These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In North Carolina For 2018


We used data and science to determine which Tar Heel State cities are the real pits.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it on 4-9-2018 with better images.

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If you’re from North Carolina, you know how great you have it there. It’s not quite the deep south, a little bit of east coast, and a lot of awesome. If you just moved here, join the party! You now realize that the Tar Heel State is one of America’s finest states.

You have the mountains, the ocean, and some of the best college basketball teams in the nation. What else could you want? Oh yeah, great barbecue. South Carolina can’t hold a candle to it.

But is it all cheery in North Carolina? Of course not. Just like every other state, North Carolina has its issues. There are some places that are having a hard time right now. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which North Carolina cities need a little tender loving care.

After analyzing 129 of the Tar Heel State’s most populous cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state:

  1. Wadesboro (Photos)
  2. Selma (Photos)
  3. Henderson (Photos)
  4. Lumberton (Photos)
  5. Lexington (Photos)
  6. Eden (Photos)
  7. Laurinburg (Photos)
  8. Dunn (Photos)
  9. Long View (Photos)
  10. Marion (Photos)

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

How we determined the worst places to live in North Carolina for 2018

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,100 people were considered — leaving 129 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 129 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Score”.

Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score” with the lowest score being the worst city in North Carolina — Wadesboro. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in North Carolina.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

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1. Wadesboro

Wadesboro, North Carolina

Population: 5,577
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $98,800 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 21.2% (2nd worst)
More on Wadesboro: Data | Photos
Unfortunately for the Town of Wadesboro, crime has been an issue for a while now. They need some tough love down there; residents had a 1 in 89 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, meaning raped, attacked or murdered. In fact, for a city of under 6,000 people, the 62 violent crimes in town in 2015 really puts things into perspective.

Residents here are really having a hard time making ends meet, too.

2. Selma

Selma, North Carolina

Population: 6,325
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $85,400 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.1% (30th worst)
More on Selma: Data | Photos
Selma, NC needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.

Additionally, crime is 32nd worst in the state, which is very high considering Selma is so far removed from the rest of North Carolina.

If you know anyone in Selma, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.

3. Henderson

Henderson, North Carolina

Population: 15,258
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 9)
Home Values: $95,000 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.8% (7th worst)
More on Henderson: Data | Photos
While the median household income in Henderson is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of “worst cities”, Henderson still has the 7th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 16th worst crime index.

Therefore, though the average Henderson household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn’t help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.

4. Lumberton

Lumberton, North Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 21,646
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Values: $98,500 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (44th worst)
More on Lumberton: Data | Photos
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in North Carolina, Lumberton ranks 4th worst. Let’s see why.

Here in Lumberton, crime is the 4th highest in the state, and 1 out of 7.2 residents was robbed here according to the latest FBI numbers.

That’s not the first place you think of making home, is it?

Additionally, you have a 1 in 55 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rapes, attacks or murders. That’s really high.

When you look at adult education in North Carolina, the folks in Lumberton have the 13th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Lumberton undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.

The unemployment rate is the 44th highest in North Carolina, at 10.0%. That’s actually on par with the national average, which means North Carolina has some hard workers.

5. Lexington

Lexington, North Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 19,089
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Home Values: $101,800 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.2% (4th worst)
More on Lexington: Data | Photos
You might have passed through Lexington once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.

Here’s what science says about why Lexington needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 18.2%, residents earn about $27,437 a year, and home prices are just over $101,800. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.

And there simply isn’t anything to do in Lexington.

6. Eden

Eden, North Carolina

Population: 15,434
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Home Values: $82,300 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.8% (19th worst)
More on Eden: Data | Photos
The good news for Eden: The crime and education aren’t horrible. But they certainly aren’t great either.

Eden has one of the worst economic situations in the state. Residents earn a fraction of what it takes to really make a good living, and the home prices have barely climbed to $82,300.

Hopefully things are looking up in Eden. The city has spent a small fortune reinvesting in the downtown business district, a revitalization process that they hope can make an impact on the community. A real fixer-upper.

