The 10 Worst Places To Live In Virginia For 2024

The worst places to live in Virginia are Petersburg and Emporia for 2024 based on Friday Night Science.

Virginia is a really beautiful place, and it’s almost four states in one. On one hand you’ve got your politically motivated and super rich, and then down the coast, a large swath of middle class Americans. Then, you’ve got the largest portion, a mix of self-admitted rednecks who still identify with the south.

And then you’ve got D.C. and its burbs. That’s just another story all together.

But is it all great in the “Old Dominion”? Of course not. Just like every other state, Virginia has its trouble spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities in Virginia are the least desirable to live in.

Of course, you’ll most likely disagree if you see your town atop this list. But nonetheless, according to science, these cities are the worst places you could possibly live if you make Virginia your home. These places need a big hug right about now.

After analyzing 62 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 Virginia:

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

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Virginia For 2024

  1. Petersburg
  2. Emporia
  3. Galax
  4. Danville
  5. Richlands
  6. Norfolk
  7. Hopewell
  8. Roanoke
  9. Front Royal
  10. Martinsville

Worst Places To Live In Virginia Map

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

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

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 Virginia? The worst place to live in Virginia is Petersburg.

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 Virginia reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Virginia For 2024

Petersburg, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Ken Lund from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA | CC BY-SA 2.0
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Population: 33,261
Average Home Price: $227,187
Median Income: $46,930
Unemployment Rate: 11.3%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0340
More on Petersburg: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Petersburg was the site of a famous Civil War battle. A siege of the town lasted 9 months and ultimately signaled the last stand of Robert E. Lee’s army.

Times were tough in Petersburg during those months. They remain tough today. All these years later, the town represents the number 1 worst spot in Virginia to put down roots. The area suffers from an anemic economy and a crime rate that runs about 60% above the national average. At the same time, housing and education in the area are substandard.

Still, the 33,261 residents of Petersburg are proud of their history. This includes battlefield commemorations and other cultural contributions, like the Pocahontas Island Black History Museum.

Emporia, VA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 5,680
Average Home Price: $132,687
Median Income: $41,442
Unemployment Rate: 7.0%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0394
More on Emporia: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Emporia is one of the poorest cities in the state of Virginia. Located on the North Carolina border, this city has 7.0% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $41,442 a year.

Small towns can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Emporia has the 7th highest crime rate in Virginia. While the numbers aren’t staggering (Virginia is a relatively safe place when you compare it to the rest of the country), it’s still undesirable when you consider that there are far safer (and more stimulating) places to make your home in the Old Dominion.

Galax, VA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 6,687
Average Home Price: $162,413
Median Income: $44,612
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0405
More on Galax: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Galax is a small town on the North Carolina state line that most refer to as the Appalachian region of the state. 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 3rd worst in Virginia. Let’s see why.

When you’re comparing the unemployment rate in Virginia to the rest of the nation, Virginians are pretty hard workers. But when comparing Virginians to other Virginians, you see some big gaps. The unemployment rate in Galax is 4.4%, which is one of the highest levels in the state.

However, the pure economics of Galax are way behind the times. Residents here earn about $44,612 a year, which is below the poverty line for a family of four. It’s the 9th lowest income in the state.

Home values are some of the lowest in the state at $162,413. And, crime here is actually above average.

And when you consider the sheer number of things to do for entertainment, if you’re not into exploring the outdoors, you’ve got a long drive for some fun. Keep in mind this part of the state has some pretty lousy weather for half the year as well.

Add it all up and Galax is the 3rd worst city in Virginia.

Danville, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Miguel Gereda | CC BY-SA 4.0
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Population: 42,507
Average Home Price: $137,067
Median Income: $41,484
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0349
More on Danville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Danville briefly served as the capital of the Confederate States of America at the desperate end of the Civil War. It basically represented a last resort before defeat. These days, the town still has that “last resort” feel, ranking at number 4 on this list of worst places in Virginia to call home.

Located in the south-central part of the state, right along the North Carolina border, Danville faces a host of problems. The local economy only supports a median income of $41,484. At the same time, the crime rate tracks at 60% above the national norm.

