10 Small Towns In Ohio Where You’d Never Want To Live


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in OH are the pits.

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Most Americans have never been to Ohio. However, as the people who live there know, Ohio is an awesome state. Particularly if you simply have to make the midwest your home.

But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Ohio has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Buckeye State. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.

After analyzing more than 358 of Ohio’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Ohio where you’d never want to live:

  1. Cecil
  2. Macksburg
  3. Belmore
  4. Belle Valley
  5. New Bloomington
  6. Valley Hi
  7. Trimble
  8. Rogers
  9. Irondale
  10. Milton Center

Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Ohio has its stuff figured out.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how the 100 worst small towns fared overall. These places are so small, you may not have heard of any of them. But trust us, they exist.

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How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?

In order to rank the worst small towns to live in Ohio, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the Census’s 2010-2014 American Community Survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The lower the worse)
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Low housing costs (meaning there’s no demand)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • Education (Number of high school dropouts)
  • High Crime

We looked at cities with populations between 100 and 1,000 people, of which, there were a lot – 358 to be exact.

Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.

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1. Cecil

Cecil, Ohio

Source: Google Maps

Population: 172

Welcome to Cecil, Ohio, population 172. Located about halfway between Fort Wayne, Indiana and Toledo along Route 24, Cecil is the absolute worst small town you could live in Ohio.

Just what makes Cecil such a crummy place to call home? For one, boredom. This is the 4th least densely populated place in Ohio, a state that can be pretty boring regardless. Crime is the 10th worst of all small towns we measured, and more than 1 in 3 residents never completed high school.

  These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Ohio

Trust us, you would never ever want to live here.

2. Macksburg

Macksburg, Ohio

Source: Google Maps

Population: 138

How does bringing in about $22,000 a year sound to you? If you lived in little ole’ Macksburg, that’s about what your entire family would earn in an entire year. Even in the sticks in backwoods Ohio, that doesn’t go very far at all.

Almost half of the residents here don’t have a high school diploma, and crime is the 4th worst of all small cities in the state.

At least homes are only $29,000 each. When a McDonald’s try cook can afford a home, you know this is a place where there is simply no demand.

To get there, take I-77 to West Virginia and stop at the last exit. They’d probably be glad to see you.

3. Belmore

Belmore, Ohio

Source: Google Maps

Population: 155

Did a tornado hit Belmore in the last few years? Google image searches reveal a pretty rundown place. Besides the whole ‘exterior’ problem on the surface, this is one of the most dangerous little places you could call home in Ohio. If you lived here, you’d have a 1 in 22 chance of being the victim of a crime every year.

There isn’t a ‘dumber’ place in Ohio, either. More than half the population never finished high school.

Belmore is way, way out there, along Route 65 between the boom towns of Deshler (Pop. 1,801) and Leipsic (Pop. 2,045).

4. Belle Valley

Belle Valley, Ohio

Source: Google Maps

Population: 269

Along I-77 in southern Ohio is little Belle Valley, which actually has lots to do, compared to the cities listed above. If you lived here, these would be your options for ‘fun:’

You could go to church, hang out at the Sunoco gas station, chill out at the post office, get your nails done at the Villager Beauty Supply or chat it up with Marianne down at Marianne’s Food Station.

Hopefully, Marianne is hiring. If you lived here, you’d most likely need a job since 14% of the town is out of work and 4 in 10 are high school dropouts.

5. New Bloomington

New Bloomington, Ohio

Source: Google Maps

Population: 418

Now that’s a boom town! New Bloomington has a lot going for it, population wise. If you lived here, at least there would be about 400 other people to mingle with.

On the down side, could you trust them? Crime is the 7th highest for every small town in the state. You’d certainly live below the poverty line, and once you got bored with eating at Evan’s Sports Bar, you’d have to make the trek all the way to Marion for a decent meal.

If you’ve been to Marion, you’d know that wouldn’t necessarily be a rip roarin’ good time.

