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Atlanta snubbed on list of Top 20 ‘Best State Capitals to Live in’

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Finance website’s study slots the ATL as middle-of-the-pack among capital peers, large and small

A photo of Piedmont Park in Atlanta.
Springtime in Piedmont Park. Get a load of that, Bismarck.
Curbed Atlanta

What do Oklahoma City, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Columbus, Ohio have in common?

They’re all fairly large state capitals that rank higher than Atlanta on WalletHub’s 2018 “Best State Capitals to Live in” study released today.

The personal finance website compared all 50 state capitals (analyzing the cities, not metro areas) by weighting 51 indicators of affordability, economic strength, quality of education and health, and overall living standards.

The data set ranged from number of attractions per city, poverty percentages, cost of living, quality of K-12 school systems, and options for dining out, among other metrics.

In the end, Atlanta just missed the Top 20, ranking No. 21.

“[Although] 17 of them are the largest cities in their states,” noted analysts, “the biggest population doesn’t always represent the best quality of life.”


Atlanta shined in rankings for most restaurants per capita (tied with Honolulu for No. 1, baby!), most attractions (No. 4), and percentage of college degrees (No. 4), as well as broader categories quality of life (No. 7) and, perhaps surprisingly, quality of education and health (No. 15).

However, the affordability metric (No. 29), the economic well-being category (No. 42), and dismal crime-rate ranking (No. 44) did the ATL no favors. (The economic well-being category examined such things as unemployment rates, wage growth, poverty levels, and population changes. )

On the bright side, Atlanta was slotted higher overall than other large cities, including Nashville, Indianapolis, and Boston.

Trenton, New Jersey ranked dead last among the country’s state capitals.

Below are WalletHub’s findings in interactive-map form. The smaller and purpler, per analysts, the better for living your life:

Source: WalletHub