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


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

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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 346 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:

  1. Alba
  2. Bear Lake
  3. Timblin
  4. Westover
  5. Ursina
  6. Rouseville
  7. Marianna
  8. Allenport
  9. Springboro
  10. Kistler

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.

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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 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 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 – 346 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. Alba

Alba, Pennsylvania

Source: Google Maps

Population: 129

We begin our tour of crummy small towns in Pennsylvania with Alba, a teeny speck along Route 14 on your way to the New York State line. Besides sheer boredom, Alba has some issues that make it the worst small town in the state.

First off, nearly 14% of the residents here are out of work, which is the 7th highest rate in the state. Homes average only about $50,000 each, and income levels for a family hover around $33,000, meaning if you lived here, there would be a decent chance you’d live in poverty.

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2. Bear Lake

Bear Lake, Pennsylvania

Source: Google Maps

Population: 158

Living in a relatively poor place with dirt roads isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world, but we’re guessing most Pennsylvania residents would take a pass, thank you very much.

Here in Bear Lake, more than a third of the population is a high school dropout, though ‘only’ 6% of residents are out of work. If you lived in this tiny place along the New York border, you’d have very few choices for finding a career yourself, unless commuting into Warren (Pop. 9,477) sounds appealing to you.

3. Timblin

Timblin, Pennsylvania

The only picture of Timblin, PA we could find. Source: Trulia.

Population: 176

Little Timblin sits in the hills just a short drive from Punxsutawney. Besides a short time every winter when the place is crawling with tourists, you’d probably be extremely bored here. Very rarely does Google Street View not venture into a place, but we had to get the image above from a real estate listing website, since there were no other pictures available online.

Crime is the 7th highest for all small towns we measured, meaning you’d have a 1 in 32 chance of being the victim of a crime each year. Homes are also the 7th-lowest priced for all places we measured – at $45,000 each.

4. Westover

Westover, Pennsylvania

Source: Google Maps

Population: 456

Little ole’ Westover is about as far removed from civilization as you can get. Think of the hills west of Altoona, where there are most likely more deer than people.

While that might sound appealing to lots of outdoorsy types, consider this: You’d probably hover near the poverty line if you lived here, and only 4 in 5 residents completed high school.

For a hot meal, you’d have to drive all the way to a place called Josie’s in Coalport (Pop. 515). Josie’s doesn’t have a website, so we’re not sure if they’re even open anymore.

5. Ursina

Ursina, Pennsylvania

Source: Google Maps

Population: 301

Way down near the Maryland/West Virginia border is Ursina, PA, which looks like it would be a pretty place for 6 months a year. For fun, you could play disc golf or eat out at Spittal’s Park Street Pizzeria. Once that novelty wore off, you’d have to take up fishing or hunting to pass the time here.

Home prices average $73,000, which is the highest of any small town on this list. Which means you’d be overpaying significantly to live in…Ursina.

6. Rouseville

Rouseville, Pennsylvania

Source: Google Maps

Population: 657

Just north of Oil City is a place called Rouseville, PA. This western Pennsylvania borough sits on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, which is a nice perk.

Crime is just about as high as you’ll see for small town PA, homes are the 6th cheapest, and more than 11% of the community is out of work.

7. Marianna

Marianna, Pennsylvania

Source: Google Maps

Population: 539

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Talk about cheap living. If you don’t mind living out in the middle of nowhere, and wouldn’t mind paying $42,000 for a house, then there are probably several home owners in Marianna who would like to speak with you.

Most people who live here make the 45-minute commute into Washington, PA for work and fun.

8. Allenport

Allenport, Pennsylvania

Source: Google Maps

Population: 710

Allenport has some semblance of a social life. Located along the Monogahela River south of Pittsburgh, you could certainly do worse in terms of entertainment.

The main issue here is chronic unemployment. More than 14% of the population hasn’t had a job in years, and most families bring in about $30,000 a year. So while there might be more ‘things to do’ you’d have to watch your budget all the time if you lived here yourself.