Still, the town has its bright spots. History buffs can check out the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History.

Richlands, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Brian Stansberry | CC BY 4.0
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Population: 5,266
Average Home Price: $100,563
Median Income: $35,959
Unemployment Rate: 8.6%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0165
More on Richlands: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Back out into the mountains we go. Richlands, way out on a very winding Route 460, has some of the same issues we’ve noted above. In fact, the public schools in Richlands get the least amount of funding in the state. At $8,500 per student, that’s almost half of what kids get on average in the rest of the country.

Low incomes and cheap homes make it purely undesirable for most people. When homes are priced at $98,000 each, that means there isn’t a lot of demand to live here.

Norfolk, VA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 236,973
Average Home Price: $284,301
Median Income: $60,998
Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0549
More on Norfolk: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Norfolk, Virginia is unfortunately known as one of the worst places to live in the state. One of the major reasons for this is its high crime rate, making it a dangerous place to reside. With a violent crime rate of 0.006920619648651956 per capita and a property crime rate of 0.047988589417359784 per capita, Norfolk struggles with safety issues that cannot be ignored. These statistics paint a concerning picture for residents and potential homeowners.

Location-wise, Norfolk is located in a prime spot within Virginia. Situated on the Elizabeth River and bordering the Chesapeake Bay, the city offers picturesque riverfront and bayfront properties. However, despite its scenic location, Norfolk faces significant challenges in terms of poverty and income inequality. With a median income of $60,998 and a poverty level rank of 31.0, many individuals and families in Norfolk struggle financially.

Although Norfolk ranks as one of the worst places to live in Virginia, it’s important to note that there is always room for improvement. By addressing the underlying issues of crime, poverty, and income disparity, Norfolk can work towards creating a safer and more prosperous community for its residents.

Hopewell, VA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 23,046
Average Home Price: $209,023
Median Income: $50,661
Unemployment Rate: 8.8%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0254
More on Hopewell: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located in Virginia, Hopewell is ranked as the 9th worst place to live in the state. While it may offer some potential for improvement, there are several reasons why Hopewell falls short as an ideal living destination. One of the major concerns is its high crime rate, making it one of the most dangerous places in Virginia. With a violent crime rate of 0.005467326217130955 and a property crime rate of 0.019916688362405625, safety becomes a significant issue for residents.

In addition to the crime statistics, Hopewell also struggles with other socioeconomic challenges. The poverty level ranks at 48.0, indicating a significant portion of the population faces financial hardships. The median income of $50,661 suggests that many residents may be struggling to make ends meet. The unemployment rate stands at 8.8%, further highlighting the economic difficulties faced by individuals in Hopewell.

While Hopewell’s location within Virginia offers potential for growth and improvement, addressing these issues is crucial for creating a safer and more prosperous community. With dedicated efforts and resources, Hopewell has the opportunity to transform into a better place to live for its residents.

Roanoke, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Joe Ravi | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 99,213
Average Home Price: $247,891
Median Income: $51,523
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0484
More on Roanoke: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

A key hub in an otherwise rural part of the state, Roanoke serves as the biggest urban area in the southwestern section of Virginia. This status comes with its share of problems. A lackluster economy, high crime, and a substandard school system make this one of the least inviting places in Virginia.

Cash can be hard to come by in Roanoke. About a fifth of people make due below the poverty line. At the same time, the local crime rate comes in almost double the U.S. standard.

Still, there are benefits to living in the region’s top metro area. The city features attractions like the Virginia Museum of Transportation and the Taubman Museum of Art.

Front Royal, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Jason Riedy | CC BY 2.0
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Population: 15,064
Average Home Price: $339,972
Median Income: $62,735
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0174
More on Front Royal: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Front Royal, a town in Warren County, Virginia, ranks as one of the worst places to live in the state. One of the key factors contributing to its unfavorable standing is its crime rate. With a violent crime rate of 0.0017 and a property crime rate of 0.0168 per capita, Front Royal is considered dangerous compared to other areas in Virginia. These statistics highlight the safety concerns that residents face on a daily basis.

