The 10 Worst Places To Live In Vermont For 2021


We used science and data to determine which cities in the Green Mountain State are the worst.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst places to live in Vermont.

If you're reading this, you're most likely from Vermont. Or a nosy New Hampshire neighbor. You're probably thinking, "Worst place to live in Vermont? Is there such as thing?"

While Vermont might be one of the most charming and beautiful states, and ranking the worst places to live might there sound like pure nonsense, the fact remains that there are simply `better' and `worse' places to live anywhere in the country. Including Vermont.

Is it all a bed of roses in the Green Mountain State? Of course not. Just like every other state, Vermont 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 Vermont your home .

After analyzing 25 of the state's most populous cities (over 2,200 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Vermont:

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 Vermont? That would be Newport.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.

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

For more Vermont reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Vermont For 2021

Newport, VT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 4,305
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $117,700 (worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (8th worst)
More on Newport:  Data | Photos

Newport actually has the highest unemployment rate in Vermont at 5.8%, which is a little lower than the national average.

The residents here are most likely pretty broke, as the average household income is $32,000. That's only $7,000 more than the poverty level for a family of four. Homes are the 6th cheapest in the state ($137,000), and Newport has the 9th highest crime rate in Vermont, where residents have a 1 in 142 chance of being robbed.

While that's high in Vermont, that's actually really, really low in comparison to the rest of the country. Usually, cities with the 9th highest crime rates have a 1 in 20 chance of being robbed.

Springfield, VT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 3,793
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $133,900 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (9th worst)
More on Springfield:  Data | Photos

A rural community in the eastern part of the state, Springfield is built along the Connecticut River and sits along the border with New Hampshire. The town also serves as home to Vermont's oldest one-room schoolhouse, an artifact that dates back to 1790.

You'd hope that curriculum had improved in the past couple hundred years. Yet, today's schools in Springfield stumble along with a 2/10 rating on Great Schools.

The subpar education only represents one of the town's problems. The economy is also weak, with a poverty level approaching 20%. Affordability and diversity present challenges as well.

St. Johnsbury, VT

Source: Wikipedia User |
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,865
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $139,900 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (11th worst)
More on St. Johnsbury:  Data | Photos

With 5,865 residents, St. Johnsbury might not seem like a major urban area. But given the rural nature of the surrounding countryside, it counts as a virtual metropolis.

Located in northeastern Vermont, about 50 miles south of Canada and a short drive from the New Hampshire border, St. Johnsbury serves as a commercial hub for its region. As a result, the town sports a healthy unemployment rate of 4.5%.

However, in other ways, St. Johnsbury acts like a small town. High-paying jobs are scarce, with a local median income of $37,889. Amenities and diversity are thin as well.

Morrisville, VT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,216
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $179,700 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (5th worst)
More on Morrisville:  Data | Photos

Looking to take in the natural splendor of Vermont? You can do a lot worse than Morrisville. The town can act as a jumping-off point for nearby wilderness, with great access to such locations as Mount Mansfield State Forest.

That makes a trip to the area sound ideal. The issue comes if you want to stay longer.

A lethargic economy weighs the community down. The median income comes in at a respectable $52,500. However, the limited opportunity in the region manifests itself in a 7.2% unemployment rate. Morrisville also suffers from scarce amenities (other than spectacular views) and from a lack of diversity.

Brattleboro, VT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,507
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $203,300 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (7th worst)
More on Brattleboro:  Data | Photos

Brattleboro has a history as a resort town. In the mid-19th century, it was home to the Brattleboro Hydropathic Establishment, a place where stressed-out rich folks could enjoy natural spring waters. At the same time, it hosted what would eventually become the Vermont Asylum for the Insane - a completely different type of retreat from reality, of course, but the basic concept still holds. (That spot is now allegedly haunted, by the way.)

Nowadays, the 6,507 residents of Brattleboro might need a haven from the town itself. About 1 in 4 locals suffers below the poverty line. That fact results from low wages and the elevated expenses associated with the area. The cost of living runs 10% above the national average. Meanwhile, the median home value sits at $203,300, compared to a median income of $34,739.

West Brattleboro, VT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,677
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $167,400 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (18th worst)
More on West Brattleboro:  Data | Photos

You'll find Brattleboro on this list. Well, things aren't much better in West Brattleboro. Like its neighbor, this town sits in the southeast section of the state, near the both the Connecticut River and the New Hampshire border.

