These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Idaho For 2018

We used science and data to determine which Idaho cities are really ghetto.

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There are lots of people who throw the term ‘ghetto’ around. But which of the largest cities in Idaho are the most ghetto of all?

How do you decide if a place is ghetto or not? You ask the internet. According to the Urban Dictionary, a ghetto is defined as:

“urban; of or relating to (inner) city life” and “poor; of or relating to the poor life.”

Using that criteria, it’s not hard to scrape the internet, run some scientific data on where ghettos might exist in a state, and then put out a list.

After analyzing the largest cities here, we came up with this list as the most ghetto places to live in Idaho:

  1. Payette
  2. Jerome
  3. Burley (Photos)
  4. Rupert (Photos)
  5. Blackfoot (Photos)
  6. Caldwell (Photos)
  7. Nampa (Photos)
  8. Buhl
  9. Mountain Home (Photos)
  10. Weiser (Photos)

In case you’re wondering, the city of Eagle is the least ghetto city of all we measured.

Read on below to see where your hometown ranked and why.

For more Idaho reading, check out:


What ghetto criteria did we use?

In order to rank the most ghetto places in Idaho, we had to determine what criteria defines a ghetto city or neighborhood.

Since a ghetto is defined as a poor area, we used income levels, crime and education levels as a guide to determine where the most broke citizens of a state live.

Additionally, the staples of inner city life include cheap and discounted retail outlets.

We started by making a list of all cities with more than 4,000 people in Idaho that are listed on the 2014 American Community Survey.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using Yelp and Area Vibes, this is the criteria we used:

  • Household income levels
  • High school graduation rates
  • Number of convenience stores
  • Number of drug stores
  • Number of discount stores
  • Crime

Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.

All of these results are listed in a per capita basis. Meaning number of stores per person in a state. Additionally, high school graduation rates are determined by looking at the total number of people who live in a city, not the current graduation rate of an area’s high schools.


1. Payette

Source: wikipedia

Income: 3rd lowest
Drop out rate: 30%
Crime: 5th worst

When you look at the unbiased data, Payette, north of Boise and right on the Oregon state line, is the most ghetto place in Idaho. Let’s see why.

Residents are the 3rd poorest in the state, where families bring in about $30,000 a year in combined incomes. The government sets the poverty bar at $25,000 for a family of 4, so many folks in Payette are struggling to make ends meet.

3 in 10 residents never got a high school diploma by the age of 25, and crime is one of the worst in the state. There was a murder here in 2014, and you have a 1 in 48 chance of being a victim of a property crime for every year you spend here. That’s high for a state like Idaho.

2. Jerome

Source: wikipedia

Income:6th lowest
Drop out rate: 39%
Crime: Above average

A whopping 39% of folks in Jerome never got a high school diploma, and incomes are really low as a result. You’ll only find one other city where there are more uneducated people in the state (Rupert, below).

Jerome is along I-84 near Twin Falls.

3. Burley

Source: wikipedia

Income:7th lowest
Drop out rate: 32%
Crime: 13th worst

Burley is a few exits down from Jerome. The population here is also very uneducated, and families average about $35,000 a year in combined incomes.

There are also a far higher number of convenience and drug stores per capita here than in other cities in Idaho. Sociologists have indicated that discount shopping experiences like these are a staple of inner city life.

4. Rupert

Source: wikipedia

Income: 12th lowest
Drop out rate: 39%
Crime: Average

This general area of Idaho is the most uneducated of the bunch. Here in Rupert, nearly 4 in 10 residents never got a diploma by the age of 25. That means incomes are going to be low, and crime is going to be a lot higher.

5. Blackfoot

Source: wikipedia

Income: Below average
Drop out rate: 26%
Crime: 3rd highest

Believe it or don’t, but little Blackfoot Idaho is the 3rd most dangerous place in Idaho, statistically. This city along I-15 north of Pocatello is mostly a place for property crimes. If you spent a year there, you’d have about a 1 in 30 chance of being the victim yourself.

6. Caldwell

Source: wikipedia

Income: Below average
Drop out rate: 29%
Crime: 11th worst

Caldwell, north of Nampa, has a 6.1% unemployment rate, which is the 3rd highest in the state. Additionally, 1 in 10 homes is vacant here. Those numbers may be a reflection of the statistics we cited above.

7. Nampa

Source: wikipedia

Income: Average
Drop out rate: 23%
Crime: 9th highest

Nampa is the largest city by far to make this list. Crime is far above the state average, and nearly 1 in 4 residents never finished high school.

8. Buhl

Source: wikipedia

Income: 9th lowest
Drop out rate: 31%
Crime: Average

Crime isn’t so bad in Buhl, a tiny city in the Twin Falls area. However, 3 in 10 residents are uneducated, and many struggle to make ends meet each month.