9. Springboro

Springboro, Pennsylvania

The bustling downtown of Springboro, PA. Source: Google Maps

Population: 391

Springboro is along Route 18, a short drive north of Conneautville in western PA. Unemployment is in the top 10%, and 3 in 10 residents is a high school dropout.

The amenities are plentiful: There’s an archery center, three churches, a senior center and a handful of banks. But judging by the annual salaries of the residents who live here, there probably isn’t a lot of money in Springboro banks to speak of.

10. Kistler

Kistler, Pennsylvania

Source: Google Maps

Population: 383

We round of our list of small Pennsylvania small towns you would never want to live in with Kistler, a little ole’ place on Route 522 across the Juniata River from Mt. Union.

If you lived here, you’d live right at the poverty level, and there’s a decent chance you wouldn’t have a high school diploma under your belt. The good news? Mt. Union has a handful of fast food restaurants, which is where you’d probably work.

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.

Best: Mount Gretna
2nd Best: Patterson Heights
3rd Best: Thornburg
For more Pennsylvania reading , check out:

Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Pennsylvania

Summerville
City Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Alba 1 129 $33,438 $50,000
Bear Lake 2 158 $35,536 $53,300
Timblin 3 176 $32,917 $46,100
Westover 4 456 $34,000 $61,200
Ursina 5 301 $35,781 $73,100
Rouseville 6 657 $27,462 $43,800
Marianna 7 539 $38,125 $42,100
Allenport 8 710 $31,731 $71,600
Springboro 9 391 $35,469 $80,000
Kistler 10 383 $26,250 $51,600
Callensburg 11 137 $21,771 $83,500
Clintonville 12 420 $26,000 $46,400
Middleport 13 388 $37,250 $56,500
Glen Campbell 14 184 $42,292 $62,000
Ehrenfeld 15 198 $39,375 $53,300
Austin 16 549 $35,375 $66,700
Wallaceton 17 351 $39,750 $80,500
Gilberton 18 851 $33,438 $31,100
Shade Gap 19 125 $20,682 $85,000
Briar Creek 20 721 $26,923 $111,300
Eastvale 21 189 $27,404 $57,100
Petrolia 22 202 $40,625 $50,000
Shirleysburg 23 161 $33,393 $48,500
Plumville 24 328 $37,917 $69,100
Wheatland 25 701 $25,625 $49,900
Manns Choice 26 242 $45,000 $76,400
Lanesboro 27 548 $33,050 $78,900
Tioga 28 738 $36,094 $63,800
Rainsburg 29 128 $32,000 $95,000
Mapleton 30 576 $33,889 $66,500
Oswayo 31 162 $33,750 $83,900
Bruin 32 553 $49,261 $72,200
Scalp Level 33 797 $35,208 $60,700
Irvona 34 795 $29,792 $69,500
New Columbus 35 215 $31,250 $120,000
Rome 36 375 $33,214 $62,500
Hawthorn 37 607 $40,882 $70,300
Three Springs 38 418 $31,000 $100,800
Juniata Terrace 39 654 $30,980 $46,600
Benson 40 201 $40,000 $70,700
East Side 41 323 $40,179 $63,600
New Albany 42 407 $38,438 $73,300
Volant 43 170 $32,083 $80,900
Thompson 44 322 $36,875 $86,300
New Lebanon 45 209 $40,000 $93,300
Elco 46 295 $22,917 $65,000
Shickshinny 47 750 $27,368 $75,700
Lorain 48 869 $38,594 $49,000
Big Run 49 659 $33,636 $56,700
Mahaffey 50 339 $29,063 $55,900
Driftwood 51 88 $46,250 $43,300
Newton Hamilton 52 159 $24,688 $51,700
Rockwood 53 836 $37,063 $72,700
Warrior Run 54 583 $38,571 $75,400
55 494 $35,600 $62,400
Burnside 56 243 $33,000 $68,200
Spartansburg 57 334 $39,583 $80,000
Shippingport 58 168 $37,250 $71,400
Port Clinton 59 253 $40,625 $87,900
Atwood 60 131 $41,250 $123,200
Cokeburg 61 658 $45,208 $61,300
New Ringgold 62 322 $45,156 $84,500
Wellersburg 63 222 $39,432 $92,600
West Elizabeth 64 775 $39,432 $56,200
Coalport 65 593 $21,667 $71,300
Gratz 66 793 $35,329 $94,700
Sligo 67 640 $32,125 $83,600
Cherry Tree 68 399 $34,688 $71,800
Laurel Run 69 546 $39,135 $62,500
Hyndman 70 953 $33,393 $78,900
Homewood 71 106 $34,286 $65,400
Dawson 72 325 $28,295 $56,600
Barkeyville 73 329 $40,625 $95,600
Wall 74 651 $48,125 $49,300
South Renovo 75 491 $33,125 $39,200
Marion Center 76 446 $40,000 $81,200
Utica 77 152 $41,875 $50,000
Paint 78 840 $28,295 $76,000
Meshoppen 79 499 $44,000 $95,800
Foxburg 80 244 $41,364 $74,300
Strattanville 81 659 $45,511 $63,800
Elgin 82 251 $40,625 $91,300
Mill Creek 83 398 $38,750 $81,000
Eau Claire 84 305 $40,833 $85,800
Chester Hill 85 931 $28,836 $88,100
Sutersville 86 550 $36,875 $87,000
Ulysses 87 643 $43,750 $79,700
Koppel 88 711 $36,316 $74,700
Saxton 89 676 $30,605 $78,400
Vanderbilt 90 443 $36,667 $62,000
Lewis Run 91 607 $38,472 $64,800
Karns City 92 258 $43,203 $87,900
Hopewell 93 251 $37,917 $75,000
Wattsburg 94 453 $41,563 $79,100
New Centerville 95 155 $42,083 $91,400
Ellsworth 96 985 $35,288 $81,200
Knoxville 97 669 $26,417 $50,600
Confluence 98 770 $29,625 $87,900
Hop Bottom 99 346 $39,063 $110,200
Friendsville 100 133 $45,625 $151,800
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12 thoughts on “10 Small Towns In Pennsylvania Where You’d Never Want To Live

