Arkansas is known as the “Natural State”, and it’s often easy to see why: there’s an absolute abundance of natural scenic beauty, clear lakes and streams, and fascinating wildlife.
But, unfortunately, there are some cities and towns that are better places to live in Arkansas than others. Using scientific data, we’ve compiled a list of the worst places to live in Arkansas.
These are the places you don’t want to end up for reasons like high crime and unemployment rates, along with lack of access to quality education.
Here is the worst of the worst in Arkansas:
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 Arkansas? That would be Camden.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Arkansas reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Arkansas
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Arkansas
- 10 Most Dangerous Places in Arkansas
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arkansas For 2019
Camden has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 17th-highest in the state of Arkansas. 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 9.8%.
Additionally, 35.6% of the population lives below the poverty line.
While the median household income in Osceola is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of “worst cities”, Osceola still has the 1st worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 2nd worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Osceola 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.
West Memphis ranks 3rd in worst places to live in Arkansas for several obvious reasons: it has the 7th highest crime rate in all of Arkansas, and the unemployment rate is the 9th worst in the state.
While there is a higher median income, the heavy crime rates and high unemployment rates make West Memphis one of the worst places to live.
If you’re looking to live in Arkansas, Warren might not be the best choice as it places 4th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2019.
The unemployment rate here is 10.6%, and households bring in a combined $26,792 a year in income. That’s not too far from the poverty line, even though money goes a lot further in the boonies of Arkansas.
Crime is the 47th highest in the state in Warren as well. Just not a very desirable place at all to make home.
Things are starting to get progressively more ‘modern’ and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Arkansas when we get to Hot Springs. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 11.2% (which is really high), and the median income is $32,066. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.
This may or may not be a surprise to you, but Pine Bluff is the 4th most dangerous city in Arkansas. For such a small city, there are an astounding number of property crimes. Residents here have a 1 in 18.7 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 Pine Bluff 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 Pine Bluff are really low. People here earn about $32,498 a year per household.
Additionally, the public schools in Pine Bluff 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 Arkansas than in Pine Bluff.
Blytheville, AR needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 11.1%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 5th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 15.8 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
We’re seeing a pattern here. A small, isolated city with a bad economy. Hope is located in Hempstead County.
Here, the schools are way underfunded, when you compare them to the rest of Arkansas. Families can barely make ends meet, and the unemployment rate (8.3%) is the 20th highest in the state. A home here sells for $76,400, on average. That signals it’s not a desirable place to live.
Plus, crime is in the top 10%.
El Dorado seems to be the have’s and have not’s. While the annual average income levels here are respectful ($37,366), about 1 in 10.0 people here are without jobs. Homes are valued at only $87,100.
But the biggest eye opener is the sheer crime here. It seems as if just about everyone in town without a job is pillaging the community. El Dorado has the 13th highest crime rate in Arkansas, where 1 in 88 people has a statistic chance of being attacked, raped or murdered each year.
Plus, 1 in 21.7 people are robbed.
If you’re headed past El Dorado and stop for gas, make sure you lock your doors.
Alma needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Alma. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Alma. Of the 61 cities considered in this ranking, Alma had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Alma have Arkansas’s 43rd lowest home value rank, but it also had the 16th and 6th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of “Worst City in Arkansas.”
If you know anyone in Alma, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
How we determined the worst places to live in Arkansas for 2019
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 5,000 people were considered — leaving 61 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 61 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 Arkansas — Camden. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Arkansas.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Arkansas
If you’re looking at areas in Arkansas 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, Camden ranks as the worst city to live in Arkansas for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Arkansas:
- Lowell (Pop. 8,622)
- Maumelle (Pop. 17,967)
- Bentonville (Pop. 44,601)
For more Arkansas reading, check out: