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People who live in Louisiana are darn proud of it. There's a certain grit that comes with living in the Bayou State. A little bit of toughness and ruggedness mixed in with a lot of culture. More culture than most Americans have seen, actually.
But, just like every other state in the U.S., Louisiana comes with some baggage. There are some pretty rough spots there, and the purpose of this post is to identify exactly which places stand out as being the least desirable, at least according to science.
After analyzing all 60 cities with a population of 5,000 or more, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Louisiana:
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. And the worst place to live in Louisiana? That would be Bogalusa.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.
For more Louisiana reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Louisiana
- Cheapest Places To Live In Louisiana
- Most Dangerous Places In Louisiana
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Louisiana For 2021
Bogalusa has some issues for sure. Crime levels are very bad, in comparison to the rest of Louisiana, and residents earn one of the lowest annual salaries in the state. The unemployment rate is on par with the national average, but a lot higher than in other cities in Louisiana.
Bogalusa, in Washington Parish near the Mississippi state line, has seen its population shrink almost 9% in the last 15 years.
Bastrop is out in the boonies in the northeastern part of the state. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely. An astounding 1 in 5 homes is vacant here.
Additionally, crime is 5th worst in the state, which is very high considering Bastrop is so far removed from the rest of Louisiana.
Natchitoches's situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.
Natchitoches has the 13th worst crime index of any place in Louisiana, and has the 3rd lowest income.
Ville Platte, the parish seat of Evangeline Parish, is out in the middle of nowhere north of Lafayette. Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year than any other residents in the state $19,616, and crime is sky high.
Additionally, the poverty level is 41.4% in Ville Platte.
When you're looking at science and data, Opelousas is the 5th worst place you can live in the state of Louisiana. Let's see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Louisiana. Opelousas is the 2nd most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 12.6 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $98,100, which is the 12th lowest in the state. You can defend 'cheap living' all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Opelousas.
Income levels are just about $22,646, the 5th lowest in Louisiana.
When you add it all up, Opelousas really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Louisiana, Donaldsonville came in 6th. Let's see why.
When you're comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Louisiana residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Louisiana, you can see some really big differences. In Donaldsonville, the number of people out of work is 12.2%
In Louisiana, that's the 8th highest in the state.
The residents in Donaldsonville have the 8th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Donaldsonville average $25,551 a year. Which isn't too shabby in comparison to the other 'lowest' income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $113,000 on average. That's the 16th lowest in the state.
Say what you want about how beautiful Jeanerette might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.
The unemployment rate rankss highest in the state at 24.9%. Homes are the 7th lowest priced ($84,600), and the median income per household is just a tad over $34,643.
The fact is most of the people who live here are having a hard time making ends meet, when you consider their earned incomes and lack of jobs.
You might have passed through St. Gabriel once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here's what science says about why St. Gabriel needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 3.6%, residents earn about $48,259 a year, and home prices are just over $172,100. 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 St. Gabriel.
Eunice ranks as the 9th worst city on this list.
Eunice has the 18th highest crime rate in Louisiana, where residents have a 1 in 18.4 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 17th cheapest in the state ($114,200), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.
St. Martinville ranks as the 10th worst city in Louisiana. Located in St. Martin Parish, St. Martinville has the 7th lowest income levels in the state of Louisiana ($25,520), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 11.3%.
How we determined the worst places to live in Louisiana for 2021
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
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 5,000 people were considered -- leaving 60 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 60 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 Louisiana -- Bogalusa. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Louisiana. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Louisiana
If you're looking at areas in Louisiana 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, Bogalusa ranks as the worst city to live in Louisiana for 2021.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Louisiana:
- Mandeville (Pop. 12,448)
- Patterson (Pop. 5,953)
- Harahan (Pop. 9,304)
For more Louisiana reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Louisiana?