An In-Depth Look at the People Who Call Athens Home


Athens-Clarke County, Georgia is home to around 123,000 residents according to recent estimates. Known for being the home of the University of Georgia, Athens has a unique demographic makeup heavily influenced by the student population.

This article will provide an in-depth look at Athens’ demographics including population stats, racial diversity, age distribution, household data, education levels, income levels, poverty rates, and more.

Population Statistics

Located about 65 miles northeast of Atlanta, the total population of Athens-Clarke County is estimated at 123,336 as of 2021. Athens is the sixth largest city in Georgia. Here’s a quick overview of key population stats:

  • Total population: 123,336
  • Male population: 57,315 (46.5%)
  • Female population: 65,703 (53.3%)
  • Median age: 25.3 years old

Athens is a college town and home to the University of Georgia which has over 38,000 students enrolled. This large student population has a major influence on demographic statistics for the area.

The city has seen steady population growth, increasing by over 6% since 2010. Many young people move to Athens for college and end up staying after graduation leading to more growth.

Age Distribution

With a median age of just 25.3 years old, Athens has a very youthful population compared to national averages. 18-24 year olds make up over 30% of the population. Here’s the breakdown by age group:

  • Under 18 years: 16.2%
  • 18 to 24 years: 33.6% (college-aged students)
  • 25 to 34 years: 21.3%
  • 35 to 49 years: 12.6%
  • 50 to 64 years: 10.1%
  • 65+ years: 6.1%

The large number of college students attending the University of Georgia skews the age distribution statistics younger. Outside of the student population, middle-aged adults and seniors make up smaller proportions.

Racial Diversity and Ancestry

The racial and ethnic makeup of Athens is predominantly White, with growing Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic and multi-racial populations. Here is the racial diversity breakdown:

  • White: 69.0%
  • Asian: 9.7%
  • Black or African American: 20.0%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 7.3%
  • Two or more races: 5.3%

Athens has become more racially diverse in recent decades. In particular, the Asian population has grown over 69% and the Hispanic population has grown 145% since 2000 according to census data.

Many Athens residents have ancestry ties to Europe, in particular countries like England, Germany and Ireland. Outside of Europe, over 2% of the Athens population identifies as having Mexican ancestry.

Household Data

There are nearly 44,000 households in Athens-Clarke County. With roughly 3 people per residence on average, most households are quite small in size.

Nearly three-quarters of occupied housing in Athens are renter-occupied as opposed to owner-occupied. This large renter population reflects the student population that predominantly rents apartments or houses versus owning property in Athens.

Additionally, over 60% of housing units are occupied by one person living alone. Again, this aligns with college-aged students renting studio, one, two or three bedroom places with roommates or solo.

Housing Stats

  • Total housing units: 55,559
  • Occupied housing units: 43,728 (78.7% occupancy)
  • Owner-occupied: 25.4%
  • Renter-occupied: 74.6%
  • Average household size: 2.8 people
  • 1-person households: 62.2%

Education Levels

Athens residents are very well educated on average compared to national and state statistics. This is largely attributed again to the influence of college students and graduates who stay living in Athens.

Nearly 70% of Athens adults over 25 have at least an undergraduate college degree or advanced degree beyond a 4-year bachelor’s program. Compare this to just 32% nationwide and 30.7% statewide in Georgia with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Here’s the breakdown of over 25 education attainment:

  • Less than high school: 8.0%
  • High school graduate: 22.4%
  • Some college or Associate’s: 16.9%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 34.9%
  • Graduate/Professional degree: 34.2%

University of Georgia By the Numbers

The University of Georgia is located in Athens and has an enormous influence on education levels and the workforce in Athens. Here’s a snapshot of UGA by the statistics:

  • Founded: 1785
  • Students enrolled: over 38,000 each year
  • Student faculty ratio: 18:1
  • 4-year graduation rate: 85%
  • Employees: over 14,000 faculty and staff
  • Alumni living in Georgia: over 260,000

From professors and researchers to a sea of graduates staying in the local workforce, UGA helps drive a highly educated talent pool in the Athens area.

Income and Poverty

Despite high education levels, income levels are lower in Athens and Georgia compared nationally. This is attributed to a large number of students, recent graduates, lower wage service jobs, and generally lower paying careers dominating the Athens workforce.

The median household income in Athens is just $37,634 versus $64,730 nationally. And the per capita income is $23,474 in Athens compared to $34,103 for the average American.

However, there is big income disparity among residents. Over 30% of Athens households are lower income making less than $25k per year. And 22% make over $100k annually, likely concentrated among professors, doctors and affluent residents.

Income Stats

  • Median household income: $37,634
  • Average household income: $57,567
  • Per capita income: $23,474
  • Households making <$25k: 30.3%
  • Households making >$100k: 22.2%

Despite lower incomes on average, Athens doesn’t have exceedingly high poverty levels thanks again to the influence of students who may have limited incomes by national standards but have basic needs covered while attending college.

The overall poverty rate is 30% which is just slightly higher than the 27% poverty rate across Georgia. Poverty remains an issue impacting almost 1 in 3 Athens residents.

Key Takeaways

Hopefully this overview has helped highlight key demographic factors like age, racial diversity, income levels and more that shape Athens. Here are a few key takeaways:

Quick Facts

  • Total population: 123,336
  • Median age: 25 years old
  • Predominantly White: 69% of population
  • Youthful age distribution skewed by students
  • Highly educated from UGA influence
  • Lower average incomes but pockets of affluence

Athens has a very unique makeup heavily impacted by being a quintessential American college town.

The University of Georgia’s world-class academics and research plus tens of thousands of enrolled students leave an unmistakable impact on nearly every demographic measure and the culture of Athens itself.

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  • Head south on Prince Ave toward E Broad St/US-78 Trunk/GA-10 Loop. Continue to follow Prince Ave past GA-10 Loop/US-78 Trunk/N Lumpkin St. Turn left onto Smith St, then take the 1st right onto Roywood Dr. Make a slight left onto Prometheus Cir, then turn right. Turn left onto Smokey Rd/Woodstone Dr, then turn right to stay on Smokey Rd. Turn right onto Foundry St, then turn left at the 1st cross street onto Round Table Rd. The destination, 130 Round Table Rd, will be on the right.
  • rom the start point, take a left turn onto Franklin St. Turn left onto Dearing St, then continue onto Plaza Dr. Turn right onto Forest Hills Rd, then continue onto Smokey Rd. Turn right onto Foundry St, then turn left at the 1st cross street onto Round Table Rd. The destination, 130 Round Table Rd, will be on the right.
  • Take a left onto E Broad St/US-78 Trunk/GA-10 Loop and continue as it turns slightly right and becomes Gaines School Rd. Turn left onto Lexington Hwy/GA-10 Loop/GA-335/US-129/US-78, then take the 1st right onto Old Hull Rd. Take the 2nd left onto Smokey Rd, then turn right to stay on Smokey Rd. Turn right onto Foundry St, then turn left at the 1st cross street onto Round Table Rd. The final destination, 130 Round Table Rd, is on the right.