And, like its neighbor, the town suffers a distinct poverty problem. The unemployment rate comes in at a relatively robust 3.6%, but the median income equals only $31,918. As a result, the poverty rate approaches 20%.

Still, West Brattleboro offers all the excellent scenery you've come to expect from these Vermont towns. Head down the road about 40 minutes to check out the Green Mountain National Forest.

Randolph, VT

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,158
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $173,200 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (2nd worst)
More on Randolph:  Data | Photos

Randolph kind of defines "adorable." Do you like music boxes? Well, the town houses the Porter Music Box Museum. Like covered bridges? Take a short ride to the Kingsbury Covered Bridge or the Gifford Covered Bridge.

Unfortunately, adorable doesn't pay the bills. (Unless you are a child actor, of course.) Instead, living in Randolph comes with its challenges. This takes the form of a 8.3% unemployment rate and a 16.3% poverty rate.

Adorable as it is, the town is also isolated. Located in the central part of the state, amenities and diversity are both hard to find.

Swanton, VT

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,450
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $171,400 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (3rd worst)
More on Swanton:  Data | Photos

Swanton used to have a pair of actual royal swans. (Way to earn your name, Swanton!) Queen Elizabeth II gave the birds to the city in the 1960s. Those original regal gifts died a few years ago, replaced by a couple of new swans. The new ones are still known as "Royal Swans," but be honest: you can tell the difference, right?

Maybe that story can act as a metaphor for the town as a whole. Looks right, but not quite royal underneath. Just take the unemployment rate of 7.6%. Or, if you still need some additional convincing, reflect on the fact that the local schools only score a 5/10 on Great Schools.

Barre, VT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 8,646
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $158,300 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (4th worst)
More on Barre:  Data | Photos

Many of the people who work in Montpelier live in Barre. Crime is the 5th highest in Vermont here, where residents have a 1 in 48 chance of being the victim of a property crime, which is actually pretty consistent with a 'bad' town in another state.

That means you have to lock your doors at night here.

However, there were only two violent crimes here in 2021, according to the FBI. That's amazingly low.

Barre also has the 8th lowest home values and a below average publicly funded education system.

Milton, VT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,507
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 8)
Median Home Value: $255,400 (2worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (worst)
More on Milton:  Data | Photos

Milton sits near Lake Champlain in the northwest part of the state. This gives the town excellent access to water activities, as well as a relatively short drive to Burlington. A half hour's drive will take you to the heart of the state's largest city.

Still, even with this prime location, Milton ends up listed among the worst cities in the state. Why? The local economy underpins a median income of $70,000, but this prosperity has its blind spots. At the same time, the unemployment rate runs 8.9%. Meanwhile, the town sports scanty diversity and comes with a heavy price tag. The median home price hovers at $255,400.

How we determined the worst places to live in Vermont 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

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

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 2,000 people were considered -- leaving 25 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 25 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 Vermont -- Newport. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Vermont. 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 Vermont

If you're looking at areas in Vermont 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, Newport ranks as the worst city to live in Vermont for 2021.

If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Vermont:

  1. Vergennes (Pop. 2,596)
  2. Montpelier (Pop. 7,477)
  3. South Burlington (Pop. 19,162)

For more Vermont reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Vermont?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Newport 4,305 5.8% $117,700
2 Springfield 3,793 5.7% $133,900
3 St. Johnsbury 5,865 4.5% $139,900
4 Morrisville 2,216 7.2% $179,700
5 Brattleboro 6,507 5.8% $203,300
6 West Brattleboro 2,677 3.6% $167,400
7 Randolph 2,158 8.3% $173,200
8 Swanton 2,450 7.6% $171,400
9 Barre 8,646 7.4% $158,300
10 Milton 2,507 8.9% $255,400

How Is The Area In ?

33 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Vermont For 2021

  1. In the time it takes to drive from Charlotte to Burlington (since NOTHING happens in Charlotte), someone in Bennington could be in Albany, NY. I’m also not sure why low home prices is a negative thing – they’re actually affordable, unlike that top list. Also, anyone who calls these towns cities, is clearly not from around here.