However, it is important to note that with concerted efforts, things can improve. By addressing the underlying issues contributing to crime, such as poverty and unemployment, Front Royal has the potential to become a safer place to live. Additionally, its location within the Shenandoah Valley offers natural beauty and recreational opportunities that could be further developed to enhance the quality of life for its residents.

Front Royal may currently face challenges, but by focusing on improving safety measures and addressing socioeconomic factors, there is hope for a brighter future for this town in Virginia.

Martinsville, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Sleddog116 at en.wikipedia | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 13,539
Average Home Price: $117,492
Median Income: $39,127
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0252
More on Martinsville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located in the southwest part of the state, Martinsville represents an important metro area in a largely rural part of the state. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the town becomes a major draw for people outside the region.

Martinsville lands on this list because of a host of problems. It supports a lackluster economy, with a median income of just $39,127. At the same time, crime runs about 30% above the U.S. norm. Education and housing present issues as well.

Still, there’s lots to do in Martinsville. It hosts a NASCAR track and several interesting learning opportunites, such as the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

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

To figure out the worst places to live in Virginia, 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 62 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 62 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 Virginia — Petersburg. Read on for a detailed look at the ten worst cities in Virginia. 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 Virginia.

Summary: Wrapping Up The Worst In Virginia

If you’re looking at areas in Virginia 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, Petersburg ranks as the worst city to live in Virginia for 2024.

The worst cities in Virginia are .

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

  1. Blacksburg (Pop. 45,147)
  2. Vienna (Pop. 16,401)
  3. Lexington (Pop. 7,346)

For more Virginia reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Virginia

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Price Median Income Crime Per Capita
1 Petersburg 33,261 11.3% $227,187 $46,930 0.0340
2 Emporia 5,680 7.0% $132,687 $41,442 0.0394
3 Galax 6,687 4.4% $162,413 $44,612 0.0405
4 Danville 42,507 5.8% $137,067 $41,484 0.0349
5 Richlands 5,266 8.6% $100,563 $35,959 0.0165
6 Norfolk 236,973 6.7% $284,301 $60,998 0.0549
7 Hopewell 23,046 8.8% $209,023 $50,661 0.0254
8 Roanoke 99,213 6.6% $247,891 $51,523 0.0484
9 Front Royal 15,064 7.5% $339,972 $62,735 0.0174
10 Martinsville 13,539 4.3% $117,492 $39,127 0.0252
11 Portsmouth 97,384 6.6% $238,266 $57,154 0.0579
12 Franklin 8,194 5.3% $212,203 $57,537 0.0369
13 Bristol 17,036 4.1% $191,989 $45,250 0.0305
14 Pulaski 8,982 4.1% $145,235 $55,213 0.0379
15 Ashland 7,617 3.1% $394,438 $58,904 0.0278
16 Farmville 7,647 3.2% $237,401 $39,233 0.0320
17 Suffolk 94,856 6.3% $346,835 $87,758 0.0234
18 Marion 5,722 5.1% $144,743 $37,337 0.0260
19 Big Stone Gap 5,221 11.7% $123,719 $52,663 0.0192
20 Fredericksburg 28,258 5.2% $429,414 $83,445 0.0448
21 Richmond 227,171 6.1% $328,655 $59,606 0.0379
22 Dumfries 5,697 5.0% $537,443 $75,629 0.0190
23 Newport News 185,118 5.6% $263,687 $63,355 0.0289
24 South Boston 7,942 4.3% $128,262 $49,654 0.0264
25 Waynesboro 22,341 4.7% $277,470 $52,519 0.0215
26 Chesapeake 249,377 5.0% $374,172 $92,703 0.0247
27 Winchester 28,103 5.2% $356,203 $62,495 0.0307
28 Harrisonburg 51,784 6.7% $316,643 $56,050 0.0204
29 Bluefield 5,059 2.8% $122,214 $53,162 0.0518
30 Colonial Heights 18,158 6.1% $268,411 $72,216 0.0378
31 Manassas 42,620 3.3% $514,283 $110,559 0.0252
32 Wytheville 8,228 5.4% $197,791 $39,459 0.0380
33 Lynchburg 79,166 5.4% $242,735 $56,243 0.0283
34 Culpeper 20,105 3.9% $404,059 $86,940 0.0190
35 Hampton 137,217 6.5% $251,468 $64,430 0.0321
36 Woodstock 5,798 5.2% $305,557 $64,470 0.0169
37 Manassas Park 17,123 3.2% $410,921 $91,673 0.0104
38 Radford 16,379 7.2% $239,703 $51,039 0.0146
39 Covington 5,722 2.6% $129,579 $45,737 0.0124
40 Staunton 25,581 5.1% $275,801 $59,731 0.0201
41 Herndon 24,456 2.7% $679,629 $133,403 0.0193
42 Smithfield 8,625 4.7% $360,172 $101,081 0.0134
43 Charlottesville 46,289 5.1% $460,428 $67,177 0.0385
44 Strasburg 7,104 3.9% $311,196 $56,244 0.0096
45 Fairfax 24,242 3.7% $702,237 $128,708 0.0284
46 Buena Vista 6,639 1.3% $166,310 $48,783 0.0090
47 Vinton 8,045 2.0% $249,931 $65,481 0.0216
48 Abingdon 8,346 4.0% $263,435 $56,164 0.0171
49 Warrenton 10,111 2.1% $605,326 $83,737 0.0125
50 Leesburg 48,465 3.1% $757,521 $132,298 0.0174
51 Williamsburg 15,486 6.0% $422,921 $66,815 0.0178
52 Alexandria 157,594 3.2% $611,500 $113,179 0.0205
53 Virginia Beach 457,900 4.3% $384,137 $87,544 0.0170
54 Christiansburg 22,947 2.4% $278,006 $71,468 0.0241
55 Salem 25,372 3.5% $268,647 $68,402 0.0186
56 Bridgewater 6,575 6.6% $340,657 $72,051 0.0071
57 Purcellville 8,928 2.0% $788,454 $150,333 0.0069
58 Poquoson 12,479 1.4% $419,118 $114,503 0.0066
59 Falls Church 14,576 6.0% $693,453 $164,536 0.0176
60 Blacksburg 45,147 3.4% $389,094 $42,012 0.0063
61 Vienna 16,401 3.6% $1,007,468 $215,556 0.0107
62 Lexington 7,346 2.5% $313,583 $93,651 0.0079
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.

