There is nothing like Kentucky.
Songs, movies and pop culture in general have talked about Kentucky forever now. It’s got a lot of history, beauty, culture and some of the gosh darn friendliest sports fanatics in the country. If you grew up there, you’ll most likely never leave.
But is it all good in the Bluegrass State? Of course not. Just like every other state, Kentucky has its least desirable spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities are the worst you could possibly live in if you make Kentucky your home .
After analyzing 75 of the state’s most populous cities (over 5,200 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Kentucky:
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 Kentucky? That would be Mayfield.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Kentucky reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Kentucky
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Kentucky
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kentucky For 2019
Mayfield is out in the middle of nowhere, in the southwestern part of the state. Here, 22.2% of the adult population lack’s even a high school degree. That makes Mayfield have the 5th highest adult drop out rate in Kentucky.
Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $89,300 each — the 4th lowest in Kentucky.
As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of demand to live here.
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Russellville is the 2nd worst place in the state of Kentucky.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Russellville is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Russellville are the 10th lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can’t get much worse in Kentucky.
Hazard is a really small, densely populated place in Kentucky.
The unemployment rate here is sky high at 13.5%, and income levels are the 5th lowest in Kentucky. Homes sell for an average of $121,400.
If you’re trying to have some sort of professional career in Kentucky, this is one of the last places you would want to live.
When you’re looking at science and data, Maysville is the 4th worst place you can live in the state of Kentucky. Let’s see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Kentucky. Maysville is the 23rd most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 26.8 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $113,200, which is the 27th lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Maysville.
Income levels are just about $29,852, the 10th lowest in Kentucky.
When you add it all up, Maysville really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
Lebanon, KY needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.
Additionally, crime is 51st worst in the state, which is very high considering Lebanon is so far removed from the rest of Kentucky.
If you know anyone in Lebanon, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
If, by some reason, you were driving through London, after stopping to ask for directions, you may have noticed that things aren’t so peachy keen here.
It’s tough out there for people to stay afloat when their income levels are so low ($32,551) and they can’t get good jobs (10.7% unemployment rate).
London ranks as the 6th wost place in Kentucky.
Things are starting to get progressively more ‘modern’ and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Kentucky when we get to Franklin. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 7.2% (which is really high), and the median income is $32,977. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.
The unemployment rate in Somerset is a sky high 9.9%, which is the 10th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Somerset is $23,518. That means 35.7% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn’t horrible here, but you have a 1 in 33.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within city limits every year.
We’re seeing a pattern here. A small, isolated city with a bad economy. Oak Grove is located in Christian County.
Here, the schools are way underfunded, when you compare them to the rest of Kentucky. Families can barely make ends meet, and the unemployment rate (3.3%) is the 69th highest in the state. A home here sells for $101,000, on average. That signals it’s not a desirable place to live.
Plus, crime is in the top 10%.
Covington’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.
Covington has the 28th worst crime index of any place in Kentucky, and has the 27th lowest income.
How we determined the worst places to live in Kentucky 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 75 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 75 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 Kentucky — Mayfield. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Kentucky.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Kentucky
If you’re looking at areas in Kentucky 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, Mayfield ranks as the worst city to live in Kentucky for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Kentucky:
- Wilmore (Pop. 6,226)
- Edgewood (Pop. 8,688)
- Fort Thomas (Pop. 16,254)
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