These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arkansas For 2018


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 2018.

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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. Newport (Photos)
  3. Camden (Photos)
  4. Hope (Photos)
  5. Osceola (Photos)
  6. Warren (Photos)
  7. Pine Bluff (Photos)
  8. West Memphis (Photos)
  9. Blytheville (Photos)
  10. El Dorado (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 2018.

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 2018

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 5,200 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.

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: 11,325
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $71,100 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.6% (1st 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. Newport

Newport, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,781
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Home Values: $78,800 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (11th worst)
Newport is at the top of the list for worst places to live in Arkansas. It has the 7th 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, 3730.0% of the population lives below the poverty line.

3. Camden

Camden, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,515
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $70,900 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (12th worst)
Camden has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 35th-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 10.1%.

Additionally, 3400.0% of the population lives below the poverty line.

4. Hope

Hope, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,968
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Home Values: $75,400 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (7th worst)
Hope’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.

Hope has the 14th worst crime index of any place in Arkansas, and has the 5th lowest income.

5. Osceola

Osceola, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,315
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Values: $80,400 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 19.1% (2nd 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 2nd worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 5th 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.

6. Warren

Warren, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,804
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Home Values: $67,900 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.2% (9th worst)
Warren places 6th in our ranking of the worst places to live in Arkansas.

You can imagine it’s a pretty simple life down there. Which is fine, unless you look closely at the data.

Homes are the 1st cheapest in the state, and at $67,900, just about anyone with a pulse can buy a home here. However, the unemployment rate (11.2%) is the 9th highest in Arkansas, and income levels are far below the state average. And 3230.0% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Would you have guessed that the area around Warren has one of the highest crime rates, per capita in Arkansas?

7. Pine Bluff

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 45,404
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Home Values: $75,200 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.6% (5th worst)
According to science, Pine Bluff is the 7th worst place you can live in Arkansas.

Let’s see why. Pine Bluff has the 3rd-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Pine Bluff is certainly up there.

Factor in a very low housing cost ($75,200), and the 5th-highest unemployment rate in the state (12.6%), and across the board, Pine Bluff doesn’t sound like the best of the best.

Plus, there’s simply not a lot to do here (unless you count having a Walmart and a Piggly Wiggly as fun). We’re aware that people enjoy outdoor activities, but in terms of pure entertainment, you’d have to drive a ways away.

8. West Memphis

West Memphis, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,411
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Home Values: $82,000 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (7th worst)
West Memphis ranks 8th in worst places to live in Arkansas for several obvious reasons: it has the 10th highest crime rate in all of Arkansas, and the unemployment rate is the 7th 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.

9. Blytheville

Blytheville, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,849
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Home Values: $77,700 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (21st worst)
Blytheville, AR needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 8.1%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 4th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 17.0 chance of being robbed here every year.

You could find a much better place to call home.

10. El Dorado

El Dorado, Arkansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 18,393
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 3)
Home Values: $82,300 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.9% (10th worst)
There are some bad places to live and some really, really bad places to live. According to the data, El Dorado is one of the worst places you can live in Arkansas. And quite possibly, one of the worst places you can live in, period. Let’s see why.

We’re not economists, but when you have a 10.9% unemployment rate for a city of 18,393 people, that’s a sign that things aren’t just bad. They are downright depressing.

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, Helena-West Helena ranks as the worst city to live in Arkansas for 2018.

