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County Guide offers insight into communities 1C53

By April Sorrow
University of Georgia

Almost 6,000 people from Fulton County are serving time in state prisons. Quitman County has the highest per capita lottery ticket sales. And there are 962 chicken houses in Franklin County. All of this information and much more can be found in the 2008 Georgia County Guide.

In its 26th edition, the annual guide is compiled by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, a unit of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The public information comes from 90 federal, state and private agencies.

Using more than 1,400 variables, it provides the latest figures on agriculture, courts and crime, economics, education, government, health, housing and households, labor, natural resources, population, public assistance, transportation and vital statistics for all of Georgia’s 159 counties and the state.

For example:

* Richmond County has more doctors per capita than any other Georgia county.

* More than 88 percent of the families in Forsyth County are married couples.

* Gwinnett County collected $47 million in HOPE scholarships last year, the most of any county.

* Fayette County has the highest median household income at $75,679. The Clay County median is $22,627.

* Charlton County has the highest county millage rate. Towns County has the lowest.

* Fulton County got more than $3 million in federal grants last year, the most of any county. DeKalb County was second with less than half a million federal grant dollars.

* Thirty percent of commuters in Hancock County carpool.

The guide "has evolved over time to become the premier source of county-level data,” said Sue Boatright, a CAES research coordinator and the guide’s editor.

The information is commonly used by realtors, educators, political consultants, county planners and architects and many others to make community decisions, she said.

“It provides a snapshot of a county using a broad spectrum of data,” she said. “The guide is a valuable tool for planners and decisions makers.”

Information is free online at www.georgiastats.uga.edu. The book costs $20. Past editions are available. Microsoft Excel spreadsheets of all of the data in the book cost $50.

To order, go to the Web site www.countyguide.uga.edu, or send a request and check to the Office of Communications, 117 Hoke Smith Annex, Athens, GA 30602-4356.

(April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

(April R. Sorrow is a science writer with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.)

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