Jamaicans have been moving to Atlanta since the early 1980’s and the pace seems to have picked up in recent years. Why are people moving here? Many are attracted by its mild winters, affordable housing, laid back lifestyle and southern charm. Most often you run into people who have moved from New York, New Jersey and the Northeast in general but increasingly people are moving from Florida after bad experiences with hurricanes.
Most Jamaicans are concentrated in the eastern suburbs of Stone Mountain, Decatur, Lithonia and Snellville but you will also find enclaves in College Park, Lawrenceville, Alpharetta, Roswell, Duluth, Austell, Riverdale, Loganville, Marietta, Jonesboro, Stockbridge, Fayetteville and Fairburn. You can probably find a Jamaican in each of the 28 counties that comprise the Atlanta Metro area. Newer arriving residents are continuing to widen the area in which Jamaicans can be found. And so you will hear of people living in Buford, Ball Ground, Bremen, Kennesaw, Acworth, Winder, and Suwannee, places that only a few years ago seemed like foreign countries.
The Atlanta Metro area has population of approximately five million but the city of Atlanta proper has only about 500,000 inhabitants. Because Atlanta has no natural boundaries, urban sprawl continues in all directions and this is reflected in the very long commute times. In fact, a recent study revealed that Atlanta drivers have the most expensive commuting costs in the nation. Consequently, newcomers are advised to first determine where they are going to work and , then and only then, look for a place to live that will afford a reasonable commute. And drive you must as public transportation in the metro area is woefully underdeveloped. Many newcomers find that the typical family will need at least two cars get around.