The 10 Worst Places To Live In Wyoming For 2021

We used science and data to determine which places in the Cowboy State you shouldn’t live in .

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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 Wyoming.

So, we get it about Wyoming, You are a bunch of outdoor-loving, tough-minded, hard-working folks. So when we say a place in Wyoming is `one of the worst', and we cite data and statistics that indicate places with cheap homes and `no indoor entertainment,' are a bad thing, we're using what people have said they desire as a basis for a ranking.

Is it all rosy in the Cowboy State? Of course not. Just like every other state, Wyoming 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 Wyoming your home.

After analyzing 29 of the state's most populous cities (over 2,100 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Wyoming:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Wyoming For 2021

  1. Riverton
  2. Evanston
  3. Evansville
  4. Mills
  5. Powell
  6. Newcastle
  7. Afton
  8. Glenrock
  9. Wheatland
  10. Buffalo

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 Wyoming? That would be Riverton.

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 Wyoming reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Wyoming For 2021

Riverton, WY

Source: Public domain
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Population: 10,891
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $156,800 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (12th worst)
More on Riverton:  Data | Photos

Riverton ranks as the worst place to live in Wyoming for 2021.

While some people have come to the defense of Riverton as being 'not as bad' as it is portrayed in the media, the fact remains that this city deserves to be high on this list when you look at the data.

Crime is the highest in Wyoming here. Residents have a 1 in 25.6 chance of being robbed every year within city limits. For Wyoming, that's really high. And if you read forums and chatter about Riverton, people have said the entire Wind River Indian Reservation area, which Riverton lies inside of, has a notorious drug and crime history.

The unemployment rate is 5.1%, which is the 12th highest in the state, and families earn just under $52,463 a year, which is the 6th highest in Wyoming. 12.7% of the people here live below the poverty line.

Evanston, WY

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Population: 11,848
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $169,400 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (6th worst)
More on Evanston:  Data | Photos

Evanston is modest town of 11,848 residents located in the southwest corner of the state, near the Utah border and about an hour and a half away from Salt Lake City. The community came into existence along with the original transcontinental railroad. This railroad connection has largely given way to asphalt, with I-80 now running through town.

The nearby highway gives the town some economic support, but not enough. The unemployment rate hovers at an elevated 7.5%, though the median income comes in at a healthy $58,566. The town also suffers from deficits of housing and education. Even the best schools in town only receive ratings of 6/10 on Great Schools.

Evansville, WY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,963
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $175,300 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 1.2% (28th worst)
More on Evansville:  Data | Photos

What the heck is going on in little Evansville? The crime is the 6th highest in the state of Wyoming. Here, residents have a 1 in 40.6 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 1.2% of Evansville residents were without jobs in the latest numbers we collected, which is the 28th highest in the state.

Add it all up, and this is truly the worst place you could live in Wyoming.

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Population: 3,919
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $112,100 (worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (5th worst)
More on Mills:  Data

While numbers in Wyoming are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Wyoming cities against one another, you see big differences. Take the schools, for instance.

Just outside of Casper, Mills schools are just about as low as you can get when it comes to student funding and teacher-student ratios. Home values here average $112,100, which is the lowest in the state. Say what you want about 'cheap living,' the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Mills.

Plus, 10.7% of the population here lives below the poverty line.

Plus, the crime rate is the 11th highest in the state here. Every year, when you're within Mills city limits, you have a 1 in 55.2 chance of being robbed. That's a lot of broken into cars and homes.

Powell, WY

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Population: 6,295
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $191,000 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (7th worst)
More on Powell:  Data | Photos

Starting life as a cattle town, Powell has expanded its economic prospects since those early days. Now, farming and oil drilling provide livelihoods as well. Still, many residents of this northwest Wyoming town find themselves under financial pressure. The poverty rate runs to 15.5%, despite a comparably robust median income of $56,875.

Powell stands an hour and a half east of Yellowstone National Park. If you're not willing to make the drive, you can stay in town and visit the Homesteader Museum. Powell also has its intellectual pursuits, providing a home for Northwest College.

Newcastle, WY

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Population: 3,445
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $121,600 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (8th worst)
More on Newcastle:  Data | Photos

When towns make these lists, the economy is usually the culprit. Nothing tanks an otherwise loveable community like major financial troubles. Lucky for the folks of Newcastle, that's not the issue here. The economy does quite well, with a median income of $59,535 and a poverty rate well below 10%.

Still, this town in east-central Wyoming doesn't count as a haven. It still ends up on this list, largely because of issues related to housing and diversity. Also, a relatively isolated community, near the South Dakota border and the Black Hills National Forest, suffers from a mild lack of day-to-day amenities.

Afton, WY

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Population: 2,058
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $229,500 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (worst)
More on Afton:  Data | Photos

Do you have a thing for large architectural structures made out of animal parts? Then Afton might strike you as the perfect vacation spot. After all, it boasts the world's largest elkhorn arch.

