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:
- Bogalusa (Photos)
- Bastrop (Photos)
- Hammond (Photos)
- Ville Platte (Photos)
- Jeanerette (Photos)
- Natchitoches (Photos)
- Crowley (Photos)
- Opelousas (Photos)
- Franklin (Photos)
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
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.
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
Yes, every dog has a few fleas. But the crime in Richwood is actually quite atrocious. Some of the punks there who are causing trouble need a time out. It’s that simple.
Residents here have a 1 in 44 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, meaning raped, attacked or murdered. And they have a 1 in 12.0 chance of being robbed each year. That’s off the charts high.
And the unemployment rate is at 8.0%, which isn’t horrible, but the 29th-highest in the state. Plus, residents here earn about $21,731 a year in combined household income.
Jeanerette is another place in the Pelican State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Jeanerette is a staggering 31.4%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($29,533 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $73,100, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Jeanerette is bad, but not horrible.
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Natchitoches is the 15th most dangerous city in Louisiana, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 15.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s really high for Louisiana, but not even the highest in the state.
Home values are the 42nd cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Natchitoches bring in just under $21,579 a year annually.
Here in Crowley, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in Louisiana. That’s not a good combination.
Located in Acadia Parish, you have a 1 in 19.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Crowley city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (14.2%). That’s good for the 6th highest unemployment rate in Louisiana.
Opelousas doesn’t have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 6.9%, and people average less than $20,005 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $94,100, 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 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.
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:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Louisiana
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Louisiana
- 10 Safest Places In Louisiana
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Louisiana
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Louisiana