7. Laurinburg

Laurinburg, North Carolina

Population: 15,601
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Home Values: $98,200 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.0% (16th worst)
More on Laurinburg: Data | Photos
Laurinburg places 7th in our ranking of the worst places to live in North Carolina.

You can imagine it’s a pretty simple life down there. Which is fine, unless you look closely at the data.

Homes are the 12th cheapest in the state, and at $98,200, just about anyone with a pulse can buy a home here. However, the unemployment rate (14.0%) is the 16th highest in North Carolina, and income levels are far below the state average. And 3660.0% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Would you have guessed that the area around Laurinburg has one of the highest crime rates, per capita in North Carolina?

8. Dunn

Dunn, North Carolina

Population: 9,762
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 7)
Home Values: $112,600 (26th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.5% (13th worst)
More on Dunn: Data | Photos
It’s not the adults in Dunn who need a hug, it’s the kids. The public schools are some of the least funded in the state. In addition, the crime is really high for a city of its size.

Their motto is, “Where community matters.” So at least they have one another.

Dunn is kind of out in the middle of nowhere north of Fayetteville.

9. Long View

Long View, North Carolina

Population: 5,071
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Home Values: $86,700 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.1% (15th worst)
More on Long View: Data
If you live in Long View, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 34th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of North Carolina. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 20.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.

That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.

Plus there were 47 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 107 chance of being raped or attacked.

Finally, the folks who live here earn the 12th lowest salaries in North Carolina At $29,932 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for most folks.

10. Marion

Marion, North Carolina

Population: 7,873
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 8)
Home Values: $89,600 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.9% (26th worst)
More on Marion: Data | Photos
Marion needs some tough love as it ranks as the 10th worst city to live in North Carolina for 2015.

Crime in Marion is the 7th highest in the state, where 1 in 12.9 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.

. Additionally, the income is almost dead last in North Carolina.

If commute time is important, Marion residents have the 69th longest commute of any residents on our list.

Wrapping Up The Worst In North Carolina

If you’re looking at areas in North Carolina with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Wadesboro ranks as the worst city to live in North Carolina for 2018.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in North Carolina:

  1. Cary (Pop. 155,822)
  2. Davidson (Pop. 12,076)
  3. Apex (Pop. 43,893)

For more North Carolina reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In North Carolina