29 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Virginia For 2024

  1. Wow, I guess it’s a good thing you DON’T measure anything but numbers. I grew up in Hampton Roads, I live in Galax now, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We’re home to the Virginia State Barbecue Championship (Smoke On the Mountain), the biggest and best old-time-mountain music gathering in the world (the Old Fiddlers’ Convention, going on as we speak) and the kindest, friendliest, most helpful people I’ve met in my life. Not to mention having what is honestly the best barbecue restaurant on earth (The Galax Smokehouse) as my neighbor.

    I won’t deny there’s hardship and finances could be better; but painting this place as depressing rural slum is unfair and inaccurate. We draw a LOT of tourists almost year-round, and for good reason. I love Southwest Virginia in general and Galax in particular. We have good food and wine, we have a good bookstore, we have wonderful festivals, and we have the most beautiful music you’ll ever hear. I think that adds up to plenty, thanks.

    P.S. The winters are colder than eastern Virginia, sure, but they’re not as horrible as you’re making them out to be and they DON’T last half the year.

    1. I grew up in Fries, right next to Galax, and I have to say that this is pretty accurate.

      Galax is a pretty backwards little town with fairly little to offer. When you grow up in the area and the attraction for a place to go for entertainment is the parking lot of Walmart, there’s not a lot to do.

      When you grow up poor, it’s even worse. That means you probably don’t even have a car to get to the Walmart parking lot unless you’re going there with your parents or you get lucky and have a friend who is better off than you financially.

      Galax is also unfortunate enough to be a high traffic zone for the drug cartels. Unless you either know someone in the police force, do a ride along with them, or you are looking for them for the obvious reasons, you would probably never notice, but once you’re aware of it, they are not hard to spot.

      There’s a reason that so many of the youth who go to college don’t come back.

