Bryan County is again ranked in the region’s top 20 best places to live in the fourth annual list of rural counties by Progressive Farmer magazine, which was released earlier this month.
Bryan County ranked on the list for the second year in a row, this time placing 18th out of the top 20 best places to live in the southeastern United States.
Counties are ranked based on rural quality-of-life indicators such as great schools, access to heath care, low crime and affordable farmland, according to a Progressive Farmer press release. In 2008, additional criteria was added, focusing on counties that have been able to protect farmland, control growth pressure from urban and suburban areas, and find a balance between agriculture, manufacturing and modern conveniences.
Officials throughout the county didn’t seem too surprised the recognition.
"It’s not surprising; I’ve known for a long time that it’s a great place to live because I’ve been here my whole life," Mayor Richard Davis said. "It doesn’t surprise me, but it’s great that other people who aren’t from around here think so, too."
Mayor Judy Cook said she was excited, but not especially surprised about the nomination.
"I’ve been telling everyone that Bryan County is a great place to live, work and play," she said. "I’m very excited about the designation. A lot of places across America are losing their rural atmosphere and charm, so it’s great to know we are recognized for that."
Each county’s statistics, including economics, education, crime, health care, climate and culture are used for consideration when compiling the list. The statistics for the top 500 counties are used to create an average number for each category, which each individual county is compared to.
Bryan County did well when measured up to the other 500 rural counties that were recognized throughout America.
"It’s always nice to be recognized by those not living in the area as being an outstanding area to live in," County Administrator Phil Jones said. "We think we have a lot to offer anyone, with an excellent environment, a good socio-economic mix and also excellent schools."
Other Georgia counties that ranked on the list included Gilmer County in sixth, Camden County in ninth, Hart County in 15th, and Banks County in 16th. Kent County, Md., was ranked No. 1 in rural America.