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.
For more Vermont reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Vermont For 2021
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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
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:
- Vergennes (Pop. 2,596)
- Montpelier (Pop. 7,477)
- South Burlington (Pop. 19,162)
For more Vermont reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Vermont?
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