Having been on the internet and Facebook for several years now, I’ve come to realize that you can’t believe everything you see on them. Case in point is an article that found its way onto my Facebook page this week. The article was entitled “These are the 10 worst places to live in Georgia,” and was by an internet blog site called RoadSnacks.net.
The 10 worst places in order on their list were Swainsboro at No. 1, Bainbridge, Thomaston, Eastman, Fitzgerald, Sandersville, Ft. Valley, Jesup, Cordele, and Vidalia. Their complaints about Thomaston dealt with “basic poverty and bad schools.” Their comments were “Public education in Thomaston means students get some of the least support from the government. Which means more crowded classrooms and less attention. And, 1 in 10 parents of the kids in Thomaston are unemployed, and those who have jobs make less than $25,000 a year. The average cost of a home in Thomaston is $60,000. Thomaston is located out in the boonies about 90 minutes south of Atlanta.”
Many local people on Facebook were upset over their comments, and rightly so. It was obvious the people who wrote this trash have never set foot in Thomaston. I decided to check into RoadSnacks further.
The first thing I noticed about their site was the statement that they try to provide information that can be “argued at a bar.” Having patronized my fair share of bars, I’ve come to realize that the majority of ‘bar arguments’ are usually between two drunks who don’t know what they’re talking about. That doesn’t give RoadSnacks a lot of credibility in my book.
If you look at the top of the article, there is this disclaimer: “This article is an opinion based on data. It should not be taken as fact.” I can believe that. The people who wrote this article took a little bit of data, twisted it to suit their needs, then put it out for people to read.
It is easy to see that they are trying to make the metro Atlanta area look good and everywhere else in Georgia look bad. If they weren’t, then they wouldn’t have listed five metro Atlanta suburbs as the five best places to live, with Alpharetta being No. 1.
Let’s look at some of their data and compare Thomaston to Alpharetta. First is population density. They claim the lower the density, the worse the location. Density is based on the number of people per square mile. In Thomaston, the density is 962. In Alpharetta, the density is 2,158. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather live in a town where people aren’t stacked on top of each other and tripping over each other. Point Thomaston.
Then they looked at highest unemployment rates. According to Sperling’s Best Places To Live website, where they got a lot of their data, Thomaston had an unemployment rate of 9.1 in May, compared to 6.3 percent in Georgia. Alpharetta had 5.2 percent unemployment. But what they don’t take into consideration is that we are out here by our lonesome, trying to attract new businesses, while Alpharetta is adjacent to Atlanta, with the majority of its workers employed by Atlanta businesses. Point Alpharetta.
Third were home values. In Thomaston, the median home value is $60,000. In Alpharetta, the median home value is $302,400. If you complain about property taxes here, just imagine what they’re like in Alpharetta. Point Thomaston.
They screwed up (so what else is new) on their income figures. They say those who have jobs in Thomaston make less than $25,000 a year. But the adjusted median income is $25,000, which means that while there are some making less than that amount, there are an equally amount making more. Point Alpharetta.
They claim public education in Thomaston is bad because of lack of financial support from the government. Since the government in question is the state government, dumping on the local system is iidiotic. Plus, if they had bothered to look more closely, they would have seen that the Thomaston-Upson School System not only spends more money per student than Harris, Pike and Spalding counties in our area, but out of 195 school systems in the state, T-U spends more per student than 137 of those systems, which puts us in the top 30 percent in the state. As for class sizes, Thomaston is rated at 15.5 students per teacher, while the national average os 15.3, 2/10th of a difference. Seen 2/10th of a student lately? Plus, our class sizes in every class are lower than the state mininums. Point Thomaston.
They do admit that crime is not as bad in Thomaston – finally a tidbit of truth from them. Point Thomaston.
I also find it interesting some of the stats that they don’t use, like Cost of Living and Commute Time Average. In Thomaston, the cost of living is 21.7 percent, which is lower than the national average. In Alpharetta, it is 27.9 percent, which is higher than the national average. Point Thomaston.
Average commute time in Thomaston is 19 minutes, which is lower than the national average, plus Thomaston doesn’t have the traffic jams the Atlanta suburbs do. Alpharetta’s commute time is 25.26 minutes, higher than the national average. Point Thomaston.
By my score, it is Thomaston 6, Alpharetta 2. Thomaston is a better place to live, and I think we need to refer to Road Snacks as Road Kill – It stinks.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.