These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Tennessee For 2019


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

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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 . This is our fourth time ranking the worst small places to live in Tennessee.

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

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

After analyzing more than 163 of Tennessee’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Tennessee where you’d never want to live:

So what is the worst small town to call home in Tennessee for 2019? According to the most recent census data, Altamont is the worst small town to live in Tennessee.

Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Tennessee 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 Tennessee or the worst places to live in Tennessee.

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

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

In order to rank the worst small towns to live in Tennessee, 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 Tennessee for 2019

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 2013-2017 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 – 163 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.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,044
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $68,500 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (21st worst)
More on Altamont:  Data

Jellico, TN

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,427
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $76,700 (22nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (32nd worst)
More on Jellico:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,698
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $60,900 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 34.4% (1st worst)
More on East Cleveland:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,659
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $76,700 (22nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (48th worst)
More on Red Boiling Springs:  Data

Selmer, TN

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 4,446
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 12)
Median Home Value: $94,600 (56th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 24.4% (2nd worst)
More on Selmer:  Data | Photos

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,305
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $97,400 (63rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (52nd worst)
More on Tracy City:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 1,729
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $83,400 (35th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.4% (11th worst)
More on Spencer:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,098
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $82,800 (34th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.0% (8th worst)
More on Adamsville:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,048
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $68,700 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.8% (10th worst)
More on Jamestown:  Data

Oneida, TN

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 3,682
Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 11)
Median Home Value: $96,900 (62nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.8% (10th worst)
More on Oneida:  Data | Photos

There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Tennessee

If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Volunteer 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 Tennessee, according to science:

  1. Oak Hill (Pop. 4,681)
  2. Belle Meade (Pop. 2,584)
  3. Lookout Mountain (Pop. 1,983)

For more Tennessee reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Tennessee

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Altamont 1,044 13.3% $68,500
2 Jellico 2,427 11.9% $76,700
3 East Cleveland 1,698 34.4% $60,900
4 Red Boiling Springs 1,659 9.6% $76,700
5 Selmer 4,446 24.4% $94,600
6 Tracy City 1,305 9.0% $97,400
7 Spencer 1,729 17.4% $83,400
8 Adamsville 2,098 18.0% $82,800
9 Jamestown 2,048 17.8% $68,700
10 Oneida 3,682 17.8% $96,900
11 Roan Mountain 1,458 13.3% $87,900
12 Parsons 2,403 15.9% $79,900
13 Sneedville 1,347 19.0% $72,900
14 Ridgely 1,963 12.8% $69,100
15 Maynardville 2,611 11.6% $93,000
16 Tiptonville 4,375 21.4% $73,000
17 Lake City 1,886 11.9% $72,000
18 Mason 1,050 24.0% $86,500
19 Somerville 3,121 15.6% $164,900
20 Graysville 1,774 9.5% $56,200
21 Midtown 1,443 13.6% $78,200
22 Fincastle 1,264 4.6% $78,700
23 Whiteville 4,548 11.5% $72,000
24 Mount Pleasant 4,748 13.5% $98,900
25 Whitwell 2,237 6.3% $87,700
26 Central 2,284 6.7% $124,800
27 Huntsville 1,548 8.5% $112,500
28 Sharon 1,051 16.7% $62,400
29 Niota 1,096 12.3% $90,800
30 Cowan 1,477 8.6% $76,800
31 Rutherford 1,146 11.3% $67,500
32 Baxter 1,438 8.1% $109,200
33 Monterey 2,847 6.0% $98,800
34 South Fulton 2,474 13.3% $66,400
35 Bon Aqua Junction 1,113 12.1% $88,300
36 Livingston 4,042 8.8% $107,700
37 Ardmore 1,295 11.9% $113,800
38 Wildwood Lake 3,668 6.1% $127,800
39 Celina 1,763 4.7% $100,700
40 Greenfield 2,124 8.8% $64,900
41 Bradford 1,306 16.6% $67,200
42 South Pittsburg 3,064 7.9% $98,600
43 Erin 1,240 0.0% $78,200
44 Crump 1,309 7.7% $104,700
45 Troy 1,499 8.7% $86,900
46 Smithville 4,659 9.5% $126,900
47 Pikeville 1,968 16.1% $112,000
48 Gleason 1,402 10.6% $68,300
49 Mascot 2,379 12.1% $111,800
50 Monteagle 1,875 6.1% $122,100
51 Obion 1,421 17.1% $75,000
52 Englewood 1,615 7.5% $82,700
53 Hohenwald 3,651 2.6% $81,500
54 Philadelphia 1,020 12.4% $90,200
55 Rutledge 1,589 2.6% $95,400
56 Plainview 1,837 7.7% $108,600
57 Sparta 4,952 8.3% $87,200
58 Dodson Branch 1,209 21.3% $111,100
59 Mountain City 2,394 9.3% $121,000
60 Dresden 2,963 4.8% $78,600
61 Halls 2,424 6.7% $75,400
62 Tazewell 2,124 7.5% $92,600
63 Woodbury 2,696 11.9% $125,300
64 Bruceton 1,445 11.4% $64,100
65 New Tazewell 2,750 1.9% $103,800
66 Charlotte 1,547 8.5% $113,800
67 White Pine 2,364 8.7% $115,400
68 Alamo 2,221 12.4% $101,200
69 White Bluff 3,350 6.9% $129,000
70 Madisonville 4,709 12.1% $115,300
71 Trenton 4,120 3.0% $89,800
72 Huntingdon 3,876 2.2% $91,600
73 Decaturville 1,005 7.9% $69,400
74 Waynesboro 2,416 6.4% $84,600
75 Banner Hill 1,375 20.3% $96,600
76 Clifton 2,685 11.3% $116,100
77 Dyer 2,320 7.9% $71,200
78 Mosheim 2,327 10.9% $101,900
79 Benton 1,695 7.0% $99,600
80 Kenton 1,154 6.0% $66,000
81 Lyles 1,178 4.9% $87,000
82 Centerville 3,548 7.4% $122,900
83 Caryville 2,731 7.2% $113,800
84 Westmoreland 2,322 4.7% $111,400
85 Cornersville 1,266 10.2% $86,100
86 Lafayette 4,985 4.8% $106,700
87 Spring City 2,353 3.9% $101,900
88 Sale Creek 2,596 8.6% $146,500
89 Tennessee Ridge 1,461 11.7% $99,900
90 Camden 3,554 5.5% $92,000
91 Bean Station 3,089 4.7% $88,000
92 Decherd 3,073 4.1% $86,000
93 Carthage 2,382 6.0% $105,900
94 Gatlinburg 4,126 7.0% $164,100
95 New Market 1,442 5.0% $115,300
96 Loretto 1,906 7.1% $88,300
97 Waverly 4,070 6.1% $96,800
98 Bells 2,687 4.5% $95,200
99 Vonore 1,795 10.9% $146,400
100 Etowah 3,465 8.6% $103,500

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10 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Tennessee For 2019

  1. I am just a little curious as to why three out of the ten towns listed were all out of the county. Another interesting addition to the article was the list titled “Ranking of the 100 worst small towns in Tennessee”. when the article did not claim to have analyzed more than a total of 110 towns. I personally lived in Grundy County for 5 years as a teenager, in Palmer. I graduated, as did most of our class of 2008. Someone once told me that there are a lot of bad, mean people in Grundy County but just leave them alone and mind your own business. However that person also told me that in the very same county lies some of the very best, sweetest and kindest people that you will find anywhere. They were right. When there are hardships, everyone bands together, takes up money, and helps out. There are also a lot of wonderful teachers and programs for students that encourage community service and positive lifestyles. Just remember that in any county there is good and bad, you have to choose what you embrace.

  2. Whoever wrote this, there’s a valuable lesson in this for you. There’s a big difference between what paper says and what an actual environment is like. Besides pushing a pen and mouse to gather info and data on locations, visit them and EXPERIENCE the very thing you wish to trash talk.

  3. Did you half wit journalist even actually visit any of these towns. If you drive an hour from Palmer you are about 50 minutes past where Mary’s kitchen was at. I would say with about 10 minutes of real research a person could find out a lot better info on all of these towns. When did you visit Palmer, Coalmont, or Beersheba Mr Tapman. Or are you just a big city internet troll with nothing to do?

  4. What a load of crap. You choose a lot of factor which you think is bad but the residents prefer.

    Many of these small communities are farm communities so you have some good hard working neighbors.

    Lower cost housing means you can get more house for your dollar in these communities.

    A number of these town are filled with retirees who left the city to return to small town living. After 55 years of living and working in Memphis my dad chose to return to Milledgeville to retire. So did four of his siblings. All returned to their family homestead area to spend their latter years.

    Most of the crime was due to a small portion of youth which had drug issues and many of them did not originally live in this area.

    We still keep my late father’s property and home in Milledgeville and gather there twice a year. And nothing has turned up missing in all this time except for when he was visited by people he knew from Memphis.

    Problem is you look at things through the eyes of urban-ites. You have no concept of what country living is about.

  5. I’m from Johnson City & know our states history pretty good, but what & where’s “Mary’s Kitchen” (i.e. c 1st comment above)?

    1. Mary’s kitchen has not been open in years so I don’t know when these people done their study of these cites. I personally wouldn’t trade Coalmont for any big city.

  6. I am from Coalmont some of the best people live here they are true neighbors loving carding willing to help people I feel sorry for people that live in city’s and don’t know there next door neighbor get sick or have a member of your family die its amazing at the pouring out of love they share .

  7. Guys tn is a great place to live so is michie eastview and the surrounding towns we dont have alot of crimes anf there’s a ton if stuff to do the best part is idiots like you dont live here the true american people live here we work hard and play harder. We help our nieghbors andook out for each other and if you had stopped to ask any of us you wo uld see how ww truly are so fuck you and your opions my address is 111 steward lane ramer tn come see how we really are before you judge us

  8. According to your so called scientific article, and I use that term very loosely, I live between 3 of the most dangerous and destitute towns in TN although I have my Masters Degree and earn a 6 figure income. I live between Guys, Ramer, and Eastview, oh, I’m sure you actually know these towns and visited them before you wrote this garbage you call an article! Before you pass judgement on any other person living in another city, county or state, I invite you to actually visit the area! I believe that you will discover you are so very wrong! Your article blast people that are warm, kind and God fearing. These people would bend over backwards to help their neighbors and strangers alike regardless of color, political views or religious affiliation! Your article is nothing but garbage and a slap in the face to those that choose to live in rule areas. You sir or madam need to go back to school and learn another profession, because your career opportunities are very limited in journalism given the lack of talent on your part.

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