These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Tennessee For 2018


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

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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 131 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:

  1. Lakewood Park
  2. Iron City
  3. Winfield
  4. Beersheba Springs
  5. Henning
  6. Palmer
  7. Gallaway
  8. Coalmont
  9. Stanton
  10. Morrison

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.

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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 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 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 – 131 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. Lakewood Park


Population: 615
Median Income: $24,519
Median Home Value: $44,400

2. Iron City

Source: Public Domain

Population: 236
Median Income: $20,855
Median Home Value: $24,100

3. Winfield


Population: 843
Median Income: $27,000
Median Home Value: $68,800

4. Beersheba Springs


Population: 565
Median Income: $26,548
Median Home Value: $67,800

5. Henning


Population: 866
Median Income: $21,078
Median Home Value: $55,900

6. Palmer


Population: 691
Median Income: $24,632
Median Home Value: $61,400

7. Gallaway


Population: 948
Median Income: $23,125
Median Home Value: $160,000

8. Coalmont


Population: 806
Median Income: $26,019
Median Home Value: $83,700

9. Stanton


Population: 434
Median Income: $18,194
Median Home Value: $76,200

10. Morrison


Population: 706
Median Income: $34,107
Median Home Value: $97,500

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. Best: Ridgeside
  2. 2nd Best: Bell Buckle
  3. 3rd Best: Baneberry

For more reading, check out:

  • These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Tennessee
  • These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Tennessee
  • These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In Tennessee
  • Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Tennessee

    City Rank Population Home Price
    Lakewood Park 1 615 $44,400
    Iron City 2 236 $24,100
    Winfield 3 843 $68,800
    Beersheba Springs 4 565 $67,800
    Henning 5 866 $55,900
    Palmer 6 691 $61,400
    Gallaway 7 948 $160,000
    Coalmont 8 806 $83,700
    Stanton 9 434 $76,200
    Morrison 10 706 $97,500
    Michie 11 729 $68,600
    Friendship 12 591 $63,500
    Slayden 13 143 $101,000
    Gadsden 14 528 $73,200
    Bethel Springs 15 852 $65,100
    Trezevant 16 804 $63,500
    Wartburg 17 879 $92,900
    Henry 18 505 $75,000
    Finger 19 369 $74,200
    Tellico Plains 20 878 $98,600
    Saulsbury 21 197 $62,000
    Crab Orchard 22 758 $67,800
    Maury City 23 772 $78,200
    Orme 24 108 $50,000
    Scotts Hill 25 922 $81,900
    Big Sandy 26 626 $65,800
    Copperhill 27 389 $70,000
    Vanleer 28 323 $94,100
    Gainesboro 29 836 $85,600
    Luttrell 30 897 $86,100
    Moscow 31 615 $93,000
    Stantonville 32 265 $72,500
    Petros 33 648 $64,100
    Sardis 34 419 $74,600
    Darden 35 303 $84,400
    Parrottsville 36 266 $73,300
    Ramer 37 355 $81,800
    Bransford 38 195 $100,900
    Guys 39 498 $75,700
    Petersburg 40 698 $54,900
    Ethridge 41 594 $66,300
    Ducktown 42 480 $82,100
    Cedar Hill 43 372 $109,700
    Linden 44 881 $56,700
    Lyles 45 940 $91,400
    Milledgeville 46 237 $71,700
    Eva 47 226 $111,000
    Elgin 48 302 $56,600
    Mclemoresville 49 333 $88,300
    Oakdale 50 194 $77,200
    Hollow Rock 51 662 $62,100
    Enville 52 177 $56,300
    Mitchellville 53 147 $100,000
    Hornsby 54 271 $66,400
    Lobelville 55 887 $77,500
    Toone 56 366 $75,500
    Parker’S Crossroads 57 331 $97,500
    Sharon 58 978 $65,200
    Decaturville 59 978 $67,000
    Atwood 60 923 $72,600
    Sunbright 61 455 $102,500
    Saltillo 62 559 $64,600
    Grand Junction 63 319 $87,000
    St. Joseph 64 867 $80,000
    Doyle 65 531 $74,600
    Pittman Center 66 451 $190,600
    Flintville 67 641 $78,400
    Baileyton 68 472 $112,200
    Hornbeak 69 385 $59,100
    Gates 70 581 $58,200
    Medon 71 200 $103,400
    Clarkrange 72 774 $90,800
    Trimble 73 423 $68,300
    Samburg 74 214 $152,000
    Calhoun 75 618 $86,400
    Hillsboro 76 372 $128,900
    Adams 77 795 $98,900
    Mooresburg 78 926 $88,900
    Pleasant Hill 79 532 $109,400
    Gilt Edge 80 513 $106,000
    Watauga 81 300 $90,700
    Liberty 82 305 $98,800
    Minor Hill 83 610 $82,300
    Yorkville 84 288 $82,100
    Wartrace 85 638 $92,800
    Williston 86 414 $87,300
    Lynnville 87 318 $85,300
    Puryear 88 732 $77,000
    Bulls Gap 89 699 $101,000
    Riceville 90 849 $98,200
    Eastview 91 773 $86,200
    Helenwood 92 850 $124,500
    Ooltewah 93 432 $163,800
    Lone Oak 94 821 $206,000
    Braden 95 222 $156,300
    Huntland 96 708 $80,800
    Allardt 97 552 $110,300
    Rives 98 248 $65,400
    Middleton 99 563 $98,800
    Castalian Springs 100 546 $110,600

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    10 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Tennessee For 2018

    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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