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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.
Tthe small town of Lovelock has the 2nd lowest income levels in the entire state. At $41,696, many of the people are having trouble making ends meet, and the unemployment rate is 9.4%. Additionally, 27.4% of the population lives below the poverty line.
The cost of a home here is bottom barrell at $90,000.
At least the crime is very minimal here.
This may or may not be a surprise to you, but Wells is the 10th most dangerous city in Nevada. For such a small city, there are an astounding number of property crimes. Residents here have a 1 in 92.0 chance of being the victim of some sort of robbery when within city limits every year. That's lots of stolen cell phones, guns, snowmobiles and lobster traps.
Besides the crime, there are a few other factors why Wells might be one of the worst places to live. The home values here are pretty cheap. Why is that not a good thing? Because the salaries of people working in Wells are really low. People here earn about $54,545 a year per household.
Additionally, the public schools in Wells are some of the lowest funded in the state.
When all is said and done, you could find much more desirable places to live in Nevada than in Wells.
You can sure expect that Caliente is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 6th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Caliente has the 6th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 80 violent crimes here in 2020, and residents have a 1 in 38.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Caliente, 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 14.3% which is the worst in Nevada.
Fernley has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 6th-highest in the state of Nevada. 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 8.2%.
Additionally, 9.4% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Fallon doesn't have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 7.0%, and people average less than $42,934 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $144,000, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Nevada.
And again, in terms of the overall 'enjoyment' factor, it's not easy to find fun on a Friday night.
While the median household income in Reno is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of "worst cities", Reno still has the 11th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 3rd worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Reno household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn't help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.
Elko, where there's absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the 10th worst city in Nevada.
Besides the lack of pure amenities, Elko has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 5.5%, and families earn around $77,011 a year. It's also the 14th highest in Nevada for crime, where 1 in 45.7 people gets robbed every year.
Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?
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:
- Best Places To Retire In Nevada
- Richest Cities In Nevada
- Safest Places In Nevada
- Best Cities For Singles In Nevada
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Nevada?
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