6. Valley Hi

Valley Hi, Ohio

Source: Google Maps

Population: 289

Where is the most dangerous small town with the cheapest homes in Ohio? Welcome to Valley Hi. You can actually buy a home here for about $13,000. That’s the median price; there are certainly homes here that sell for lower than $10,000.

If you’re a young couple, and don’t mind the 90-minute schelp into Columbus every day, then there are probably many home owners in Valley Hi who would like to speak with you. Heck, you could probably trade your car in for a home.

  These Are The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs

Bonus if you like to ski.

7. Trimble

Trimble, Ohio

Source: Google Maps

Population: 439

Trimble is another one of those southern Ohio cities that might as well be West Virginia. Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with West Virginia or anything. We’re just saying…

You’d have about a 1 in 23 chance of being victimized by a crime every year here, and for entertainment, you’d have your choices from Go Go Burrito, Kasler’s Country Kitchen and the Brickyard Drive Thru, which is actually a beer store without a website.

You’d better save up for beer money to keep the boredom blues away; the average family brings in about $26,000 a year here.

8. Rogers

Rogers, Ohio

Source: Google Maps

Population: 157

Rogers, Ohio is the smallest city on this list, and for some reason, the homes here are the most expensive. If spending $75,000 on a home a short drive from Pennsylvania sounds appealing, then this place is for you!

But buyer beware: 4 in 10 residents never finished high school, and crime is the 20th worst in the state.

9. Irondale

Irondale, Ohio

Source: Google Maps

Population: 454

Irondale is a bargain hunter’s dream. Of all the small Ohio towns on this list, it’s the place with the lowest income to home price ratio. Meaning you could pay off your home in about a year’s salary.

Only thing is, you’d have two choices for work – make a drive into nearby Wellsville to try your hand at running the register at either Family Dollar or the Kwik King, or you could save on gas and probably get a job online filling out surveys. That is, if the internet even stretches all this way out in no man’s land.

10. Milton Center

Milton Center, Ohio

Source: Google Maps

Population: 120

We end our tour of the small towns in Ohio you wouldn’t want to ever (ever) live in little Milton Center, a speck of a place exactly 22 minutes west of Bowling Green.

While the low wages, high crime and dim-witted population might be enough to make an Ohioan go cuckoo, at least you’d have comfort knowing right down the road is Bowling Green.

Now, that’s a place worth moving to. Right?

There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Ohio

If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Buckeye State with the worst economic situations, where there’s high crime and there’s not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in Ohio, according to science.

Best: Riverlea
2nd Best: Marble Cliff
3rd Best: Sherwood
For more Ohio reading, check out:

Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Ohio

City Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Cecil 1 172 $34,375 $51,000
Macksburg 2 138 $22,917 $29,000
Belmore 3 155 $32,857 $54,600
Belle Valley 4 269 $36,875 $57,300
New Bloomington 5 418 $24,545 $57,500
Valley Hi 6 289 $30,000 $13,700
Trimble 7 439 $27,500 $58,300
Rogers 8 157 $31,719 $75,000
Irondale 9 454 $36,324 $48,000
Milton Center 10 120 $36,806 $75,000
Beaver 11 454 $15,833 $77,500
Wilkesville 12 111 $18,438 $91,700
New Straitsville 13 550 $28,611 $53,000
Melrose 14 245 $28,750 $65,000
Rarden 15 210 $31,563 $58,300
Venedocia 16 90 $22,083 $45,500
Tiro 17 287 $45,250 $60,000
Leesville 18 165 $30,694 $46,400
Adelphi 19 345 $31,944 $72,900
McGuffey 20 463 $31,917 $56,800
Quincy 21 743 $35,000 $68,000
Harbor View 22 235 $27,500 $46,300
Hoytville 23 214 $41,250 $73,900
Dexter City 24 131 $35,417 $55,500
Barnhill 25 373 $35,000 $72,500
Haviland 26 143 $26,458 $51,000
Mifflin 27 137 $23,846 $86,000
Adamsville 28 159 $29,063 $46,300
Castine 29 137 $31,875 $62,500
Darbyville 30 227 $46,705 $51,100
Willshire 31 434 $32,857 $61,200
Rutland 32 521 $29,250 $52,700
Corning 33 738 $28,214 $50,800
Milledgeville 34 119 $31,250 $82,100
Hanging Rock 35 182 $31,250 $71,700
Scott 36 342 $38,214 $48,000
Patterson 37 132 $37,917 $63,300
Addyston 38 841 $28,500 $79,200
Nevada 39 692 $42,500 $66,800
Cumberland 40 412 $41,750 $64,800
Sarahsville 41 174 $29,375 $51,700
Junction City 42 825 $27,056 $82,300
Jewett 43 664 $33,167 $53,500
Grover Hill 44 375 $34,792 $51,400
Midland 45 429 $37,692 $86,300
Senecaville 46 350 $35,556 $66,100
Sherrodsville 47 255 $36,250 $69,600
Congress 48 306 $42,344 $61,300
Shiloh 49 561 $45,250 $63,400
Fulton 50 265 $35,625 $55,500
Roswell 51 181 $39,583 $84,600
Gann 52 150 $46,875 $71,900
Palestine 53 168 $41,667 $60,800
Russellville 54 365 $33,750 $84,800
Summit
ville
55 195 $47,560 $91,000
Lockbourne 56 353 $44,375 $90,200
Savannah 57 457 $31,705 $106,800
Mineral City 58 723 $40,781 $68,100
Holloway 59 429 $32,125 $40,100
Coalton 60 486 $24,107 $63,100
Seaman 61 744 $31,750 $86,600
Perrysville 62 762 $32,097 $76,900
Stratton 63 294 $23,077 $59,600
New Alexandria 64 219 $41,964 $62,500
Crown City 65 433 $35,893 $88,500
Port Washington 66 637 $35,000 $75,900
Ridgeway 67 408 $37,308 $70,700
Bowerston 68 469 $24,688 $65,000
Lore City 69 279 $38,661 $66,700
Linndale 70 185 $36,429 $72,500
Middle Point 71 641 $36,477 $66,300
Martinsburg 72 267 $30,313 $90,600
Tarlton 73 306 $28,125 $87,300
Wharton 74 433 $45,000 $77,700
Stockport 75 456 $25,938 $77,200
Malta 76 981 $36,917 $49,300
Wren 77 288 $36,750 $59,000
Kirby 78 84 $35,750 $64,200
Harpster 79 218 $36,500 $80,000
Pleasant City 80 520 $37,000 $63,400
Dellroy 81 246 $30,833 $78,600
Beallsville 82 518 $24,444 $72,600
Somerville 83 262 $40,417 $90,000
Rock Creek 84 543 $32,120 $89,200
Port William 85 324 $42,708 $67,500
Clay Center 86 302 $39,000 $88,000
Moscow 87 190 $43,500 $76,000
New Athens 88 244 $19,911 $67,000
New Holland 89 615 $41,442 $90,400
Sinking Spring 90 122 $48,750 $88,300
Smithfield 91 786 $32,143 $66,200
West Millgrove 92 100 $28,750 $71,300
Clarksburg 93 551 $38,125 $81,800
Scio 94 763 $25,357 $62,800
Lewisville 95 160 $41,250 $71,900
McClure 96 797 $39,107 $75,700
Summerfield 97 254 $29,844 $53,100
Freeport 98 396 $32,778 $65,900
Martinsville 99 454 $41,250 $80,600
Highland 100 242 $32,321 $85,900

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15 thoughts on “10 Small Towns In Ohio Where You’d Never Want To Live

  1. We live in Cecil and it’s not that bad a town. Yes it is small, and yes there is close to nothing to do, but that is because it is a farming community. Most towns in Ohio are boring, even the large city of Defiance which is 15min away can be very boring. When it comes to fun you usually need to go to a very large city to find any, it’s obvious you won’t find anything in a little village. To add, no matter where you live you will find bad neighbors and dangerous people, there’s no way of avoiding that. Don’t let this article scare you away.