  2. The reason some places didn’t make the list was probably population, they said they had a baseline number. Another reason some beautiful places didn’t make the list is because beauty was not a factor only science and numbers. As far as the article itself if the people writing it went to any of the underfunded schools, there’s your answer. They said at the beginning of the article that it was for entertainment and not to get bent.

  3. My good friend, I’m proud to say my home town of Highgate is in the TOP 50 best cites to live in in Vermont. Highgate is 30 minutes to downtown Burlington and 45 minutes (depending on border time) to downtown Montreal. Not a lot of places in Vermont or New England can boast that. Too bad your science didn’t include proximity to Major Cities, throw that into the ol’ processor as see what happens. Fun read never the less.

  4. I am surprised that Burlington wasn’t on the top 10 worse places in Vermont list there is so much criminal activity that goes on there and I just don’t feel that you are looking deep enough I mean come on get a clue the drug Population is ridiculous the heroin epidemic is over the charts and crimes there are higher than what’s being told I’m just Saying that it could be alot worse then saint albans so I do believe you should do your science and Day again before you put places that aren’t really that bad

  5. TRY LIVING IN MASS, CONN, NY, I LIVED IN VERMONT FOR 8 YRS AND STILL REMEMBER IT AS THE MOST WONDERFUL PLACE TO LIVE , MAYBE ITS COLD , BUT TO SEE DARK AND DINGEY GHETTOS SPREAD ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES , VERMONT IS THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE ,

    1. I just visited my son and brother in Perkinsville, VT and fell in love with this state. I thought Woodstock was a quaint little town with extremely friendly people. I’ve lived in Maine, Mass and New Hampshire but never visited Vermont up until now and I’m so happy I did. I currently live in Florida and plan to make my way to Vermont within a year. I’ll be renting an apartment once there, any towns you recommend just outside of perkinsville for decent pricing?

    1. It’s not that they “aren’t nice.” They make it clear though that you are “not from around here” in how they treat you. I was married to a Vermonter and in the family for 8 years. Still considered an outsider. Being from the mid-west, I found that attitude hurtful.

  6. I lived in bennington for 25 years and can honestly say I would never move back, high rent, low paying jobs, not a place to raise a family, little to nothing to do.but if ya like winter and freezing for seven months out of the year have at it.

  7. So, Bennington is the 12th most dangerous town in the state which ranks second out of fifty for lowest crime. It’s obvious! Stay away from Bennington! You’re in danger there!

  8. Vermont is a shithole. The people are unwelcoming, insular assholes. Can’t wait to get the hell out of here. Relocating here from the mid-atlantic for a job opportunity was one of the worst mistakes of my life.

  9. Totally agree with Barre. It’s a shithole all on it’s own with people with some sort of street/gang mentality. Thinking they’re tough shits walking the streets, probably haven’t walked a street in NY their whole life so they gotta settle doing it somewhere in VT. Half the neighborhoods are dumps that charge over $700+ to live in because it has had a history of abusers/druggies live in it.

    The road crew at most times are incredibly neglectful of roads in Barre, considering that some of them possess some of the worst of the potholes that makes you swerve and swerve to avoid them. Cracks and creases left in the roads for all to run into and auto garages are probably making fortunes from people with banged up suspensions and tires from these roads.

    The people in the populace mostly consist of pot smokers, druggies, alcoholics, bitter elders and young couples that look like a domestic abuse report is waiting to happen. We have over 20 churches/religious communities scattered across town, all devoted to the same religion. It’s kinda funny too because not far from them are the bars because where else can you go and who would listen to you recount a thousand mistakes at once?

    Barre does deserve to be higher but just knowing it’s acknowledged as a shit place on a list at all is good enough. It’s got no future.

  10. To say that Burlington isn’t one of the best places to live in Vermont is pretty funny. Sure the rent is high downtown, but head in any direction from 20 min and that changes quickly. Yes there has been an increase in crime, drug addiction and violence- over the last 5 year especially. But I would say it has increased at rate seemingly relative to the growth of Burlington itself.

    Burlington has been nationally touted as one of the best cities to raise a family.. in the country. It is also the epicenter of social interaction and cultural expression, which is a pretty rare thing in Vermont. And it’s a city that runs entirely on renewable energy to boot.

    I’m was born in New Haven Ct, then moved to Montgomery Vermont as a young child and grew up there, and now Burlington… I love it and there is new stuff being built everywhere you look.

  11. VT is the worst state in the usa. Cold, cloudy, rains all the time then snows. High taxes, high living expenses, no services. It totally blows. Roads suck and 55 percent are dirt. Cheap state as 1/3 of the scum are on welfare and pills. Those who work pick up the tab. If you’re a far left libby and thinks sanders is great then VT is for you. It’s the type of place you have to be born and raised in and most of those people have moved out. Lolo lol VT sucks and the people blow.

    1. I cant tell if you are high or just blind…Sure yes in the winter time Vermont can get VERY cold but its the same in most of the east coast its gonna rain a lot its gonna get cold after summer. It ain’t California where no snow or rain ever happens. I wouldn’t say its the best place for people but to say “VT sucks” And is the worst in the usa is wrong on so many levels.

    2. Well I speak for all Vermonters that live, work n make a great living, have raised law abiding, well mannered, educated, hard working children. THANK YOU FOR LEAVING OUR STATE!!! N DONT RETURN!!

      1. @Vermonter:

        I have grown up in Vermont since I was born…and i can’t wait to get out. There are
        no (repeat no) future for any of us young Vermonters. Jobs are few and low paying… and our government is full of illogical Democrats and Republicans all trying to outdo each other. I know of at least twenty young Vermonters who have left this state and now live a happy life outside this cursed state.
        Can’t wait to leave!

  12. There’s an error in the Rutland section, it talks about Barre:

    Rutland is in the middle of nowhere where Routes 7 and 4 meet. Sure, it’s a fairly-sized city, but its isolation means for some long drives to anything beyond the norm.

    But the bigger reason Barre makes it on this list is the high unemployment rate (4.1%) and low household incomes ($39,000). The fact is, there are far more other areas in which people who are attempting to grow their careers can live.

    Plus, the crime is far higher than in other places.

  13. My husband and I have settled on Bennington as the place we want to retire. It’s charming and affordable. We love Burlington, but the cost of real estate there is too high. Also, generally speaking, Vermont is beautiful everywhere you look.
    Bad roads? C”mon down to South Carolina. While Vermont roads might be rough here and there, generally, they are good. Here, tjey ate dangerously bad and usually have no shoulders. As for crime, I have to laugh. Y’all seem to be comparing Bennington’s crime rate to some abstract ideal. Where we currently live in Upstate South Carolina, the crime is horrific and deadly and frequent. Shootings, child rapes, robberies, home invasions and every kind of abuse you can and cannot imagine. One woman hung her son’s still-living dog over a fire because it chewed on her Bible. A while back, some guy in Traveler’s Rest raped a 3-month old baby. She died as a result. And surely you’ve heard of Susan Smith. She drowned her children by running her car into a lake and leaving them to drown. That happened right here. We had a serial killer who shot and killed three people for giving him lip. A few years later, he killed more people, and as you may have heard, he kept a young woman locked in an empty semi trailer for months before he was finally, recently, caught. This is everyday stuff, here. I’m not kidding. Look at the local news on WYFN 4 for a few days. And terrible car accidents are routine. As of late July, South Carolina already had toted up 530 traffic fatalties this year.
    Count your blessings, Vermont.

  14. I lived in Vermont for many years actually born in Bristol,Vt at my grandparents house. I currently live in Augusta GA. The crime rate in Vermont is no different now than what it was when I was growing up in the late 80-90s. Perhaps it was people were not so quick to report to the police and handled things a bit differently than they do now. I know that when I was wandering around town with the”gang” just some kids from school we were starting to get harassed by officers for just being kids and horsing around. I believe that is why in doubt that the drug rate has increased and the violence and just about everything else has. Everyone is different and well they way I look at it Vermont you are being an enabler. Since I have been in Georgia now going on 4 years, I am completely sober, I have become a successful business owner and am raising a little boy who is able to be just that a little boy. Thanks to the Lord and not being judged by my community I have overcome addiction, mindful that no rehab center down here did I attend. If maybe you would open your mind about situations and ways to blossom your community then you might get a better community. All I am saying is that where there’s a will there’s a way. I have come from the armpit of Vermont, been the addict and the homeless panhandler, everyone of these towns I’ve been through. Work together and don’t be so judgemental, maybe you could have a better place to call home. Vermont is very beautiful it’s the people that make it so ugly. Thanks for letting me rant. Be blessed

