  • Education/health: 31
  • Quality of life: 8
  • Safety: 47

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While Atlanta is one of the top 10 for quality of life, the city’s education, health and safety scores dropped it to No. 28 overall, a one-point drop from last year’s No. 27 rank.

“Home to a population of about 472,506 residents, 22.4 percent of whom live below the poverty line, Atlanta’s substantial economic and population booms in recent years have been clouded by the city’s high violent crime rate,” the AJC previously reported, based on a 2018 24/7 Wall St. report that named Atlanta the 47th worst city in the country — though it was a significant improvement from its previous No. 37 rank.

According to a previous AJC report, while murders in Atlanta are up, overall crime has dropped.

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And when it comes to the Atlanta economy, April 2018 was the metro’s worst month for job growth since 2009.

“Even though we did see some fluctuations in the employment and workforce numbers across the state, job growth continues to be very strong,” Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler told AJC’s Michael Kanell in May. 

But job growth this past year was weaker than the previous five years, Kanell reported.

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And while the unemployment rate was low in April (3.6 percent), a one-third drop from the 2007-09 recession, that figure only considers people in the labor market (those working or actively looking for work). During April 2018, the region’s labor force actually shrank by approximately 21,000 people, he wrote.

Still, Atlanta has certainly received its share of positive reviews.

In May, Atlanta was recognized as one of the country’s best places to start a career based on number of professional opportunities, quality of life, number of entry-level jobs and more.

Last year, a global ranking deemed Atlanta one of the top cities in the world for quality of life. The 2017 Quality of Life ranking from human resources firm Mercer assessed more than 450 cities worldwide, and included 231 in its final list.

Of the 231 cities, only 17 American cities made the cut. Atlanta came in at No. 65 overall and 13th in the U.S.

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In U.S. News & World Report’s most recent “100 Best Places to Live in the USA” analysis, Atlanta ranked 50th, though it scored low in quality of life, likely due to the city’s high crime rates.

Explore WalletHub’s “2018’s Best Big Cities to Live In” report at wallethub.com.

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