The 10 Worst Places To Live In Minnesota For 2024

The worst places to live in Minnesota are Waite Park and Brainerd for 2024 based on Friday Night Science.

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 145 of the state’s most populous cities (over 5,100 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Minnesota:

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

Worst Places To Live In Minnesota Map

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

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

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 Minnesota? The worst place to live in Minnesota is Waite Park.

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 Minnesota reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Minnesota For 2024

Waite Park, MN

Source: Flickr User saltedwound | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,290
Average Home Price: $229,447
Median Income: $52,391
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0812
More on Waite Park: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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 13.2 residents here was the victim of some type of reported theft in 2024.

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.

Brainerd, MN

Source: Wikipedia User Elkman | GFDL
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Population: 14,412
Average Home Price: $283,659
Median Income: $46,933
Unemployment Rate: 7.4%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0282
More on Brainerd: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Brainerd is way up on 371, north of Little Falls. You can’t blame them for living up here, since it’s really beautiful. But there are sacrifices you make to live in the boonies. One of them is income.

Not only is the unemployment rate the 3rd highest in the state here (7.4%), the residents in Brainerd earn the smallest household income in the state of Minnesota. At a combined income of $46,933, families of four are barely above the poverty line.

In addition, the crime here is really high for a small city in Minnesota. Brainerd has the 36th highest crime rate in the state.

Red Wing, MN

Source: Wikipedia User Elkman at English Wikipedia | CC BY-SA 2.5
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Population: 16,627
Average Home Price: $270,582
Median Income: $65,107
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0286
More on Red Wing: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Red Wing, located in Goodhue County, Minnesota, ranks as the 8th worst place to live in the state. While it may have some redeeming qualities, there are several factors that contribute to its negative reputation. One significant concern is the crime rate, with a total of 509 property crimes reported in 2021. This includes 49 burglaries and 38 violent crimes, which can make residents feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods.

Additionally, Red Wing faces challenges related to poverty and income. The median income in the city stands at $61,040, indicating a lower-than-average economic status. This, coupled with a median home value of $185,800, suggests limited opportunities for upward mobility and real estate investment. However, it’s important to note that with concerted efforts and community support, Red Wing has the potential to improve its safety and socioeconomic conditions.

Bemidji, MN

Source: Wikipedia User Crash over ride at English Wikipedia | GFDL
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Population: 15,441
Average Home Price: $201,734
Median Income: $49,799
Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0848
More on Bemidji: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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 1st-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.

Residents in Bemidji had a 1 in 12.8 chance of being robbed in 2023. 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 (4.2%) and income levels of its residents ($49,799).

Brooklyn Center, MN

Source: Wikipedia User AvianEnRoute | CC BY-SA 4.0
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Population: 33,109
Average Home Price: $278,078
Median Income: $70,692
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0352
More on Brooklyn Center: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

A suburb of Minneapolis, about 40 minutes to the northwest of the city center, Brooklyn Center has a lot going for it: a strong housing market, wide diversity, and good access to amenities. Sadly, this isn’t enough to counteract high crime and a weak education system. This leaves Brooklyn Center as the number 5 worst location in Minnesota.

The crime rate runs more than 70% above the national average. The schools in the area are also subpar, with none rating more than a 5/10 on Great Schools.

The economy in Brooklyn Center is relatively strong, with median income of $70,692. However, residents have to stretch those funds to pay for a median home price of $278,078.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,624
Average Home Price: $351,425
Median Income: $69,673
Unemployment Rate: 7.8%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0660
More on Little Canada: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Little Canada, a city in Ramsey County, Minnesota, ranks as the 7th worst place to live in the state. While it may not be known for its crime rate, the safety concerns in this area cannot be ignored. With high poverty levels and a median income of $69,673, residents face financial challenges that contribute to the overall negative living conditions. Additionally, Little Canada has experienced a concerning property crime rate, making it less desirable for potential homeowners. However, with dedicated efforts and community involvement, there is hope for improvement in the future. Despite its drawbacks, Little Canada’s location within Minnesota offers opportunities for growth and development.