9. Mountain Home

Source: wikipedia

Drop out rate: 17%
Crime: 4th highest

A whopping 14% of homes in Mountain Home were vacant last year, which is the highest number in the state of Idaho. While incomes are and education levels are about average, crime is the 4th worst in the state.

10. Weiser

Source: wikipedia

Income: 5th lowest
Drop out rate: 36%
Crime: Low

Weiser is a relatively safe place to live. However, income levels and education levels are some of the lowest in Idaho. Therefore, it’s technically a bit ghetto.

Other Highlights From The Study

Not ghetto at all: The following are the least ghetto areas in the Gem State: Eagle, Hayden, Meridian, Star and Preston. Three are Boise suburbs.

How did Boise and Coeur D’Alene fare? Somewhere in the middle. Coeur D’Alene is the most dangerous place in the state, however. And that’s not something to be proud of.

There You Have It

If you’re measuring the locations in Idaho where there are a high number of poor and uneducated residents, and where there are a high number of discounted shopping stores, this is an accurate list.

Now that you read that, you might want to watch a hilarious ‘Visit Idaho’ commercial spoof. Click here to watch it.

We also wrote about the 10 Drunkest Cities in Idaho if you didn’t happen to see it.

The Most Ghetto Cities in Idaho, with detailed information


Desktop users, below is a chart of top cities in Idaho, along with their crime numbers.

City Overall Rank Dropout Rate Crime Rate Incomes
Payette 1 30.00% 106 $30,040
Jerome 2 39.00% 91.9 $32,672
Burley 3 32.00% 96 $34,814
Rupert 4 39.00% 89.7 $38,847
Blackfoot 5 26.00% 108.5 $39,656
Caldwell 6 29.00% 96.6 $39,302
Nampa 7 23.00% 97.7 $40,835
Buhl 8 31.00% 79.5 $35,618
Mountain Home 9 17.00% 107 $45,648
Weiser 10 36.00% 53.1 $31,051
Twin Falls 11 20.00% 102.3 $41,589
Emmett 12 26.00% 64.1 $27,853
Fruitland 13 23.00% 78.3 $40,769
Garden City 14 18.00% 98.5 $34,931
Middleton 15 22.00% 87.8 $41,556
American Falls 16 31.00% 82.9 $38,720
Idaho Falls 17 15.00% 98.9 $46,291
Coeur D’Alene 18 16.00% 115.4 $41,064
Pocatello 19 13.00% 96.3 $41,978
Lewiston 20 15.00% 97.3 $44,817
Boise City 21 10.00% 94.1 $49,182
Moscow 22 7.00% 68.9 $30,790
Chubbuck 23 9.00% 109.9 $47,108
Sandpoint 24 16.00% 82.1 $38,519
Hailey 25 10.00% 81.5 $57,634
Rathdrum 26 19.00% 86.4 $47,845
Shelley 27 23.00% 75.1 $46,682
Ammon 27 11.00% 70.2 $56,808
Rexburg 29 4.00% 36.5 $26,441
Post Falls 30 14.00% 78.3 $49,524
Kuna 31 13.00% 63.8 $52,542
Preston 32 14.00% 35.6 $45,781
Star 33 8.00% 74.4 $63,790
Meridian 34 9.00% 69.2 $64,107
Hayden 35 12.00% 68.2 $51,304
Eagle 36 6.00% 54.7 $80,324

6 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Idaho For 2018

  1. Very interesting statistics. I think the downfall of your assessments is that they do not reflect the entrepreneurial nature of Idahoans. Many of the smaller areas such as Payette are populated by trades people and small business owners who serve the greater county area. They may not have gone to college or even completed high school, but even Tom Luna former Superintendent of Public Instruction did not graduate from high school or college, but rather followed the GED and online trade school route, so I guess he is ghetto. A quick drive through Payette, Idaho versus Fruitland, Idaho would quickly belay your statistics. The only signs of life in Fruitland are the large medical centers which have allowed the schools to increase school funds beyond the other local schools. Payette has the only state of the art library whose summer program has received numerous awards. Our municipal buildings are beautiful and cost effective, with an amazing fire station. All of our schools are well maintained on a shoe string budget. We are the only local school district that has restricted the amount of levy requests. We have three major festivals, Harmon Killebrew Day, Apple Blossom, and Cruise Night. All three of these venues bring visitors from across the United States. Four years ago we were ranked 68th best town for outdoorsman in the nation by Outdoor Magazine. The towns surrounding us look like ghosts towns compared to our town, yet because Internet gurus do a quick Google search of easily obtained numbers to create empty articles that appear to have some meat, but are actually just empty regurgitation of simple numbers that are not reflective of the community. If you are going to do an analysis solely on Internet searches, at least include GED rate, percentage of small businesses, municipal budget, festivals, municipal buildings and schools, as these are standards for most articles.

