These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Iowa For 2018


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

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

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

After analyzing more than 562 of Iowa’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Iowa where you’d never want to live:

  1. Davis City
  2. Alexander
  3. Marathon
  4. Garden Grove
  5. Harris
  6. Chester
  7. Rake
  8. Rowan
  9. Cincinnati
  10. Delta

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

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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 Iowa, 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 – 562 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. Davis City

Source: Public Domain

Population: 208
Median Income: $27,083
Median Home Value: $27,500

2. Alexander


Population: 150
Median Income: $35,000
Median Home Value: $41,300

3. Marathon


Population: 270
Median Income: $38,281
Median Home Value: $23,100

4. Garden Grove


Population: 183
Median Income: $30,833
Median Home Value: $43,400

5. Harris


Population: 147
Median Income: $33,333
Median Home Value: $48,000

6. Chester


Population: 263
Median Income: $29,375
Median Home Value: $54,000

7. Rake


Population: 184
Median Income: $22,143
Median Home Value: $28,000

8. Rowan


Population: 143
Median Income: $30,625
Median Home Value: $28,300

9. Cincinnati


Population: 314
Median Income: $33,750
Median Home Value: $45,000

10. Delta


Population: 246
Median Income: $19,000
Median Home Value: $23,900

There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Iowa

If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Hawkeye 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 Iowa, according to science.

  1. Best: Underwood
  2. 2nd Best: Treynor
  3. 3rd Best: Swisher

For more reading, check out:

  • These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Iowa
  • These Are The 10 Most Boring Places To Live In Iowa
  • These Are The 10 Safest Places In Iowa
  • Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Iowa

    City Rank Population Home Price
    Davis City 1 208 $27,500
    Alexander 2 150 $41,300
    Marathon 3 270 $23,100
    Garden Grove 4 183 $43,400
    Harris 5 147 $48,000
    Chester 6 263 $54,000
    Rake 7 184 $28,000
    Rowan 8 143 $28,300
    Cincinnati 9 314 $45,000
    Delta 10 246 $23,900
    Kensett 11 345 $58,500
    Mystic 12 363 $45,800
    Bristow 13 153 $31,300
    Lu Verne 14 317 $33,800
    Seymour 15 656 $38,600
    Milton 16 604 $40,200
    Hastings 17 150 $62,100
    Whitten 18 173 $30,700
    Webster 19 128 $58,800
    Exline 20 154 $52,900
    Hillsboro 21 228 $34,500
    Oto 22 111 $41,900
    Grant 23 108 $35,300
    Grand River 24 227 $24,300
    Hedrick 25 711 $59,300
    Lorimor 26 364 $40,900
    What Cheer 27 729 $35,000
    Searsboro 28 184 $68,800
    Corwith 29 230 $44,600
    Pisgah 30 248 $49,500
    Mcintire 31 120 $56,300
    Lehigh 32 406 $65,300
    College Springs 33 197 $42,500
    Latimer 34 499 $76,400
    Spragueville 35 107 $67,500
    Havelock 36 137 $29,200
    Monmouth 37 169 $49,300
    Lincoln 38 121 $55,000
    Denmark 39 299 $83,600
    Clutier 40 196 $58,300
    Linden 41 186 $72,700
    Hamilton 42 112 $60,000
    Little Sioux 43 133 $32,500
    Moulton 44 653 $56,200
    Oxford Junction 45 411 $53,400
    Washta 46 197 $38,600
    Goodell 47 128 $41,300
    Macksburg 48 121 $86,700
    Cantril 49 260 $56,200
    Bayard 50 455 $37,500
    Barnes City 51 265 $49,600
    Palmer 52 156 $27,000
    Lohrville 53 384 $37,500
    Eldon 54 890 $52,200
    Rolfe 55 572 $30,900
    Cumberland 56 250 $37,800
    Lineville 57 209 $41,300
    Ricketts 58 124 $31,300
    Dumont 59 708 $56,400
    Blockton 60 153 $20,600
    Harvey 61 290 $44,500
    Arion 62 126 $31,100
    Ollie 63 189 $46,500
    Ocheyedan 64 508 $58,200
    Defiance 65 240 $80,000
    Scranton 66 565 $46,700
    Conesville 67 617 $66,100
    Ringsted 68 479 $37,500
    Kellerton 69 295 $48,500
    Derby 70 133 $43,800
    Boxholm 71 221 $58,600
    Diagonal 72 319 $53,300
    Russell 73 516 $56,400
    Bonaparte 74 441 $50,000
    Auburn 75 302 $63,300
    Pilot Mound 76 161 $55,600
    Allerton 77 549 $42,300
    Lucas 78 185 $57,500
    Prairieburg 79 184 $83,800
    Floris 80 246 $50,000
    Moorland 81 212 $80,000
    Rose Hill 82 160 $34,300
    Beacon 83 526 $84,500
    Rippey 84 207 $47,100
    Salem 85 551 $56,600
    Duncombe 86 313 $68,100
    Jamaica 87 242 $62,000
    Waterville 88 117 $54,200
    Rome 89 164 $37,500
    Exira 90 881 $48,600
    St. Anthony 91 115 $51,000
    Mallard 92 280 $50,700
    Swea City 93 559 $39,100
    Gilmore City 94 472 $47,600
    Larrabee 95 202 $38,300
    Drakesville 96 172 $60,000
    Stockport 97 250 $47,000
    Lakota 98 211 $33,500
    Clearfield 99 371 $43,000
    Quimby 100 392 $49,000

