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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
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Louisiana, Richwood came in 3rd. Let's see why.
Located in Ouachita Parish with a population of 5,013, Richwood has the 13th highest unemployment rate in Louisiana. Crime is high for the state as well, coming in as the 8th most dangerous.
Additionally, 39.4% of the population lives below the poverty line.
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.
Crowley, LA needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.
Additionally, crime is 6th worst in the state, which is very high considering Crowley is so far removed from the rest of Louisiana.
If you know anyone in Crowley, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
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.
Welcome to Natchitoches, which might be one of the poorest areas in Louisiana. Residents average $21,854 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 46.8% of Natchitoches residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $156,000 and the unemployment rate hovers near 17.2%.
If you're looking to live in Louisiana, Donaldsonville might not be the best choice as it places 8th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2020.
The unemployment rate here is 14.3%, and households bring in a combined $22,716 a year in income. That's not too far from the poverty line, even though money goes a lot further in the boonies of Louisiana.
Crime is the 12th highest in the state in Donaldsonville as well. Just not a very desirable place at all to make home.
Here in Opelousas, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in Louisiana. That's not a good combination.
Located in St. Landry Parish, you have a 1 in 13.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Opelousas city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (6.9%). That's good for the 39th highest unemployment rate in Louisiana.
Out of all the places to live in Louisiana, Jeanerette ranks as the 10th worst -- not something to brag about.
Jeanerette's unemployment rate stands at 25.8%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $28,713 a year in salaries. That's not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 8th cheapest in the entire state at $84,700. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there's not a lot of demand to live way out in Jeanerette. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 28th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 21.7 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 123 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
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:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Louisiana?