  2. The list may not be 100% accurate, and while the number 1 “most ghetto” city may, as Lorrie Heleker has stated, be full of entrepreneurial spirited people, the environment in this town is incredibly nepotistic and unfriendly towards business owners.

    With a 30% dropout rate, you’re already going to attempt to do business in a town where 3/10ths of the people potentially can’t afford your services without welfare. Added to which the low family income and high property crimes indicate you’re dealing with a high level of theft and damages to businesses and personal property.

    The above poster recently had her house burned down by a local group of bored kids which in and of itself speaks to the local spirit of the community. Education, and up until Obama funded a horridly under funded local library, are bottom tier priorities. Business owners such as Robert and Charlie at Field of Dreemz and Hogan’s arcade who gave kids something to do have been closed down, Robert and Charlie left due to the local business spirit. The only local businesses that have been built in the past 16 years are a few pizza places and a Family Dollar as far as entertainment goes. Yaaay…

    Good teachers can be found in some of the most hellacious environments, no doubt Payette is no exception. But a 30% dropout rate speaks volumes on how up to date Payette’s curriculum is. Classes left me out of touch with the outside world, and promise nothing in the way of really encouraging oneself to stay. The mentality is that most of these kids are going to leave anyways, why invest in them? Upon being chucked into the higher learning apparatus Idaho is always toting without any real substance backing it up, it became apparent how unprepared for becoming a productive member of society I truly was. Nearly all the classes in college were far beyond anything taught at high school. And it’s amazing how many electives and programs one can involve oneself in in other parts of the country; in Payette during the late 90’s you could count the available electives and programs on your hands.

    Ghettos are overly insulated communities completely lacking in entertainment value, tourism and social mobility. Growing up in the top most ghetto city in Idaho during the advent of the internet was like watching reality play itself out from a jail cell. While these communities may have been productive at one time in history, they’re the dying remnants of a proudly inbred way of life that provides little to no value for future generations of outsiders who may otherwise provide a means to join the 21st century. And make no mistake, you’re an outsider if you either a) haven’t got 3 generations of family living here already, or b) aren’t a 2nd-3rd generation illegal laborer undermining any positive change from a structural standpoint.

  3. Once again proving the point that you shouldn’t believe everything you see on the internet. The “dropout rate” metric is a complete fabrication. But when you are using Yelp as your statistical source, it’s no surprise. For instance, if you look at the state of Idaho data, Weiser high school has a graduation rate of 94%, which is well above the state average of 85%. But, real numbers don’t make as good of click bait as pretend ones do.

    Besides, Payette really is the most ghettto town in the state. With a very real 70% graduation rate, drug problems, students who set the principle’s house on fire (while he and his family were inside, asleep), or a school administrator found in their car in nothing but their birthday suit (along with a “companion”), that town has serious issues.

  4. That’s just a few incidents in one small town,,Every town has issues,,Let’s take a look at the big cities,, Detroit filed for bankruptcy,,The CITY is all but abandoned,, Halloween people burn down houses for sport,, Homeless People freezing on Church Doorsteps,,Most of the businesses are run by people who aren’t citizens and god forbid you have a life threatening situation and have to be ambulanced to the hospital because it will take hours for them to get to you if they decide to show up at all,,then if you do manage to make it,you spend an hour going through security before you are triaged and treated,,Children run the streets 24/7 unsupervised and if they go to school,,the usually end up dropping out before they reach middle school,, Idaho is full of small town communities where people help eachother and a handshake still means something,,Jus because we live in Payette does NOT mean we are living in poverty,,are uneducated or poor,, Crime is everywhere not just in Small Town Idaho

  5. Payette is has many features that are normally found in larger areas, including the following: a golf course that has been rated as one of the best in the northwest; a small airport; local museum full of memorabilia; large, new library; public transit; swimming pool. There are three large festivals: Harmon Killebrew Day, Cruise Night and Car Show and the Apple Blossom Festival. Payette was rated 68th of the top 200 towns in America by Outdoor Life (May 28, 2009) due to the wide variety of outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing. For a lazy afternoon diversion, you can float the Malheur River. We also have one of four Harmon Killebrew baseball fields designed specifically for special need players. As with every town, you can close one eye and see people struggling with life choices, or you can open both eyes and see a wonderful town that is what you make it.

  6. My name is Glenn, I lived in Mtn. Home until 1972 after my dad retired from the AFB. I always wished to live in MTN. Home again, but it does not look like a bad town but just has no big future for a family. I live in mesa Az. which is a large city now compared to 1972! I do plan to visit there sometime in 2020 with my wife to show her what a small town really is, and that’s ok. Big cities have a lot of down falls, Not because of income, just peoples attitudes. Facts of surveys do not mean everything, just God fearing people. I look forward to seeing the little town I once went to school in & lived & grew up somewhat. Do not change a thing, just remember what you have, its not so bad!

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