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 61 cities with a population of 5,100 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 2019.
For more Louisiana reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Louisiana
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Louisiana
- 10 Most Dangerous Places In Louisiana
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Louisiana For 2019
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 2nd worst in the state, which is very high considering Bastrop is so far removed from the rest of Louisiana.
Crime is just bad in this part of the state. Hammond, in Tangipahoa Parish, has the 1st highest number of crimes per capita in the entire state.
When you factor in low salaries and an underfunded education system, there are certainly some issues to address here.
Hammond is by far the largest city at the top of this worst ranking in Louisiana.
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 $19,716, and crime is sky high.
Additionally, the poverty level is 35.5% in Ville Platte.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $45,800 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.0% (29th worst)
More on Richwood: Data
Richwood has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 4th-highest in the state of Louisiana. And residents earn far less than it takes to live a normal life. The unemployment rank is also higher than almost every other city in the state at 8.0%.
Additionally, 34.6% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Jeanerette is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $73,100. That means it ranks as the 7th lowest in Louisiana.
You can make a case that based on the fact that Jeanerette has no real indoor entertainment, and crime is the 28th worst in the state, it’s one of the worst places you can live in Louisiana.
Natchitoches, part of Natchitoches Parish, is the 7th worst place to live in Louisiana for 2019.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $21,579, and crime 15th worst in Louisiana.
Additionally, the poverty level is 44.7% in Natchitoches.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Louisiana, Crowley ranks 8th worst. Let’s see why.
Here in Crowley, crime is the 18th highest in the state, and 1 out of 19.3 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 61 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 Louisiana, the folks in Crowley have the 2nd highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Crowley undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 6th highest in Louisiana, at 14.2%. That’s actually on par with the national average, which means Louisiana has some hard workers.
While the median household income in Opelousas is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of “worst cities”, Opelousas still has the 36th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 5th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Opelousas 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.
While crime is abnormally high and residents expect to make far less than their Louisiana neighbors, Franklin has one thing going for it: Scientifically, it has the best weather in the state.
Franklin is on Route 90 halfway between New Orleans and Lafayette.
How we determined the worst places to live in Louisiana for 2019
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 61 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 61 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.
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 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Louisiana:
- Youngsville (Pop. 11,950)
- Mandeville (Pop. 12,215)
- Harahan (Pop. 9,367)
For more Louisiana reading, check out: