Macon, Georgia is sometimes called the heart of Georgia since it is located at the geographical center of the state. While the slogan is catchy, Macon is probably not the best example of all the good things Georgia has to offer. Macon definitely has a very strong vibe, though it’s not necessarily a good one. I lived in Macon for almost a year and although I loved being there I wouldn’t ever want to live there full time.
And the locals agree with me. Macon is currently home to about 154,000 people and here are 17 reasons that we suggest not moving there.
1. Low Median Income
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the Median Household income for Macon Georgia is about $48,500 per year. That puts Macon at over $20,000 less than the national median income of about $65,000 (Source).
Macon’s median income is low compared to the rest of Georgia as well. The Median Household income for all of Georgia reaches almost $62,000 per year. This leaves over 24% of Macon’s population in poverty.
2. Large Colleges and Universities
Macon is the home to several Colleges and Universities. Mercer University is a private research university that is attended by over 9,000 students per semester according to the campus website. The main campus located in Macon brings a lot of transient college students to the area.
Middle Georgia State University’s main campus is located in the middle of Macon. The University also has campuses in the nearby towns of Cochran and Warner Robins that bring additional college students to the area.
3. Large Number of Homeless People
Macon boasts a large number of parks within the city boundaries. These parks would be perfect for taking an evening stroll if it wasn’t for all of the homeless who set up camp there. It’s not uncommon to see homeless campsites with tents, sleeping bags, and shopping carts lining the walks of Macon’s parks and roads.
The city’s high poverty rate means that many people living in Macon are homeless. A large number of homeless people in Macon might contribute to the high crime rate as some of the homeless can be violent.
4. High Crime Rate
If you are looking for a nice, safe city to raise a family, Macon definitely isn’t it. According to neighborhoodscout.com Macon is more dangerous than 95% of U.S. cities (Source).
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported more than 8,000 crimes in Macon and the surrounding area in the year 2017; including 29 cases of murder, 70 cases of rape, and over 5,000 cases of larceny. These numbers indicate that the county in which Macon is located has one of the highest crime rates in the state and in the country.
It is often true that larger cities have a higher crime rate, but even when compared to cities of similar size and population, it appears that Macon has a higher than normal crime rate.
5. Economic Tensions
The city of Macon was once a thriving metropolis. As Atlanta grew bigger, many of the companies and people that made Macon a success began to relocate to the bigger city. This left many parts of Macon in disrepair. Now, when you look at the city you can tell a distinct difference between the older, abandoned sections of the city and the newer, expanding parts.
North Macon has continued to do pretty well for itself and has been building new infrastructure while the older parts of the city toward the middle and the southern end have been left to fend for themselves. This self-made division causes some economic tension in the region.
6. Religious Intolerance
Macon is located right in the middle of the Bible belt. If you are a Christian, you will find that there are plenty of options for attending church, including Sunday services, weekday Bible study classes, and summer socials. If you are not a Christian you will have a much harder time finding a religious community that you can relate to.
Since the Christian religion is such a huge part of the culture of Macon, there can be some prejudice towards non-Christians from the locals.
7. Partisan City Government
In 2012, voters agreed to the consolidation of the city of Macon and Bibb county, creating what is now called Macon-Bibb. The consolidation meant a merging of the two government bodies. Macon is now governed by a mayor and a nine-member countywide commission. The mayor of Macon-Bibb is Robert Reichert, a democratic politician previously in the Georgia house of representatives.
Macon is the only city in Georgia to have partisan elections. The majority of the city council is democratic.
8. Poorly Ranked Public Schools
The Bibb County school district has 21 elementary schools, six middle schools, and six high schools. The Bibb County school district reported that their overall performance is only greater than 25% of school districts in Georgia. By the time they graduate only 50% of students are prepared for college.
One Macon mom complained about the lack of supportive teachers. She said, “I thought Springdale would be a great school since it had better ratings than other schools in the area. My son went there for 1st grade and the teacher seemed to not want to put forth any effort in teaching him. It was very frustrating. I did notice that the teachers spend a ton of time on their cell phones instead of watching the kids.”
The county does have several options for private or charter schools in the area, but all of them are religion based.
9. No Recreational Activities
While Macon has the occasional festival and some historical significance, the majority of recreational activities, museums, concerts, and outings occur in the much larger city of Atlanta which has several large concert halls, museums, the famous Atlanta aquarium, and tons of good food.
Macon is close enough to Atlanta (about an hour and a half drive, not including traffic) to make occasional day trips, but if you really want to have fun things to do close by other than the plethora of parks in the area, Macon is probably not the best place for you.
10. Lots of Traffic and Construction
As with many big cities, Macon has it’s fair share of traffic. The lack of public transportation means that many people are using private cars to commute to work or other activities. Many people are traveling from the suburbs into the city for work each day, and some might even be traveling to the surrounding cities. The highways and freeways can get especially crowded during rush hours, making it difficult for people to plan travel time.
The problem gets worse when you factor in the construction that is happening on some of the major highways. An important junction that leads commuters towards Atlanta and Savannah has been under a huge construction project that has lasted for years. The construction blocks traffic and can cause mass confusion for commuters and visitors.
11. Underdeveloped Public Transportation
The Macon Transit Authority operates the city’s public transportation. Ten city bus routes supposedly run throughout the city and even into the surrounding towns. While this may sound good in theory, the bus system is rarely a reliable form of transportation. The majority of citizens use private automobiles to commute around the city.
The city also makes it difficult for people to use alternate forms of transportation such as walking or biking. There are few sidewalks in the city and little room for bike lanes on the busy city streets.
12. Littering Issues
Littering is a serious issue around Macon and the surrounding area. It is not uncommon to see huge amounts of garbage, old household items, random mattresses, and old cars lining the sides of the road. Attempts by city officials to reduce the amount of litter clogging the streets of Macon have been largely unsuccessful.
The litter also attracts unwanted vermin and small animals to Macon’s streets. Squirrels, possums, raccoons, skunks, and even the occasional deer find their way onto the city streets and usually end up adding to the mess as roadkill.
13. Poor Air Quality
When I say Macon stinks, I mean literally. Lovely spring rains that are supposed to wash away the stink of the city instead just stir up the smell of sewer. Even without the rain, the whole city has an unpleasant sort of smell. It’s the kind of smell that comes with large amounts of garbage, and the unclean people that normally come with a big city.
The poor air quality is only exacerbated by the traffic, especially during rush hour. Pollution from nearby factories contributes to the overall smell of the city and it definitely isn’t pleasant.
14. Allergies During Every Season
Starting in late March everything turns yellow from the sheer amount of pollen in the air. Your car, your house, the roads, and pretty much anything outside will get absolutely covered by pollen. Pollen allergies can be very annoying and even painful during the spring months in Macon.
While the pollen is certainly the worst in the spring, many different plants, trees, and grasses will pollinate late in the summer months and even during some of the winter months. Year-long allergies are certainly an unpleasant possibility and reality for some.
Macon has a typical climate for the south. The city has hot humid summers, and cold humid winters. Weatherspark.com reports that the average high for the winter months (November-February) is 46 degrees Fahrenheit. There is rarely any snow, but the occasional snowstorm can cause mass panic since there isn’t any infrastructure to handle it.
They also reported that during the summer months (May-September) the average is around 81 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not uncommon for some days during the summer to reach 100 degrees or higher. The summer months tend to also be quite rainy. There is a 31% chance of any day during the summer months being a wet one.
The spring and fall months have fairly temperate weather and can be quite lovely if you don’t mind putting up with tons of pollen.
The humidity makes the cold colder and the hot hotter. The summer and fall months have the worst humidity, making spending time outside pretty miserable.
Macon also has to worry about some extreme weather conditions such as tornadoes and the occasional hurricane. Although actual hurricanes rarely reach as far inland as Macon, the city can still have periods of extreme rain and wind during hurricane season. Tornadoes are often fairly common in the area and can cause a lot of damage to buildings and property.
16. Gross Bugs
The warm weather makes Macon the perfect home for all sorts of bugs. The humid summer conditions bring out large amounts of mosquitoes, cicadas, a variety of beetles, and even the occasional scorpion.
But, worst of all are the cockroaches. Roaches find a way inside homes through cracked windows, small holes, and even pipes. Some roaches can grow up to five inches long and are terribly disgusting. Finding little ones might even mean there is an infestation. Cockroaches can be extremely difficult to get rid of and can cause serious health hazards.
In addition to a variety of bugs, the humid conditions might also be perfect for snakes including some that are venomous. Although snakes don’t normally venture into the crowded streets of the city, it is not difficult to find a forested area that might work well for their homes.
17. So Many Terrible Puns
After only a couple of months of living in Macon, I got very tired of all the puns my family members and friends tried to make. The name Macon provides inspiration for a million terrible puns that are never funny. I can’t even tell you how many times I was asked if I was makin’ bacon in Macon.
The city itself has tried to make use of the unfortunate double meanings the name provides. The Macon Bacon baseball team created in 2018 uses clever rhyming as a marketing scheme.
In general, the feeling of Macon is that of a once-thriving city that has been abandoned in favor of better areas. If you like a slightly ghetto vibe then Macon might be perfect for you, but if you’re looking for a good place to raise a family or make a good living you might want to start looking elsewhere.
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