Fridley, MN

Source: Wikipedia User Bobak Ha’Eri | CC BY 3.0
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Population: 29,731
Average Home Price: $302,586
Median Income: $76,592
Unemployment Rate: 5.9%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0483
More on Fridley: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Faribault, MN

Source: Wikipedia User Jon Platek | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 24,418
Average Home Price: $275,401
Median Income: $58,881
Unemployment Rate: 6.4%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0225
More on Faribault: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

A modest-sized town located about an hour south of Minneapolis, Faribault offers plenty of services and excellent access to parks. Check out the area’s River Bend Nature Center. Unfortunately, these benefits can’t save the town from becoming the number 8 most unappealing community in Minnesota.

Jobs and education represent the main stumbling blocks in Faribault. The local financial situation is tough on the area’s 24,418 inhabitants. The median income hovers at $58,881, while the unemployment rate sits at 6.4%.

The unimpressive economy leads to other problems. For instance, schools in the region are mediocre at best, topping out at 5/10 from Great Schools.

St. Cloud, MN

Source: Wikipedia User Elkman | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 68,910
Average Home Price: $233,113
Median Income: $58,910
Unemployment Rate: 7.1%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0473
More on St. Cloud: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

St. Cloud, located in Minnesota, ranks as the fifth worst place to live in the state. Unfortunately, this city is plagued by high crime rates, making it a dangerous place to reside. With a violent crime rate of 0.004527644754026992 per capita and a property crime rate of 0.04279494993469743 per capita, residents face significant safety concerns on a daily basis. These statistics highlight the urgent need for improved law enforcement and community support to address the underlying issues contributing to this alarming situation.

However, it’s important to note that St. Cloud’s challenges are not insurmountable. By prioritizing crime prevention measures, investing in community programs, and fostering collaboration between residents and local authorities, there is hope for a brighter future. Despite its current status as one of the worst places to live in Minnesota, St. Cloud possesses potential for improvement and growth. With concerted efforts and a commitment to change, this city can transform into a safer and more prosperous community for its residents.

Virginia, MN

Source: Wikipedia User Bjoertvedt | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 8,415
Average Home Price: $122,426
Median Income: $49,789
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0265
More on Virginia: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Little Virginia, Minnesota could use a big hug right now. The crime is the 42nd 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.

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

To figure out the worst places to live in Minnesota, 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 145 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 145 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 ten worst cities in Minnesota. 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 Minnesota.

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

And in the end, Waite Park ranks as the worst city to live in Minnesota for 2024.

The worst cities in Minnesota are .

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

  1. Mendota Heights (Pop. 11,642)
  2. Plymouth (Pop. 79,918)
  3. Stillwater (Pop. 19,316)

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Minnesota

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Price Median Income Crime Per Capita
1 Waite Park 8,290 5.5% $229,447 $52,391 0.0812
2 Brainerd 14,412 7.4% $283,659 $46,933 0.0282
3 Red Wing 16,627 5.2% $270,582 $65,107 0.0286
4 Bemidji 15,441 4.2% $201,734 $49,799 0.0848
5 Brooklyn Center 33,109 5.8% $278,078 $70,692 0.0352
6 Little Canada 10,624 7.8% $351,425 $69,673 0.0660
7 Fridley 29,731 5.9% $302,586 $76,592 0.0483
8 Faribault 24,418 6.4% $275,401 $58,881 0.0225
9 St. Cloud 68,910 7.1% $233,113 $58,910 0.0473
10 Virginia 8,415 5.7% $122,426 $49,789 0.0265
11 Willmar 21,006 5.4% $219,141 $59,132 0.0245
12 St. Paul 308,806 5.0% $278,672 $69,919 0.0487
13 Columbia Heights 21,822 5.2% $280,659 $70,470 0.0271
14 Minneapolis 426,877 5.8% $318,812 $76,332 0.0641
15 West St. Paul 20,820 5.0% $296,144 $68,359 0.0459
16 International Falls 5,795 6.9% $104,810 $54,680 0.0185
17 Albert Lea 18,434 5.1% $145,782 $56,347 0.0191
18 Cloquet 12,559 4.9% $225,901 $59,647 0.0170
19 East Bethel 11,901 3.7% $378,957 $116,453 0.0483
20 Detroit Lakes 9,966 4.7% $361,398 $60,317 0.0241
21 Fergus Falls 14,108 6.9% $183,271 $48,738 0.0252
22 Brooklyn Park 84,951 3.7% $327,075 $82,271 0.0358
23 Little Falls 9,084 6.0% $250,605 $44,455 0.0225
24 Richfield 36,809 4.6% $327,416 $80,712 0.0297
25 Fairmont 10,411 5.3% $155,351 $56,744 0.0154
26 New Hope 21,620 5.1% $328,822 $69,244 0.0254
27 Forest Lake 20,553 4.5% $387,584 $91,157 0.0207
28 Worthington 13,838 3.5% $209,517 $58,690 0.0111
29 Spring Lake Park 6,966 2.7% $299,120 $74,697 0.0250
30 Isanti 6,850 1.6% $316,531 $76,146 0.0111
31 South St. Paul 20,598 5.7% $280,795 $82,644 0.0268
32 Burnsville 64,075 4.5% $356,837 $85,801 0.0272
33 Oak Grove 8,956 2.5% $431,853 $118,871 0.0483
34 Alexandria 14,400 4.0% $257,770 $57,309 0.0191
35 Vadnais Heights 12,864 4.9% $354,501 $89,632 0.0660
36 Glencoe 5,712 2.1% $231,977 $67,547 0.0128
37 Grand Rapids 11,158 7.1% $234,222 $53,317 0.0107
38 Maplewood 41,405 3.1% $320,605 $86,769 0.0481
39 Bloomington 89,244 4.4% $347,523 $87,381 0.0401
40 Oakdale 28,029 4.0% $329,457 $86,003 0.0303
41 St. Francis 8,198 2.7% $325,664 $98,390 0.0154
42 Robbinsdale 14,452 5.8% $296,059 $80,125 0.0250
43 Cambridge 9,726 2.7% $306,192 $64,286 0.0407
44 Austin 26,156 3.5% $159,687 $61,667 0.0231
45 Arden Hills 9,805 4.3% $450,961 $121,978 0.0660
46 Duluth 86,772 4.9% $257,413 $63,545 0.0318
47 Crookston 7,472 3.5% $174,805 $52,557 0.0197
48 North Branch 10,968 3.7% $332,334 $94,564 0.0143
49 Ham Lake 16,489 2.4% $463,556 $112,854 0.0483
50 Moorhead 44,443 4.9% $257,334 $68,680 0.0268
51 Anoka 17,892 5.2% $308,373 $73,118 0.0151
52 Montevideo 5,350 4.2% $188,019 $49,435 0.0004
53 Hutchinson 14,588 4.6% $275,891 $64,635 0.0127
54 Roseville 36,066 5.3% $350,177 $87,702 0.0660
55 Mankato 44,444 4.2% $283,705 $61,726 0.0279
56 Blaine 70,047 4.4% $354,091 $100,659 0.0206
57 Coon Rapids 63,296 4.2% $310,442 $85,445 0.0210
58 Andover 32,639 2.6% $415,283 $123,054 0.0483
59 Winona 26,083 2.7% $220,768 $52,500 0.0250
60 Redwood Falls 5,091 1.0% $149,029 $64,214 0.0165
61 Marshall 13,647 3.1% $221,674 $60,532 0.0067
62 Jordan 6,648 6.0% $421,455 $111,290 0.0069
63 Falcon Heights 5,232 8.1% $391,737 $87,750 0.0660
64 Shakopee 44,135 3.9% $378,683 $103,924 0.0177
65 Waseca 9,208 4.7% $229,401 $62,632 0.0111
66 North Oaks 5,193 5.1% $876,362 $235,714 0.0660
67 Zimmerman 6,243 0.3% $305,646 $79,720 0.0185
68 Monticello 14,447 1.8% $310,024 $80,290 0.0077
69 Mounds View 13,100 4.3% $322,091 $89,358 0.0207
70 North St. Paul 12,465 4.0% $304,655 $77,475 0.0232
71 Mound 9,272 3.6% $360,628 $89,855 0.0641
72 Shorewood 7,722 5.1% $717,403 $163,525 0.0641
73 Wyoming 8,037 2.9% $379,394 $99,821 0.0139
74 Apple Valley 55,594 4.2% $363,468 $97,588 0.0186
75 Baxter 8,668 3.0% $334,916 $67,064 0.0242
76 Crystal 22,954 2.6% $296,320 $86,288 0.0263
77 Morris 5,094 0.4% $187,428 $59,261 0.0165
78 Hopkins 18,752 4.3% $317,062 $70,058 0.0244
79 St. Paul Park 5,497 0.5% $293,855 $92,760 0.0104
80 Buffalo 16,288 3.9% $354,423 $81,868 0.0077
81 Inver Grove Heights 35,673 3.2% $349,482 $98,719 0.0228
82 Hibbing 16,167 4.9% $142,670 $52,881 0.0079
83 Rochester 120,848 3.7% $309,298 $83,973 0.0211
84 Shoreview 26,846 4.1% $391,526 $106,153 0.0660
85 Hermantown 10,135 1.8% $383,661 $85,417 0.0405
86 Elk River 25,936 2.0% $377,388 $95,597 0.0185
87 Sartell 19,382 2.6% $315,131 $74,177 0.0234
88 White Bear Lake 24,317 4.6% $332,323 $79,699 0.0206
89 Litchfield 6,598 2.0% $224,619 $60,804 0.0111
90 Owatonna 26,400 3.6% $269,150 $78,295 0.0127
91 Eagan 68,262 4.1% $385,125 $104,101 0.0240
92 Northfield 20,518 6.2% $358,052 $83,125 0.0088
93 St. Peter 12,039 2.0% $272,777 $67,255 0.0096
94 Ramsey 27,774 4.3% $362,266 $110,212 0.0081
95 Hugo 15,831 1.6% $413,867 $110,160 0.0363
96 New Brighton 23,141 2.3% $362,922 $84,707 0.0229
97 Belle Plaine 7,363 0.7% $337,852 $94,698 0.0079
98 Chaska 27,764 2.3% $441,075 $99,988 0.0090
99 Carver 5,656 5.5% $477,934 $125,123 0.0090
100 New Ulm 14,055 2.8% $215,828 $59,985 0.0016
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.