    2. Excellent! I love southwestern Virginia, live in Marion, went to college in Wise! Agree with you completely!

  2. We’re #2, but like Hertz, we try harder   If snobby jerks find our communities here in SWVA so offensive, I’m pretty happy they stay where they are. I’m in love with our changing seasons, winding roads, soaring mountains and scenic vistas. Sure, we have too many unemployed – but so does most of Virginia, and America, for that matter. Our schools may not spend the national average on students, but I’ll put our teachers up against anybody. So “roadsnacks”, stay where you enjoy. You’ll never like it where people speak to you on the sidewalks, help neighbors, and enjoy life.

  3. Mark Pruett bluefield va is not slummy i feel that someone got their towns mixed up. drugs and crime are bad on the wva side and so is the housing. in bluefield va you find better home in almost all areas of the town. now blfd wva is a older town with older homes like it was said in this article. maybe they need to go back and look closer. i myself was born and lived in blfd. va for many years. bluefield virginia has many nice residential areas. sedwood, double gates pinehill park, west graham and others yea income may be low but so is the crime. i think they need to go back and look at the wva side and you will see it is the area that has all they said was in bluefield i have to dissagree with most of what was said about bluefield va.

    1. Well said and all true. I seem to recall finding lots to do growing up in Bluefield. This article is just foolish,

  4. We live in Hampton Roads now, but I was a pastor in Galax from 2002-2007 and totally disagree with this rating of Galax as the worst city over 5k in Virginia. Sure the numbers may tell one story but it’s not a complete story. What Galax lacks in 21st century commercialization, it more than makes up for in a simpler way of life, some great restaurants (Galax Smokehouse), some great churches, wonderful people, and beautiful scenery. Maybe our country would be in better shape today if people left the malls and walked a mountain trail, or rode bikes down scenic paths, or strapped on a backpack and went hiking with friends. I believe that it would be. Galax has its problems like any small town, but I believe it’s positive points greatly outweigh the negative.

    1. I too have lived in Galax .I feel that it is one of the worst places in va .I don’t see it as being number one.Its not a place for young people but a great place for the old.It needs more things for the young people to do.

  5. You could atleast put updated pictures of the place you trash on here. The picture of Marion is over two years old. The boarded up widows is now a great brick oven pizza restaurant with 27 beers on tap.

  6. Bluefield va has a decent unemployment rate has a wonderful four seasons climate and extraordinary scenic views. GHIS is one of the best academic high schools in va with great success in several academic competitions in the state. We have m as ny culter as l venues including Bluefield College symposia, Bluefield State College science and technology programs, the Bluefield Arts Center, the monthly music concerts at First Christian Church and the Summit Players dinner theater.
    We have wonderful four seasons climate experience as well as spectacular vistas. We have access to the best 4-wheeler trail in the US, the Hatfield-McCoy trail and hunting and fishing as rewarding as anywhere. Pray tell where did you get the ‘facts’ to form your conclusions/opinions that Bluefield va is a ‘ worst ‘place to live?

  7. I hate to see Bluefield on the list. And I definitely disagree with the description of “slummy”.
    There are a few very old buildings still standing but just down the road from the picture they used is a very busy main street. The majority of our town is well cared for & beautiful.

  8. Well I totally disagree with these stats.I don’t live in,but lived in Lebanon area for twenty years.I just recently travelled to Va.Beach,Norfork area.I have never been so stressed out by the traffic and the rudeness of the people.Not even to mention there crime rate.Everything is not always based on looks and stats that is nothing except an opinion that someone had nothing else to do,but gather this worthless information.I have been in most of these little towns and no way do they need to be told that they didn’t make the cut.It’s almost like they have been counted out,guess what these people still have there home town pride.

    1. You are so right about Virginia Beach! I have lived here 60 years and am looking for a place to retire. With just under half a million people here now, (the largest populated in the state) I’ve had enough. The rudeness from people on the street aren’t the original VB natives…… These are the northerners (NY, NJ, PA) who have left their large cities where rudeness is the norm and invaded our once beautiful, friendly tourist city. Where riots are the norm. Check out the news here before coming here; definitely not a family spot any more. We once considered ourselves ‘southerners’….but no more!

