These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Virginia For 2018


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

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

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

After analyzing more than 151 of Virginia’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Virginia where you’d never want to live:

  1. Keokee
  2. Clinchco
  3. Sandy Level
  4. Clover
  5. Camptown
  6. Haysi
  7. Atkins
  8. Cleveland
  9. Dungannon
  10. Oak Level

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

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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 Virginia, 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 – 151 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. Keokee


Population: 262
Median Income: $15,221
Median Home Value: $70,200

2. Clinchco


Population: 343
Median Income: $14,107
Median Home Value: $57,900

3. Sandy Level


Population: 339
Median Income: $31,875
Median Home Value: $64,200

4. Clover


Population: 369
Median Income: $17,434
Median Home Value: $108,500

5. Camptown


Population: 825
Median Income: $23,409
Median Home Value: $82,000

6. Haysi


Population: 501
Median Income: $27,222
Median Home Value: $101,000

7. Atkins


Population: 959
Median Income: $22,069
Median Home Value: $67,700

8. Cleveland


Population: 184
Median Income: $20,417
Median Home Value: $48,300

9. Dungannon


Population: 362
Median Income: $23,816
Median Home Value: $55,600

10. Oak Level


Population: 798
Median Income: $26,944
Median Home Value: $91,400

There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Virginia

If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Old Dominion 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 Virginia, according to science.

  1. Best: Round Hill
  2. 2nd Best: Clifton
  3. 3rd Best: Occoquan

For more reading, check out:

  • These Are The 10 Safest Places In Virginia
  • These Are The 10 Snobbiest Places In Virginia
  • These Are The 10 Most Boring Places In Virginia
  • Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Virginia

    City Rank Population Home Price
    Keokee 1 262 $70,200
    Clinchco 2 343 $57,900
    Sandy Level 3 339 $64,200
    Clover 4 369 $108,500
    Camptown 5 825 $82,000
    Haysi 6 501 $101,000
    Atkins 7 959 $67,700
    Cleveland 8 184 $48,300
    Dungannon 9 362 $55,600
    Oak Level 10 798 $91,400
    Pocahontas 11 299 $30,900
    Pungoteague 12 388 $222,500
    Claremont 13 280 $154,500
    Seven Mile Ford 14 773 $140,300
    Riverview 15 649 $107,400
    La Crosse 16 652 $78,300
    Amelia Court House 17 622 $174,000
    Bland 18 458 $72,000
    Charlotte Court House 19 646 $112,500
    Tangier 20 501 $93,100
    Drakes Branch 21 773 $91,700
    Troutdale 22 143 $73,800
    Goshen 23 398 $96,300
    Dillwyn 24 525 $128,500
    Pound 25 942 $71,000
    Alberta 26 268 $105,400
    Temperanceville 27 376 $89,600
    Sugar Grove 28 720 $74,300
    Tasley 29 266 $85,000
    Motley 30 914 $87,000
    Carrsville 31 227 $112,500
    Saxis 32 213 $111,100
    Villa Heights 33 545 $82,200
    Hallwood 34 254 $120,300
    Cheriton 35 502 $160,400
    Mckenney 36 405 $129,200
    Metompkin 37 421 $90,700
    Scottsburg 38 137 $88,100
    Pamplin City 39 147 $90,000
    Painter 40 284 $80,000
    Wakefield 41 810 $111,600
    Arrington 42 713 $127,900
    Damascus 43 694 $105,400
    Rushmere 44 972 $174,800
    Newsoms 45 314 $105,600
    Nassawadox 46 586 $120,400
    Boykins 47 782 $98,500
    Boston 48 436 $56,900
    Madison 49 186 $275,000
    Nickelsville 50 438 $90,800
    Fries 51 452 $93,800
    Fieldale 52 939 $80,300
    Brodnax 53 206 $76,300
    Yogaville 54 181 $215,600
    Deerfield 55 126 $108,300
    Surry 56 218 $172,200
    Max Meadows 57 230 $93,300
    Sherando 58 882 $157,000
    Hot Springs 59 630 $122,400
    Ridgeway 60 813 $119,400
    Rich Creek 61 746 $88,600
    Bloxom 62 377 $94,200
    Stony Creek 63 122 $141,700
    Burkeville 64 406 $103,100
    Sussex 65 136 $97,500
    Montvale 66 493 $87,500
    Cluster Springs 67 838 $96,100
    Keller 68 207 $118,100
    White Stone 69 457 $144,000
    Mineral 70 537 $188,400
    Mathews 71 608 $153,100
    Callaghan 72 190 $121,200
    Grundy 73 828 $115,600
    Phenix 74 260 $78,100
    Stanardsville 75 382 $186,800
    Duffield 76 140 $100,000
    Parksley 77 747 $134,400
    Belle Haven 78 562 $141,000
    Harriston 79 984 $130,900
    Branchville 80 115 $108,300
    Boones Mill 81 149 $140,000
    Quantico 82 524 $162,500
    Dendron 83 296 $126,300
    Jarratt 84 631 $101,600
    Scottsville 85 580 $202,300
    Iron Gate 86 321 $66,500
    Ivor 87 474 $161,500
    Floyd 88 576 $191,200
    Maurertown 89 817 $165,900
    Cape Charles 90 982 $338,300
    Melfa 91 424 $139,000
    St. Paul 92 982 $119,700
    Gargatha 93 385 $174,000
    Montross 94 313 $172,000
    New Castle 95 166 $212,500
    Sedley 96 592 $185,900
    Monterey 97 133 $157,100
    Skyland Estates 98 813 $181,800
    Boydton 99 275 $146,900
    Wachapreague 100 194 $137,500

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

    1. Some of us even graduated from college. You should do more research before publishing did you ask the people who live here if they like living here. Most would say yes.

    2. I got ten bucks (big spender for this region) that says those bemoaning these slanderous accusations have never ventured beyond their respective county lines.

    3. I was raised in Clinchco, I attended college in Berea, KY, and have traveled up and down the east coast. I still say Clinchco is not a bad place to live. I have a sister who lives in Washington D. C. and I would rather live here in a small town than in the craziness of a big city.

    4. I see your click bait Bud Tapman and raise you some real science and data¹ about Phenix, Virginia, which you, sir, who sits in a shadow on a rock overlooking an ocean at sunset, know nothing about. We’ve got sunsets in Phenix, too, and rocks. No ocean though.

      Five Reasons and/or Clarifications Why Phenix Is Not One of the Worst Small Towns to Live in in Virginia. Read it here.

    5. You would be surprised how many people want to live in a small town like Nickelsville, Va. Every one knows just about every person and the crime rate is very low. I don’t know where you get you’re information , but it is not correct. As for Teddy’s , it is a Great place to eat and fellowship. Teddy and his wife Trish have put their Heart in this little town, I don’t think
      they would ever move, this is Home to them as well as it is to many others who Love this small town… You need to live it before you Judge it….I Live Here and I Love this small country living….

    6. Retraction is what needs to happen here. This is utter bullshit. Dont get affended my ass. People from these small towns are not all stupid and broke. I have lived around and in these towns my whole life. I have met more stupid people in cities then the small towns of south Virginia. Ya damn bigot.

    7. This is bull crap! To imply that no one finishes school.There lots in Clinchco that have walked the walk. I think that this is all wrong and to belittle the good people in Clinchco is not right. Some may be poor, but we are rich in heart. Come visit our small town and the people who will give the shirts off their backs to help someone in need. We are proud of our town.

      1. You are based in Durham NC according to your web site? Well heres your town review> this is why we live here in Clinchco, we dont have all this crime.

        For Durham, we found that the violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation, across communities of all sizes (both large and small). Violent offenses tracked included rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon.

    8. I will say as a Virginian and Town Planner who has never been to any of these communities, this faux “study” of them makes me want to visit each in order to confirm what I suspect: that these communities are most likely quaint, historic little towns filled with friendly people dealing with challenging economic conditions as best they can. Perhaps that was the point…to get me to spend my tourism dollars in not-so-obvious, off-the-beaten-track places that I would typically not even think to visit. Well played (and placed), advertisement webpage masquerading as pseudo-scientific “place” analysis!

    9. Please explain why the criterion for this article was towns with populations between 100 and 1,000 and the very first town you cite has only 85???

    10. The information about Goshen is way off. It lists Goshen as only have 1 church, a bar & grill, and a post office. There are actually 4 churches in Goshen. Besides the bar & grill, there is a grocery store that also has a grill, a gas station, a Dollar General Store, a flower shop, a produce store, an Inn, a library and two lumber yards. There is a town hall, a war memorial, a rescue squad, and a fire department. A few miles away from town is Goshen Pass – a scenic pass through the mountains where you can kayak the river, fish, swim, and picnic. Camps a few miles outside of town: Grace Bible Camp, Boys Scout Camp, Camp Accovac, Young Life Rockbridge Alum Springs, Camp GoodSam. There are beautiful mountain views, walking trails, hunting and fishing. There is low crime. People who live there like the small-town life. Only 30 & 45 minutes away are the scenic towns of Lexington, Staunton, and Hot Springs. Douthat State Park is nearby and it offers camping, cabins, swimming, fishing, hiking trails, picnicking, mountain biking, boating, and a restaurant/store. So there is plenty to do.

    11. affended my ass. People from these small towns are not all stupid and broke. TFF. I lived in Lynchburg VA., Cincinnati, Columbus OH, Philly, Covington KY and Houston. The small towns are at best boring. And given housing and median income – they are clearly sh##holes. Lynchburg was boring and ridiculously conservative. Most people shopped by mail order.

    12. I would like to say, I agree with the people of these small towns mentioned… I live in Richmond ,va. and with all that goes around this city, I do liv in a fairly nice part just west of the downtown. I also, being a photographer and musician as well, have been able to visit the small towns and backroads which are beautiful places and the people in these towns I have met through travels are very nice… Half if not more of these places mentioned, I have been to at one point or another and wouldn’t hurt my feelings to pick up and move to them.. You can make figures behind a desk about anyplace in the world but there is no place in the world safe without crime,, sure some places may be more than others,, but i’d rather take my chances in a small beautiful historic town than to go downtown Richmond at night,,,,,,,, Also,,, not everyone desires to live like millionaires,, if people are doing what they need to survive or live in these rural areas,, and they are happy,, that’s all that matters,,, saying that they haven’t finished schools and poverty don’t mean anything, There’s plenty of people in this country that never went to school and finished that have become wealthy or famous and I bet they aren’t all from big cities….,,, take a look at Richmond… I bet there’s as many dropouts and poverty in this city than there is in all the small towns mentioned. Just saying, !!! and to all those living in small towns,,,,,,, Great for you!!!!!!!

    13. Baisrnges,When the smoke clears Kara homes will be having a fire sale in Mt. arlington. Prices were up to 500,000.00 but now are down to 350,000.00 for some units. we have looked at them and are very impressed for the low price. They must sell their standing inventory, probably at a heavy loss,it will also help pull down the market even further. Gotta feel sorry for the retirees that bought at the top.

    14. Bud , I did not appreciate your article on Goshen , Va . I wonder if you ever taken the time to visit the town ? Lots of people come to this area to get away from the hustle and bustle of bigger cities . It is a beautiful area with lots of scenic drives all around the area . There is a very low crime rate here and most residents don’t even bother to lick their houses or cars . I think your stats are inaccurate concerning the drop out rates . My family read this article and my father was especially upset with you . Please come visit my father in Goshen and he will give you the accurate view . My Dad has lived here all his life . He served as town council , charter member of first aid and firemen . PTA president superintendent at the local Methodist church , worked for C&O railroad for 40 years . Anyway , come visit my Dad , HD Carter . Only house with a caboose in back yard .

    15. You folks are out of your mind. Your very first criteria is guaranteed to skew the results. Personally, the lower the population density, THE BETTER. Who freakin’ wants to live in a high density area? That just means more assholes like you to deal with.

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