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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 16 of the state's most populous cities (over 1,000 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 North Las Vegas.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.
For more Nevada reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nevada For 2021
The unemployment rate (6.5%) 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 18.0% of adults who never graduated high school.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Nevada, Lovelock came in 2nd. Let's see why.
When you're comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Nevada residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Nevada, you can see some really big differences. In Lovelock, the number of people out of work is 11.1%
In Nevada, that's the 2nd highest in the state.
The residents in Lovelock have the 2nd lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Lovelock average $41,896 a year. Which isn't too shabby in comparison to the other 'lowest' income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $88,800 on average. That's the lowest in the state.
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.
When you're looking at science and data, the city of Wells is the 4th worst place you can live in the state of Nevada. Let's see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 6th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Wells had a 1 in 38.3 chance of being robbed in 2020. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Wells, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Wells's other issues are a very high unemployment rate (2.9%) and income levels of its residents ($48,958).
If you live in Elko, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 6th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Nevada. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 38.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 69 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 294 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 16th lowest salaries in Nevada At $79,205 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Reno'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.
Reno has the 9th worst crime index of any place in Nevada, and has the 7th lowest income.
What the heck is going on in little Carlin? The crime is the 12th highest in the state of Nevada. Here, residents have a 1 in 69.8 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 7.9% of Carlin residents were without jobs in the latest numbers we collected, which is the 3rd highest in the state.
Things are starting to get progressively more 'modern' and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Nevada when we get to West Wendover. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 1.7% (which is really high), and the median income is $64,274. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren't a complete mess.
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.
Fernley is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we're aware that it's beautiful and "fun". But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Fernley residents earn the 10th-lowest salaries in the state. At $62,929 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $221,200, which means there isn't a lot of demand.
Crime is the 16th highest in Nevada per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 9th highest in the state, at 5.8%.
How we determined the worst places to live in Nevada for 2021
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 16 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 16 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 -- North Las Vegas. 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, North Las Vegas ranks as the worst city to live in Nevada for 2021.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Nevada:
- Sparks (Pop. 100,589)
- Mesquite (Pop. 18,446)
- Henderson (Pop. 300,116)
For more Nevada reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Nevada?
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