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

    1. Where do you get your information? Washta is not the town pictured for starters. It is no where near Missouri, but actually is situated along the Little Sioux River some 40 miles east of Sioux City. It does not have a Casey’s store, but a small convenience store which is locally owned. And, as for two churches, that was long in the past – as there has been only one church in town since the late 1960s.

    2. Hey Nick, your a retarded keyboard ninja who obviously needs to spend a little more time in these little towns.

      Sincerely,
      Everyone you offend by being an idiot on a daily basis.

      1. The way you talk trash and bash people is what makes you white trash. Most white trash people don’t even know that they are. That is why it is so amusing to listen to their bad English. Iowa is known for its inbred families.

    3. This is insulting I grew up in Hillsboro, nice quiet little town can’t think of one kid I grew up with that didn’t graduate. I have some of the best friends who I have known ALL my life we still talk!! I could have knocked on any door in town if I needed help and felt safe. What a shitty article to write when you know NOTHING ABOUT WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT!!!

    4. You didn’t even visit these towns. The pictures are all from Google Earth. And your commentary on these little towns is so condescending. I don’t think you understand the Midwest at all. Please dont’ come to these towns though because your attitude is more suited for Chicago or LA. Stay there.

    5. If you want to live in some big expensive city complete with lots of crime and drugs, fine. Small town Iowa allows one to live in a place that is safe, keeps one away from all the downsides of big city life, builds a sense of family, responsibility and which has values that you probably never heard of. Talk about something you are professional in, not that of which you only have opinions and a hope of turning a profit. I am a descendent of a wonderful family from one of those “worst places to live” little towns.

      1. Hey there, Laura from Bloomfield, IA
        You know what I am talking about. Iowa has many inbred families in these small towns! You know Iowa is full of white trash.
        Your my neighbor. I could stop by and see you.
        Where do you work? McDonald’s?

    6. Lineville has more than you listed. Yes we have farm supply store and funeral home. But we also have a park, a post office, 3 churches, a housing for elderly, a cemetary, mfa, napa, fire station, city hall, library, clinic, and 1 bar on iowa side. Missouri side has a bar, gas station, liquor store, cafe, fireworks stores, car wash. Dont degrade these small towns just bc we dont have all that the cities have. We love our small town communities. In lineville we have 2 main families. So yes you can call us a family ran town and we are proud of it.

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