The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nevada For 2023

The worst places to live in Nevada are Wells and North Las Vegas for 2023 based on Friday Night Science.

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 1,100 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Nevada:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nevada For 2023

  1. Wells
  2. North Las Vegas
  3. Lovelock
  4. Carlin
  5. Elko
  6. Yerington
  7. Las Vegas
  8. Reno
  9. Winnemucca
  10. Sparks

Where are these places, you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small towns in Nevada, that’s not the case.

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. For example, the best place to live in Nevada is Fallon.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), the state has far better options for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Nevada? The worst place to live in Nevada is Wells.

Read below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your city fared in 2023.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Nevada reading, check out:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nevada For 2023

Wells, NV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,105
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $200,500
Unemployment Rate: 0.2%
More on Wells:  Data | Photos

Wells ranks as the worst place to live in Nevada for 2023, let’s take a look at why.

Wells started life as a point along an old pioneer trail west. It also served as a stop on the original transcontinental railroad. These days, it sits along I-80 in the northeast part of the state, about two and a half hours west of Salt Lake City, Utah.

As it did in the days of covered wagons, Wells gets a boost from its location on the main east-west transportation artery in the region. The unemployment rate comes in at a skimpy 0.2%. However, the town suffers from isolation, with a distinct lack of amenities. At the same time, Wells experiences a deficient in housing and in education.

North Las Vegas, NV

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 259,638
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $279,800
Unemployment Rate: 8.3%
More on North Las Vegas:  Data | Photos

You can probably guess where North Las Vegas is located. Yeah, that’s right: just north of Las Vegas. So you’ve got the glitz and glamor of the Strip just a few miles away. Head the other direction and you’ll find breathtaking desert landscapes, with the Valley of Fire State Park just 45 minutes to the northeast.

With this prime location, the town comes with its share of benefits. You’ve got plenty of amenities and a relatively strong economy. However, safety presents a problem, with a crime rate nearly 20% above the national average. Meanwhile, aggressive real estate competition prices many locals out of the market. The median home price hovers at $279,800, compared to a median income of $64,738.

Lovelock, NV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,747
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $143,200
Unemployment Rate: 11.8%
More on Lovelock:  Data | Photos

Lovelock sounds like a romantic sort of place. And it does feature a spot where couples can show their affection by snapping a love-themed padlock in place. It’s when romance turns to economics that things get troubled.

Jobs are hard to find work in town. The unemployment rate stands at 11.8%. Combine that with a median income of $44,781 and you end up with a poverty rate of 17.5%. Not surprisingly, this financial situation leads to other issues. Crime, housing, and education fall below expectations as well. None of the local schools score better than a 6/10 on Great Schools.

Carlin, NV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,279
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $165,200
Unemployment Rate: 7.3%
More on Carlin:  Data | Photos

Carlin exists because of the railroad and the gold rush. In fact, the town’s motto sums it up: “Where the Train Stops…And the Gold Rush Begins.”

In modern times, that leaves it as an isolated town in the north-central part of the state. Situated along I-80, the closest population center of any size is Elko, about a half hour down the road. To get to any real city, you’d have to drive four hours west to Reno or three and a half hours east to Salt Lake City.

This isolation makes Carlin a tough place to live. The commute to any job outside of town requires a long trip. Meanwhile, the community itself has a severe lack of amenities.

Elko, NV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,391
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $234,500
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
More on Elko:  Data | Photos

Elko serves as a key commercial and cultural center in its region. In fact, the town flaunts its local importance with the motto “The Heart of Northeast Nevada.” You can learn all about it at the town’s Northeastern Nevada Museum.

The economic stats bear out its prominence. True, the unemployment rate comes in at an unimpressive 4.4%. But the town supports a healthy median income of $80,148.

Still, Elko wouldn’t make this list if it didn’t have its share of problems. The crime rate tops the national average by nearly 20%. At the same time, most of its schools have average or below-average ratings on Greatschools.

Yerington, NV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,093
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $149,500
Unemployment Rate: 7.1%
More on Yerington:  Data | Photos

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.

Las Vegas, NV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 634,786
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $302,100
Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
More on Las Vegas:  Data | Photos

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 7th 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.

Reno, NV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 259,913
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $391,500
Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
More on Reno:  Data | Photos

They call Reno the “The Biggest Little City in the World.” It’s ranks second to Las Vegas as a gambling destination in the state. Located along I-80 in the northwest part of the state, right up against the California border, Reno draws its share of tourist dollars.

Unfortunately, the cash it brings in from visitors doesn’t solve all its problems. It even causes some. For instance, the city sports a median home price of $391,500, more than many locals can afford, with their median income of $67,557. In addition, crime presents a drawback as well. The crime rate runs slightly above the U.S. norm.

It ranks as the 8th worst place to live in Nevada for 2023.

Winnemucca, NV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,325
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $265,900
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
More on Winnemucca:  Data | Photos

Sparks, NV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 106,900
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $351,100
Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
More on Sparks:  Data | Photos

Methodology: How we determined the worst places to live in Nevada for 2023

To figure out the worst places to live in Nevada, 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

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a more significant weight. If you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are typically 7x more common and 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 — Wells. Read on for a detailed look at the ten worst cities in Nevada.

Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2023. This is our tenth time ranking the worst places to live in Nevada.

Summary: 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 little to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Wells ranks as the worst city to live in Nevada for 2023.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Nevada:

  1. Henderson (Pop. 311,250)
  2. Ely (Pop. 3,983)
  3. Fallon (Pop. 9,068)

For more Nevada reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Nevada?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Wells 1,105 0.2% $200,500
2 North Las Vegas 259,638 8.3% $279,800
3 Lovelock 1,747 11.8% $143,200
4 Carlin 2,279 7.3% $165,200
5 Elko 20,391 4.4% $234,500
6 Yerington 3,093 7.1% $149,500
7 Las Vegas 634,786 7.7% $302,100
8 Reno 259,913 4.9% $391,500
9 Winnemucca 8,325 5.8% $265,900
10 Sparks 106,900 6.1% $351,100
11 Mesquite 20,019 6.7% $278,900
12 Fernley 22,343 4.9% $281,300
13 West Wendover 4,517 0.0% $180,600
14 Henderson 311,250 6.9% $365,900
15 Ely 3,983 4.3% $161,000
16 Fallon 9,068 4.2% $191,900

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.