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Wadesboro 1 1 5,577 21.2% $98,800
Selma 2 2 6,325 12.1% $85,400
Henderson 3 12 15,258 16.8% $95,000
Lumberton 4 5 21,646 10.0% $98,500
Lexington 5 9 19,089 18.2% $101,800
Eden 6 3 15,434 13.8% $82,300
Laurinburg 7 6 15,601 14.0% $98,200
Dunn 8 15 9,762 14.5% $112,600
Long View 9 10 5,071 14.1% $86,700
Marion 10 18 7,873 12.9% $89,600
Kinston 11 26 21,393 15.4% $104,000
Smithfield 12 8 11,746 8.8% $123,900
Roxboro 13 4 8,329 23.9% $99,600
Lincolnton 14 18 10,593 15.1% $123,000
Monroe 15 31 34,212 11.0% $146,700
Oxford 16 20 8,707 13.6% $137,200
Hamlet 17 13 6,500 14.9% $92,600
Shelby 18 21 20,259 14.3% $116,000
Albemarle 19 22 15,968 10.6% $116,400
Ayden 20 16 5,167 19.6% $90,700
Morganton 21 32 16,717 9.9% $137,400
Goldsboro 22 25 35,924 17.2% $119,100
Salisbury 23 33 33,674 13.6% $120,700
Lenoir 24 14 17,956 12.8% $105,400
Rockingham 25 24 9,289 13.9% $98,100
Clinton 26 29 8,799 12.5% $117,200
Reidsville 27 41 14,107 9.8% $102,200
Asheboro 28 11 25,978 9.5% $111,400
Whiteville 29 7 5,535 12.7% $107,100
Statesville 30 45 25,731 13.9% $135,300
Roanoke Rapids 31 44 15,454 9.9% $116,000
Tarboro 32 36 11,206 9.9% $98,400
Sawmills 33 43 5,119 6.2% $94,900
Kings Mountain 34 40 11,053 16.4% $103,400
Williamston 35 18 5,534 13.6% $92,900
Newton 36 23 12,999 11.9% $113,700
Spring Lake 37 39 13,258 13.4% $92,200
Rocky Mount 38 34 56,175 13.0% $105,200
Mocksville 39 45 5,140 6.3% $139,900
Sanford 40 35 29,048 9.5% $132,200
Graham 41 27 14,506 7.4% $128,600
Washington 42 42 9,862 14.9% $144,500
Mount Airy 43 38 10,364 6.7% $131,600
Thomasville 44 37 27,178 13.2% $109,900
Butner 45 49 7,692 7.2% $127,200
Gastonia 46 30 73,877 10.5% $135,900
Burlington 47 48 52,570 8.0% $124,400
Wilson 48 47 49,558 8.9% $134,900
Winston-Salem 49 62 238,474 9.9% $142,400
Fayetteville 50 53 203,670 12.1% $127,500
Cherryville 51 55 5,901 11.4% $113,300
Angier 52 5,079 11.1% $151,800
Pineville 53 50 8,244 7.0% $162,100
Charlotte 54 77 808,834 8.5% $178,000
Boiling Spring Lakes 55 28 5,703 7.6% $146,500
New Bern 56 52 30,075 10.6% $150,000
Waynesville 57 57 9,788 5.3% $159,900
High Point 58 56 108,982 9.5% $142,700
Kannapolis 59 51 45,685 9.7% $125,600
Hickory 60 60 40,274 7.5% $157,500
Unionville 61 86 6,397 6.2% $190,200
Woodfin 62 65 6,241 10.1% $145,500
Greenville 63 67 89,745 12.0% $148,200
Hendersonville 64 89 13,548 7.1% $167,000
Kill Devil Hills 65 72 6,948 9.4% $234,900
Aberdeen 66 69 7,107 6.2% $170,300
Trinity 67 54 6,651 4.4% $131,200
Conover 68 64 8,263 7.9% $138,600
Belmont 69 61 10,494 7.7% $156,700
Hope Mills 70 63 16,189 9.8% $124,000
Greensboro 71 68 282,177 7.6% $148,500
Archdale 72 82 11,483 6.3% $134,600
Nashville 73 58 5,521 5.3% $122,000
Indian Trail 74 90 36,357 5.4% $177,200
Wilmington 75 70 113,724 8.1% $224,300
Mount Holly 76 73 14,058 9.6% $156,400
Havelock 77 97 20,630 11.6% $140,000
Wesley Chapel 78 106 8,217 6.9% $321,300
Oak Island 79 59 7,359 7.3% $255,500
Kernersville 80 93 23,736 5.2% $170,200
Wendell 81 79 6,298 3.1% $127,100
Mills River 82 119 6,990 3.3% $221,300
Carolina Beach 83 91 6,048 6.7% $288,300
Southern Pines 84 71 13,258 7.4% $278,700
Asheville 85 80 87,531 6.1% $212,000
Brevard 86 95 7,710 8.3% $198,400
Boone 87 99 18,241 17.1% $257,000
Concord 88 78 85,753 8.1% $169,800
Durham 89 66 251,761 6.5% $183,900
King 90 83 6,777 5.2% $145,400
Mebane 91 92 13,592 6.7% $172,400
Mooresville 92 103 35,387 7.4% $194,500
Stokesdale 93 75 5,278 4.6% $198,300
Jacksonville 94 87 68,404 11.9% $150,800
Leland 95 94 17,023 6.3% $205,900
Garner 96 81 27,625 6.3% $164,800
Clayton 97 87 18,553 7.6% $162,000
Weddington 98 111 10,254 3.0% $426,400
Hillsborough 99 84 6,428 5.9% $205,300
Lewisville 100 104 13,356 5.4% $185,500