Other than that, this town in west-central Wyoming, a short drive from the Idaho border, has little to recommend it. Jobs are hard to find, with the town suffering a 12.4% unemployment rate.

Meanwhile, the cost of living is high. The local median home price hovers at $229,500, compared to a median income of $51,458. As an isolated community, Afton endures a shortage of diversity and amenities (other than the elkhorn arch, that is).

Glenrock, WY

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Population: 2,594
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $182,100 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (2nd worst)
More on Glenrock:  Data | Photos

Glenrock started life as Deer Creek Station, a stop along the original Oregon Trail. Its current name comes from the nearby Rock in the Glen, a feature of the landscape that became an important landmark on the trip west.

In modern times, the Oregon Trail has been replaced by I-25. This provides some continued travel trade for the town, though the local economy only comes out mixed. The median income is relatively high at $61,167, but the unemployment rate runs into the double digits.

At the same time, the 2,594 residents face the troubles that come with an isolated small town. This includes scant amenities and limited diversity.

Wheatland, WY

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Population: 3,558
Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 12)
Median Home Value: $170,800 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 1.9% (25th worst)
More on Wheatland:  Data | Photos

Wheatland's most famous former resident is a horse. The famous bucking bronco Steamboat, born in 1896, has become the model for both the Wyoming state logo and the symbol for the University of Wyoming.

You might not know it from a first glance, but Wheatland is actually an economic dynamo. The town boasts an unemployment rate of 1.9% and a median income of $60,061.

Still, a town best known for a horse that died 100 years ago can get a little stale. Isolated in the southeastern part of the state, Wheatland suffers from a lack of amenities.

Buffalo, WY

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Population: 4,578
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 6)
Median Home Value: $234,100 (26th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (16th worst)
More on Buffalo:  Data | Photos

Having a Buffalo, Wyoming, makes much more sense than having a Buffalo, New York. After all, that's where the buffalo roamed.

For this Buffalo, a vibrant energy business (especially in methane production) has bolstered the local economy. The unemployment rate sits at 4.7% and the median income hovers at $58,679.

However, this has had some negative impacts as well. The median home price has ballooned to $234,100, a tough mortgage to afford for many in town. Like many of these remote communities, the town also faces a scarcity of amenities and diversity.

How we determined the worst places to live in Wyoming 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 29 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 29 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 Wyoming -- Riverton. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Wyoming. 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 Wyoming

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

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

  1. Laramie (Pop. 32,381)
  2. Cody (Pop. 9,764)
  3. Kemmerer (Pop. 2,747)

For more Wyoming reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Wyoming?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Riverton 10,891 5.1% $156,800
2 Evanston 11,848 7.5% $169,400
3 Evansville 2,963 1.2% $175,300
4 Mills 3,919 8.4% $112,100
5 Powell 6,295 5.6% $191,000
6 Newcastle 3,445 5.5% $121,600
7 Afton 2,058 12.4% $229,500
8 Glenrock 2,594 11.7% $182,100
9 Wheatland 3,558 1.9% $170,800
10 Buffalo 4,578 4.7% $234,100

How Is The Area In ?

27 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Wyoming For 2021

  1. Wait, Lander is a bad place because of it’s neighbors that are 30 miles away?

    This site is one click away from a jihad site, this site must be one of those extremists sites! You sir, are a freaking genius… But you’re really not.

    Arapahoe is safer than Riverton?! I dare you “two guys” to spend a week in Arapahoe wearing gang colors and then doing the same in Riverton. We’ll see which place gets you set on fire… Idiots.

  2. I think you guys are a bunch of morons! I’m also a native of this, proud but the few state. I lived in Laramie the first19 years of my life. It’s a cold. high(7720ft.) windy, barren, subarctic place, for about 8 months out of the year. Powell is the banana belt of Wyoming! It’s a great place to live! Gillette? That DUMP is the armpit ( wanted to say something else, but I’m being nice today) of5Wyoming! PS – South Greeley REALLY?? What now, you MORONS making up phoney towns? Grab a map. Oh, never mind! You6might find your way here. I sure wouldnt6want that!!Wyoming is already suffering from a Yeast, I mean East infection!!!!!!

  3. The unemployment rate is 4.5%, which is the 10th highest in the state

    The fact that a n unemployment rate of 4.5% is the 10th highest in the state should tell you something about the economy in Wyoming. When the national average is 6 – 7%, Wyoming is a great place to live. Of course that will probably change with the new EPA regs on coal.

  4. Aberdeen ranks as the 5th worst place to live in Washington. Known as the “Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula” it seems as if the nickname might want to add “Gateway to high unemployment” as it ranks dead last in the State.

  5. First of all, Jackson, Wilson, and Rafter J Ranch are ALL THE SAME PLACE (basically). So, how can Jackson and Wilson be so horrible, but Rafter J is so amazing? MAKES SENSE! Furthermore, to “not account for beauty” is a ridiculous oversight and is the entire reason why Jackson, Wilson, Powell, and Lander are even on this list. “Beauty” is EXACTLY what makes these such awesome places to live! Definitely NOT the “worst” in the state.

