These Are The 10 Worst Cities In Arkansas For 2017


We used science and data to determine which cities in the Natural State need a big hug right now.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2017.

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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:

  1. Helena-West Helena (Photos)
  2. Hope (Photos)
  3. Camden (Photos)
  4. Newport (Photos)
  5. Blytheville (Photos)
  6. Osceola (Photos)
  7. West Memphis (Photos)
  8. Morrilton (Photos)
  9. Warren (Photos)
  10. Pine Bluff (Photos)

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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2017.

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

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How we determined the worst places to live in Arkansas for 2017

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 5,000 people were considered — leaving 60 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 60 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

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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 — Helena-West Helena. 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.

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1. Helena-West Helena

Helena-West Helena, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,546
Home Values: $68,400 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 22.0% (2nd worst)
It’s true that the unemployment rate in Helena-West Helena is even worse than Osceola. Additionally, the media income is substantially lower than Osceola as well.

However, Helena-West Helena has a slightly lower crime rate than many other cities on this list, causing it to be a slightly safer (and better!) place to live.

2. Hope

Hope, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,001
Home Values: $70,000 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (20th worst)
You might have passed through Hope once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.

Here’s what science says about why Hope needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 9.5%, residents earn about $24,611 a year, and home prices are just over $70,000. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.

And there simply isn’t anything to do in Hope.

3. Camden

Camden, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,683
Home Values: $72,900 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (19th worst)
Camden has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 23rd-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 9.5%.

Additionally, 28.1% of the population lives below the poverty line.

4. Newport

Newport, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,782
Home Values: $79,000 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.6% (15th worst)
Newport is at the top of the list for worst places to live in Arkansas. It has the 4th worst crime index in the state, the unemployment rate is exceptionally high, and the median income is one of the lowest in the state.

Additionally, 31.4% of the population lives below the poverty line.

5. Blytheville

Blytheville, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,090
Home Values: $74,100 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (17th worst)
Blytheville, AR needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 9.6%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 2nd highest in the state. You have a 1 in 14.8 chance of being robbed here every year.

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You could find a much better place to call home.

6. Osceola

Osceola, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,424
Home Values: $79,000 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 22.7% (1st worst)
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 17th 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.

7. West Memphis

West Memphis, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,544
Home Values: $85,300 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (10th worst)
West Memphis ranks 7th in worst places to live in Arkansas for several obvious reasons: it has the 6th highest crime rate in all of Arkansas, and the unemployment rate is the 10th 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.

8. Morrilton

Morrilton, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,746
Home Values: $90,000 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (16th worst)
Morrilton might be doing better than West Memphis when it comes to crime and unemployment, however the town is still not doing great.

It has the 6th worst income ranking in all of Arkansas and the median income is substantially lower than other towns in Arkansas at $27,662.

Let’s just hope those wages keep increasing.

9. Warren

Warren, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,852
Home Values: $66,800 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (12th worst)
Warren doesn’t have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 10.8%, and people average less than $28,938 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $66,800, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Arkansas.

And again, in terms of the overall ‘enjoyment’ factor, it’s not easy to find fun on a Friday night.

10. Pine Bluff

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 46,228
Home Values: $72,900 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.8% (5th worst)
Pine Bluff’s situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.

Pine Bluff has the 5th worst crime index of any place in Arkansas, and has the 16th lowest income.

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.

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And in the end, Helena-West Helena ranks as the worst city to live in Arkansas for 2017.

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

  1. Bentonville (Pop. 40,368)
  2. Maumelle (Pop. 17,695)
  3. Bryant (Pop. 19,162)

For more Arkansas reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Arkansas

