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:
- Camden (Photos)
- Osceola (Photos)
- West Memphis (Photos)
- Warren (Photos)
- Hot Springs (Photos)
- Pine Bluff (Photos)
- Blytheville (Photos)
- Hope (Photos)
- El Dorado (Photos)
- Alma (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. 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
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.
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.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Warren is the 4th worst place you can live in the state of Arkansas. Let’s see why.
Residents who live in Warren, located in Bradley County, have the 47th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level–per resident–and homes valued around $67,300, and you’ve got yourself a crummy place to live. In terms of comparing it to the rest of Arkansas, that is.
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.
You can sure expect that Pine Bluff is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 6th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Pine Bluff has the 4th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 795 violent crimes here in 2019, and residents have a 1 in 18.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Pine Bluff, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.
You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits — the unemployment rate sits at 13.2% which is the 3rd worst in Arkansas.
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.
Hope’s main issue is crime. It’s the 11th most dangerous place in the state of Arkansas. Is that a surprise?
If you live in Hope, you have a 1 in 21.0 chance that you’ll be the victim of a property crime. That’s really high, especially for a city of its size. That’s a lot of stolen lawn mowers, cell phones and cameras. Perhaps it’s because the folks here live in far nicer homes than some of the other cities to top this list. They’re targets.
The unemployment rate is higher than the state average at 8.3%.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Arkansas, El Dorado came in 9th. Let’s see why.
When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Arkansas residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Arkansas, you can see some really big differences. In El Dorado, the number of people out of work is 10.0%
In Arkansas, that’s the 10th highest in the state.
The residents in El Dorado have the 23rd lowest incomes in the state. Folks in El Dorado average $37,366 a year. Which isn’t too shabby in comparison to the other ‘lowest’ income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $87,100 on average. That’s the 17th lowest in the state.
Alma needs some tough love as it ranks as the 10th worst city to live in Arkansas for 2019. There’s not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it’s not a place you might want to move to.
And the crime in Alma is the 6th highest in the state, where 1 in 16.3 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
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:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Arkansas
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Arkansas
- 10 Safest Places In Arkansas
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Arkansas
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Arkansas
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