These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In North Carolina


We used science and data to determine which places in North Carolina are the unhappiest of all.

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Do you live in one of the most miserable places in North Carolina?

According to a Harris Poll taken in October of 2015, only a third of Americans say they are truly happy. That’s too bad, considering that Americans – especially folks in North Carolina – don’t really have it too bad, in the grand scheme of things.

But, we were curious – which North Carolina cities might be the most miserable? We’re about to find out, using science and data.

After analyzing the largest cities, we sadly present the most miserable cities in the Tar Heel State:

  1. Selma (Photos)
  2. Roxboro (Photos)
  3. Wadesboro (Photos)
  4. Siler City (Photos)
  5. Lexington (Photos)
  6. Warsaw
  7. Benson (Photos)
  8. Elizabeth City (Photos)
  9. Edenton (Photos)
  10. Pineville (Photos)

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. If you have a smile on your face, you probably don’t live in one of these cities.

Oh, and by the way, Oak Ridge is the happiest place in North Carolina.

Or check out the Most Miserable Cities In America.

If you’re looking for something more positive, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

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How We Measured The Most Miserable Cities In North Carolina

In order to rank the unhappiest places in North Carolina, we had to determine what criteria makes people happy. It isn’t a stretch to assume that happy people earn great salaries, are relatively stress free, and have a stable home life.

So we went to the Census’s American Community Survey 2010-2014 report for the criteria, flipped the list, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Percentage of residents with a college degree
  • Average commute times
  • Unemployment rates
  • Cost of living
  • % of married couples
  • % of home owners
  • Poverty rate

After we decided on the criteria, we gathered the data for the 108 places in North Carolina with over 2,000 people.

We then ranked each place from one to 188 for each of the seven criteria with a score of one being the most miserable (Any ties were given to the larger place).

Next, we averaged the seven rankings into a Miserable Index for each place with the lowest overall Miserable Index ‘earning’ the title ‘Most Miserable City In North Carolina’.

If you’d like to see the complete list of states, most miserable to happiest, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the unabridged chart.

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1. Selma

Selma, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,172
People Who Own Their Home: 28.28%
Married Adults: 34.95%

2. Roxboro

Roxboro, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,330
People Who Own Their Home: 29.88%
Married Adults: 28.42%

3. Wadesboro

Wadesboro, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,711
People Who Own Their Home: 47.64%
Married Adults: 33.14%

4. Siler City

Siler City, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,109
People Who Own Their Home: 45.74%
Married Adults: 38.96%

5. Lexington

Lexington, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 19,029
People Who Own Their Home: 35.69%
Married Adults: 41.09%

6. Warsaw


Population: 3,162
People Who Own Their Home: 32.04%
Married Adults: 28.36%

7. Benson

Benson, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,435
People Who Own Their Home: 38.29%
Married Adults: 37.15%

8. Elizabeth City

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 18,343
People Who Own Their Home: 35.07%
Married Adults: 32.57%

9. Edenton

Edenton, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 4,979
People Who Own Their Home: 32.56%
Married Adults: 37.71%

10. Pineville

Pineville, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,855
People Who Own Their Home: 30.7%
Married Adults: 30.37%

There You Have It

Like we said earlier, trying to determine the most miserable cities in {state} is usually a subjective matter. But if you’re analyzing cities where people are not stable, where you’re stuck in traffic, and no one spent the time to go to college, then this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the happiest cities in {state}, according to science:
For more North Carolina reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Miserable Places In North Carolina

