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Renter's Guide to Decatur
Decatur, Georgia, is a quaint town that was founded in 1822 and named after legendary naval officer Stephen Decatur. The city is located at what was once the intersection of two Native American trails. Today, Decatur is the county seat of unincorporated DeKalb County and is part of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. In 2000, Decatur’s official motto was changed to “A city of homes, schools and places of worship.” However, the city is better known for the slogan “It’s greater in Decatur.”
The city’s total land mass is 4.17 square miles but there is no shortage of genuine, locally-based activities and interests in Decatur.
Decatur benefits from its 8.1 mile proximity to Atlanta. Decatur is 253.4 miles from Savannah and 863.1 miles from New York City. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport services Decatur and is one of the largest and busiest airports in the US. For more localized air traffic, many Decatur residents use DeKalb Peachtree Airport which is situated on the former Fort Gordon Army Base.
The climate in Decatur is comfortable with hot summers and mild winters. The city enjoys 218 sunny days per year. High temperatures in July average 89 degrees, while the January low average temperature is 34°F. The average high in January is 60.4°F. Precipitation per year in Decatur averages 49 inches.
Decatur, GA Demographics
- Total Population177,802
Female 80,411Male 97,391
- Median Age36.8
Cost of Living in Decatur, GA
There are 15 bus routes in Decatur’s public transit system. The cost for a one-way adult fare is $1.00. Senior citizens can ride for $0.50. Decatur is very proud of conveniences offered by the Downtown Decatur Trolley, a free means of transport in the city. Average commute time in Decatur is 24 minutes. 69% of commuters drive their own vehicles. Only 7% use mass transit. 11% of the population works at home.
As for dining options, Decatur has a surprising number of diverse restaurants. An inexpensive meal for one in Decatur will cost about $15.00. At a moderate restaurant, a three-course meal for two will cost about $62.00, but at an upscale restaurant, a full dinner for two with a quality bottle of wine can cost about $243.00.
The cost of utilities in Decatur is lower than the national average and lower than the average cost of water, trash removal, electric and heat in the state.
Average Rent in Decatur, GA
- Decatur, GA Average Rental Price, January 2020 $1,114 /mo
Decatur, GA Apartment Rent Ranges
- > $2,0003%
Decatur, GA Rent Trends
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Living in Decatur
Decatur is usually described as a quiet quaint city. Natives and guests soon find that the best way to understand the city’s culture is to observe the development over time. The proud history of Decatur has transformed downtown into a vibrant, diverse city with solid economic roots where neighbors of varying heritage still greet each other as friends.
Residents are proud of their independence and their heritage. The lifestyle is upscale and progressive and the majority of workers travel to Atlanta for employment.
There are very few reasons not to like Decatur but parking can be problematic.
Things to do in Decatur
In Decatur, there is a certain feeling of prosperity and economic security based on the area’s strong connections to Atlanta, an economic powerhouse of the south. Outstanding boutiques, terrific restaurants, and plenty of history as well as appealing parks and preserves make Decatur a favorite for residents and tourists alike.
Your Dekalb Farmers Market, Decatur Square and the noted art gallery HomeGrown Decatur give a good sense of local pride and the unmistakable heritage that is shared by Decatur residents.
The Decatur Historical Courthouse is a popular architectural treasure while the DeKalb History Center has the largest collection of Decatur memorabilia, art, and history in the county. However when in Decatur, do not overlook the Waffle House Museum!
Many youth sports and organized activities are hosted at Exchange Park. Another local favorite, McKoy Park is a 9-acre haven for numerous recreational activities, picnic tables, grilles, a large playground, a skate park and many other outdoor features. Oakhurst Park consists of 8-acres, including two multipurpose fields, lighted tennis courts and many baseball fields. Glenlake Park is a large in-city park with tennis, basketball, volleyball, fields and a busy community pool.
And then who could complain about the solitude and natural beauty of Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve?
There are many opportunities for families to enjoy Decatur but Glenlake Park and Pool and Ghost Vampire tours rank high on the list. The Golden Glide Roller Skating rink offers skating, inflatable play areas, a DJ and more.