  9. Just another outsider evaluating a place and culture they clearly DO NOT understand.The Appalachian region maintains the distinctive culture of miner-mountaineers. In its traditional aspects, this culture places a value upon rural lifestyle, relative isolation, and a harmony with nature not found in urban areas. There is a strong importance attached to personal relationships and personal interaction, and to the social organizations of kin, neighbors, and church, NOT how many movie theaters or expensive resterauants you have. In saying this, outsiders drive through and attempt to evaluate the area, but fall very short of the truth. You must be a TRUE native to understand our culture and it’s very obvious the writer of this article doesn’t have a clue about what is really going on behind the scenes of this unique culture.

  10. Who are you guys (& gals)? Pretty poor predictions if you haven’t visited these communities. Marion is not in the Allegheny mountains. It does have a vibrant downtown revitalization under way. Galax is located in one of the most beautiful areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Parkway goes right by there. Richlands, Big Stone Gap and Bluefield have very safe communities, by and large. They are just unfortunate to happen to be dependent on an economy of coal upon which Obama has raged all out war. Wonder where we’ll be when the lights across the nation start going out because not enough coal is being mined in the regions where these communities are located. Shame on you roadsnacks.

  11. What a very poor article….totally misleading. If you are reporting on only the negative aspects, call it that and do your ranking. If you are talking about a place to live, it is totally poor research and writing to not include everything, which would include the positive aspects, such as cultural, scenic, etc. Whoever wrote this should stop writing until they learn more about reporting.

  12. Great job on this article! I’ve been saying this for years. I don’t take this personally because I realize it is merely a study. The entire world does studies and you made it quite clear that you are not intending to insult people. Marion does not have many good paying jobs. Some people do well here but those are the fortunate ones. I know way more people who do not do well…some can barely buy food. There are more and more organizations and churches having to help these days. I know this because I have been involved with feeding the poor. It grows faster ever year. When the best factories shut down in 2002 everything changed and not for the best. We have nice restaurants downtown and it is good for the tourists. But for many people who live here it is a day to day struggle. Unless they are out helping those people (which many do) no one can imagine how hard it is for some to buy food or even medicine. I have seen a LOT right here in town. Most jobs are part-time or minimum wage. I’m sorry that these people are offended by this study but reality for many people here is that there are no jobs for the young people graduating unless they are lucky enough to fall into the family business or something along that nature. As far as the crime rate – oh yes! Meth is huge here. The police do their best but it continues to multiply daily. The closest jail (Abingdon) just built on to add hundreds of more people. And they can’t believe our crime rate is bad?! Sorry it sounds like people live with their heads in the sand. As beautiful as some areas are around here the big money paying jobs are gone for those who are looking at this time. It’s a good place to retire or visit but living here is tough. However if anyone is interested in helping the poor, please contact your local just might open your eyes. I appreciate this article. Keep up the good work!

    1. Very well said. I have lived in Marion, VA from the day I was born and I’m now 30 years old and yet nothing has changed that has made a great impact on the working person and our children if anything it has gotten worse. There are less jobs day after day for the majority of the citizens that have a GED, High School Dipolma, or a couple years of college and that’s 75% of the people. My percentage may not be accurate but it’s the point. The working person struggles day in and day out around Marion. Most of the schools are falling down, no one in the education field gets paid correctly, and worse than that teachers have stopped loving their jobs and kids are being bullied daily and nothing gets done about it. Our tax dollars are wasted on the most ridiculous things instead of bringing business in, fixing our schools, building free places for children to go instead of getting hooked on drugs because they are bored. Please get your heads out of the clouded because yes this is a beautiful place to live but in no way are we improving things by not having more jobs, more activities for children, and listing to people my age for a change would be a great idea considering we are trying to build and raise family’s in this town not retire and go to the Lincoln Theater.

  13. All those places are nice towns. I love Saltville. There’s no more beautiful place to live but down in the mountains of Va.

  14. I’d have to agree about Galax not having anything to do but sometimes that’s a good thing . I live in a very small town in Ohio but spent allot of time in Galax and thought it was a breath of fresh air . Who ever wrote this has no idea what winter weather is like .

