The 10 Worst Small Towns In Tennessee For 2022


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 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst small places to live in Tennessee.

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 180 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:

These are the worst small towns in Tennessee for 2022:

  1. Henning
  2. Jellico
  3. East Cleveland
  4. Jamestown
  5. Ridgely
  6. Waynesboro
  7. Gruetli-Laager
  8. Oneida
  9. Tellico Plains
  10. Tiptonville

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

The 10 Worst Small Towns In Tennessee For 2022

1. Henning

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,177
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $69,200 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 22.1% (3rd worst)
More on Henning:  Data

2. Jellico

Jellico, TN

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,084
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $87,400 (32nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.8% (5th worst)
More on Jellico:  Data | Photos

3. East Cleveland

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,557
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $73,800 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 29.5% (worst)
More on East Cleveland:  Data

4. Jamestown

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,145
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $69,200 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.1% (2worst)
More on Jamestown:  Data

5. Ridgely

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,882
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $70,400 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.3% (8th worst)
More on Ridgely:  Data

6. Waynesboro

Waynesboro, TN

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,428
Rank Last Year: 57 (Up 51)
Median Home Value: $77,400 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.9% (3worst)
More on Waynesboro:  Data | Photos

7. Gruetli-Laager

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,931
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 12)
Median Home Value: $97,700 (47th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.8% (17th worst)
More on Gruetli-Laager:  Data

8. Oneida

Oneida, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,719
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $99,900 (52nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (86th worst)
More on Oneida:  Data | Photos

9. Tellico Plains

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,250
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $113,200 (7worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (20th worst)
More on Tellico Plains:  Data

10. Tiptonville

Tiptonville, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 4,194
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $93,300 (44th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 19.3% (7th worst)
More on Tiptonville:  Data | Photos

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 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 - 180 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 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. 4,536)
  2. Belle Meade (Pop. 2,191)
  3. Lookout Mountain (Pop. 2,013)

For more Tennessee reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Tennessee

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Henning 1,177 22.1% $69,200
2 Jellico 2,084 20.8% $87,400
3 East Cleveland 2,557 29.5% $73,800
4 Jamestown 2,145 13.1% $69,200
5 Ridgely 1,882 18.3% $70,400
6 Waynesboro 2,428 10.9% $77,400
7 Gruetli-Laager 1,931 13.8% $97,700
8 Oneida 3,719 5.3% $99,900
9 Tellico Plains 1,250 13.3% $113,200
10 Tiptonville 4,194 19.3% $93,300
11 Trenton 4,197 10.9% $93,300
12 Huntsville 1,475 6.8% $128,700
13 Red Boiling Springs 1,785 6.7% $110,300
14 Fincastle 1,270 12.1% $78,800
15 Parsons 2,585 17.0% $87,900
16 Cowan 1,477 16.3% $79,800
17 Somerville 3,257 9.4% $151,000
18 Midtown 1,126 14.3% $78,000
19 Bradford 1,201 13.7% $73,500
20 Graysville 1,644 14.8% $72,300
21 Mason 1,120 13.6% $89,000
22 Rutledge 1,477 3.4% $96,300
23 Newbern 3,293 6.6% $86,200
24 South Pittsburg 3,038 7.8% $99,400
25 Dodson Branch 1,105 24.1% $158,200
26 Rutherford 1,076 4.2% $68,100
27 Sharon 1,127 8.7% $81,100
28 Livingston 4,058 4.3% $102,100
29 Decatur 1,612 21.7% $140,300
30 Smithville 4,781 10.4% $134,500
31 Monteagle 2,142 7.5% $189,000
32 Sneedville 1,599 17.0% $78,600
33 Luttrell 1,041 3.6% $103,000
34 Selmer 4,330 12.0% $81,300
35 Spencer 1,387 4.9% $84,900
36 Adamsville 2,120 9.8% $84,800
37 Linden 1,161 7.4% $82,400
38 Scotts Hill 1,320 2.0% $90,500
39 Winfield 1,126 4.8% $91,900
40 Waverly 4,124 15.1% $100,200
41 Maynardville 2,567 8.0% $116,900
42 Mosheim 2,794 2.8% $86,500
43 Ardmore 1,260 4.4% $110,600
44 Caryville 2,402 10.5% $157,900
45 Celina 1,995 9.2% $118,100
46 Englewood 1,513 14.2% $87,700
47 Tazewell 2,321 9.8% $118,300
48 Monterey 2,865 2.2% $122,600
49 Collinwood 1,170 6.9% $75,000
50 Byrd 1,125 5.2% $105,300
51 South Fulton 2,120 11.8% $70,400
52 Pikeville 2,465 7.8% $115,500
53 Whiteville 4,482 5.5% $72,000
54 Mount Pleasant 4,899 12.8% $115,600
55 Wartburg 1,325 5.0% $124,100
56 Obion 1,185 10.1% $67,000
57 Clifton 2,660 8.4% $135,000
58 Erin 1,706 7.1% $130,300
59 Spring City 2,242 6.7% $109,900
60 Huntingdon 3,827 2.7% $105,400
61 Coalfield 2,861 5.8% $123,900
62 Jasper 3,404 1.9% $109,400
63 Sparta 4,942 11.2% $136,000
64 Benton 1,256 3.6% $114,900
65 Mountain City 2,062 2.7% $130,400
66 Alamo 2,199 7.0% $104,700
67 Greenfield 2,348 9.5% $61,000
68 Crump 1,634 1.3% $125,400
69 Bon Aqua Junction 1,266 1.5% $102,000
70 Hohenwald 3,744 6.1% $75,400
71 Central 1,926 0.0% $126,400
72 Bells 2,697 3.9% $104,500
73 White Bluff 3,583 4.5% $145,900
74 Dresden 2,924 4.4% $76,300
75 Halls 2,110 2.4% $60,300
76 Mascot 2,681 9.0% $137,600
77 Atwood 1,122 8.5% $70,300
78 Cornersville 1,574 11.1% $115,900
79 Kenton 1,438 1.3% $70,300
80 Unicoi 3,572 7.2% $167,800
81 Decherd 2,862 3.4% $91,200
82 Whitwell 1,977 5.1% $103,300
83 Troy 1,828 4.7% $90,000
84 Oliver Springs 3,918 6.9% $116,400
85 Plainview 2,110 3.7% $121,400
86 Tennessee Ridge 1,296 7.6% $99,500
87 Rogersville 4,412 12.7% $138,300
88 Gatlinburg 3,944 8.5% $255,300
89 Etowah 3,505 16.4% $98,700
90 Bean Station 3,088 6.4% $126,600
91 Surgoinsville 2,306 4.0% $133,900
92 Centerville 3,561 4.4% $146,400
93 South Carthage 1,575 2.9% $162,400
94 Gleason 1,529 4.2% $67,900
95 Wildwood 1,221 12.9% $187,900
96 Dyer 2,663 5.9% $91,800
97 Baxter 1,540 2.5% $128,000
98 Westmoreland 2,622 5.4% $148,200
99 Wildwood Lake 3,614 4.4% $153,400
100 Loretto 1,810 4.0% $93,100

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