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The state of Nevada is a lot more than Vegas and Reno. But for most people, that's all they know. Oh, and Primm. But no one actually lives there.
If you actually ventured out into Nevada, you'd see a lot of sand and mountains. The landscape can be pretty cool in some parts. especially near the mountain side of the state. It's actually one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated states in the U.S.
But is it all good in The Silver State? Of course not. Just like every other state, Nevada 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 Nevada your home.
After analyzing 17 of the state's most populous cities (over 1,100 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Nevada:
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 Nevada? That would be Yerington.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more Nevada reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nevada For 2020
If 'yer in Yerington, you might be out of a job. More than 10% of the people here are unemployed, and those who do find work (farming), earn under $40,000 a year. Home prices are outrageous for a place that's hours from any real fun.
Unless you think a quick jaunt to Schurz is a blast.
And, for some reason, crime is the 15th highest in Nevada way out here. You have a 1 in 37 chance of being robbed out here. Most likely, it's someone you know. Or a friend of a friend. Because there's no one else around for a long, long ways.
The unemployment rate (7.2%) is a lot higher here than in some of the remote places in the middle of the desert. And that causes people to act differently than when they have something to do all day long, like...work maybe?
The public schools aren't any worse than they are downtown. They're all pretty lousy, but that doesn't help the 19.0% of adults who never graduated high school.
If you live in Las Vegas, you deal with the noise and the chaos. You know which parts of town to avoid, how to handle the criminals, and which buffets to frequent. You know where to take friends when they come to visit, and who to ask for free tickets to the shows.
Science says it's the 3rd worst place in the state, and you can imagine why. Mostly because of the crime, and the stupid people who can't handle themselves. Yes, there were a bunch of murders here two years ago. And yeah, it might be hard to find a 'sense of community' there. And it's not a family friendly place. People smoke like chimneys and there are solicitations for sex on every corner.
It's corrupt. And it's hard to find a good doctor that sticks around for more than two years.
Vegas isn't for everyone. Either you love it or you hate it. If you're the latter, then there are a lot of homes in Henderson for sale.
What the heck is going on in little Lovelock? The crime is the 12th highest in the state of Nevada. Here, residents have a 1 in 46.3 chance of being robbed. That means if you live here, and didn't have something stolen from you, there's a good chance your neighbor did.
That ratio is one of the highest we've seen in the nation. Perhaps the high unemployment rate has something to do with it. More than 9.4% of Lovelock residents were without jobs in the latest numbers we collected, which is the 3rd highest in the state.
The unemployment rate in Wells is a sky high 2.5%, which is the 16th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Wells is $54,545. That means 7.0% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn't horrible here, but you have a 1 in 92.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within city limits every year.
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Caliente is the 6th most dangerous city in Nevada, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 38.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's really high for Nevada, but not even the highest in the state.
Home values are the 4th cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Caliente bring in just under $57,218 a year annually.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Nevada, Fernley ranks 7th worst. Let's see why.
Here in Fernley, crime is the 6th highest in the state, and 1 out of 38.8 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 171 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 Nevada, the folks in Fernley have the 13th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Fernley undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 5th highest in Nevada, at 8.2%. That's actually on par with the national average, which means Nevada has some hard workers.
Fallon needs some tough love as it ranks as the 8th worst city to live in Nevada for 2020.
Crime in Fallon is the 6th highest in the state, where 1 in 38.8 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Additionally, the income is almost dead last in Nevada.
If commute time is important, Fallon residents have the 10th longest commute of any residents on our list.
Reno needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Reno. That's not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Reno. Of the 17 cities considered in this ranking, Reno had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Reno have Nevada's 17th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 11th and 3rd highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of "Worst City in Nevada."
If you know anyone in Reno, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
According to science, Elko is the 10th worst place you can live in Nevada.
Let's see why. Elko has the 14th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Elko is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($228,900), and the 13th-highest unemployment rate in the state (5.5%), and across the board, Elko doesn't sound like the best of the best.
Plus, there's simply not a lot to do here (unless you count having a Walmart and a Piggly Wiggly as fun). We're aware that people enjoy outdoor activities, but in terms of pure entertainment, you'd have to drive a ways away.
How we determined the worst places to live in Nevada 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 1,000 people were considered -- leaving 17 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 17 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 Nevada -- Yerington. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Nevada. 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 Nevada
If you're looking at areas in Nevada 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, Yerington ranks as the worst city to live in Nevada for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Nevada:
- Winnemucca (Pop. 7,798)
- Sparks (Pop. 98,524)
- Henderson (Pop. 291,346)
For more Nevada reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Nevada?
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