The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arkansas For 2024

The worst places to live in Arkansas are West Memphis and Newport for 2024 based on Friday Night Science.

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:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

Worst Places To Live In Arkansas Map

Where are these places, you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small towns in Arkansas, that’s not the case.

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. For example, the best place to live in Arkansas is Cave Springs.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), the state has far better options for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Arkansas? The worst place to live in Arkansas is West Memphis.

Read below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your city fared in 2024.

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

For more Arkansas reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arkansas For 2024

West Memphis, AR

Source: Wikipedia User Nick8282 | CC BY-SA 4.0
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Population: 24,351
Average Home Price: $107,794
Median Income: $40,904
Unemployment Rate: 13.3%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0722
More on West Memphis: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

You’ll find West Memphis right by the Arkansas-Tennessee border. If you’re smart, you’ll keep driving until you make your way out of this city. We wouldn’t be shocked if its 24,351 residents were right behind you too.

People often associate a larger population with a thriving metropolitan area that is rich in opportunity. West Memphis offers neither of those things, except plenty of people to share your sorrow. The area has a dismal 13.3% unemployment rate, which is probably part of the reason 9.5% of its population is on food stamps. To top all of that off, the city ranks 1st in the state for highest levels of violent crime and is also one of the most dangerous cities in Arkansas.

Newport, AR

Source: Wikipedia User Jma661 | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 7,984
Average Home Price: $75,772
Median Income: $32,440
Unemployment Rate: 13.1%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0625
More on Newport: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Next on our list is Newport. This community of 7,984 ranks highly for all the wrong reasons.

The area is 3rd in the state for lowest median home value. An accomplishment that makes sense considering no one is getting much for their money when they decide to sell here. The median home value in Newport is a just $75,772.

Things aren’t a whole lot better when it comes to how much money families are bringing in either. The city has the 2nd lowest median household income in Arkansas. Luckily for residents though, the area is at least affordable. The overall cost of living score here is 83, where the US average is 100.

Helena-West Helena, AR

Source: Public domain
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Population: 9,470
Average Home Price: $85,028
Median Income: $31,118
Unemployment Rate: 16.4%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0474
More on Helena-West Helena: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

There’s not a lot near Helena-West Helena and unfortunately, the city itself isn’t much of a hot spot either. Even if the area did have plenty to offer, residents would have a hard time affording any of it given that the city has the highest unemployment rate in the state.

The people here who do have a job are barely better off than those without pay. The median household income here is only $31,118. A bleak figure that may have something to do with the fact that 19.0% of the adult population dropped out of high school. Yikes. Let’s hope this city that was once known for its blues community can get back some of its former glory in one way or another.

Osceola, AR

Source: Wikipedia User Brandonrush | CC BY-SA 4.0
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Population: 6,911
Average Home Price: $120,733
Median Income: $44,492
Unemployment Rate: 13.9%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0495
More on Osceola: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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 10th 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.

Texarkana, AR

Source: Wikipedia User Billy Hathorn (talk) 03:27, 28 June 2012, using Canon camera, on June 9, 2012. (UTC) | CC BY 3.0
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Population: 29,404
Average Home Price: $157,796
Median Income: $45,233
Unemployment Rate: 8.3%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0463
More on Texarkana: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Hope, AR

Source: Wikipedia User No machine-readable author provided. Billy Hathorn assumed (based on copyright claims). | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 8,921
Average Home Price: $74,003
Median Income: $43,018
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0437
More on Hope: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Blytheville, AR

Source: Wikipedia User Thomas R Machnitzki ([email protected]) | GFDL
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Population: 13,276
Average Home Price: $73,259
Median Income: $45,746
Unemployment Rate: 13.6%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0487
More on Blytheville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Blytheville is the kind of place that has it bad all around. Not only does the city have economic problems like its 13.6% unemployment rate, which happens to be the 3rd highest in the state, it’s also a hotbed of crime.

In the 2022 data year, lawbreakers committed 123 violent crimes. The real kicker though is that 3 of those were murder.

The city’s one redeeming quality may be that those who get out alive, seem to do well. It’s been home to a decent number of big names, including the famous
football coach Fred Akers.

Malvern, AR

Source: Wikipedia User Chris Litherland | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 10,859
Average Home Price: $126,080
Median Income: $37,210
Unemployment Rate: 7.4%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0443
More on Malvern: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

About 30 minutes away from Hot Springs is Malvern. Though it might be known as “The Brick Capital of the World,” it’s certainly not a top relocation destination.

In fact, the people who currently live here are probably planning their escape right now. First, however, it’s likely they’ll need to round up some extra money for their move. The median household income here is only $37,210.

