President-elect Donald Trump harshly criticized Georgia Rep. John Lewis onSaturday, tweeting that his district was “In horrible shape and falling apart …” Trump’s tweets came in response to Lewis‘ comments to NBC News‘ Chuck Toddin a taped interview that aired on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” The congressmansaid, “I don’t see the President-elect as a legitimate president.” He said hethought “Russians participated in helping get [Trump] elected.” Lewis, alongtime civil rights activist who marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., also said he will not attend Trump’s inauguration this week.
To be sure, Atlanta, which makes up most of Lewis‘ district, is a snapshot of twoextremes.
Atlanta is also home to the world’s busiest airport, which is undergoing a $6billion expansion, one of the world’s largest aquariums, and, for transparency, CNN. Education, health services, hospitality, trade and construction were justsome of the sectors that saw job growth that exceeded the national averagefrom November 2015-November 2016, according to the Bureau of LaborStatistics.
Five billionaires among those listed on Forbes Magazine’s 2016 ranking of theworld’s wealthiest people resided in Buckhead, one of Atlanta’s wealthierneighborhoods, lined with mansions and high-end retail shops.
Lewis‘ district also includes some of the poorest parts of Atlanta, like ForestPark, where the median income is $31,228, and 34% of all residents live belowthe poverty line, according to census data from 2015.
Atlanta’s median household income in 2015, the most recent data availablefrom the US Census Bureau, was $47,527.
Donald Trump was not always so dismissive of Atlanta.
Nearly 10 years ago, when Atlanta’s criminal offenses were around 27% higherthan now, Trump praised Georgia’s capital.
“Atlanta’s just … they’ve done a great job, an amazing job,” Trump said afterhe announced plans to build a two-tower, luxury high-rise in Atlanta.
Since that time, Atlanta’s real estate market has rebounded.
“Metropolitan Atlanta is certainly considered right now to be a very activemarket,” said Adam DeSanctis, an economic issues research manager with theNational Association of Realtors.
We rate Trump’s remarks that it is “In horrible shape and falling apart” asFALSE. With regard to crime, citing the FBI’s 2016 Uniform Crime Report, somemedia have ranked Atlanta in the top 20 of most dangerous cities.
Across three decades, murder rates increased significantly in 25 major UScities, but Atlanta was not among them.
In the more recent past, the city has seen the number of homicides increase, from 80 in 2009 to 111 as of Christmas Day 2016, a jump of 39%, according tothe Atlanta Police Department.
While Atlanta did experience an increase in homicides in 2015, that increasewas lower than many other major cities, according to a National Institute ofJustice study.
Given that the FBI cautions against using its data to compare cities, andbecause it’s not clear what President-elect Trump means when he says Atlantais “Crime infested,” we won’t issue a verdict on this one.