City Rank People Who Own Their Home
Selma 1 28.28%
Roxboro 2 29.88%
Wadesboro 3 47.64%
Siler City 4 45.74%
Lexington 5 35.69%
Warsaw 6 32.04%
Benson 7 38.29%
Elizabeth City 8 35.07%
Edenton 9 32.56%
Pineville 10 30.7%
Fairmont 11 42.61%
Henderson 12 36.82%
Louisburg 13 49.09%
Eden 14 48.43%
Lincolnton 15 42.78%
Ahoskie 16 36.77%
Beaufort 17 35.37%
Kinston 18 36.33%
Murphy 19 43.61%
Statesville 20 40.18%
Forest City 21 34.78%
Salisbury 22 42.77%
Whiteville 23 46.04%
Smithfield 24 44.3%
Dunn 25 46.63%
Laurinburg 26 45.6%
Troy 27 42.91%
Taylorsville 28 32.29%
Marion 29 46.2%
Plymouth 30 41.56%
Murfreesboro 31 47.26%
Oxford 32 41.7%
Boone 33 17.36%
Gastonia 34 48.34%
Sparta 35 45.05%
Greenville 36 31.9%
Shelby 37 44.48%
Monroe 38 52.11%
Washington 39 39.5%
Lumberton 40 42.27%
Madison 41 56.34%
Goldsboro 42 33.09%
Bessemer City 43 60.1%
Rocky Mount 44 45.61%
Franklin 45 43.3%
Carolina Beach 46 23.06%
Albemarle 47 49.17%
Asheboro 48 45.97%
Woodfin 49 41.09%
Sanford 50 47.48%
Lowell 51 55.87%
Hamlet 52 50.3%
Windsor 53 53.96%
Kings Mountain 54 49.48%
Kannapolis 55 49.57%
Thomasville 56 52.96%
Hendersonville 57 37.58%
Williamston 58 44.95%
Newton 59 50.38%
Wilmington 60 39.44%
Wilson 61 45.66%
Norwood 62 45.55%
Dallas 63 50.67%
Graham 64 50.62%
Clinton 65 43.68%
Morehead City 66 38.07%
Winston-Salem 67 49.14%
Oak Island 68 26.4%
Elon 69 43.53%
Greensboro 70 46.39%
Charlotte 71 50.43%
Morganton 72 50.07%
La Grange 73 56.41%
Lenoir 74 49.24%
New Bern 75 43.19%
High Point 76 50.12%
Tarboro 77 48.01%
Sawmills 78 54.98%
Spencer 79 50.58%
Spring Lake 80 17.47%
Erwin 81 56.93%
Silver Lake 82 63.67%
Kill Devil Hills 83 26.04%
Fayetteville 84 41.85%
Mocksville 85 58.69%
Durham 86 45.68%
Butner 87 61.18%
Burlington 88 49.76%
Rockingham 89 51.55%
Liberty 90 61.15%
Raleigh 91 48.44%
Half Moon 92 55.81%
Cherokee 93 55.72%
Chapel Hill 94 44.27%
Asheville 95 45.65%
Carrboro 96 34.82%
Brevard 97 46.7%
Piney Green 98 49.83%
Boiling Spring Lakes 99 73.03%
Concord 100 59.9%
Reidsville 101 45.91%
Hickory 102 45.76%
Waynesville 103 48.0%
Mount Holly 104 58.64%
Garner 105 58.9%
Jacksonville 106 31.73%
Fruitland 107 57.6%
Aberdeen 108 43.55%
Havelock 109 37.04%
Black Mountain 110 48.26%
Southern Pines 111 50.19%
Nashville 112 61.71%
Mount Airy 113 51.75%
Hope Mills 114 52.38%
Roanoke Rapids 115 48.63%
Canton 116 58.33%
Southport 117 40.82%
Fuquay-Varina 118 68.72%
Cherryville 119 60.6%
Carthage 120 54.92%
Mooresville 121 59.32%
Salem 122 64.35%
Boiling Springs 123 56.09%
Bethlehem 124 74.84%
Richlands 125 57.21%
Belmont 126 60.19%
Clayton 127 63.03%
Hillsborough 128 54.35%
Kings Grant 129 61.68%
Etowah 130 78.11%
Mebane 131 54.14%
Newport 132 55.54%
Knightdale 133 63.2%
Conover 134 58.08%
Wendell 135 62.47%
Cornelius 136 58.54%
Wrightsboro 137 71.16%
Welcome 138 72.51%
Midland 139 84.34%
Kernersville 140 50.46%
Indian Trail 141 80.23%
Stokesdale 142 74.56%
Leland 143 66.7%
James City 144 69.62%
Archdale 145 66.3%
Mountain Home 146 59.67%
Hampstead 147 75.34%
Waxhaw 148 81.32%
Mint Hill 149 76.68%
Ogden 150 84.09%
Fairview 151 69.7%
Lake Norman Of Catawba 152 61.17%
Matthews 153 71.34%
Wake Forest 154 68.87%
Stanley 155 67.76%
Hudson 156 62.82%
Huntersville 157 70.07%
Davidson 158 68.51%
Winterville 159 79.3%
Stallings 160 84.46%
Fairview 161 74.74%
Gibsonville 162 72.5%
Mountain View 163 84.09%
Wesley Chapel 164 94.13%
Morrisville 165 45.39%
Trinity 166 73.65%
King 167 71.57%
Weddington 168 92.17%
Murraysville 169 73.57%
Unionville 170 74.14%
Harrisburg 171 84.2%
Apex 172 67.46%
Lewisville 173 82.22%
Cary 174 65.18%
Westport 175 87.99%
Flat Rock 176 66.62%
Porters Neck 177 67.53%
Fletcher 178 72.68%
Myrtle Grove 179 79.69%
Marvin 180 93.31%
Mills River 181 74.9%
Clemmons 182 68.5%
Summerfield 183 82.92%
Holly Springs 184 82.17%
Seven Lakes 185 72.08%
Red Oak 186 85.55%
Pinehurst 187 67.2%
Oak Ridge 188 89.52%

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7 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In North Carolina

    1. I agree. I live in Carolina Beach. Been in the Wilmington area about a year. I love it. The number crunching doesn’t physically reflect people’s displeasure. It’s a deduction based on what percentage of people own homes, are married, average commute times and cost of living in that area.

  1. Haha! I knew Moyock was too small to be considered a city. If it is listed, I miss it or it was in the very small print. However, those of you living in Elizabeth City, yes it is somewhat expensive, but you are living larger than you would be in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake or Norfolk. Their close proximity is what caused the higher cost of living in EC.

    1. and your comment is nothing but the truth! i live in virginia beach, after coming from harnett county (dunn which was #25 on the list, which is pretty miserable but not that bad, and coats near dunn thats not even on the list!) and YES! the only reason anything near the VA line in close proximity to VB is so costly is because ts near this piece of garbage place! you wanna find the most miserable place to live? its not selma! its virginia beach! theyll rob you of every dime and force you to live in a tiny closet they call “luxury” only because scattered about are a few million dollar homes and this junky “tourist” suburb thinks ita worth a penny to someone! give me carolina beach any day over virginia beach! actually i prefer topsail but ill take anything carolina over va!

  2. This is purest silly snobbery. Wealth and higher education don’t necessarily equal delirious happiness.i would hazard a guess: this has a lot to do with racial makeup, and willingness of the.down-and-outs to participate in town opportunities.. My pretty little town has so much to offer in addition to its ideal location, its (free) parks, cultural, recreational, volunteer and educational opportunities, There is no excuse for anyone to be miserable here except through laziness and lack of imagination and drive. Anybody who is bored or unhappy here needs to get off his or her duff and DO something.

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