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61 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In North Carolina For 2018

  1. I lived in Hamlet N.C from birth until I turned 24 years old and my entire family still lives there. Hamlet is a wonderful place to live and I always feel safe when I go home to visit. Just like every other town there are bad people and Hamlet does have some. For the most part people in Hamlet and Rockingham are good people and a tight knit community. Just because the Facebook page doesn’t have a lot of likes means nothing. No one in my family has ever been robbed in Hamlet or Rockingham and I will always feel safe there.

    1. Lol. Hamlet? Growing up there I was assaulted multiple times, had a knife pulled on me in school for lunch money and even had a gun pulled on me and robbed several times. And I grew up on the better side of the tracks. Never had anything like this in the next 30 years in my current town. After getting my degree, I couldn’t wait to leave.

    2. Those towns suck so bad. This analysis is so spot on. I would not live in any of them trash dumps. Some towns in Brunswick county should have been in that list. Nothing but drug addicts.

  2. I was looking on here and I was curious about where my city was ranked but I didn’t see it on here anywhere. I live in Dallas, North Carolina. Anything you could tell me about my city?

  3. How could you leave Laurinburg (with the highest unemployment in the state and now also without a middle school in the city limits) off the list? Oh and did I mention the high poverty rate, even higher taxes (yes that’s mostly the county govt, but that also needs to be considered), and all the raw sewage that is spilled into the water table every time it rains and the fact that ther eis nothing to do here but eat fast food and go to church, which a good number of people go outside of the county for anyway. And the crime rate is not as high because noone got shot last summer, but the summer before we had like 4-5 murders. And you leave out the $85 per person extra tax that just got passed that is going to raise a lot of people’s property taxes to MORE than a week’s worth of full time pay. At my house this tax “fee” is going to raise the property tax by 45%. Then factor in that our new hope is a Zaxby’s where even the manager will striggle to hit $30k/yr. How much did they pay you to keep them off of your list?

  4. Where are you getting home values? I am familiar with Eden and Reidsville. Median home values are around $82,500 and $112,100 respectively.

  5. Wow my city is #1. We have high crime? That’s news to me. Someone is very sloppy in their research. I live pretty nicely. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. People who live in our county are very nice and polite. Has the person who wrote this actually visited these places? I’m guessing…no.

    1. I live in F.C. too. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I really think this is non-sense! I read the paper daily & I don’t see anything reported as they are claiming!

    2. I moved from the west coast to live in Forest City 20 yrs ago. I chose Forest City because of the lack of density of population. Great people, great little town

  6. Sounds like some people are butt hurt. You “I’ve lived in this town my whole life and I disagree” people. Yeah, I guess you would if that’s all you know. This is accurate.

  7. You are totally right about my hometown of Whiteville!, it is horrible and there is nothing to do here but do drugs and rob people, the minimum wage is 7.25 and with taxes and child support I end up paying my employer to work there, I’d be better off sitting on my ass like everyone else in the city and living off the government!

    1. I think Whiteville has great potential. The fact that higher-end restaurants like the Southern Kitchen and Sophie’s have been able to thrive, and that the downtown is really pretty busy are good indications that this is a place where good things could happen. Yes, minimum wage is $7.25, but that’s true everywhere in NC! If only people would support their downtown a bit more, it would attract more businesses, and create more jobs in the process.

      1. Whiteville has always had a lot of potential, most of which has been blocked repeatedly by the criminal element who could not tolerate any outside eyes on their affairs. If anyone came in from outside, they might notice all the money laundering (like the unfortunate preacher in The Devil in Pew Number Seven) or the misuse of public funds (our water and sewer projects).

        1. Many things have changed for the better in the last 5 years. As I said in my other comment, the “good old boy” system is no longer in place, and this gives everyone a better chance at succeeding. From all the construction going on, you can tell things are really happening downtown, and this little town is about to experience a new economic boom. Just saying.