And if residents are able to get out, fingers crossed employers in their new home care about their workers. The ones in Malvern definitely don’t, given that 10.2% of people here don’t have health insurance.

Camden, AR

Source: Wikipedia User Billy Hathorn | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 10,587
Average Home Price: $95,543
Median Income: $48,302
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0489
More on Camden: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

History buffs may enjoy seeing the many historic buildings Camden has on display, but they certainly won’t want to put down roots here.

According to the data, life in the city is grim for anyone who has chosen to stick around. A staggering 21.2% of residents live at the poverty level. A figure that is hard enough to wrap one’s mind around. Yet, on top of that, 6.8% of people here are on food stamps too.

The final factor for those questioning whether to move on from this place seemingly devoid of growth should be that Camden also has the 29th lowest median household income in Arkansas.

Jacksonville, AR

Source: Wikipedia User Brandonrush | CC BY-SA 4.0
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Population: 29,332
Average Home Price: $149,179
Median Income: $47,121
Unemployment Rate: 8.9%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0572
More on Jacksonville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Methodology: How we determined the worst places to live in Arkansas for 2024

To figure out the worst places to live in Arkansas, we used Saturday Night Science to idenift 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 the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a more significant weight. If you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are typically 7x more common and bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 65 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 65 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 — West Memphis. Read on for a detailed look at the ten worst cities in Arkansas. This article is an opinion based on facts meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2024. This list is our tenth time ranking the worst places to live in Arkansas.

Summary: 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 little to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, West Memphis ranks as the worst city to live in Arkansas for 2024.

The worst cities in Arkansas are .

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

  1. Maumelle (Pop. 19,183)
  2. Bentonville (Pop. 54,513)
  3. Cave Springs (Pop. 5,521)

For more Arkansas reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Arkansas

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Price Median Income Crime Per Capita
1 West Memphis 24,351 13.3% $107,794 $40,904 0.0722
2 Newport 7,984 13.1% $75,772 $32,440 0.0625
3 Helena-West Helena 9,470 16.4% $85,028 $31,118 0.0474
4 Osceola 6,911 13.9% $120,733 $44,492 0.0495
5 Texarkana 29,404 8.3% $157,796 $45,233 0.0463
6 Hope 8,921 3.9% $74,003 $43,018 0.0437
7 Blytheville 13,276 13.6% $73,259 $45,746 0.0487
8 Malvern 10,859 7.4% $126,080 $37,210 0.0443
9 Camden 10,587 5.8% $95,543 $48,302 0.0489
10 Jacksonville 29,332 8.9% $149,179 $47,121 0.0572
11 Wynne 8,284 8.4% $122,012 $39,280 0.0408
12 Paragould 29,690 8.5% $178,485 $54,732 0.0505
13 Morrilton 6,980 9.8% $148,958 $43,608 0.0444
14 North Little Rock 64,454 6.6% $148,544 $49,166 0.0579
15 Pine Bluff 41,172 9.8% $79,285 $39,411 0.0648
16 Hot Springs 38,025 5.4% $237,324 $46,537 0.0640
17 Fort Smith 89,315 6.1% $172,064 $50,799 0.0603
18 Warren 5,409 4.4% $92,878 $39,222 0.0218
19 Walnut Ridge 5,411 5.7% $116,425 $45,950 0.0129
20 Trumann 7,383 2.6% $114,974 $37,618 0.0486
21 Heber Springs 7,066 5.6% $233,693 $50,472 0.0321
22 Jonesboro 78,379 6.7% $211,729 $51,124 0.0405
23 Berryville 5,667 5.9% $203,546 $43,388 0.0358
24 Mena 5,605 10.6% $171,634 $53,288 0.0368
25 Russellville 28,946 5.3% $190,613 $43,669 0.0348
26 Beebe 8,447 1.3% $194,728 $55,072 0.0277
27 Pocahontas 7,384 8.8% $133,708 $38,912 0.0297
28 El Dorado 17,606 4.3% $122,597 $46,869 0.0475
29 De Queen 6,132 2.5% $150,208 $55,207 0.0269
30 Alma 5,837 7.2% $221,560 $46,273 0.0308
31 Springdale 86,705 4.4% $300,208 $59,985 0.0322
32 Stuttgart 8,189 8.7% $104,107 $59,124 0.0485
33 Searcy 22,961 6.6% $196,057 $45,588 0.0425
34 Van Buren 23,398 7.9% $182,864 $56,493 0.0362
35 Prairie Grove 7,131 4.2% $288,545 $56,541 0.0160
36 Little Rock 202,218 4.4% $201,487 $58,697 0.0716
37 Siloam Springs 17,632 2.6% $262,203 $59,911 0.0287
38 Ward 6,149 5.2% $191,278 $74,688 0.0285
39 Magnolia 11,044 3.8% $133,915 $43,000 0.0399
40 Clarksville 9,453 2.3% $164,172 $35,911 0.0230
41 Marion 13,635 5.6% $215,239 $77,350 0.0348
42 Tontitown 5,114 2.5% $452,138 $83,705 0.0235
43 Batesville 11,163 5.1% $153,111 $52,304 0.0223
44 Monticello 8,443 4.0% $153,792 $34,176 0.0244
45 Conway 65,159 3.0% $233,335 $54,036 0.0349
46 Mountain Home 12,876 6.6% $215,052 $42,281 0.0327
47 Sheridan 5,002 3.9% $202,521 $55,520 0.0188
48 Fayetteville 95,022 5.3% $342,122 $56,881 0.0461
49 Lowell 10,005 0.9% $313,249 $83,827 0.0124
50 Bryant 20,750 3.6% $237,351 $76,282 0.0371
51 Rogers 69,961 2.9% $333,982 $78,075 0.0261
52 Harrison 13,154 6.4% $208,474 $39,677 0.0228
53 Sherwood 32,715 3.8% $213,321 $74,917 0.0340
54 Arkadelphia 10,354 3.6% $162,200 $37,634 0.0212
55 Cabot 26,543 3.3% $231,016 $69,094 0.0206
56 Benton 35,318 3.8% $223,530 $66,868 0.0324
57 White Hall 5,559 4.1% $135,166 $85,227 0.0133
58 Greenwood 9,544 3.3% $213,853 $63,232 0.0056
59 Pea Ridge 6,851 1.8% $307,676 $93,113 0.0121
60 Centerton 18,655 0.9% $321,706 $104,464 0.0074
61 Greenbrier 5,755 1.8% $248,641 $57,234 0.0014
62 Farmington 7,991 0.4% $307,212 $83,783 0.0096
63 Maumelle 19,183 4.7% $293,632 $89,880 0.0162
64 Bentonville 54,513 3.2% $438,707 $99,074 0.0160
65 Cave Springs 5,521 1.3% $496,461 $143,393 0.0042
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