    Also, I’m sure you’ve never spent much time in Jackson, or Wyoming at all, but Jackson has at least 10 pages of want-ads in the summer. Meaning that there simply are not enough people to fill all the jobs! So, I don’t know where your 7% number comes from… Maybe it was measured in the winter when everyone quits work to ski? Haha, who knows, but Jackson is definitely not overflowing with unemployed people on a regular basis. Jackson also has one of the best nightlifes in the state.

    Gillette, on the other hand… Best or worst aside, absolutely NO ONE in Wyoming actually WANTS to live there! Yet your pathetic list rates it at #1. Ridiculous! How can it be “best” when everyone hates it there? Also, I’d be very interested to see what Gillette’s unemployment rate looks like NOW since the energy bust. HA! So much for that statistic…

  6. Have you’ve been to any of these towns because I’ve lived in Wyoming for over 60 years and you’re way off on your ratings. I’ve had discussions over the years with people from many communities in Wyoming regarding this subject and Gillette is one of the least likely towns to be called the best. Teton County (Jackson and Wilson) with all its billionaires is not part of Wyoming anymore. How did you rate Gillette, Wright, Pinedale, North Rock Springs and Evansville so high? These are some of the worst!

  7. I have an honest question maybe someone can answer or opine about. I am considering a move to Wyoming. Maybe Cheyenne as it’s on I-25 and I have relatives in Denver. I am white and have an asian wife and young child. Would i have to worry about harrassment or guys messing with us? Or just disapproving people?

    1. No one will even care, especially not in Laramie, where the University of Wyoming draws a pretty large international crowd. I’ve lived here for 33 years, and have friends from a variety of racial and cultural backgrounds.

  8. This list is laughable at best. ~15 years in Wyoming and South Dakota (with family in Wyoming my entire 52+ year life scattered around the state). Gillette is the sweaty, cling-on-laden, haven’t-seen-a-shower-in-a-week, next to the puss-laden-balls because of the parking-lot hooker, truck-driver butt crack of Wyoming.

  9. Well… the School numbers are not useful. You can’t use “how much money is spent” to measure education. Especially since there is already an existing argument about “throwing money at problems”. Jackson, Wilson and Rafter J are ALL Jackson basically. People who live in Wilson are basically Millionaires/Billionaires (there goes the unemployment argument). Wyoming DOES, as a whole, spend less on education. BUT… look at the scores… we are living proof that throwing money at a problem is no guaranteed fix. Our score are among the highest in the nation PERIOD. We spend less money… and we accomplish this! We have NO crime… NONE… We don’t lock our doors.. cars or houses… we don’t worry about it.. we do have the occasional DUI.. and because we don’t lock our doors… occasional car stereo theft.. but worry about nothing… it’s too damn cold out. Not faulting your MATH… but the science part means better choice of parameters. $$$ doesn’t mean better. The wages here could be higher.. but quality of life (look up the various factors to measure that.. unbiased by us American’s lust for the $.) and you will find that you erred with Jackson… and you also committed falsehood…. Teton County Wyoming (Jackson Hole) has the highest income per capita in the country when you don’t confuse that with seasonal labor not even from here.

  10. …as a native Texan, I knew before I finished the first paragraph that I would find the comments more enlightening than the article itself.

  11. not sure when you looked up at this info but the cheapest house I found in Greeley was 55K…a mobile home. smh

  12. I mean… have you even been to Jackson and Wilson? There are like 5 people that live there and no one robs anyone…. no one is employed because they are all millionaires who don’t need to work. Do some research bud.

  13. You have absolutely no idea what your talking about. Newcastle, Wyoming doesn’t even have a Walmart. It has a Shopko, Family Dollar, Deckers, Woody’s, and more local store’s. If your going to say stuff about a town you at least have to do your research. Newcastle has plenty of other things local’s enjoy. We do things like rodeo and street dances. We have amazing views. And there is a very interesting history. And yes we are mostly outdoor people, but its better than being some big city jerk. So anyone who objects, come visit us for yourself. We have amazing diner’s. Restaurants. But most of all we have Town Spirit. Almost everyone I know loves this place. This place I and so many others call home.

  14. I am 53 year old lifetime NRA member, army vet and a proud repbulican. We are looking to relocate to a slower pace of life and wide open spaces. For the wife, 4 dogs and a few chickens. Wyoming sounds like our kind if place. We are planning a trip to Wyoming this summer to drive around the state and check it all out. Any sugestions on which towns to look at ?

  15. Jacob, with a very similar background as yours my wife and I will be retiring outside Cody. After 30 years in the military we decided we wanted a slower pace in a somewhat secluded location. Looks like Wyoming is a military and tax friendly state. Just need to keep busy throughout the year after relocating.

  16. Note also that trapping is legal and unregulated on all state land throughout the year, and that trappers regularly trap and kill pet dogs. Owners have no recourse in this state.

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