These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kentucky For 2018

We used science and data to determine which places in the Bluegrass State are the real pits.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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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 5,300 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Kentucky:

  1. Mayfield (Photos)
  2. Russellville (Photos)
  3. Leitchfield
  4. Maysville (Photos)
  5. Newport (Photos)
  6. Somerset (Photos)
  7. Harrodsburg (Photos)
  8. Franklin (Photos)
  9. Princeton (Photos)
  10. Glasgow (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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

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How we determined the worst places to live in Kentucky for 2018

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

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

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 5,300 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.

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1. Mayfield

Mayfield, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,078
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Values: $85,000 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.5% (2nd worst)
Mayfield is out in the middle of nowhere, in the southwestern part of the state. Here, 24.7% of the adult population lack’s even a high school degree. That makes Mayfield have the 4th highest adult drop out rate in Kentucky.

Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $85,000 each — the 4th lowest in Kentucky.

As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of demand to live here.

2. Russellville

Russellville, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,998
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Home Values: $87,400 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (22nd worst)
Russellville places 2nd in our ranking of the worst places to live in Kentucky. Here, 24.6% of the adult population lack’s even a high school degree. That makes Russellville have the 5th highest adult drop out rate in Kentucky.

Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $87,400 each — the 5th lowest in Kentucky.

As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of demand to live here.

3. Leitchfield

Population: 6,850
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Home Values: $93,800 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (32nd worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Leitchfield is the worst place you can live in Kentucky. Let’s see why.

The unemployment rate here is 7.5%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $93,800, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.

You have a 1 in 50.0 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That’s not fun, either.

Leitchfield is a far drive south from Louisville.

4. Maysville

Maysville, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,883
Rank Last Year: 25 (Up 21)
Home Values: $111,800 (29th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (12th worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Maysville is the worst place you can live in Kentucky. Let’s see why.

The unemployment rate here is 9.9%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $111,800, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.

You have a 1 in 29.3 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That’s not fun, either.

Maysville is a far drive south from Louisville.

5. Newport

Newport, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,321
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 5)
Home Values: $121,700 (38th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (17th worst)
Newport ranks as the 5th-worst place in Kentucky due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.

On top of that, residents have the 35th-worst commute of any place in the state.

6. Somerset

Somerset, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,415
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Home Values: $105,100 (22nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (35th worst)
Somerset, part of Pulaski County, is the 6th worst place to live in Kentucky for 2015.

. Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $25,070, and crime 24th worst in Kentucky.

Additionally, the poverty level is 3650.0% in Somerset.

7. Harrodsburg

Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,409
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 12)
Home Values: $104,800 (21st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.8% (1st worst)
Here in Harrodsburg, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in Kentucky. That’s not a good combination.

Located in Mercer County, you have a 1 in 46.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Harrodsburg city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (14.8%). That’s good for the 1st highest unemployment rate in Kentucky.

8. Franklin

Franklin, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,706
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Home Values: $96,700 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (38th worst)
Here in Franklin, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in Kentucky. That’s not a good combination.

Located in Simpson County, you have a 1 in 36.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Franklin city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (7.1%). That’s good for the 38th highest unemployment rate in Kentucky.

9. Princeton

Princeton, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,215
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Home Values: $91,900 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.6% (9th worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Princeton is the 9th worst place you can live in the state of Kentucky. Let’s see why.

You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 23rd-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.

Residents in Princeton had a 1 in 27.0 chance of being robbed in 2014. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Princeton, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.

Princeton’s other issues are a very high unemployment rate (11.6%) and income levels of its residents ($39,696).

10. Glasgow

Glasgow, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,338
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 7)
Home Values: $98,700 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (13th worst)
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Glasgow ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 17th cheapest in the state here at $98,700. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Glasgow.

The median income levels here are the 8th lowest in the state of Kentucky, at $28,362. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 9.8% of people in Glasgow were without jobs according to the latest numbers.

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 2018.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Kentucky:

  1. Edgewood (Pop. 8,703)
  2. Fort Thomas (Pop. 16,317)
  3. Fort Mitchell (Pop. 8,245)

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Kentucky

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Mayfield 1 2 10,078 14.5% $85,000
Russellville 2 5 6,998 8.7% $87,400
Leitchfield 3 1 6,850 7.5% $93,800
Maysville 4 25 8,883 9.9% $111,800
Newport 5 10 15,321 9.2% $121,700
Somerset 6 4 11,415 7.3% $105,100
Harrodsburg 7 19 8,409 14.8% $104,800
Franklin 8 11 8,706 7.1% $96,700
Princeton 9 7 6,215 11.6% $91,900
Glasgow 10 17 14,338 9.8% $98,700
Lebanon 11 14 5,604 10.1% $92,000
Covington 12 8 40,766 9.8% $99,100
Middlesborough 13 13 9,842 10.0% $73,400
Campbellsville 14 15 11,329 8.0% $88,200
Monticello 15 6 6,116 11.9% $81,100
Mount Sterling 16 26 7,136 5.3% $118,900
Oak Grove 17 33 7,487 6.0% $93,000
Hopkinsville 18 18 32,442 11.7% $114,900
Cynthiana 19 21 6,376 6.8% $96,700
Hazard 20 3 5,383 14.1% $120,100
Shively 21 16 15,625 7.5% $99,300
London 22 9 8,111 9.1% $120,000
Richmond 23 24 33,583 8.8% $138,700
Paducah 24 22 25,010 6.7% $109,100
Bowling Green 25 27 62,824 8.0% $143,500
Corbin 26 23 7,306 12.3% $91,400
Nicholasville 27 34 29,249 9.5% $137,700
Murray 28 30 18,726 6.7% $143,700
Paris 29 34 9,836 7.2% $110,000
Winchester 30 28 18,395 7.5% $120,000
Versailles 31 29 9,091 5.9% $139,900
Radcliff 32 36 22,806 12.5% $122,600
Bardstown 33 12 13,026 11.9% $122,700
Ashland 34 31 21,294 9.3% $93,400
Williamsburg 35 39 5,263 9.1% $82,600
Morehead 36 45 7,615 4.7% $167,100
Dayton 37 20 5,385 7.6% $90,100
Henderson 38 32 28,870 7.5% $105,100
Frankfort 39 40 27,598 7.8% $126,400
Shepherdsville 40 37 11,869 6.4% $128,400
Pikeville 41 42 7,266 4.7% $174,600
Berea 42 47 14,667 6.4% $131,600
Owensboro 43 41 58,685 7.6% $106,400
Madisonville 44 42 19,615 7.3% $100,400
Shelbyville 45 48 15,039 4.0% $154,100
Lyndon 46 51 11,310 6.2% $173,700
La Grange 47 50 8,481 5.2% $161,800
Hillview 48 44 8,688 8.7% $110,900
Danville 49 46 16,645 6.3% $138,600
Elsmere 50 38 8,488 5.7% $105,500
Elizabethtown 51 52 29,835 6.7% $162,300
Erlanger 52 49 18,565 5.9% $119,800
Florence 53 53 31,735 6.9% $139,100
Lawrenceburg 54 57 11,081 7.8% $121,600
Middletown 55 55 7,773 4.0% $198,300
Flatwoods 56 54 7,358 7.0% $90,100
Bellevue 57 58 5,879 7.9% $116,900
Taylor Mill 58 59 6,719 5.5% $148,900
Georgetown 59 56 31,708 5.7% $151,700
Douglass Hills 60 61 5,645 4.6% $229,100
Union 61 63 5,677 3.3% $238,800
St. Matthews 62 60 17,930 3.6% $203,000
Vine Grove 63 67 5,680 5.7% $124,100
Mount Washington 64 66 14,088 6.7% $160,100
Alexandria 65 65 8,878 4.6% $156,900
Highland Heights 66 62 7,136 6.9% $126,700
Wilmore 67 69 6,181 6.1% $151,500
Independence 68 68 26,317 5.0% $160,400
Jeffersontown 69 64 27,395 4.9% $167,200
Villa Hills 70 70 7,404 9.0% $211,800
Fort Wright 71 72 5,732 3.2% $189,000
Cold Spring 72 71 6,168 2.5% $193,100
Fort Mitchell 73 73 8,245 2.8% $229,600
Fort Thomas 74 75 16,317 4.1% $200,600
Edgewood 75 74 8,703 2.5% $204,300

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27 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kentucky For 2018

  1. Your study don’t not consider the lovely people in Monticello. The drugs are terrible , but the people are great.

  2. This is so wrong, you should visit these small towns before you publish anything. Talk with the folks that live in the towns and then write these opinion articles

    1. I’ve lived around barbourville for many years, it could be a great town if you could get rid of the greedy crooked people running the town and the law enforcement.
      It’s sad when you can sit and watch drug deals go down in front of the cops and ask them , aren’t you going to do anything? And there reply is, are hands are tied….

      1. Please excuse my language BUT that’s up, ESPECIALLY being done right in front of the cops. It’s gotten to be a HUGE shame how out if control it’s gotten everywhere with drugs. I know in Bourbon County it’s extremely bad, BUT yes they are trying BUT to me not hard enough. I know a several years ago they(state police & other agency) came in to do a drug bust BUT this time they DID NOT tell Paris police they were coming. And when they came in they came in HARD & HUGE, I remember that day all to well. There was this big panel truck that stopped in the middle of the street and they raised up the back door and ALL kinds of men got out that was wearing camouflage and carrying assault guns and was walking the streets and they had “THE HOOD” locked down and were stopping EVERY vehicle in and out and checking EVERYBODY ID and if the same vehicle came in or out 2 TIMES they made the vehicle park and the people had to walk, yes they were checking EVERY SINGLE PERSON’S ID and FINALLY they were able to arrest ONE of the biggest drug dealers in Bourbon County and the only reason they got him is because they DID NOT tell Paris police they were coming because EVERY time Paris police knew they were coming this one drug dealer they been after for a long time kept getting away. There was even helicopters to so yea they got him BUT do they actually think that stopped him, HELL NO he has his little people doing his dirty work. And I know for a fact because this next thing came from a reliable source but this one cop walked up to this girl one night and said “YEA YOU BEEN SMOKING CRACK, BUT WE AIN’T WORRIED ABOUT THAT” and then one time here recently Paris police along with State Police were gonna be doing a drug bust BUT A CERTAIN POLICE OFFICER told SOMEBODY who lives in an area “HEY YOU MIGHT WANT TO LET YOUR BOY KNOW WE GETTING READY TO COME IN ON 6th street and SHUT IT DOWN” now OK what the hell is wrong with that issue. Hmm let’s see “CROOKED POLICE OFFICERS” maybe I don’t know BUT it don’t sound right. BUT of course you got plenty of “RATS” here. All I know is PARIS POLICE DEPARTMENT needs to BE DOING MORE TO SHUT THIS DOWN, that includes ALL THE RATS to.
        BUT I’M SURE AIN’T NOTHING GOING TO CHANGE AROUND HERE. But it’s a shame IT’S NOT SAFE AT ALL TO RAISE CHILDREN.!!! Now is the whole town BAD? NO the whole town is not the BAD, but we most definitely have way more than our share. I believe it goes to the police department because to me they are NOT trying hard enough. But overall BOURBON COUNTY/PARIS is NOT a bad place to live, it’s just the drug problem, BUT that’s everywhere. Plus I tell how pitiful Paris Police are:::INFORMATION WAS GIVEN TO THEM ABOUT DRUGS BEING SOLD AND DONE AT A CERTAIN ADDRESS BUT DID THEY DO ANYTHING?? HELL NO THEY DIDN’T…

  3. Leitchfield is my home town, it’s an amazing place to raise your kids. And “crime is 1 in 26” ?? That’s not bad at all compared to places like Louisville, where there are endless amounts of traffic, drugs, crime, poverty, and underfunded schools. You’re a close-minded simpleton.

  4. With high drug rates ,no one can get a job,if any is available do to not passing a drug test. Low pay at most job, I myself haven’t had a raise in 8 years, only 4 people at work has. If your not kin your not in there. I average 21,000 a year, and I’m on the high end of the pay scale there in Russell Spring. The on man there that he own the town, and keeps it at bay, keeping other business out. Only his is top. He even bought the drug testing company to pass only worker for him.

    1. Cadiz/Trigg county is the same thing you just described. Their are 3 prominent business owners that get decide who or what kind of business can move into county/town limiting both jobs and growth. I love the part about if you ain’t kin you ain’t in that’s Cadiz to a tee that’s the only way you get one of the better jobs in Cadiz. Wide spread opioids(painkillers) problem

  5. Maybe you should have titles your article “Hardest Economic Hits in Kentucky” or “Poverty Stricken Places”. I’ve lived in Barbourville my entire life, and frankly I couldn’t imagine a better place to live. Sure there are druggies and people without jobs, but everyone helps everyone as best they can. It’s small enough that we can help people in need. Also, I’d just like to point out that money doesn’t rule everything. People who live here and enjoy it tend to see a brighter side to life even if they arent rolling around in a big pile of money. There is more to life than that. A beautiful view everywhere you go, and a tight-knit community. What more could you want?

  6. As a resident fleming county i do souley agree that flemingsburg is most deffinately the worst town to live in there is absolutely nothingin th8s town to offer no movie theaters no walmat absolutely nothing to ofder our youth we have 1 mcdonalds 1 dairy queen pizza hut this town really does suck if it wasnt for family i would stay in this hell hold county

  7. Before you write a little nonsensical article like this, maybe you should do a little more homework. Mayfield is not in the middle of no where. It actually has two major interstates running through or close to the city: I-24 and I-69. Tyson and Remington are a few of the factories. An industrial park has recently received an offer for another business to build. The high school was rated #1 in testing for several years. The football team of the city is the current champion and has been for the past four year. The county school is also a top notch district. I just moved here and my home home was over $150, 000.Sure, there is petty crime and drugs just like everywhere else. I like this little town and really do not appreciate your skewing of census numbers from five years ago. Why don’t you do something positive with your life and write good news stories? We are a little short on writers with good purposes these days.

    1. Very well said. I can’t wait to see what Mayor Cantrell does when she catches wind of this. Mayfield is on the rise. Yes, it may never catch Paducah with its waterways and established businesses, or Murray, with the university, but it is one of the friendliest and closest knit communities, not only in the state, but in the country I’d say.

  8. It seems to me that you expect people to think that you are the “Know all and end all” in judgments on cities and locations for people to live. However you are completely wrong, because in America we have the right to live where we please and we do not need other people putting our towns down. So instead of putting someone or their city down, then I would suggest you try and help people.

  9. I was raised in Prestonsburg and your picture of downtown is about 10 years old. Yes there is a horrendous drug problem in this area but that doesn’t mean the entire city is doing it. Most of my family lived here their entire lives and we were a middle class family. My dad was a foreman for CSX for almost 36 years and now my 2 brothers work there. Certain jobs are hard to come by like any other place in the U.S. which I blame Obama because every odd number phone call I get any more is a camel riding sand nigger that can’t speak english. There are many things to do here, depending on what you call “entertainment”. So don’t put down a town until you have ALL the facts.

  10. Having grown up in Monticello KY and have parents that still live there I think that I know a little more about it than you (you’ve probably never even been there would be my guess) it’s a nice town there’s not a lot there but it is a great place. You’re a jerk in my opinion to talk smack about places you have no idea about. Drugs are in every town now unfortunately and they always bring a degree of crime with them but overall Monticello is above average as small towns go.

    1. I live in olive hill, and I agree….it’s pretty shitty. But I agree that this list is fucking stupid….however, I do not agree with the racist asshole who said “sand niggers” you sir, give Kentuckians a bad name.

  11. Monticello is by far the worst place to live the cops and judges ,Cps ,lawyers are cricked as a stick and if u use or sell drugs hey no worries there they are all for that here youil get off with a slap on wrist and ofcruse give them there share oh and the roads here messed up no railes so hold on if u go off a bluff there’s a lot of things messed up in this god awful place so it’s true about Wayne co that’s no joke well it is a big joke who am I kidding.

  12. I was born & raised in Leitchfield & I think this is right now but you forgot to mention how bad the drug problem is there. It use to be a great town but over there years it just keeps getting worse. I come home to visit about once a year but am glad I moved.

  13. Shit I use to live in Covington KY and Newport KY ware my little girl was brutally raped at the age of 12 talk about hell holes hmm might wanna redo ur list her and safe city’s

  14. Nonsense. You can live almost anywhere and have a good experience. It highly depends on your way of life. If you’re just someone who moves into a city or county, sends your kids to public schools, and bar hops on weekends. You’re looking for trouble no matter where you go. I grew up in Georgetown and Cynthiana. In Cyn you’re not likely to have any problems unless you live in town. Its a shithole unless you live in the country. Georgetown has gotten infested with blacks over the years. And they are a major cause of declining property values and crime (as always). And like always, live in the country and you have no problems. Although I dare you to send your kids to public middle and high school. There are so many blacks there and they cause alot of riots. Believe me. DONT. Homeschool your children. The cumberland region is full of uneducated idiots and drugs. You would be amazed at the way adults talk and spell. Seriously. The schools in that region might as well be held in treehouses. They don’t learn anything at all there. Ky is at the bottom period.

  15. This is the biggest load of crap ever. Not everyone wants to live in a huge city. Not everyone wants their job to be right next to where they live. Not everyone cares about having vast amounts of things to do at night. I chose this way of life. What does it matter if my house is not worth as much as in a large city when I can buy another house for the same value? Leitchfield is the BEST place to live in Kentucky.

  16. I Live in Owensboro and it is one of the most fd yo cities it’s also one of the biggest cities in ky mfs stay getting.l robbed shot raped stabbed etc.. those small towns u listed are candy lands compared to Louisville or Owensboro or Lexington Paducah bowlinggreen hopkinsville Madisonville Henderson

  17. I think a new city should be added to the worst cities in Kentucky. That city is Lexington. Since I have moved here the number of shootings/death by shootings have increased. There was even a drive by shooting at the Fayette Mall. Shootings have almost become a daily reporting.
    Recently, the Fayette School Board (four people) voted in a $13.5 million dollar property tax increase which equates to a five percent increase. They came up with a ten point safety program for the schools. I have no problem with that but, a budget review wasn’t reported as being done first to see how this could be funded within the existing budget. A good part of this program is to hire more personnel, so this isn’t a one time cost. Each year this “safety program” will add to the property tax bill. But it gets worse, this same board can vote in by the end of the year another four percent property tax increase for a total of nine percent in one year, which is added to the past two years tax increase. In Kentucky, schools get funded through property tax increases plus there are taxes added on your utility bills.
    If you decide to still move here your children will go to beautifully built schools but, for some reason, even with all this money, not every child is successful.
    I went door to door to try to get a petition signed so everyone could vote on this 5 percent tax increase. The level of poverty I saw in these homes was so disheartening. I wondered if the school superintendent or the board ever go out and look at what their burdensome taxes are doing to low income/fixed income citizens. Whether he and his school board know how people are living or not they are the worst kind of “public servants”; uncaring of what their actions do to citizens.
    One other never ending tax in Kentucky is your motor vehicle. As long as you own that vehicle you pay a yearly tax. So please think twice about moving to Lexington, KY.

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