23 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arkansas For 2024

  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, 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.

  6. Pine Bluff is the worst place to live I was born and raised in ark. The hole state is in denial

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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!!’

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Abandon hope all ye who enter Morrilton, AR. Legal professionals won’t even come near Morrilton or take on any legal of any low-income person living in it though it not provable I suspect Morrilton is one Government controlled rat holes. Medical care for low income is lowest substandard that can be afforded. Drug houses prosper here as do drug dealer, money laundering operations, prostitution rings and bootleggers as well as do illegal gambling operations. The FBI avoids Morrilton on stings like Morrilton had some type of plague. Every once in a blue moon the FBI makes a stink about huge drug and not a one of them is ever from Morrilton. Obviously some massive amount of power structure not located in Morrilton protects Morrilton as well as Conway County. Morrilton is as evil, dirty ad treacherous as any small off the beaten path town can be. Perhaps one day Morrilton’s government controlled rat will be discovered and it power broken for all time to come and Conway County’s power stripped away entirely.

  17. First, they don’t HAVE snowmobiles in Pine Bluff. This is the South. So your report is obviously filled with carbon copy stats and you as authors would have a terrible time convincing me you were ever in the state, much less one of the cities listed here.
    My vote for worst? I can’t argue with Little Rock. It’s a crossroads of gang bangers between Dallas and Memphis and has a terrible violent crime record. You simply are taking life into your own hands if you get off the well worn tourist path. But I worked in Springdale for over 32 years, and it is one of the most depressing, dirty and dangerous cities out there.
    At about 77, 000, it is basically divided between the west, where it’s primarily right wing racist white people who are also in many cases poorly educated and have no real sense of civic pride. Downtown is dead. A joke. The city overall is just unimaginative nickel and dime strip malls with no real personality, charm or reason to ever want to be there. The east side? Ultra poverty. Marshallese and Latinos and poor people in general are cramped in run down houses, ugly apartments, duplexes, full of gang and criminal activity including drugs, human trafficking and a horrific meth problem that plagues the city.
    Because nearby Fayetteville with the university attracts the more educated, anything approaching uniqueness, beauty, and civic pride, people want to live there. Springdale is strictly lower end blue collar – dominated by Tyson, Georges, and Cargill poultry giants. It’s flat, has no personality, and is a very intolerant town, especially west vs. east. Right wingers and evangelical fans are at odds with the east side, and everybody loses.

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