Mar 5, 2024 - News

Metro Atlanta counties see jump in economic prosperity

Change in economic distress levels, by county
Data: Economic Innovation Group; Note: The Distressed Communities Index combines seven complementary economic indicators into a single summary statistic that conveys each community's standing relative to its peers; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

The Southeast has become distinctly more prosperous in just a few years — part of a shift in the geography of economic distress in the U.S., according to new data reported first by Axios.

Why it matters: The latest update of the Distressed Community Index, out last week from the Economic Innovation Group, shows large parts of the country becoming more vibrant, Axios' Neil Irwin writes.

  • That is especially true in the counties surrounding fast-growing cities like Atlanta, Raleigh and Nashville.

Zoom in: In the 11-county metro region, nine are considered "prosperous." The rest are "comfortable" (DeKalb) and "mid-tier" (Clayton).

  • The report found that 30% of Atlantans have prosperous or comfortable economic situations — while 21% have distressed or at-risk economic situations.

Zoom out: In Georgia, the share of residents living in prosperous ZIP codes increased by 7 percentage points, and the share living in distressed ZIP codes fell by 9 percentage points.

How it works: The index is based on seven factors, pulled from U.S. census data, and aims to capture in a single number whether a given area is rich with economic opportunity or faltering.

  • Those factors include the share of adults not working, the housing vacancy rate and growth in the number of businesses. Forsyth beat the nation in all seven categories.
  • The latest edition is based on data from 2017 to 2021.

Search cities, counties, ZIPs and congressional districts


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Atlanta.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Atlanta stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Atlanta.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more