  8. I’ve lived in Eden most of my life. I did move to Rock Hill,SC for 10+ years & it was a shock to me when I moved back in 2005 at how many of my highschool friends that were going places are addicted to crack cocaine and narcotic pain medications. Really pitiful situations. But my immediate family all live in Eden & I’ve always felt safe. U just have to stay out of certain neighborhoods and/or areas.

  9. Hendersonville north Carolina should be in the top five for sure. Nothing but crack heads, pill heads, and meth heads.

    1. Hendersonville NC is trash talk city. They trash peoples reputations until they have to leave. It’s a miserable little town.

  10. My wife is a teacher at these underfunded schools in Dunn, what the article does not mention is the awesome teachers that we do have in this community that does great with the kids they have… we have an All American City and despite the high crime rate which you will find in most cities today, I have raised five children and would not trade Dunn for any of the the top ten cities mentioned in the best category, we have a small hometown atmosphere that attracts big name corporations like Food Lion and Rooms to Go. My family loves Dunn, NC. Please bring your statistics and just visit with us for a week, I am sure you will rethink your standings. Like any other city, we have our hiccups, but Dunn, NC is one of North Carolina’s best kept secrets, we really are a great community and a place I am thankful to have raised my children.

    1. I totally agree. I was raised in erwin. For those that dont know where erwin is we are basically the same city. Although I left the area when my husband whose is in the army was transfered. My whole family still lives there and love it. Yes you have to drive to go to the movies a few mins and mall. But Ive lived in big cities like Indianapolis and it still took is 20 mins to get to the movies or mall. So I think its a fair trade off to have our kids in a safe place with small town values.

      1. Wow, both of you must have lived in a completely different Dunn and Erwin than I did. The schools there are a joke and as far as small town values, you must be referring to the darker side of the values. The “good ol boy club” and the Christians women’s club values because if you aren’t apart of either of those then there’s no one to get your kids in the good classes with the one or two good teachers in the school. Dunn is a black hole where only the lucky get to leave and Erwin is its crackhead laden twin with old money mentality and no future

  11. This site is made for rich fancy folks who think their high class its not about the town it’s about who the person is me I love my small town USA they can kiss my ass lol its how u grow up that’s not on a stats sheet

  12. I am astonished by the accuracy of your report. You knocked the ball out of the park. After all the bad, thanks for mentioning the good. I have a thorough knowledge of the towns of North Carolina. I have completed four Cycle North Carolinas (bike ride mountains to the coast), and had an ambulance company for eight years that transported patients from UNC Hospitals to all parts of the state. I agree 110 percent.
    ——————————-
    Not online, I can tell you a hilariously funny Forest City story. “Dog Town”. Thanks for your great work.

  13. Lots of assumptions made due to the numbers. Lots of things raw data can’t tell you. Of course towns that’s don’t have uber wealthy crowds and neighborhoods are going to statistically look worse.

    Yet another example of how easy it is to make numbers say whatever you want them to.

  14. This article is terrible. There are a lot of great attributes to each of these towns that weren’t taken into effect. I don’t know about many of the others, but based off of what I know about Kinston and Goldsboro [which was pretty close to being on the list] not all of these have been properly vetted. Kinston has much more than a Walmart, they have a growing downtown with a large following for the Mother Earth Brewery. And Goldsboro has a huge military population which has contributed a lot to the town and the state. And there are towns that are worse that could have been put on that list.

    Also, in 2013, Gallup-Healthways surveyed hundreds of thousands of Americans in 189 metropolitan areas using many of the same qualifications you did (they used financial, employment, health, and social indicators) and came up with Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton ranking #5 nationally as one of the most miserable areas in the nation. I didn’t see any of those cities on your list. The closest you got was Statesville.

    I completely disagree and will not be sharing on Fb to perpetuate your biased and practically unfounded opinions.