43 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Minnesota For 2024

  1. What about towns like Canby Dawson, Madison, Henning New York Mills, Park Rapids, Onamia Hinckley Beaver Bay Silver Bay

    Why are some of These towns not included.

    1. Park Rapids is one of the worst places in Minnesota hands down to actually live. The population is highly uneducated…unemployment in the town was reported at 20 plus percent…and socially…if you like to be around the willfully ignorant and proud…Park Rapids is the place for you.

  2. Cambridge wasn’t so bad. Grew up there, attended school.
    People weren’t overly friendly, but we took care of our own. That was 30 years ago.
    High taxes and the “metro” attitude changed how people see each other, plus the crime rate makes “being friendly ” a bit more of a challenge.
    Deal with the expansions and add in the detour around Cambridge, yes, it’s become more isolated.
    Good people live there, strong family ties, good shopping options, and a real sense of community still makes it a worthy place to consider raising your kids and grand children.
    Seen far worse here in Minnesota so who ever wrote this article has a lot to learn when it comes
    to making a home and a community worth investing and living in on the long term.

    1. If you think raising children in this world in a quote “isolated” place is a good thing and prepares them to be able to navigate modern problems…and be successful…you should consider yourself entirely insane.

  3. Student to teacher ratio doesnt reflect results. How about average scores on standard tests.
    I’d also add in square miles of parks per populous. Ratio of park space to people.