  2. This article is insulting and inaccurate. For one thing the directions to Macksburg are incorrect. It is not off the first exit before WV. It isn’t even off the second exit. If you are going to post something like this please at least check your facts. Also when reporting the crime rates it would be helpful to give people an idea of how the crime ranks to other towns on an annual basis, i.e. How many murders/year, how many drug busts/year. Most of these have less than one murder a year making them still a very safe place to live. I grew up in Caldwell Ohio and am familiar with several of these small towns and the people who live there. Your article is hurtful to these people because you are mocking their way of life. Please be more considerate of people’s feelings.

    1. I hunted out of Caldwell in Violet township off rt 78.
      I like Caldwell.
      But honey, put on your big girl panties and don’t allow yourself to be offended.
      If your feelings are hurt, you must have gotten a participation trophy in little league soccer and your parents overprotected your tender self esteem.
      Toughen up! Failure teaches you more than living a sheltered unrealistic existence.

  3. None of these villages qualify as a town. How many are even incorporated and collect taxes. This looks like an attempt to just kick the residents of these communities. Is your company too stupid to know the difference between a town and villages or hamlets? And I don’t live in any of the so-called 100 worst places.
    From the English Dictionary definition: a ​place where there are a lot of ​houses, ​stores, and other ​buildings which is ​smaller than a ​city:
    [C] He was ​born in the ​small town of Elnora, Indiana.
    [U] We ​stayed at the ​best ​hotel in town.

  4. I live in rogers and where they get the crime rate surprised me. Are they counting speeding tickets and running the only red light? And by the way, where is a 75000 house? Mine was a lot more than that!

  5. I am a council member and your facts are all wrong I suggest you go to the county information and stay away from Facebook.Our population is larger and as for high school diplomas my family alone will dis credit that fact . our crime rate is lowest in the county and the state . we have had only one arrest in three years .before you spout off nonsense you need to do more research

  6. This is ridiculous. There are lots worse places to live. Let’s start with EVERY place that borders on the Cuyahoga River. When you live on a river that is so polluted it catches on fire every month or so and they have to bring the fireboat to spray foam on it, THAT is a bad place. A guy driving across the bridge flicks a cigarette out the window and it falls on the river and the water goes up in flames, and you think Irondale is a bad place to live? Get serious. But it gets worse. What about inner city Cincinnati and Cleveland, where you’re afraid to go out at night or walk down the street at noon, where if you pull up at a red light, while you’re stuck there waiting for the light to change, four guys emerge from the alley and pull off your hubcaps and disappear back into the darkness, and you think Irondale is a bad place to live?

  7. There are many “towns” that were missed! Several in Van Wert county alone. Converse, Elgin, Schumm, Glenmore, Dull Station, Dixon, Cavett, Convoy, and so on. Many of these with an even smaller population! Maybe wroth taking another look…

  8. I’ve been to many of these quaint towns. Many of these are quiet commuter towns, Ideal for the person who wants to live close to a more populated area but still live in a friendly small town. Best of two worlds. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

  9. It ain’t right to label people as being dumb based only on their level of education. My dad was born into depression era West Virgina, and had to help support the family after completing the third grade. He farmed a lot and found he was better at fixing things. While employed at the county as a mechanic he managed to buy some cheap land, build a house and a garage on it, started a nice orchard and a big garden. My brothers and I ate very well growing up. Dad retired to his own business in the garage he built. So be careful of how you label people.

  10. As a native of ohio, I must say, don’t forget Coshocton. Sadly, Coshocton is one of the worst I’ve been too. I’m honestly surprised it didn’t make this list!

  11. You did give an abbreviated rundown as to how you collected the data in your article. One was that you had never visited any of these towns. Totally statistical driven…Hmmm.

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