These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Virginia For 2019

Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in VA 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 Virginia.

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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 149 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:

These are the worst small towns in Virginia for 2019:

  1. Raven
  2. Bassett
  3. Mountain Road
  4. Pennington Gap
  5. Appalachia
  6. Motley
  7. Chase City
  8. Victoria
  9. Coeburn (Photos)
  10. Saltville (Photos)

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

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.

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 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 determined the worst small towns to live in Virginia 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 – 149 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


Population: 1,552
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $69,200 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.5% (8th worst)
More on Raven:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,107
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $87,200 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (24th worst)
More on Bassett:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,055
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $89,300 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (118th worst)
More on Mountain Road:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,870
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $79,800 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (40th worst)
More on Pennington Gap:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,576
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $62,400 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (10th worst)
More on Appalachia:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,001
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $86,800 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.9% (6th worst)
More on Motley:  Data

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,344
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $76,800 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (21st worst)
More on Chase City:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,889
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $74,600 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (84th worst)
More on Victoria:  Data

Coeburn, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,939
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $77,200 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.1% (3rd worst)
More on Coeburn:  Data | Photos

Saltville, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,593
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $79,700 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (56th worst)
More on Saltville:  Data | Photos

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. Ravensworth (Pop. 2,220)
  2. Occoquan (Pop. 1,070)
  3. Hayfield (Pop. 4,266)

For more Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Virginia

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Raven 1,552 14.5% $69,200
2 Bassett 1,107 10.5% $87,200
3 Mountain Road 1,055 3.4% $89,300
4 Pennington Gap 1,870 8.6% $79,800
5 Appalachia 1,576 13.5% $62,400
6 Motley 1,001 15.9% $86,800
7 Chase City 2,344 10.8% $76,800
8 Victoria 1,889 5.2% $74,600
9 Coeburn 1,939 18.1% $77,200
10 Saltville 2,593 7.6% $79,700
11 Stuart 1,570 16.0% $121,000
12 Meadow View 1,355 9.3% $111,200
13 Plum Creek 1,498 10.3% $26,200
14 Tappahannock 1,869 16.4% $163,500
15 Lawrenceville 1,466 19.7% $87,100
16 Gretna 1,326 9.3% $107,900
17 Norton 4,043 13.5% $92,500
18 Cedar Bluff 1,085 8.5% $103,300
19 Weber City 1,400 9.7% $102,000
20 Castlewood 1,901 13.8% $106,400
21 Hillsville 2,679 4.9% $104,500
22 Rocky Mount 4,746 8.4% $122,200
23 Jonesville 1,351 8.6% $102,600
24 Honaker 1,453 9.0% $70,000
25 Cana 1,442 0.0% $87,400
26 Henry Fork 1,460 7.7% $112,500
27 Waverly 1,620 10.6% $126,000
28 Clifton Forge 3,668 12.0% $86,900
29 Rushmere 1,024 8.3% $184,400
30 Kenbridge 1,023 2.8% $112,700
31 Ridgeway 1,066 8.8% $109,700
32 Gate City 2,386 4.5% $95,900
33 Exmore 1,446 1.6% $111,600
34 Dryden 1,328 8.1% $98,000
35 Horse Pasture 2,151 7.0% $108,200
36 Mount Jackson 2,417 8.2% $130,800
37 Stanley 1,685 13.4% $155,800
38 Glasgow 1,298 5.8% $98,600
39 Altavista 3,443 3.5% $120,000
40 Ferrum 2,235 12.7% $131,500
41 Chilhowie 1,853 6.1% $120,500
42 Tazewell 4,395 12.1% $113,200
43 Louisa 1,736 6.4% $201,500
44 Rustburg 1,374 6.1% $135,800
45 Patrick Springs 2,044 3.5% $112,100
46 Orange 4,887 9.1% $205,800
47 Halifax 1,441 3.6% $145,100
48 Crewe 2,808 8.1% $120,200
49 Stanleytown 1,148 15.3% $110,300
50 Luray 4,803 7.3% $164,900
51 Keysville 1,055 2.1% $140,400
52 Glade Spring 1,443 9.7% $105,000
53 Appomattox 1,748 4.4% $114,000
54 South Hill 4,438 1.2% $121,900
55 Prince George 2,136 2.3% $181,300
56 Shenandoah Farms 3,598 8.4% $210,400
57 Woodlawn Cdp (Carroll County) 2,352 3.2% $102,700
58 Merrimac 2,017 11.7% $111,200
59 Springville 1,795 6.2% $107,400
60 Blackstone 3,466 3.6% $91,900
61 Pembroke 1,225 5.9% $92,700
62 Clintwood 1,607 3.0% $93,200
63 Onancock 1,169 8.8% $181,900
64 Harriston 1,272 10.1% $156,900
65 Courtland 1,966 7.1% $176,000
66 Verona 3,516 5.6% $160,400
67 Adwolf 1,556 7.2% $93,000
68 Dublin 2,672 11.1% $127,500
69 Amherst 2,748 6.8% $163,600
70 Deltaville 1,130 8.0% $262,000
71 Glenvar 1,052 0.0% $163,800
72 Windsor 2,674 9.2% $162,100
73 Chincoteague 2,903 6.4% $251,000
74 Edinburg 1,289 11.7% $165,400
75 Kilmarnock 1,493 0.8% $183,700
76 Shenandoah 2,455 5.5% $142,400
77 Cape Charles 1,067 10.3% $332,400
78 Lyndhurst 1,731 6.7% $185,600
79 New Market 2,219 2.8% $220,800
80 Warsaw 1,640 3.0% $203,500
81 Timberville 2,592 6.0% $154,900
82 Wise 3,084 5.8% $117,100
83 Lebanon 3,295 4.6% $164,200
84 Hurt 1,541 3.7% $116,700
85 Gloucester Courthouse 2,364 6.9% $232,300
86 Bowling Green 1,239 6.3% $251,500
87 Narrows 2,008 3.0% $98,300
88 Gordonsville 1,545 5.9% $184,300
89 Belview 1,228 0.0% $148,700
90 Loch Lomond 4,614 10.0% $292,700
91 Matoaca 2,387 8.6% $141,100
92 Broadway 3,793 4.4% $197,200
93 Rural Retreat 1,644 5.1% $127,400
94 Emory 1,237 11.5% $216,700
95 Concord 1,446 2.7% $162,300
96 Bracey 1,288 4.3% $223,300
97 Buchanan 1,101 2.4% $118,100
98 Berryville 4,284 4.6% $292,600
99 Pearisburg 2,681 2.9% $99,700
100 Weyers Cave 2,695 1.0% $182,800

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

  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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