    I think ave income to ave home would normalize the incomes and home prices.

    Unemployment is fair. So is crime.

  4. Nick James (author) you’re ‘science’ has very little to do with what makes a good home. The so-called best towns to live in are suburbs of Minneapolis. Have you been to any of these towns? It all depends on what you are looking for in a home but rich kids and minivans in the burbs is not what a good portion of people consider a quality home. If you’re going to be a writer you’ve got more of a responsibility to do your research. Take it from someone who was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MN, and has also lived in Minneapolis and over six cities across the country, you are sadly mistaken about some of these towns. The ‘facts’ you use are bull shit. The schools are outstanding with only the best teachers. The scenery is breathtaking and the people are kind. I don’t know what kind of existance you care to live but for a lot of people these small towns are havens. So shove your ‘science’ and ‘facts’ up your ass Nick.

    1. Ashley, at least Nick used data. The things you are using to measure how much you like a city are completely arbitrary. Breathtaking scenery? There’s no data to measure that. Kindness of people? Again, no data. Best teachers? Nope, no data to support that.

    2. I grew up in Isanti n went to high school in Cambridge. I cant believe some dipshit that never grew up in these towns have any clue who we are. I have lived in Maryland, Washington, Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia and Pa. I wish my kids could grow up were i did. The teachers are the best n care about the students. I still remember the rodeo n 4H. My gosh so much to do that doesn’t cost a dime. In Arizona u cant swim in half the lakes n ppl r rude. Most teachers dont care either unless u force them to do there job.

  5. I take pretty strong issue with your assumption that a city with a low population density has “nothing to do for inside fun”. You *prefer* high density areas. inside. You have a *bias* toward urban indoor living. Real Minnesotans enjoy the outdoors as well as the indoors. That’s what makes the lakes in Minneapolis a magnet to the young and the old. That said, let’s list some of the fun that’s available in Brainerd inside, since that’s what matters to lost transplants from the south, and then let’s add some outside fun too. I’m sure I’ll miss a bunch… First, there’s the Performing Arts Center at Central Lakes College with two theaters plus the old Tornstrom Auditorium. They offer a variety of theatrical productions, dance and concerts using community, student, and professional talent. They offer indoor athletic venues as well. That’s not boring. CLC offers classes in the performing and cultural arts too as well as a myriad of other subjects. Then there’s the Y, with a pool, racketball courts, exercise classes, gym, weight room. There are other gyms around too, of course. And yes, to the writer who dis’s hockey, there’s an indoor hockey arena to hold winter and summer leagues and hockey camps. Then there’s the Franklin Arts Center. It’s a complete community for artists, having art studio and apartment spaces. It’s full, and yes, it has gyms too. Add to that multiple theaters, good shopping and lots or fun restaurants. I’m not into bars, but yep, they’re there too. (College students here.) Now for the taboo, outdoor fun. Brainerd is surrounded with lakes. This means swimming, boating fishing, diving, skiing, wake boarding, knee boarding, etc., nice beaches, exercise trails, biking and walking paths, too many tennis courts to count, golf, golf and golf. Their high school even has a small practice course. They have a real raceway that offers quite a variety of racing and *classes* in racing. Who else has that? Winter outdoor fun includes hockey (of course), Ski Gull, vast cross-country and snowmobile trails and ice fishing. The high school’s gyms all open up together to make four indoor tennis courts and it has separate exercise gyms. Yeah, it also has a pool. Maple Grove? Please. They jump in the car and head north every chance they can get.

    1. Cheryl from Colorado says I am in agreement with rl. I grew up in Brainerd and have been amazed at the cultural community that has sprung up since I left home. I return every year and an amazed at all the big city perks in a small town. Of course, now that the money has gone to Bacter because of the highway 371 bypass it has hurt Brainerd economically. But the people are the tops and I am proud to be from Brainerd. Since it is the tourist Mecca for up north, that is where people in the cities go to get away from the rat trap, crime, sirens constantly wailing etc for beauty and fun. There was plenty to do years ago when they didn’t have all the perks. Swim in one of a thousand lakes in the Brainerd area. Get real. You can take the city.

  6. I moved from St. Paul to Cambridge/Isanti 4 years ago. It’s a great place to live. Small town feel and not to far away from city fun as well. People out here enjoy living in the country. It’s a good family friendly town. They are literally picking apart marginal data and ranking. Don’t let this article fool you.

  7. You guys missed the boat on your photos. I don’t know what kind of atomic spill you had to declare in order to get all the streets deserted, but you totally forgot to toss some tumble weeds down to blow around on the streets! I was born in grand Rapids and proud of it.

  8. This is so silly. The photos show the worst possible areas of these older towns. Yes, the downtowns are pretty sad – but there are major stores such as Target in town. By the way, Minntac just opened up again and mining is resuming on the Iron Range which includes Virginia, MN and several smaller towns that didn’t qualify for this survey. Your science and statistics may be dramatically different as of today.

    In five minutes, you can be out in the Superior National Forest – from Virginia, Grand Rapids and Bemidji – wonderful lakes, forest and rivers …….many people live on lakes and there are million dollar homes on many of the northern lakes.

    1. They are talking about the town. Virginia is a dirty old hole in the ground… the school is a billion years old and the old steam heat is in shambles.

    1. Hey north mnpls has excitment like the time a few months ago this fine young fellow was right outside my bedroom window and apparently thouht it was hunting season so this ”youth” shot of 15 rounds of 40caliber hollow point bullets i guess mayby this fine young cultured youth thought it was elk season but forgot to go where the elk live because this is in north minneapolis and as far as i know i have never seen any large game trotting down 42nd ave before but i know i am culturaly enriched by this experiance, cant wait for the muslims to enrich us to death 🙂

  9. I lived in Elk River for four years and couldn’t stand it. We moved there from out of state. I found people in ER to be very unfriendly, particularly to people who did not grow up there, and generally passive-aggressive. MN is beautiful. I enjoy the outdoors and what the state has to offer in that respect. I just don’t understand the attitudes there. It’s like many people constantly pump up what a great place it is, then spend the rest of their time blaming Wisconsin for something any chance they get.

    After we left, my wife found a quote from someone on the web who left Minnesota after not liking it: “the peoples’ actions there made me feel like I was snubbed by a dork.”

    That fits somehow.

  10. 54 years in Grand Rapids and the best place to live is were the ones that love you do. Happiness is not measured by money or how smart you are. You can be rich in money and have nothing else and you could be dumb and no amount if or lack of is going to change that.

  11. I live in Hibbing mn, even though it wasn’t listed this town has very rude people who live here. If you’re not born and raised here you are not aaccepted. And that goes for the higher paying jobs, my husband who has his bachelors degree in business was never hired for any job locally because one of the questions during the interview was did you grow up in Hibbing? I mean really? What does that have to do with your qualifications??? Any ways he’s works 1.5 hours away from Hibbing and drives it everyday…. People in Hibbing are snobs!! Just my opinion…

    1. It’s funny that you say that because a lot of locals feel like they Don’t get hired at the Mines because they like hiring Out of Towners. I grew up in Hibbing & it is a VERY tight community because people have known each other for Years and for the locals it’s easy to spot an outsider.
      I’m pretty sure it’s that way in small towns all over the country not Just Hibbing : ) Hibbing has a wonderful community of kind hearted people, but the Mining Industry has a lot to do with the success or failure of its Residents. A high Unemployment rate affects the community & the crime rate & homelessness goes Up. Sorry you feel the way u do about Hibbing. Many Hibbing residents drive a distance daily to have a better paying job. It probably doesn’t make it any better for you though since it’s the Community itself that you take issue with.

  12. Lived in Edina and worked in Maple Grove for less than a year, hated everything about both, left as soon as possible. Not because of cost either, although it was $700,000 for a 3 bed, 1.5 bath in Edina.

  13. Interesting article! I don’t comment on stuff much but two things led me to drop in some thoughts:

    1. The need to defend the home front (Cambridge). My home town. 🙂
    2. I’ve been reading Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow recently and the author dedicates an entire section to statistics and rural towns. Seems fitting for this article. I’d encourage you to check it out:

  14. I’ve lived in a few of these cities-three to be exact (I will not name them). Never again. With the exclusion of Waite Park, I wouldn’t want to live in any of these other cities. Good paying jobs are difficult to come by in these areas and there is a lack of professional jobs too. While there are some good qualities about these places that should have been mentioned in the article (its failing), there aren’t enough of those reasons for me to ever return.

  15. Hahaha…this was really fun to read. Fun because you just listed 10 of the best spots in the state to live, and must have spent some time to scour all possible indicators to somehow come up with the only conceivable negative things about these cities. Hahaha – I really got a good laugh, and to be honest, the only thing that topped that was the list of the “best” places which followed. Maple Grove=priceless. Haha, I’m busting a gut here.

  16. Are you like most from the cities who forget anything west of Delano? There are many cities that should beat any of these you have listed free up in Willmar is say it probably beats out all these other cities you have listed with his it’s declined over the years people are great except for the few who muck it up for the rest.

  17. Only proves “science” results can be swayed by the parameters set on the study. Many of the results are swayed towards an Urban environment yet that is the last thing many people prefer. If commute times and distance to recreation were main criteria the results would be considerably different.

  18. Beaver Bay is the best little town on Lake Superior. Beautiful, lots of culture, good restaurants,incredible scenery, wonderful little shops, great history etc etc. Also the neighborhoods around Minnehaha Creek and the Lakes are the best in Minnesota. Not the schools , but we have terrific private schools, great healthcare and alternative medicine and some of the best culture in the country. Having written questionaires myself yours seems quite flawed.

    1. I have lived in, and visited a number of these towns. I agree, some of the towns just outside the metro area have lost their way, and sold their soul to big city development. Mom and pop shops have closed up because locals prefer to travel into the cities where big box stores rule the roost. The range towns have been hit hard by the loss of mining jobs. Many of the Northern Minnesota towns depend on tourist dollars, and with the downturn in the economy, and a lack of good snow winters, most towns have suffered to some degree. Agriculture in southern Minnesota keeps that region stable. I lived in the prairie country to the south, East central, and The North Shore and I loved them all. One constant, you can’t pay me enough to live in the twin cities. I prefer the small town way of life.

  19. bemidji mn shudbe number one becuz the crime rate here is the highest becuz the lawenforcement in this area will stop u for not using your blinker and write u ticket for it and yet you did use your blinker and also they will stop you for bogus charges in order to get u into beltrami court system to getu on paper or pay fines here the cops are harrassers and makeup their own rules thats the reason the crime rate in bemidji is so high becuz of the extreme amount of cops for this area…who are on lookout to stop u for any little thing and lie about it this blinker thing happend to me and said on a scanner that i got stoppt for excessive speed but iwasnt speeding and they said idint use my blinker but idid and igot a ticket for it the lawenforcement here and court sytem is bogus and it is a kangaroo court determined to throw u in prison or jail for doing nothing wrong

    1. A reason why the cops might pull someone over so much in this town may be because it is a college town, and they are just trying to enforce the law and keep people safe.

  20. Perhaps the elites of MN working hard to import more diversity into the existing culture has something to do with the decline of the region as a whole?

  21. I live in Cloquet. It is literally the worst city I’ve ever lived in. From the city itself not giving a shit about any of the people in is city to doing things that are illegal (see the recent city council shenanigans involving a suspended police chief) to a terrible smell constantly filling the town from Sappi and USG (the only big local employers) there is no reason to visit and or live here. If the article didn’t convince you of that, let this comment do so.

  22. So sorry, Nick, Math wasn’t your best subject, but mathematics is a challenging subject. A total of 11 robberies in Bemidji for about 15,000 people…in a typical year… Closer to 1 in 1,400 chance. Try again!

  23. Low income housing development lining the pockets of city officials and immigration from 3rd world countries is a big part of the problem for some of these cities.

  24. Hands down for a younger generation. Glencoe MN is by far the worst town in Minnesota due to its 1st district court system which has more pull than the State Capitol St.paul. Due to it being surrounded by its military bases they get to be a first district court house which between the two allows this town to operate like a independent area allowing them to think they can do whatever they want. The hospitals, banks, schools operate in this same fashion not just in glencoe but all of McLeod county. This area should not be allowed to have more pull than the state capital which is a district two court. Minnesota should turn this area of the state into the lowest court structure in the state making it a 10th district because the judges in this county which only has 3 all suck. They convict people wrongfully and the sheriff’s office withholds stuff from cases when people fight them for their wrongful lazy negligence. The sheriff’s threaten unarmed individuals with Tazors.

  25. Bemidji worst city in MN? It’s a strong contender for worst city in the USA. A microcosm of corrupt cops and city officials going way back. Former District Attorney Tom Keyes keels over on a morning jog, bloodstream full of cocaine. Replaced by his legal firm partner in crime Tim Faver who granted legal indulgences for a handful of pills. I heard he recently retired. I wonder what dirtbag replaced him? Yeah, the judges, Terence Holter ahem, were snorting coke in the chambers in the meantime handing out heavy fines for dwi, minor alcohol consumption, and petty marijuana charges. Great people. Like they say, Minnesota nice!

    Does anyone recall the police scandal, prostitutes and after hours drinking at Bottom’s Up? I do. Nicely swept under the rug. Or the police chiefs wife getting a DWI and the Bemidji Pioneer newspaper refusing to run the story? So kooky Adam Steele puts it in the northern herald, his own self published newspaper, and Officer Porter makes sure he isn’t easily able to distribute the info. Infringes on Steele’s 1st amendment right to free press. Incredibly, Steele won his case and was awarded the princely sum of 3,000 bucks.

    I remember police chief Bob Tell racking up 12 grand in long distance charges on the public’s dime. I remember DNR Ranger Granger taking a break from harassing underage fisherman to sell a stolen helicopter for a cool quarter million. I remember popular local politician Bob Johnson and his drunkenness and sexual harassment scandal. Or how about North country regional hospital? Great place to recuperate from sickness on top of Charlie Cummer’s landfill.

    Lotta rapes, meth, drugs, heavy drinking, fighting, overdoses, suicides, and petty crimes. Too many cops, not enough real criminals. Employment? BSU or Wal-Mart unless you want a job at a convenience store or bank. Goodbye Gesell Concrete Products, Nu-Ply, Potlatch. Goodbye drag boat races, snowmobile races, and let’s forget about catering to the international raceway that wound up in Brainerd which is now a boom town. If it’s any fun, the city council will take care of it. But people gotta be entertained so let’s build the Sanford Center in the swamp so we can watch it slowly sink into the south end of the lake. Helluva good idea. Don’t forget about the most profitable municipal liquor store in the state, all city run because they don’t allow private competition.

    If you are a seeking a career as a professional a-hole or committed loser this town will make a great home for you. Highly recommended.

  26. I just moved up to Silver Bay, MN, moving away from White Bear Township, MN only months ago. While WBTwp might sound like a paradise to some, it was becoming an overpriced, horrifically busy suburb that my husband and I could no longer tolerate. Drivers 90% of the time driving up one’s ass, no one seeming to have patience and the continual building of McMansions was enough to drive anyone crazy. I’m not certain why the initial woman, Barb King, mentioned Silver Bay in her rant, but living here now and loving it, I can’t understand why she would consider it one of the worst places to live. The scenery is gorgeous, our house is wondrous, there is a nice school, grocery store, hardware store and if one needs the ‘excitement’ of the big cities, Duluth and Grand Marais are but 50 minutes away. I lived in WBTwp for twenty-five years and never did I feel as welcome or as secure as I do here. All personal opinion, granted, but how nice is it to have the gal at the grocery store, credit union or hardware store say good morning to you, using your first name? Call me Aunt Bea if you will, but I, personally, love it.

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