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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 Bastrop.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
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 2020
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.
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.
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $47,200 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (13th worst)
More on Richwood: Data
According to science, Richwood is the 3rd worst place you can live in Louisiana.
Let's see why. Richwood has the 8th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Richwood is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($47,200), and the 13th-highest unemployment rate in the state (11.1%), and across the board, Richwood doesn't sound like the best of the best.
Plus, there's simply not a lot to do here (unless you count having a Walmart and a Piggly Wiggly as fun). We're aware that people enjoy outdoor activities, but in terms of pure entertainment, you'd have to drive a ways away.
Crime is just bad in this part of the state. Hammond, in Tangipahoa Parish, has the 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.
The city of Crowley is the 5th worst place you can live in the state of Louisiana in 2020.
It's unlucky for Crowley, which has the 7th highest unemployment rate (12.1%), the 13th lowest household incomes ($27,089) and the 14th lowest home prices in the state ($99,000).
Basically, a lot of people in Crowley are out of work. And crime is certainly a factor here as well. Although it's not one of the most dangerous places we'll look at, it's in the top 20%.
Add it all up, and this is truly one of the worst places you could live 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 $20,534, and crime is sky high.
Additionally, the poverty level is 39.4% in Ville Platte.
Natchitoches is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we're aware that it's beautiful and "fun". But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Natchitoches residents earn the 4th-lowest salaries in the state. At $21,854 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $156,000, which means there isn't a lot of demand.
Crime is the 17th highest in Louisiana per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 3rd highest in the state, at 17.2%.
Donaldsonville doesn't have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 14.3%, and people average less than $22,716 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $110,800, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Louisiana.
And again, in terms of the overall 'enjoyment' factor, it's not easy to find fun on a Friday night.
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 39th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 4th 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.
You can sure expect that Jeanerette is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 10th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Jeanerette has the 28th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 80 violent crimes here in 2020, and residents have a 1 in 21.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Jeanerette, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.
You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits -- the unemployment rate sits at 25.8% which is the worst in Louisiana.
How we determined the worst places to live in Louisiana for 2020
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 -- Bastrop. 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, Bastrop ranks as the worst city to live in Louisiana for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Louisiana:
- Youngsville (Pop. 12,753)
- Mandeville (Pop. 12,252)
- Harahan (Pop. 9,309)
For more Louisiana reading, check out:
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- Best Cities For Singles In Louisiana
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Louisiana?