Atlanta Vs. Indianapolis: Which City Is Better To Live In?

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Atlanta boasts some beautiful warm weather year-round and a fantastic city rich with culturally significant history. Indianapolis is home to an affordable cost of living and some of the best universities in the country. Choosing a winner between the two cities can be difficult, but ultimately there can only be one winner.

Indianapolis is a better city to live in because of low housing costs, affordable healthcare, and plenty of opportunities for job growth and potential income. Couple this with incredible purchase power and top-notch schools, and it is easy to see why Indianapolis is a great place to live that offers a higher than average quality of life.

Comparably, Atlanta offers some of the best weather in the United States and boasts low crime rates compared to downtown Indianapolis. Ultimately, people deciding between the two cities will have to determine what features matter most in their day-to-day lives and choose a city that works best for themselves and their families. Consulting with a real estate agent, current resident, or chamber of commerce is the best way to understand the perks of living in a new city truly.

Which City Is Better: Atlanta or Indianapolis?

To determine which city is better, we consider how the average person lives and moves in the town. Of course, affordability is important, but you also must be happy with what the city can offer regarding entertainment, cultural diversity, and crime rates. We look at several measurable and intangible elements to living in a new city to choose a winner.

Quality of Life

Measuring the quality of life for a resident can be a rather abstract concept but a fundamental concept for choosing a new city. Quality of life is more than just being able to afford to live in a city, but rather measuring how happy you will be. Indianapolis and Atlanta are both ranked highly, however, Indianapolis is the winner. This city will give residents more purchasing power, is safer, and offers better healthcare.

Comparatively, both Atlanta and Indianapolis have about the same pollution levels and the same commute. When comparing the weather, though, Atlanta is the clear winner with seasonably warm and delightful weather with the rare chance of snow.

Winner: Indianapolis

Cost of Living

When moving to a new city, it is important to consider how much the basics will cost. Overall, Indianapolis is about 22% cheaper than Atlanta. A significant contributing factor to the overall cost is how much housing will set you back. Expect housing prices to be about 44% less in Indianapolis compared to Atlanta. Further, utilities will be about 12% less than Atlanta, food 5% less, and healthcare about 5% less. More significantly, transportation costs will be almost 26% cheaper in Indianapolis compared to Atlanta.

Winner: Indianapolis

Housing Costs

The most significant factor contributing to the lower cost of living in Indianapolis is the cost of housing. Housing is 44% less expensive in Indianapolis compared to Atlanta. Expect a new home to cost just $137,000 in Indianapolis, compared to nearly $300,000 in Atlanta.

It follows that in Indianapolis, nearly 53% of the population owns their home, with 47% renting. In Atlanta, the reverse is true, with 56% of the population renting, with 44% of the population owning their home.

Median House Price$290,400$137,000
Average Rent 1 Bedroom$1,152$892

Winner: Indianapolis

Job Market

Both Indianapolis and Atlanta boast some of the country’s lowest unemployment rates, and both have significantly high projected job growth in the next ten years. However, when it comes to the job market, Atlanta has a significant edge. Not only does this city have a higher median family income, but the projected growth in the coming years is nearly 15% higher.

Major industries in Indianapolis include the energy sector, advanced manufacturing, and technology. Top employers include Eli Lilly, Finish Line, and Anthem. Atlanta is home to finance, healthcare, and biomedical companies. The top employers in Atlanta include Coca-Cola, UPS, Delta, and Home Depot.

Projected 10-Year Growth51%37.5%
Median Household Income$59,948$47,873
Median Personal Income$47,421$28,363

Winner: Atlanta


Choosing a winner between two cities when it comes to culture is complicated because this is a feature that can’t be measured. Atlanta has a deep-rooted history in the Civil Rights movement and is home to famous landmarks and museums honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and his efforts. Further, Atlanta is home to traditional southern hospitality and cuisine, making it a welcoming and comforting city.

Not to be outdone, a big part of Indianapolis culture revolves around food and farming. Agriculture is deeply honored and respected in this city, and farmers are held in the highest esteem. The city revolves around a central market, and they are home to some fun, original local cuisine, including pork tenderloin and sugar cream pie.

Winner: Atlanta


There is plenty to do in Atlanta, with museums and historical monuments to keep you occupied. Spend time strolling through the Georgia Aquarium, which houses manta rays and whale sharks, or visit the Coca-Cola Museum. Piedmont Park features an open-air market that routinely has sporting events for spectators to watch.

Indianapolis is home to two professional sports teams, including football and basketball teams. They are also home to the world’s largest children’s museum. Motorsports play a prominent role in this city’s entertainment, and the Indy 500 is a yearly event that draws thousands of visitors. Further, the Indianapolis Zoo offers a fun adventure for visitors of all ages.

Winner: Tie


Getting from one part of town to another is accessible with the city’s transportation in Indianapolis. The city has some rail systems that Amtrak services, but most people choose to walk or bike. There is a significant effort to improve the bike lanes throughout the city, but Indianapolis already boasts over 115 miles of bikeable parts of the city. Still, with the available public transportation, about 83.7% of the population commutes with their personal car. Indianapolis is also home to an international airport.

Residents in Atlanta have many options for public transportation, including a rail system, bus system, and extensive highways. The world’s busiest airport is located in Atlanta, and this is connected to the downtown area via light rail. Even with all the public transportation options for residents, only about 10% of the population chooses to use public transportation for their everyday commute.

Winner: Atlanta


Indianapolis is a very diverse city with people of all ages living together. The city is moderately educated, with about 27% of the population receiving at least some college education or an Associate’s degree. 61% of the population identifies as White, 28% Black, 10% Hispanic, and 2.8% Asian.

Comparatively, Atlanta is a highly educated city, with 23% of the residents earning their Master’s degree and 29% of the population earning their Bachelor’s degree. This city has the majority of its residents between the ages of 25 and 34. Even more diverse than Indianapolis, 51% of the population identifies as Black, 41% White, 4.7 Hispanic, and 3.7 Asian.

Winner: Atlanta


Earning top marks for public and private schools, Indianapolis is home to some of the best elementary and high school education in the country. Not only are these schools ranked in high regard for their academics, but they offer plenty of athletic and artistic opportunities as well. Indianapolis is also home to several higher education facilities that are regarded as the best in the world. Indiana University, Purdue, Butler, and Notre Dame can all be found in Indianapolis.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta also has some of the best public and private schools in the country. Both academics and athletics are first-class in these schools. Higher education also provides plenty of opportunities with Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Georgia State, all found in Atlanta.

Winner: Tie


Although Indianapolis is in the country’s northern regions, the weather is not as chilly or as snowy as some might expect. Expect the summer months to reach the mid-80s, with winters dipping to the high 30s. Snow is a distinct possibility in this city, but Indianapolis only averages about 21 inches of snow each year, with a total of 122 days of precipitation throughout the year.

For those looking for warmer weather, Atlanta may offer what you are searching for. Summer months usually reach into the high 80s, while winters rarely dip below 50 degrees F. Although snow is rare, it is possible in Atlanta. In recent years, Atlanta has been home to some strong and intense storms that cause tornadoes. Atlanta will soon be moved into the infamous Tornado Alley.

Winner: Indianapolis

Crime Rates

Being major cities and urban areas, neither Indianapolis nor Atlanta can boast great numbers and stats regarding crime. However, Indianapolis appears to be safer. This city has four times the national average for assault, three times the average for murder, and two times the national average for rape cases. Property theft, though, remains just higher than the national average.

Comparatively, Atlanta crime statistics are not great. Assault, murder and rape are all three times above the national average. Although burglary and theft are slightly higher than the average, motor vehicle theft is about double. Considering the types of crimes and the number of criminal cases, Indianapolis is a safer city.

Winner: Indianapolis

Related Questions

Which city in Indiana gets the most snow?

Although it may seem like Indianapolis receives the most amount of snow each year, averaging about 21 inches, the actual snowiest city in Hudson Lake. Located just east of the lake, this city receives an average of 66 inches of snow each year.

What does Atlanta’s nightlife look like?

Downtown Atlanta is home to some of the country’s best nightlife. Couple the wonderfully warm weather with a younger adult population, and there are plenty of opportunities to unwind and relax in the evening. There are several rooftop bars with views of the city, cocktail lounges, and dance clubs for young adults to enjoy.


Choosing just one city as the winner is difficult, especially with so much to offer in each city. However, the winner between these two cities is Indianapolis. Although Atlanta may provide more job growth potential, the lower cost of living combined with the higher quality of life in Indianapolis gives it a clear edge. Couple this with excellent educational opportunities and a safer city, and it is easy to see why Indianapolis is the clear winner.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

More by Upgraded Home Team