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

  1. Bentonville (Pop. 42,499)
  2. Maumelle (Pop. 17,795)
  3. Bryant (Pop. 19,529)

For more Arkansas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Arkansas

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Helena-West Helena 1 1 11,325 20.6% $71,100
Newport 2 4 7,781 10.8% $78,800
Camden 3 3 11,515 10.1% $70,900
Hope 4 2 9,968 11.4% $75,400
Osceola 5 6 7,315 19.1% $80,400
Warren 6 9 5,804 11.2% $67,900
Pine Bluff 7 10 45,404 12.6% $75,200
West Memphis 8 7 25,411 11.4% $82,000
Blytheville 9 5 14,849 8.1% $77,700
El Dorado 10 13 18,393 10.9% $82,300
Hot Springs 11 17 36,711 11.4% $117,000
Monticello 12 11 9,752 17.6% $97,000
Morrilton 13 8 6,746 6.3% $93,100
Texarkana 14 19 30,155 8.7% $106,400
Trumann 15 12 7,143 4.8% $85,100
Crossett 16 22 5,272 15.3% $76,000
De Queen 17 15 6,657 3.4% $78,800
Fort Smith 18 21 87,712 5.5% $114,900
Mena 19 29 5,674 7.3% $79,400
Malvern 20 14 10,937 7.4% $73,400
Clarksville 21 23 9,391 5.6% $92,300
Russellville 22 26 29,136 8.7% $130,800
Berryville 23 25 5,370 7.1% $106,600
Beebe 24 18 7,952 9.0% $122,800
Pocahontas 25 20 6,470 3.2% $74,300
Wynne 26 16 8,195 9.3% $86,400
North Little Rock 27 24 66,042 8.0% $119,500
Paragould 28 28 27,521 7.8% $114,200
Heber Springs 29 34 7,169 8.7% $136,100
Alma 30 33 5,599 8.6% $137,900
Magnolia 31 31 11,651 7.6% $100,000
Harrison 32 26 13,168 8.5% $92,600
Jacksonville 33 30 28,661 7.1% $114,300
Van Buren 34 37 23,155 7.1% $112,200
Arkadelphia 35 39 10,728 5.6% $105,800
Springdale 36 35 76,188 5.6% $140,100
Stuttgart 37 31 9,125 10.1% $81,700
Jonesboro 38 38 72,638 6.5% $141,900
Little Rock 39 40 197,640 6.5% $154,700
Pea Ridge 40 41 5,177 3.7% $115,900
Siloam Springs 41 43 16,095 4.4% $118,700
Marion 42 42 12,323 5.5% $147,200
Fayetteville 43 47 80,552 5.2% $186,200
Farmington 44 44 6,470 4.9% $164,400
Greenbrier 45 45 5,164 4.1% $135,800
Batesville 46 36 10,579 5.8% $120,400
Searcy 47 53 23,969 4.9% $140,300
Conway 48 48 64,184 5.4% $161,400
Benton 49 51 33,613 4.2% $138,600
Rogers 50 46 61,979 3.3% $153,900
Mountain Home 51 49 12,312 4.7% $116,100
Lowell 52 50 8,322 1.2% $136,300
White Hall 53 54 5,243 2.9% $137,800
Sherwood 54 56 30,251 4.8% $146,800
Cabot 55 57 25,407 5.6% $145,900
Greenwood 56 52 9,296 4.5% $128,500
Centerton 57 55 11,403 1.2% $144,300
Bryant 58 58 19,529 2.7% $149,700
Maumelle 59 59 17,795 3.2% $218,700
Bentonville 60 60 42,499 3.2% $184,800

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21 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arkansas For 2018

  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.!!!!!!!

    1. No, I guess not since your obviously one of the ass suckers who sucks up to the inner circle in this unholy, evil little nowhere greedy life sucking prison town. The sheriff and his deputies are some of the primary criminals, who work 24/7 at ‘BEING CRIMINALS” and taking payoffs from drug dealers and bootleggers.

  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

  14. Morrilton should be on your number 1 list of worst cities in AR to have to live in. A dead little nowhere town that sucks the life and steals dreams and ideas of the impoverished. The little town with no limits on how much people can hate, steal, sabotage and backstab their neighbors. Buck the power system and your blacklisted for life, refuse to marry, your blacklisted for life, refuse to give this little town children to corrupt, your blacklisted for life. I will not dignify them with he term “Gay” closet queers and drug dealers, some of the drug dealers are local law enforcement prosper. Come out of the closet you’re blacklisted for life. Suck ass up to the Morrilton power wheel you do fine, all old decaying buildings on main street according to their owners should be declared historical monuments, when in fact they should be bull dozed to the ground. Morrilton is little more than a dead gigantic black hole and old people are nothing more than empty shells waiting for the grave to come and take them. Whatever glory days Morrilton ever saw “IF ANY” have long since faded into a bygone era. Counseling Associates of Morrilton is a joke and filled with greedy Neanderthal Buffoons by the system of Morrilton for the system of Morrilton. Run by white supremacist for white supremacist.
    Non Compensated “GAY” Vietnam Veteran

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