Article Table Of Contents
If you ask someone from Minnesota what they love about their state, you'll get a lot of answers. Friendly people, beautiful scenery, and hockey. Lots and lots of hockey.
It's not an easy life for most of the year. But if you ask people who live there, they are fiercely protective of their state. They stick together up there, and would probably rather you stay out. Unless you're on vacation.
But is it all great in The Land of 10,000 Lakes? Of course not. Just like every other state, Minnesota has its trouble spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities in Minnesota are the least desirable to live in.
Of course, many of the cities on this list would rank highly if they were in other states. But nonetheless, according to science, these cities are the worst places you could possibly live if you make Minnesota your home. These places need a big hug right about now.
After analyzing 144 of the state's most populous cities (over 5,000 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Minnesota:
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 Minnesota? That would be Waite Park.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more Minnesota reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Minnesota
- Cheapest Places To Live In Minnesota
- Most Dangerous Cities In Minnesota
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Minnesota For 2020
It might seem really odd to hear that little Waite Park has the worst crime, per capita, in Minnesota. A suburb of St. Cloud, this little city's issues are with property crimes. A staggering 1 in 10.1 residents here was the victim of some type of reported theft in 2020.
That's just about as high as it gets, nationwide. And yes, we're aware that there is a huge amount of retail here, which might skew the numbers. But if you live in a place where people are stealing from stores and breaking into parked cars left and right, is that enjoyable?
Besides very low household income and home values, everything else is average.
Just remember to lock your doors when you go there. It's simply not a safe place at all.
Bemidji is way out at the intersection of Highways 2 and 71. And you may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 2nd-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Bemidji had a 1 in 13.7 chance of being robbed in 2019. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Bemidji, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Bemidji's other issues are a very high unemployment rate (6.2%) and income levels of its residents ($34,112).
Brooklyn Center needs some tough love as it ranks as the 3rd worst city to live in Minnesota for 2020.
Crime in Brooklyn Center is the 3highest in the state, where 1 in 29.0 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Additionally, the income is almost dead last in Minnesota.
If commute time is important, Brooklyn Center residents have the 65th longest commute of any residents on our list.
Yes, every dog has a few fleas. But the crime in St. Paul is actually quite atrocious. Some of the punks there who are causing trouble need a time out. It's that simple.
Residents here have a 1 in 155 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, meaning raped, attacked or murdered. And they have a 1 in 30.0 chance of being robbed each year. That's off the charts high.
And the unemployment rate is at 5.7%, which isn't horrible, but the 13th-highest in the state. Plus, residents here earn about $55,085 a year in combined household income.
Little Virginia, Minnesota could use a big hug right now. The crime is the 29th highest in the state, income levels and home values are in the bottom half, and the unemployment rate is far above average. Virginia, which has seen its population shrink 5% over the last 10 years, is about an hour's drive north of Duluth.
Famous winemaker Robert Mondavi was born in Virginia. Unfortunately, the town has some sour grapes to contend with these days.
On the bright side, the public schools in Virginia are some of the highest rated when it comes to the amount of spending and 1-on-1 student support.
If you're looking to live in Minnesota, Columbia Heights might not be the best choice as it places 6th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the North Star State for 2020.
The average family earns $54,393 a year out here, and 13.2% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 6.3% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it's just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you're in Columbia Heights, every year, you have a 1 in 39.6 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it's an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it's the 45th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
Sure, it's in a beautiful area, and there's lots of culture, especially in terms of music. But, if you're measuring desirability, it's the 7th worst in Minnesota.
Minneapolis residents had a 1 in 24.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Minneapolis is through the roof, as more than 5.5% of the population can't get a job. At least their mortgages aren't too high; at $235,900, Minneapolis has the 91st-lowest home prices in the state of Minnesota.
Would you believe that Spring Lake Park is the 13th most dangerous place in Minnesota? That's the case, as every year, you have a 1 in 22.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within Spring Lake Park city limits.
In addition, every year, you have a 1 in 239 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Spring Lake Park. That means raped, attacked or killed. Again, for Minnesota, that's just unacceptable.
Beyond the crime numbers, Spring Lake Park's unemployment rate is the 5th highest in Minnesota (6.6%), and homes are the 47th cheapest in the state ($176,900). Say what you want about 'cheap living', the fact is homes are priced on demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Spring Lake Park.
St. Cloud needs some tough love as it ranks as the 9th worst city to live in Minnesota for 2020. 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 St. Cloud is the 22nd highest in the state, where 1 in 26.2 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Albert Lea, MN needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 5.4%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 47th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 38.0 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
How we determined the worst places to live in Minnesota for 2020
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 144 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 144 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 Minnesota -- Waite Park. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Minnesota. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Minnesota
If you're looking at areas in Minnesota 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, Waite Park ranks as the worst city to live in Minnesota for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Minnesota:
- Waconia (Pop. 11,981)
- Edina (Pop. 51,136)
- La Crescent (Pop. 5,087)
For more Minnesota reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Minnesota
- Richest Cities In Minnesota
- Safest Places In Minnesota
- Best Cities For Singles In Minnesota
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Minnesota?
|8||Spring Lake Park||6,459|