  15. While all of the pictures posted of these small towns show decent…even nice…pictorial depictions, why show the outskirts of town in the Bluefield one? THAT i s NOT Bluefield, VA, though it is IN Bluefield, VA. Bluefield is a very nice, quiet small town; clean (with the exception of a very few places…as in all places in the U.S.), very friendly people and neighbors always willing to lend a helping hand. I have lived here for all of my 60 years, and although, I do not like the winters (I have had SAD since childhood),I am in total disagreement with the writers of this article…every single word of it is a falsehood. The writer probably came as far as the Farm Bureau (in the picture) though Bluefield WV, and decided that they’d seen enough and turned around without ever seeing the real Bluefield, VA. And just for the record, we have the 6th largest Wal-Mart in the country!

  16. This article is most certainly accurate. I have lived in Big Stone Gap for nearly sixteen years, almost my entire life. Moreover, I must imply, if your not a teacher, do not obtain a position in a hospital, or work at a jail, then you will waste your time trying to find a satisfactory stream of income here. One of the main sources for wealth in several of the areas listed, was the coal industry. As anyone can guess, most of the firms have released their employees’ positions because of the strict regulations that the Obama administration has placed. Which leads to towns such as this one, to become quite poor and it increases the crime rate, the unemployment rate, and the decrease of pay for anyone who works around here. For an example, the teachers around here, have not had a raise in six to eight years. Thus, from my perspective, Big Stone is EXTREMELY boring and quite depressing. Yes, there may be nice views of the mountains and many outdoor activities to do, but most people around here are too busy working double time to support their family. In addition, even if the people had time to go out and do whatever he/she desires, there is absolutely nothing to do besides exercise in the park, eat at Little Mexico, and go to Wal-Mart.
    For more negative, true connotations, Big Stone Gap is a decreasing, economic slope and retirement home. There is nothing to do for teenagers, including me and everyone within Union High School, and the only jobs available for anyone who does not have a college degree, is Food City and Pizza Hut. It is pitiful, saddening, and I hope the situation of the area turns out for the best in the future. However, for now, it has most definitely been through better and stronger days.

    Food City is a larger employer than any of the coal companies around this area.

  17. Considering these rankings place Roanoke, Richmond, Newport News and Norfolk as worse places to live than Lynchburg I will have to disregard them. Roanoke has an amazing night scene and Richmond has a vibrant performing arts and music scene. Newport News and Norfolk, while not affluent communities, are situated in Eastern Virginia where you can find jazz performances and an awesome climate.

    With a population of over 60,000 people consisting almost entirely of families and retirees who do nothing except go out to eat, play cornhole, listen to country music and watch Virginia Tech football, a music scene limited to country and rap and an inability for a mid-level degree- and certification-holding IT professional be offered a job that pays more than $16/hr, Lynchburg is the most reprehensible excuse for a “city” I have ever encountered in my life.

    1. Emporia is a true dump. Lived in area my whole life. Don’t leave because of family. Also, great hunting and fishing in surrounding county. People in this area have been electing same representatives and senators for years now and nothing changes, which is definition of insanity. Schools are the worst around area. Send our kids to neighboring county public schools and it’s a different planet just 30 miles away. Place is steadily getting worse. Opiods are rampid in all incomes and races. Businesses get one look at infrastructure, education, crime and refuse to build here. Have to drive hour for decent job. Mega industrial site has been sitting vacant for years. 90 percent of city is section 8. It’s a joke.

  18. Live in the county, near Danville, Va. Lifetime. Danville has become an “entitlement” city. The city government has for decades try to make downtown a mecca, without much luck. Entitlement cities are crime hotspots., kids are given so much free stuff through the city school system, but some one is paying for it. Why can’t the parents feed their children instead of the schools? People are moving out of Danville city limits, they are fed up with all that goes on.

  19. It’s great that Galax is rated THAT bad. This will prevent crowds hungry for “entertainment” from here (although the traffic over the Blue Ridge Parkway is tremendously high), which will help to help the place quiet, calm, friendly, and nature unspoiled)))
    I’ve bought land here a couple of years ago, and now finishing my new home construction. Can’t be happier with the small town, its low traffic, its warm and friendly people, great nature, and all the amenities needed for happy life.

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