By April Reese
Univers 1C53 ity of Georgia
The 21st edition of the annual Georgia County Guide is now being released by the UGA colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Family and Consumer Sciences through the CAES Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.
Looking through its nearly 200 pages of tables, charts and maps is revealing.
* With 31 counties reporting 100 percent of their population living in rural areas, no Georgia county reports a 100-percent urban population. The closest is DeKalb County, with 99.6 percent of the residents living in urban areas.
* Fayette is the richest county, with a median income of $71,227 and 40 percent of the population earning more than $50,000 a year.
* Fulton County buys the most lottery tickets, spending more than $266 million on them in 2001. But Quitman County buys the most per capita, with $2,096 in sales for each person in the county.
* Quitman and Baker County have the lowest teacher-to-student ratios, with fewer than 10 students per teacher.
* Of the Wayne County graduates in 2001, 79.3 percent were eligible for the HOPE scholarship.
* The lowest dropout rate was in Fayette County, with only 7.6 percent not finishing high school.
* Fulton County has the highest percentage of people with bachelor's degrees or higher -- 41.4 percent of its population. Clarke County is second with 39.8 percent.
* The most HOPE Scholarship money went to Cobb County, with 11,814 students getting $24,288,261 in funding.
* In 2000, Richmond County had 1,219 physicians, one for every 164 people, while Brantley County had only one doctor for 14,629 people. But that was better than three counties that had no doctors at all.
* Heard County commuters spend the most time in their cars getting to work: a mean travel time of 37.5 minutes. Chattahoochee residents spend the least time: 15 minutes.
* The county with the most national forest land is Rabun, with 132,500 acres.
* Webster County is the safest place to live in Georgia, with no serious crimes reported in 2000.
The Georgia County Guide is an easy-to-use reference covering everything from AIDS cases to HOPE scholarships and lottery sales. The information comes from 90 federal, state and private agencies -- all public information.
The research coordinator and co-editor, Sue Boatright, says the County Guide "has evolved over time to become the premier source of county data."
The Guide gives the latest figures on agricultural, courts and crime, economics, education, government, health, housing and households, labor, libraries, natural resources, occupations, population, public assistance, transportation, veterans and vital statistics for all of Georgia's 159 counties and the state overall.
"Old editions are just as important as the current issue," Boatright said. "Historical data can be found dating back to the 1930s, and trends can be seen."
Boatright said 1930 is the first census year Fulton County data could be compared over time to the present.
"Georgia has had no boundary changes since 1931, when Georgia had 161 counties," she said. "During the 1920's, Campbell and Milton County were added to the property of Fulton County."
The book is $15, and past editions are available. The data is also available in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for $50. Information is also available on-line at www.georgiastats.uga.edu/.
A Georgia County game is also available at the Georgia County Guide Web site (www.agecon.uga.edu/%7Ecountyguide/guideinfo.html). You can test your knowledge about your home county or find out stuff about other counties.
Orders are accepted on-line at www.agecon.uga.edu/%7Ecountyguide/guideorder.html. Those without access to a computer can order the book through the mail by sending a check and your request to Ag Business Office, 203 Conner Hall, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7506. All orders must be prepaid.
(April Reese is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)