Central Georgia is the area containing the metropolitan region surrounding the city of Macon, in Bibb County in the U.S. state of Georgia. It abuts the Atlanta metropolitan area, just to the north.
Similar and coextensive names for this region include Middle Georgia and the Heart of Georgia. While no precise definition exists there are several ways to group places as part of the area. A partial list:
Some of the most prominent cities in middle Georgia, each with their own unique history and character, include:
Twiggs County contains the actual geographic center of the state.
The economy in Central Georgia tends to cluster around five areas: aerospace, healthcare and hospitals, kaolin, warehousing and distribution, and heritage and ecotourism. Macon is the region's retail and trade center and the Macon-Bibb county serves as the region's center of employment. The Central Georgia region has been competitive in the United States in terms of economic growth and stability, but within the state of Georgia, the region has not experienced much growth. The region lags behind most other regions in the state in terms of well-being of its residents and overall economic growth. As of 2017, over 46,000 workers from nearby counties commute to the Macon-Bibb county for work. To assist in business growth and development, the Macon Economic Development Commission recruits new businesses and industries to the region. In August 2017 the Canadian based Irving Consumer Products announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in Macon that would create additional jobs.
The Central Georgia Business and Technology Park in Thomaston is a 240-acre facility that houses tenants such as Southern Company, Solutions Pest & Lawn, Criterion Technologies, and Chief Manufacturing.
Houston County is located 75 miles south of the Atlanta International Airport, and home to Georgia's largest industrial complex at the Warner Robins Air Force Base. Houston county has more than 3,000 acres of land for industrial development and one of the lowest property tax rates in middle Georgia. The county is designated one of Georgia’s Entrepreneur Friendly Communities. Houston County has experienced a population growth, from 89,208 in 1990 to a population of 160,000 in 2015.
Central Georgia's largest employer is the Warner Robins Air Force Base, with more than 22,300 employees as of 2015, followed by Geico with over 5,690 employees and the Medical Center of Central Georgia, with over 4,600 employees. Other employers in the region include the Houston County Board of Education, Bibb County Board of Education, Houston Healthcare, Perdue Farms, the Macon-Bibb County Government, the Blue Bird Corp, Coliseum Health System, and Frito lay
As of 2010, the estimated total population of central Georgia, including the counties of Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach, and Twiggs counties, was 445,608 people. The population has grown by 11% over the last 10 years. The fastest growth was reported in Houston County, which saw a population growth of 26.3% followed by Monroe (21.5%) and Jones (21.3%) Counties. The racial make-up of the region is 55.9% white, 38.7% Black and 1.6% asian, with about 1.8% identified as mixed or two more races. Houston county has the highest educational attainment for Bachelor's Degrees (14.5%) and Graduate or Professional Degrees (11.2%) for the population over 25 years old in the Central Georgia region in 2011.
Central Georgia has several cultural attractions that include the Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia National Fairground, and the Museum of Aviation at the Robins Air Force Base. Macon is home to over 10 museums, 5 tours and 7 annual festivals. Some of the museums include the Tubman African American Museum, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and the Museum of Arts & Sciences.
The region has an abundance of nature and wildlife; the High Falls state park is located just north west of Macon. High Falls was a prosperous Industrial town with several stores, including a mill, a cotton gin and a shoe factory until it fell from prosperity.
The region hosts several events each year, with Macon, the population center hosting over 20 annual events and has been nicknamed the festival capital of Georgia. Macon's popular events include the International Cherry Blossom Festival, the Bragg Jam, the Ocmulgee Indian Celebration. Other popular events include the Georgia Peach Festival which is hosted in Byron and Fort Valley, and the annual miss Georgia Peach pageant hosted in Fort Valley.
The region features a regional airport, the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. The region is only hours away from the port of Savannah, a major U.S. seaport. Major freeways and highways in the region include, Interstate-75, Interstate-475, Interstate-16, Georgia State Route-80, Georgia State route-23, and Georgia State route-19.