  15. I’ve lived in both Hamlet & Rockingham. They are horrible little towns. There are generations of the same families living there. No one wants to leave or get an education. Also, the powers that be won’t let any companies move in to help the economy. The county is a black hole.

  16. I was looking over the data list that was compiled of all the cities/towns in North Carolina and there were barely any places noted that are west of Asheville. I saw Waynesville, but there are about over 2 hours more west of Asheville that definitely have statistics. Towns that I know have unemployment rates that are high and low market values for housing. I appreciate the work you did to compile this information, but if you are going to do it for all towns in North Carolina, do ALL the towns since there are many more you left off.

  17. Onion Light. No surprise that a Triangle start up doesn’t include any of their own in this “report”. As others have mentioned, there is much more to a place than city based stats. And until you actually go to any of these places, it is unfair to lump them in this article. Finally, great way to kick rural areas. How does that actually help anyone? I really like my 12 minute commute, low stress, and low cost of living in one of the towns listed. I suppose you have that short travel time also, from your parent’s basement up to their computer in the kitchen.

  18. Yeah, well — if a town has a Cook Out, it’s all right by me. I detour off I-95 to hit the one in Dunn all the time.

  19. Funny, I thought Dunn would be higher on the list. I was born and raised there. School system is horrendous, crime is bad, drugs rampant, horribly entitled minority, and full of pseudo conservative christian “10 cent millionaires”. The only positive that I can see, is there are a few good places to work in and around town, and they have a good mayor. It’s laughable that this town actually has a tourism authority for it’s one museum. All other “attractions” (using that term loosely) are found miles out of town. If you’re lucky enough to stay in one of the town’s few acceptable hotels…(the one’s not infested with bedbugs or about to be condemned) you’ll pay a hefty occupancy tax to fund the ever growing I95 billboard portfolio.

  20. What in the world were your criteria? Obviously you didn’t grow up in the warm nest of a caring small town. There’s some charming architecture, especially the smashingly wonderful Victorian train station. The Main Street was a movie set. Someone appreciated it! Hamlet schools were very good. The town has a well established hospital, and has had one for 100 years, along with a nursing school. Extreme cases could easily be sent to teaching hospitals. Fire and police protection was good. Everyone knew everyone and looked out for each other. As kids, we had tremendous freedom, especially once you could ride a bicycle. I always felt safe. Why not look for the positive? There’s a lot there in all of these places.

    1. Curlylocks, Hamlet schools are absolutely dreadful. I was educated in them. My family’s kids go to these schools. I’ve worked in them. They’re drastically under-funded and under-staffed, and sadly, some of that is due to poor distribution of funds at the local level, as well as under-funding from state and federal. Rockingham is no better, with the high school being the worst excuse for an educational institution I have ever seen in my life. That school has a massive drug and alcohol problem in the student body.
      As for the architecture, yes. We have some beautiful examples of Victorian architecture. I wouldn’t use the train station as a representative example, however. I live on 74. Disrepair does not even begin to describe what has happened to what was once absolutely picturesque when I was a child. Covering up problems by ignoring the flaws and seeing what was instead of what is – that’s the Richmond County I have lived in most of my life. And the one I am working hard to leave – permanently.

    2. The “warm nest” of my “caring town” closed ranks to block the murder investigation of a local nurse because her “christian” family didn’t want it to come out that she was a lesbian.

  21. You know what? I’ve been around the world and haven’t found anywhere more beautiful and safer than Forest City. I raised three boys here and my family has owned multiple businesses here over the last 50 years. Your study is BS.

  22. Gastonia has FAR more crime than most of these places mentioned, so it really makes me wonder about your criteria… I know people who live in Tarboro and love it – have heard good things about Forest City, and Statesville is as exciting as a root canal, but the terrible high crime they talk about must be the drug busts in the South side, since violent crime is very rare. The places they list as ‘good’ are all high rent and expensive homes – and hordes of Yankees who moved there and ‘improved things’ like the terrible traffic.

  23. Rutherford County is the WORST place to live or die in all of North Carolina. Its a death sentence on those who depend on their county health care and services related to health care. Its a death sentence!

  24. Why would you have a survey like this? I moved from Asheville…yes Asheville back to my hometown of Forest City. I got tired of the unfriendly people on Asheville, the traffic, the incredibly high cost of living, etc. I love being back in “Small Town Friendly.”

  25. Whiteville is the most dangerous place listed because it puts such a pretty face on the absolute utter depths of depravity. There is no way to expose the corruption in this tiny version of 1800’s Sicily, because so many people are in on it. Its like one big mob family. That’s why they were so effective at blocking the Colcor investigation. Its always been what they call a “closed shop” in criminal terms. Since no one can point fingers, murderers walk free and child abuse is not investigated. This has been going on forever. One of the most noted citizens, who’s name graces a public building in town, openly had a child with his own daughter. Its a great town for late night high stakes gambling, cheap hookers and gun running.

    1. I’m not from Whiteville, but I conduct business there. I can tell you the “good old boy” system is no longer in place. It has been both easier and harder to get things done (easier because you now have to meet all code/requirements of the law so you know what is expected, harder because you can’t bribe anyone if you don’t), but it is no longer the corrupt little town it once was. The past couple of town managers did a great job at making things more transparent and efficient. Unfortunately, some people like to rehash the bad things over and over and turn a blind eye to the good things, especially when they didn’t come up with them.

      1. Some of use have family members who’s murders were never properly investigated and resent that, deeply, but its nice that the bribery requirement is reduced and coffee shops are opening.

        1. Coffee shops are opening, and would you believe it has become a gourmet destination? One of the best restaurants I ever ate at is located in the heart of downtown Whiteville and is doing very well indeed. Who knew, right?

      2. What do you think about doing business there? I was thinking of putting a warehouse there, but called the Economic Development Committee, they were pretty unfriendly almost to the point of being rude.

        1. I don’t know who you talked to at the EDC. I haven’t personally dealt with them, so I can’t talk for them, but when I went to city hall, they were all like “how can we help you?” and when what I wanted to do didn’t quite fit what they allowed in their city ordinances, they told me what to do to have that modified in a reasonably timely manner so I could move my business there, and they helped me through the process. All in all, a very pro-business attitude, and a bunch of good people working there. Plus, you can’t beat the low rent and proximity to bigger cities, and the train is running again. I would give them another try. And not to open another can of worms, but EDC is “Columbus County”, whereas City Hall is “City of Whiteville”. But I really don’t have any problems with anyone there. Maybe they just had a bad day.

  26. No,no,no here is the most accurate list.
    1. Kinston 6. Shelby
    2. Goldsboro 7. Wadesboro
    3. Lumberton 8. Charlotte
    4. Henderson 9. Hendersonville
    5. Forest City 10. Grifton

  27. You haven’t considered some of the environmental factors. Some mountain cities should rank high due to the clean water and air and short hikes to stunning views. Jefferson in the high country is a good example. At the poor end are towns where the prisons, hog sewage lagoons, and pulp mills are concentrated. Just follow your nose to those places which have some of the worst air in the country. Most are producing warehouse meats for out-of-state producers like Smithfield pork and Purdue chicken. One horrible neighbor is across the state line from South of the Border. I hope that a future hurricane will destroy the tacky billboards there. You would think that one billboard would be enough to announce their presence, but SOB seems to think that they need hundreds.

  28. I grew up in Southern Pines. Lived in Boone and Asheville. Now live in Morganton. I would agree with a lot of this review. Morganton is the worst place I have ever lived in every way listed above. I hate it here and will be moving asap and never looking back. Barely a friend to have around here, no jobs, poor attitude, people tip an avg of 5% The latin and black population here are far more friendly than any redneck you’ll meet. SO much ego here for no reason at all. Ive watched a dozen businesses close in the past year. Its so depressing.

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