Atmore 5th-worst? Says who?

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chances are that many of you have heard about the article on the website, in which Atmore was listed as the “fifth worst place to live in Alabama.” When I checked my Facebook page, I saw that several of my local friends had posted it, and were commenting on how it was unfair.

I actually got a double whammy of the story, because just as many of my hometown friends were also posting it. I grew up in Gadsden, which was listed as the No. 1 worst city on the list (Oddly, the photo they used shows my old church. Trust me, I know many worse streets in Gadsden they could have picked from).

The North Carolina-based authors said that they used some data and statistics to back up their claims, but I’m skeptical of any website that lists Atmore as a “suburb of Mobile” and says it takes an hour to get to No. 9 Eufaula from Birmingham (maybe in a stock car from No. 7 Talladega).

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Obviously everyone has a voice on the Internet, but you can’t believe everything that’s posted online. Also, the flawed analysis shows that you can’t just come up with a list by looking at random statistical data.

I wonder how the authors might have tried to quantify great community festivals like Williams Station Day. I wonder if the listmakers considered the Wind Creek Casino complex and its benefits to our local economy and quality of life. I wonder if the authors would have placed Atmore at No. 5 if they had seen the community volunteer spirit of groups like the Rotary Club, Lions Club, Community Friendship Club, and many more. Also, one of their data points (population density) lists a lower density as a negative — news flash, some of us like having a little space to move around!

It’s likely that the authors of this list just created it to get a reaction and web traffic, and I suppose I’m helping to provide them exactly what they wanted. Regardless, I’m proud to say I’m from Atmore, and I know that there are plenty of things that are wonderful about this city. And that’s something you can’t just compile into a spreadsheet.