In the wake of a damaging public schools cheating scandal, an infamous collapsed interstate, and the occasional Snowpocalypse national embarrassment, few would proclaim Atlanta a perfectly operated city.
But among the worst-run urban centers in the land? Really?
That’s the opinion of number crunchers with personal-finance website WalletHub, who today released findings for “2018’s Best-and Worst-Run Cities in America”—a measuring stick that does Atlanta proper few favors.
Using sources as varied as the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and The Trust for Public Land, WalletHub compared the “operating efficiency” of the 150 largest cities in the country (only Atlanta and Columbus have populations that qualified in Georgia).
The result? Atlanta landed at bottom-feeding No. 137, wedged between St. Louis and Los Angeles, respectively.
The analysis built an overall “Quality of Services” score from 35 metrics, grouped into six service categories. Those were then measured against each city’s per-capita budget, analysts explained.
Atlanta didn’t exactly shine in any category.
Safety (No. 121) and education (102) rankings were the sorest spots, followed by financial stability (96) and health (93).
It could qualify as shocking that Atlanta scored best in the “infrastructure and pollution” category (No. 81), which factored in quality of roads, share of parkland (both triple weighted in the study), water quality, bike infrastructure, and air quality, among other data.
Atlanta tied for last place with several other boomtowns—including San Francisco, Nashville, and New York City—when it comes to “highest longterm debt outstanding per capita.”
Columbus, meanwhile, landed at relatively impressive No. 70 overall.
Below is the inglorious bottom 20. (The 105 ranking for Atlanta refers to a metric labeled “Quality of City Services.”)
- 2018’s Best- & Worst-Run Cities in America [WalletHub]