The 10 Worst Small Towns In Pennsylvania For 2022


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

RoadSnacks is reader-supported. When you click through real estate links on our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst small places to live in Pennsylvania.

Most Americans have never been to Pennsylvania. However, as the people who live there know, Pennsylvania is an awesome state.

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

After analyzing more than 705 of Pennsylvania's smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Pennsylvania where you'd never want to live:

So what is the worst small town to call home in Pennsylvania for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Girardville is the worst small town to live in Pennsylvania.

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

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.

And if you already know about the small towns, check out the best places to live in Pennsylvania or the worst places to live in Pennsylvania.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

The 10 Worst Small Towns In Pennsylvania For 2022

1. Girardville

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,376
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $33,200 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.4% (23rd worst)
More on Girardville:  Data

2. Briar Creek

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,060
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $99,500 (158th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 32.6% (worst)
More on Briar Creek:  Data

3. Renovo

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,078
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $41,200 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.3% (6th worst)
More on Renovo:  Data

4. Pocono Ranch Lands

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 1,189
Rank Last Year: 107 (Up 103)
Median Home Value: $122,700 (254th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 27.1% (2nd worst)
More on Pocono Ranch Lands:  Data

5. Shinglehouse

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 1,059
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $70,700 (50th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.0% (132nd worst)
More on Shinglehouse:  Data

6. Marcus Hook

Marcus Hook, PA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,334
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $80,100 (8worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (60th worst)
More on Marcus Hook:  Data | Photos

7. Westfield

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,419
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $79,000 (79th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (17worst)
More on Westfield:  Data

8. Brownsville

Brownsville, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,313
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $49,400 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.3% (49th worst)
More on Brownsville:  Data | Photos

9. Honesdale

Honesdale, PA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 4,294
Rank Last Year: 35 (Up 26)
Median Home Value: $128,400 (279th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.0% (52nd worst)
More on Honesdale:  Data | Photos

10. Shenandoah

Shenandoah, PA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 4,789
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $29,200 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (79th worst)
More on Shenandoah:  Data | Photos

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

In order to rank the worst small towns to live in Pennsylvania, 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 determined the worst small towns to live in Pennsylvania for 2022

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the Census's 2016-2020 American Community Survey, 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 1,000 and 5,000 people, of which, there were a lot - 705 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.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

There You Have It - The Worst Small Towns In Pennsylvania

If you're analyzing teeny places in the Keystone 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 Pennsylvania, according to science:

  1. Aspinwall (Pop. 2,687)
  2. Wyncote (Pop. 3,333)
  3. Narberth (Pop. 4,304)

For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Pennsylvania

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Girardville 1,376 14.4% $33,200
2 Briar Creek 1,060 32.6% $99,500
3 Renovo 1,078 20.3% $41,200
4 Pocono Ranch Lands 1,189 27.1% $122,700
5 Shinglehouse 1,059 8.0% $70,700
6 Marcus Hook 2,334 10.4% $80,100
7 Westfield 1,419 7.1% $79,000
8 Brownsville 2,313 11.3% $49,400
9 Honesdale 4,294 11.0% $128,400
10 Shenandoah 4,789 9.6% $29,200
11 Reynoldsville 2,659 9.8% $73,400
12 Republic 1,194 12.9% $65,500
13 Black Lick 1,416 5.9% $103,100
14 West Hazleton 4,351 8.6% $85,800
15 Boswell 1,415 11.0% $75,600
16 Homestead 3,168 13.6% $58,000
17 Rankin 1,948 13.9% $57,100
18 Midland 2,608 12.8% $65,000
19 Glen Lyon 2,929 3.6% $68,500
20 South Connellsville 1,636 7.1% $71,600
21 Lykens 1,932 5.1% $78,300
22 Mahanoy City 3,963 7.7% $27,400
23 Fairchance 1,854 8.7% $93,800
24 Farrell 4,634 9.7% $59,400
25 Lansford 3,761 12.2% $44,400
26 Susquehanna Depot 1,378 10.2% $73,300
27 Ridgway 3,781 8.6% $69,900
28 Mount Union 2,249 11.6% $77,900
29 Mcadoo 2,631 9.3% $66,400
30 Ashland 2,696 5.4% $57,900
31 West Milton 1,152 7.5% $141,400
32 Hallstead 1,213 6.8% $92,100
33 North Braddock 4,703 16.4% $46,000
34 Wilmerding 1,840 16.3% $55,600
35 Nesquehoning 3,247 5.9% $87,000
36 Marienville 3,538 7.8% $87,300
37 Troy 1,395 5.2% $132,900
38 Hyde 1,361 8.2% $85,300
39 Braddock 1,885 25.0% $32,800
40 Emporium 2,004 14.0% $64,000
41 Milroy 1,392 5.4% $89,200
42 Waymart 1,264 8.3% $154,900
43 Sugarcreek 4,970 6.7% $85,400
44 Rimersburg 1,053 6.8% $76,200
45 Mount Oliver 3,304 8.1% $55,700
46 Sandy 1,340 3.8% $104,600
47 Montrose 1,529 6.8% $126,800
48 Donora 4,580 7.4% $61,400
49 Ashley 2,736 8.6% $64,100
50 Point Marion 1,331 7.4% $80,900
51 Bentleyville 2,466 6.9% $119,900
52 Tresckow 1,210 15.5% $82,000
53 Coaldale Borough (Schuylkill County) 2,164 9.8% $50,000
54 Dravosburg 1,710 3.9% $67,700
55 Saw Creek 3,848 13.9% $144,200
56 Pitcairn 3,180 10.9% $72,100
57 Nanty-Glo 2,530 4.2% $66,200
58 Woodland Heights 1,146 13.8% $110,600
59 Northern Cambria 3,538 6.7% $74,400
60 Apollo 1,408 9.3% $63,300
61 Eddystone 2,407 7.2% $97,600
62 Kane 3,479 11.4% $57,500
63 Colwyn 2,541 12.4% $76,100
64 Friedens 1,273 17.7% $129,100
65 Central City 1,013 6.4% $62,600
66 Meyersdale 2,203 4.0% $82,200
67 Hawley 1,147 6.4% $137,200
68 Bowman 1,089 15.3% $144,900
69 Salix 1,277 9.8% $130,100
70 New Eagle 2,433 14.4% $88,800
71 Beave 1,080 7.2% $118,600
72 Sharpsburg 3,347 12.5% $78,300
73 Edgewood 2,616 12.0% $52,300
74 York Springs 1,028 9.4% $151,600
75 Pleasant Hill 2,962 11.2% $122,700
76 Kittanning 3,751 8.9% $69,800
77 Tremont 1,681 8.5% $71,900
78 North Warren 2,008 6.5% $81,800
79 Windsor 1,265 6.2% $124,600
80 Mcclure 1,205 1.9% $104,400
81 Claysburg 1,196 2.2% $119,900
82 Arnold 4,852 9.4% $64,100
83 Rochester 3,468 8.0% $75,300
84 Tarentum 4,397 10.2% $66,100
85 Avonmore 1,160 5.9% $72,700
86 Clymer 1,079 6.3% $72,400
87 Shippensburg University 1,887 16.1% $1,000
88 Canton 1,820 2.9% $116,000
89 Freedom 1,677 5.4% $73,200
90 Johnsonburg 2,304 8.7% $50,300
91 East Uniontown 2,231 3.3% $86,400
92 Glassport 4,338 8.0% $71,700
93 South Coatesville 1,559 7.3% $177,700
94 Everett 2,111 9.4% $94,800
95 Birchwood Lakes 1,321 11.9% $112,100
96 St. Clair 2,842 6.2% $65,200
97 Simpson 1,110 4.6% $94,100
98 Coudersport 2,652 2.7% $95,400
99 Charleroi 3,923 9.5% $47,100
100 West Brownsville 1,121 8.6% $69,500

How Is The Area In ?