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:
- Helena-West Helena (Photos)
- Hope (Photos)
- Camden (Photos)
- Newport (Photos)
- Blytheville (Photos)
- Osceola (Photos)
- West Memphis (Photos)
- Morrilton (Photos)
- Warren (Photos)
- 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.
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.
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.
1. Helena-West Helena
Population: 11,546Home 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.
Population: 10,001Home 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.
Population: 11,683Home 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.
Population: 7,782Home 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.
Population: 15,090Home 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.
You could find a much better place to call home.
Population: 7,424Home 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
Population: 25,544Home 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.
Population: 6,746Home 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.
Population: 5,852Home 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
Population: 46,228Home 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.
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:
- Bentonville (Pop. 40,368)
- Maumelle (Pop. 17,695)
- Bryant (Pop. 19,162)
For more Arkansas reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Arkansas
- These Are The 10 Most Affordable Places In Arkansas
- These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Places in Arkansas
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Arkansas
|24||North Little Rock|