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Helena-West Helena 11,546 22.0% $68,400
2 Hope 10,001 9.5% $70,000
3 Camden 11,683 9.5% $72,900
4 Newport 7,782 10.6% $79,000
5 Blytheville 15,090 9.6% $74,100
6 Osceola 7,424 22.7% $79,000
7 West Memphis 25,544 11.1% $85,300
8 Morrilton 6,746 10.5% $90,000
9 Warren 5,852 10.8% $66,800
10 Pine Bluff 46,228 14.8% $72,900
11 Monticello 9,793 19.8% $96,100
12 Trumann 7,179 12.2% $85,300
13 El Dorado 18,480 11.2% $79,500
14 Malvern 10,770 8.4% $68,200
15 De Queen 6,678 7.7% $70,000
16 Wynne 8,242 10.9% $88,600
17 Hot Springs 35,539 11.9% $113,400
18 Beebe 7,851 9.6% $107,600
19 Texarkana 30,127 9.2% $103,400
20 Pocahontas 6,516 6.6% $75,900
21 Fort Smith 87,603 6.0% $113,300
22 Crossett 5,333 16.8% $75,500
23 Clarksville 9,338 6.1% $94,700
24 North Little Rock 65,538 9.1% $118,900
25 Berryville 5,339 7.2% $105,600
26 Russellville 28,738 8.6% $128,300
27 Harrison 13,131 7.2% $92,800
28 Paragould 27,228 8.9% $115,900
29 Mena 5,692 6.0% $80,000
30 Jacksonville 28,726 7.3% $113,300
31 Magnolia 11,690 10.6% $108,500
32 Stuttgart 9,195 8.1% $84,500
33 Alma 5,537 10.7% $129,400
34 Heber Springs 7,187 11.7% $138,300
35 Springdale 75,088 6.4% $135,800
36 Batesville 10,479 5.8% $118,000
37 Van Buren 22,992 8.5% $113,000
38 Jonesboro 71,576 8.2% $141,400
39 Arkadelphia 10,721 5.6% $104,700
40 Little Rock 196,943 8.1% $153,500
41 Pea Ridge 5,046 3.4% $115,500
42 Marion 12,328 7.4% $151,100
43 Siloam Springs 15,832 3.6% $116,100
44 Farmington 6,336 7.8% $167,000
45 Greenbrier 5,090 6.9% $131,900
46 Rogers 60,384 4.5% $149,500
47 Fayetteville 79,037 6.3% $183,700
48 Conway 63,555 6.3% $160,400
49 Mountain Home 12,309 5.3% $115,400
50 Lowell 8,011 2.6% $132,300
51 Benton 32,725 4.6% $137,000
52 Greenwood 9,283 7.3% $127,500
53 Searcy 23,782 5.2% $143,900
54 White Hall 5,319 3.7% $130,300
55 Centerton 10,764 2.9% $137,900
56 Sherwood 30,210 4.7% $145,000
57 Cabot 25,102 5.7% $143,100
58 Bryant 19,162 2.3% $145,300
59 Maumelle 17,695 4.0% $222,600
60 Bentonville 40,368 4.0% $174,400

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19 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Cities In Arkansas For 2017

  1. Monticello isn’t the 2 worst place. It is a great town, with good people. Pine bluff is the worst town around us.

  2. I totally disagree with Monticello being listed as your number two selection.
    Just look at the number of job opportunities available at MonticelloLive.com, Monticello’s daily news website.
    Also, check out the number of good stories representing life in Monticello, not just the bad news, like all communities have.

  3. The palmetto state issue skewed it for me.
    I have visited most of the cities on the list and live in one off them.

    The only thing monticello has going for it is the state university

  4. So glad you don’t have to live here in Arkansas! Its really easy for someone from another state to judge towns you have never lived it. It never occurs to some people that we don’t want to live in big cities, or that we like our towns just fine, or that bigger cities have much worse crime rates but what makes the little towns look bad is just that our population is small. WHATEVER!! This is such bull!! Don’t judge unless you live here city boy!

  5. Not good for credibility when you begin a piece with “The Palmetto State”. Sorry, but you have Arkansas confused South Carolina.

    But as to the statistics used, you made some huge assumptions on what people like/want. I’m also somewhat suspect at the supposed “lack of quality education” in regards to multiple cities listed. Several have very good community-based colleges as well as good-performing public schools.

    And apparently crime didn’t weigh too heavily, as the two highest crime cities didn’t even make the list.

    Something smells.

    1. Little rock crime rate 93%,Pine Bluff 90%!!! Point is that Little Rock is getting bad right under eveones nose!!! Wake up people!!!!!

  6. How on earth is Pine Bluff not on this list?? This is a joke. Several of the towns you have listed are great places to raise a family with morals and values. Look again

  7. I have lived in several parts of the state but I’ve always believed if God wanted to give the world an enema, he would apply it in Bentonville.

  8. It looks to me that this entire article was written by a script run against a database of census stastics. I disagree with the assumption that higher population density = better place to live.

  9. We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
    •Good education
    •Lots of jobs
    •Low crime
    •High incomes
    •High population density

    Why would you assume that people necessarily value population density? If they did, they probably wouldn’t live in Arkansas to begin with. High population density means traffic, pollution, living on small lots in crowded neighborhoods or high rise apartments. That is a completely bogus criteria on which to rank cities in an already largely rural state.

    If you want to “rank” cities, then crime, economic opportunity, availability of cultural pursuits (including hunting, fishing, hiking) would certainly be valid criteria. Including population density is just stupid. I can name fifty cities that are “worse” than Monticello, Morrilton and Beebe. I can only guess that Pine Bluff didn’t make the list because it has higher population density than most of the others.

  10. Wrong wrong wrong! Whoever wrote this needs to explore the area listed! I can list 30 towns worse than Newport! With data! Screw you’ll. go float the White River, and bird hunt the White River Valley!!’

  11. Where did you get this nonsense. about Morrilton Arkansas? Our town is NOT crime ridden. I’ve been in Morrilton for 66 years and never had a problem!! We have a sheriff and deputies that work 24/7!!!And it’s full of very nice people.your article is B.S.!!!!!!!

  12. I must say I live in Forrest city and where ever did you get the info that this town spends most the money on education for the kids? That’s a total lie, this town is in need of major makeovers from buildings to law and government

  13. This town spends money on whatever the mayor sees fit for his re election. The drug dealers and the law that work with them is the only for sure jobs in this town

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