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.
We’re seeing a pattern here. A small, isolated city with a bad economy. Russellville is located in Logan 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 (9.3%) is the 14th highest in the state. A home here sells for $94,900, on average. That signals it’s not a desirable place to live.
Plus, crime is in the top 10%.
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 Hazard. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 13.5% (which is really high), and the median income is $27,209. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.
Maysville needs some tough love as it ranks as the 4th worst city to live in Kentucky for 2019. There’s not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it’s not a place you might want to move to.
And the crime in Maysville is the 23rd highest in the state, where 1 in 26.8 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
You can sure expect that Lebanon is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 5th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Lebanon has the 51st-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 12 violent crimes here in 2019, and residents have a 1 in 55.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Lebanon, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.
You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits — the unemployment rate sits at 13.2% which is the 5th worst in Kentucky.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Kentucky, London ranks 6th worst. Let’s see why.
Here in London, crime is the 12th highest in the state, and 1 out of 22.0 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 444 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 Kentucky, the folks in London have the 9th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make London undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 8th highest in Kentucky, at 10.7%. That’s actually on par with the national average, which means Kentucky has some hard workers.
Franklin, KY needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 7.2%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 39th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 38.7 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
If you live in Somerset, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 8th worst place to live in the state.
You’ve got the 36th highest crime rate in Kentucky, which saw 23 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 33.9 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 492 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Somerset.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Somerset sports the state’s 10th highest unemployment rate (9.9%), and families bring in a combined $23,518 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $103,500.
Oak Grove has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 5th-highest in the state of Kentucky. And residents earn far less than it takes to live a normal life. The unemployment rank is also higher than almost every other city in the state at 3.3%.
Additionally, 22.9% of the population lives below the poverty line.
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Covington is the 10th worst place in the state of Kentucky.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Covington 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 Covington are the 15th 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.
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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