Published on 10/21/98

'98 Georgia County Guide Provides Fascinating Facts

gcg.gif (44931 bytes)Maybe something like "Fascinating Facts on Georgia Counties" would have been a catchier name. The simple title, "The Georgia County Guide", doesn't seem to do justice to this University of Georgia almanac.

The 17th edition of the annual County Guide is being released this fall by the UGA colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Family and Consumer Sciences through the CAES Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

A quick look through its 195 pages of tables, charts and maps is revealing.

  • In Randolph County, only 5.1 percent of the households have incomes of more than $50,000 a year. But in Fayette County, more than half of the households -- 50.3 percent -- make more than that.
  • In 1997, Echols County had six people per square mile, while DeKalb County had 2,191.
  • At 48.35 mills, Hancock County has the highest property tax millage rate in Georgia. Towns County has the lowest rate, at 11 mills.
  • In 1996, Richmond County had 1,193 physicians -- one for every 170 people -- while Brantley County had only one doctor for its 13,349 residents. But that was better than in six counties that had no doctors at all.

The county-by-county data covers everything from AIDS cases to HOPE scholarships. It comes from 39 federal and state agencies and several private companies -- all public information.

"It's not 'my' data," said Doug Bachtel, the CFCS professor who created the County Guide in 1981. "We just put it in an easy-to-use form."

The Guide gives the latest figures on agriculture, courts and crime, economics, education, government, health, housing and households, labor, libraries, natural resources, occupations, population, public assistance, religion, transportation, veterans and vital statistics.

The book is $15. For easier number-crunching, a Windows database is available for $90.

Don't wait too long to order, though. They don't print that many books. "We sell about 3,000 a year," said Sue Boatright, the data collection coordinator who puts it all together.

You may order either through the county extension office. Or send a request, with a check to The Georgia County Guide, to Ag Business Office, 203 Conner Hall, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7506.

Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.