  15. This person obviously hasn’t been to any of these towns. I guess based on statistics you can make these claims but it doesn’t factor in that many people don’t work in the towns they live in or if you move to one you can find a job within 30-45 minutes of scenic driving. Not big city traffic. I moved to Morrisville and can tell you it is one of the best towns to live. Its small but they have enough going on that you won’t get bored. There is a bar/restaurant that has music daily and a few good restaurants. Its not far from Stowe and Waterbury but its much more affordable. 30 minutes from Stowe and Smugglers notch for skiing. Only an hour from burlington. There is a 20 mile bike path that goes thru town and isn’t finished. Once complete it will go for 90 miles across the state. That is pretty awesome. There is a park in town with community gardens and also has free music every week. The people in this town are the nicest I have ever met. Every time i meet someone i think about how great this town is. Sometimes you have to look beyond statistics and look at quality of life.

  16. Morrisville!!! I love Morrisville so much I’m going there on Vacation but not only that number one worst, they have rolling hills, state parks and literally the only problem is that everything is so far away!

  17. I’ve been all over the world in my 70 years of travel. Couldn’t wait to come home to Vermont. It’s my home and that will never change. If you’ve seen (and like) somewhere else more suitable, by all means move as fast as you can to get there. Each town & city have their ups and downs and someone else’s opinion is just that…their own opinion. Not bothered by that one bit. I’ve found my home and it’s the Green Mountain State. I love it here, and that’s just MY opinion.

  18. The data quoted in this article makes no sense. The population of Milton is listed at 2,200, which hasn’t been true since the 1960s. The current population is over 10,500. That seems to have thrown off their other calculations as well. They list the Milton unemployment rate as 9.2%, but it’s actually been hovering around 2% for the last several years. And since their population figure is way off, I’m guessing the odds of being a victim of a property crime are actually more like 1 in 80, not 1 in 22.

    Some of the other towns listed seem to have low population figures as well. Did they confuse the number of households for total population? On the other hand, the population listed for Barre is fairly accurate. A fair comparison among towns is impossible if you’re going to be mixing up and misusing data like that.

  19. Vermont is working hard on getting rid of the poor and getting rich out of staters in. Keeping companies out of the state, making it so you have to drive a new car because of the inspections on vehicles. Not helping the disabled or veterans, and Bernie says he is trying but I don’t see him helping the poor just building a new multi million dollar home on the lake. This state is about vacationers coming to spend money and leaving, they do really good at separating dad’s from there children by promoting welfare for single moms, if dad’s are in the home they take all benefits away. That’s why there are a high number of single moms here. It is a horrible state. They abuse father’s trying to be father’s. They cater to drug mother’s. Sit at the family court and listen to the dad’s that get abused by the system. A dad in Vermont is better dead to his children then to be alive. Or just disappear from the state and hide. Vermont is horrible to a poor person thats disabled. Stay away unless you are rich and want to ski because that is all there is. As for poor towns take Springfield who was a wealthy town 59 yrs ago with booming businesses that left the state, now a couple towns over in Ludlow it is a money town that does not share with the towns that home have sky rocketed with no money because of ski homes. Taxes in Ludlow are a 3rd of Springfield taxes are. Shopping here hell no everyone goes to tax free NH. Average person can save thousands in NH because no tax. Oh yes Vermont we pay the taxes on all our stuff from NH just like you reimburse people in alburgh for having to pay more in NY buying stuff because they have no stores. Vermont is stupid as it comes. Just my thoughts thank you

  20. I understand your comments about Brattleboro and West Brattleboro. While I don’t find them inaccurate I do find them limited in scope. Years ago a friend said to me that he “loved visiting Brattleboro because of it’s Bohemian Culture.” Brattleboro is laid back and allows for a complete ” do whatever you want” culture. Also, I think your Crime Rates are skewed, as yes, crime is higher, but it is also concentrated to specific areas of the downtown. Walking in the neighborhoods feels safe and residents are open and friendly. Yes, downtown can be unsafe at night but it’s not Detroit, Cleveland or Bakersfield. It’s “relative risk”, if you will. Vermont is a calling and if you are ever lucky enough to live here you’re lucky enough. I will take the risk verses the HUGE rewards.

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