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
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Louisiana, Richwood ranks 5th worst. Let’s see why.
Here in Richwood, crime is the 4th highest in the state, and 1 out of 12.0 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 44 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 Richwood have the 1st highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Richwood undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 29th highest in Louisiana, at 8.0%. That’s actually on par with the national average, which means Louisiana has some hard workers.
Jeanerette is one of the poorest cities in the state of Louisiana. This city has 31.4% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $29,533 a year.
Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Jeanerette has the 28th highest crime rate in Louisiana. While the numbers aren’t staggering (Louisiana is a relatively safe place when you compare it to the rest of the country), it’s still undesirable when you consider that there are far safer (and more stimulating) places to make your home in the Pelican State.
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 15th worst crime index of any place in Louisiana, and has the 4th lowest income.
If you live in Crowley, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 18th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Louisiana. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 19.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 213 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 61 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 10th lowest salaries in Louisiana At $26,645 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Opelousas is the 9th worst city in Louisiana for 2019. When you’re comparing other cities to Opelousas, things just don’t look great, at least according to science.
Opelousas is the 5th most dangerous place in Louisiana, according to FBI statistics. And the residents here have a hard time keeping a job — at least in comparison to the rest of the state. The unemployment rate is 6.9%, worse than the state average.
Home values are really low ($94,100), and residents earn just $20,005 a year.
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: