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:
- Mayfield (Photos)
- Russellville (Photos)
- Hazard (Photos)
- Maysville (Photos)
- Lebanon (Photos)
- London (Photos)
- Franklin (Photos)
- Somerset (Photos)
- Oak Grove (Photos)
- Covington (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. 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
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.
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.
Russellville needs some tough love as it ranks as the 2nd worst city to live in Kentucky for 2017. 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 Russellville is the 24th highest in the state, where 1 in 28.2 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
You can sure expect that Hazard is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 3rd in our analysis. It is. In fact, Hazard has the 20th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 13 violent crimes here in 2017, and residents have a 1 in 26.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Hazard, 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 13.5% which is the 4th worst in Kentucky.
you’re looking to live in Kentucky, Maysville might not be the best choice as it places 4th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2017.
Maysville doesn’t have the worst crime in the state, but it’s sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Maysville may not be your first choice for a vacation.
Lebanon is just a tiny place in the middle of nowhere where people have a hard time making ends meet. Folks here earn barely more than $29,288 a year, which is barely over the poverty line. And for Kentucky, a 13.2% unemployment rate is really high.
Crime is also the 51st highest in Kentucky here. Meaning people need to stop breaking into homes and start looking for jobs.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of London is the 6th worst place you can live in the state of Kentucky. Let’s see why.
Residents who live in London, located in Laurel County, have the 12th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level–per resident–and homes valued around $113,500, and you’ve got yourself a crummy place to live. In terms of comparing it to the rest of Kentucky, that is.
Out of all the places to live in Kentucky, Franklin ranks as the 7th worst — not something to brag about.
Franklin’s unemployment rate stands at 7.2%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $32,977 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 19th cheapest in the entire state at $107,000. 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 Franklin. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 39th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 38.7 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 361 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
Somerset ranks as the 8th-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 73rd-worst commute of any place in the state.
Oak Grove is a really small, densely populated place in Kentucky.
The unemployment rate here is sky high at 3.3%, and income levels are the 44th lowest in Kentucky. Homes sell for an average of $101,000.
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.
Covington, KY needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 9.2%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 28th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 30.3 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
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)
For more Kentucky reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Kentucky
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Kentucky
- 10 Safest Places In Kentucky
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Kentucky
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Kentucky