Couples can enjoy quality time in Decatur browsing at Kudzu Antiques, or touring the BlueTarp Brewing Co. or River Rafting & Tubing.
An amazing array of diverse restaurants, bars, and nightclubs entertain Decatur natives and their guests. From popular Pizza Hut franchises to homemade Athens Pizza to more upscale dining at trendy Indian tapas bar Bhojanic, diners can expect quality service and carefully prepared meals across multiple menu-types. The neighborhood atmosphere at Wahoo Grill, where seafood dishes rule the day, is magnetic while Iberian Pig offers tapas, cocktails, wine and more. Fish and shellfish dominate the menu at New Orleans Seafood but “pub grub” is always in at Brick Store Pub and at the Belgian Bar upstairs. Bars like Wild Heaven Craft beers and Eddie’s Attic, where vocalists perform local favorites, ensure guests that good times are ahead.
Kroger, Home Depot, and Walmart provide residents everything for the home. Patel Brothers specializes in Indian foods, beauty products and more. If you are in Decatur, you cannot overlook Downtown, a popular and historic square that has perfect small town ambiance. Boutique shops and cozy restaurants mark the spot!
Grand Slam Golf & Baseball is a popular practice facility in Decatur and Sagamore Community Club pool hosts several swimming competitions. The YMCA Decatur has programs for members of all ages. For professional sports, Decatur fans jump on the Atlanta bandwagon. The Atlanta Hawks of the NBA, Atlanta Braves (MLB), Atlanta Falcons of the NFL are major sports franchises within easy reach of Decatur.
As might be expected in a small city, annual events in Decatur invoke loads of community spirit. The Decatur Arts Festival, Decatur Books Festival and BBQ Blues & Bluegrass Festival are prime examples. Live Jazz on the Lawn at Scottish Rite in Oakhurst is a weekly Spring event while the Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes always draws large crowds. In June, don’t miss the Decatur Beach Party.
Employment and Economy in Decatur
Unemployment in the City of Decatur remains stubbornly high, above the national average. Over the next ten years, job growth is projected to be 36.7%, below the average in Georgia. Private employers in Decatur are small. Dekalb County is the largest employer in Decatur with 1,200 employees. Emory University Health Systems Clinic employs about 600 employees and the VA Hospital, which occupies 26 acres, is also a major employer and healthcare source. Decatur Hospital employs 150 workers while Wells Fargo only has 45 workers. Economic development goals in Decatur are modest with an emphasis on a “healthy mix of commercial, retail, restaurant and residential uses.”
Decatur, GA Households
- Total Number of Households66,029
Family 38,701Non-family 27,328
Children 19,600No Children 46,429
- Average People Per Household2.64
- Median Household Income$47,890
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$1,017
Education in Decatur
As an upscale city, Decatur has an enviable academic record. With a 13-1 student-to-teacher ratio, Decatur students enjoy highly personal educational experiences.
Decatur City Schools is a recognized educational leader Grades PK-12. The Mission of Decatur City Schools is to provide an innovative learning community committed to academic excellence and meeting the unique needs of every individual.
Decatur High School is supported by a network of solid elementary and middle schools, including Chapel Hill Middle School, Columbia Middle School, Elcan Elementary School, and Hutto Middle School.
Emory University is located in Decatur’s northwest section but other colleges and universities in Decatur include: Agnes Scott College, Columbia Theological Seminary, Georgia State University’s Perimeter College, and Devry University.
Decatur, GA Education Statistics
- No High School3%
- Some High School33%
- Some College24%
- Associate Degree6%
- Bachelor Degree19%
- Graduate Degree14%
Tips for Renting in Decatur
Under Georgia state and federal laws, renters in Decatur are protected against discrimination due to race or color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. These protections are stated in the Fair Housing Act.
Tenants in Decatur should know that Georgia recognizes two types of discrimination; direct, meaning an outright refusal to rent to a person under any of the characteristics above, and indirect, meaning rejection of a tenant application without cause or for non-business reasons. Indirect discrimination can also occur when prospective tenants are denied the opportunity to inspect properties advertised as “for rent” or when prospective tenants are told the rental price is different than the advertised price. Landlords who steer tenants of a protected class to other buildings are in violation of laws protecting tenants in Decatur.
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