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.
While numbers in Arkansas are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Arkansas cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Warren average $67,300, which is the 1st lowest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Warren.
Plus, 33.8% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 47th highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Warren city limits, you have a 1 in 46.1 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
Hot Springs doesn’t have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 11.2%, and people average less than $32,066 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $114,700, 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.
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.
If you live in Hope, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 11th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Arkansas. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 21.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 118 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 84 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 14th lowest salaries in Arkansas At $32,609 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Located on your way to somewhere else you’d want to be, El Dorado has few options for some sort of entertainment.
The main issues here are economic and education. The unemployment rate is also sky high here (10.0%) and homes are the 17th cheapest in the state ($87,100).
Say what you want about ‘cheap living’, the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s absolutely no demand to live in El Dorado.
According to science, Alma is the 10th worst place you can live in Arkansas.
Let’s see why. Alma has the 6th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Alma is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($138,600), and the 16th-highest unemployment rate in the state (9.2%), and across the board, Alma 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.
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)
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