Centerville ranks No. 7 on list of Georgia's happiest cities
Skidaway Island claimed the happiest place in Georgia, followed by Wilmington Island, Pooler, Evans, Milton, Alpharetta, Centerville, Peachtree City, Whitemarsh Island and Braselton, according to the website's list, which is based on the latest census data. The rankings took into consideration several factors including the percentage of people with insurance, the number of homeowners, employment rates, the cost of living, the poverty rate, educational levels and the average time it takes to get to work, according to the website.
Mayor John Harley said he wasn't surprised Centerville was ranked a top-10 city.
"We have very few blighted homes," Harley said. "I think that makes people very happy. We have a few areas that we've sort of identified that we thought were starting to go down. We go ahead and repave the streets, put new sidewalks in, update things and just change things around. ... We do everything we can to help our citizens."
Centerville has a population of about 7,400, and about half of its residents own their home, according to the website. Additionally, more than 53 percent of adult residents are married.
About six years ago, Shana Nodine, 47, moved to Centerville with her husband from North Carolina. Nodine said she and her family are happy living in Centerville's Eagle Springs subdivision.
"We just love the small town," Nodine said at the Houston County Galleria mall while lifting her 18-month-old grandson from a kiddie ride Tuesday afternoon. "It's a safe, wonderful community to raise children and to be with our grandchildren."
But Anna Lasseter, 20, disagreed with Centerville's ranking on the list.
"I don't think it's that accurate," said Lasseter, who works as a medical assistant in a dermatology office. "There's a lot of litter, and the road construction is pretty stressful. ... I don't think that makes people very happy," particularly the ongoing construction on Ga. 96.
"It's a good place to live, but it's really stressful sometimes," she said.
To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4334 and follow her on Twitter @Lauraecor.