  1. This dude’s obviously retarded. I wonder if you decided that mathematical statistics was a great factor to use when having such a small place like Alba. I lived there and after living across the nation, I’d go back. Guess it’s just a small town feeling that people like this garbage-ass blogger will never understand.

  2. I live near springboro and this article is spot on. Except for many of the people do have jobs, only it’s illegal and called meth labs.

  3. I like Knoxville, where my Mom was born & raised, she grew up there. Also had lots of other family that lived there too. She liked growing up there. But as time went on, family moved away or passed away. Now my Mom’s buried there, same Cemetery with her family that already passed, also friends.

  4. Seriously if you knew that Allenport is actually part of several other areas out there, that are worth living in. I live in Charleroi, PA, which is 4.2 miles from Allenport, then you haven’t been in the Mid Mon Valley, and don’t know jack about this area. Get your facts straight

  5. Scranton PA ,,,,, Born and raised there ,,,, 1940 thru 1999 ,,, moved in 99 have been back just a few weeks ago ,, would never move back there …. It should be listed as the worst city to live in !!! It is so RUN DOWN ,,, The streets ,,, the homes ,, it is a MESS !!!!!!

  6. Marianna is not 45 minutes from Washington. 20 to 25 depending on where your going. Lived in Marianna for 17 years. My family is still there. And Washington isn’t the closest town, Waynesburg is only 15 minutes.
    If he got that wrong, what else did he get wrong?

  7. This blogger has a stick up his ass for small towns. Blogger probably looked at a bunch of statistics and thought he/she should just shit all over these places because why not. My point here is blogger is an asshole.

  8. Christ, I have to drive through Westover every day, that’s bad enough, I couldn’t imagine living there, maybe if I had a hot cousin or something tho….

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