These Are The 10 Worst Cities In West Virginia For 2017


We used science to determine which places in the Mountain State are the real pits.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2017.

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Most people’s thoughts regarding West Virginia are about coal mining, bluegrass, great white water rafting, and the rugged topography of the Appalachian Mountains.

West Virginia defines itself by its natural beauty, as the state slogan, “Wild and Wonderful,” shows. Yet, we all know with certainty that some places in West Virginia are more wonderful than others.

We compiled a list of which places in West Virginia are the least wild and wonderful to live in so you don’t have to find out for yourself.

Here’s the worst of the worst in West Virginia:

  1. Welch
  2. Hinton
  3. Richwood
  4. Philippi
  5. Romney
  6. Princeton (Photos)
  7. Martinsburg (Photos)
  8. Keyser (Photos)
  9. Belington
  10. Williamson

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.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

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How we determined the worst places to live in West Virginia 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 2,000 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 West Virginia — Welch. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in West Virginia.

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This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

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1. Welch

Welch, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,021
Home Values: $48,800 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.8% (3rd worst)
The same problems that plague other cities on the list also affect Welch. The only real difference is Welch is a tiny bit safer, and the schools are rated a lot higher in terms of resources for students.

However, the unemployment rate in Welch is at 15.8%, which is the 3rd worst in West Virginia. And households earn a combined $28,112 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in Welch is merely $48,800.

Welch is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.

2. Hinton

Hinton, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,589
Home Values: $63,100 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 19.9% (1st worst)
Hinton, WV needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.

Additionally, crime is 18th worst in the state, which is very high considering Hinton is so far removed from the rest of West Virginia.

If you know anyone in Hinton, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.

3. Richwood

Richwood, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,180
Home Values: $34,800 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (29th worst)
Richwood has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 18th-highest in the state of West Virginia. 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 7.9%.

Additionally, 26.9% of the population lives below the poverty line.

4. Philippi

Philippi, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,192
Home Values: $98,300 (31st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (10th worst)
There are some bad places to live and some really, really bad places to live. According to the data, Philippi is one of the worst places you can live in West Virginia. And quite possibly, one of the worst places you can live in, period. Let’s see why.

We’re not economists, but when you have a 11.8% unemployment rate for a city of 3,192 people, that’s a sign that things aren’t just bad. They are downright depressing.

5. Romney

Romney, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,221
Home Values: $105,600 (38th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.3% (9th worst)
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Romney ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 38th cheapest in the state here at $105,600. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Romney.

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The median income levels here are the 4th lowest in the state of West Virginia, at $25,925. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 12.3% of people in Romney were without jobs according to the latest numbers.

6. Princeton

Princeton, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,082
Home Values: $86,500 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.0% (28th worst)
Princeton ranks in the bottom half for unemployment, income, and crime, making it one of the worst places to live in West Virginia.

However, like its collegiate namesake, Princeton rates highly in education, with the 6th best student-teacher ratio in the state.

With the 11th lowest median income in West Virginia, though, it seems that students are bringing their talents elsewhere after graduating.

7. Martinsburg

Martinsburg, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 17,564
Home Values: $143,400 (54th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.1% (6th worst)
Martinsburg ranks as the 7th-worst place in West Virginia due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.

On top of that, residents have the 5th-worst commute of any place in the state.

But Martinsburg does have one good thing going for it — the most days of sunshine of any place in West Virginia.

8. Keyser

Keyser, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,320
Home Values: $90,300 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.5% (2nd worst)
Keyser’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.

Keyser has the 18th worst crime index of any place in West Virginia, and has the 3rd lowest income.

9. Belington

Belington, West Virginia

Source: Flickr

Population: 2,080
Home Values: $84,200 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (36th worst)
Tthe small town of Belington has the 24th lowest income levels in the entire state. At $34,438, many of the people are having trouble making ends meet, and the unemployment rate is 7.0%. Additionally, 17.3% of the population lives below the poverty line.

The cost of a home here is bottom barrell at $84,200.

At least the crime is very minimal here.

10. Williamson

Williamson, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,077
Home Values: $104,600 (37th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.9% (12th worst)
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Williamson is the 10th worst place in the state of West Virginia.

The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Williamson is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Williamson are the 37th lowest in the entire state.

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And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can’t get much worse in West Virginia.

Wrapping Up The Worst In West Virginia

If you’re looking at areas in West Virginia 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, Welch ranks as the worst city to live in West Virginia for 2017.

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

  1. Vienna (Pop. 10,623)
  2. Hurricane (Pop. 6,388)
  3. Bethlehem (Pop. 2,589)

For more West Virginia reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In West Virginia

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Welch 3,021 15.8% $48,800
2 Hinton 2,589 19.9% $63,100
3 Richwood 2,180 7.9% $34,800
4 Philippi 3,192 11.8% $98,300
5 Romney 2,221 12.3% $105,600
6 Princeton 6,082 8.0% $86,500
7 Martinsburg 17,564 14.1% $143,400
8 Keyser 5,320 17.5% $90,300
9 Belington 2,080 7.0% $84,200
10 Williamson 3,077 10.9% $104,600
11 Petersburg 2,450 14.8% $120,300
12 Ripley 3,258 10.1% $110,000
13 Grafton 5,173 13.4% $69,700
14 Spencer 2,014 11.1% $80,600
15 Beckley 17,375 7.6% $108,600
16 White Sulphur Springs 2,538 9.3% $103,400
17 Moorefield 2,814 3.9% $97,800
18 Parkersburg 31,133 10.0% $86,400
19 Bluefield 10,431 5.7% $70,600
20 Chester 2,526 8.6% $82,200
21 Oak Hill 8,249 8.7% $85,800
22 Kenova 3,127 4.3% $75,900
23 Summersville 3,531 6.9% $98,500
24 Huntington 48,944 8.5% $90,600
25 Ravenswood 3,853 13.9% $90,300
26 Clarksburg 16,347 7.8% $80,000
27 Shinnston 2,565 9.0% $88,100
28 Weston 4,096 14.1% $74,900
29 Madison 2,993 5.6% $113,900
30 Point Pleasant 4,307 6.9% $80,100
31 Moundsville 8,888 8.1% $78,500
32 Elkins 7,244 8.8% $100,700
33 Milton 2,557 10.7% $111,100
34 Barboursville 4,078 10.3% $119,000
35 Buckhannon 5,650 8.6% $132,800
36 Mannington 2,036 9.2% $72,700
37 Fayetteville 2,914 2.3% $122,900
38 Kingwood 2,955 6.3% $130,400
39 New Martinsville 5,295 6.6% $91,400
40 St. Albans 10,882 6.3% $101,700
41 Fairmont 18,773 5.9% $95,700
42 Follansbee 2,934 10.6% $95,000
43 Charleston 50,566 7.3% $144,400
44 Weirton 19,432 4.6% $89,300
45 Wheeling 27,894 5.8% $98,800
46 Dunbar 7,798 6.5% $89,700
47 South Charleston 13,276 4.2% $109,700
48 Nitro 6,711 2.7% $93,600
49 Harrisville 2,423 7.2% $77,400
50 Westover 4,145 7.5% $137,000
51 Wellsburg 2,746 3.6% $81,200
52 Morgantown 30,164 7.5% $172,900
53 Williamstown 2,931 8.6% $130,200
54 Pleasant Valley 3,180 3.8% $133,700
55 Lewisburg 3,948 4.2% $198,300
56 Winfield 2,256 2.2% $157,200
57 Bridgeport 8,338 6.4% $202,100
58 Bethlehem 2,589 3.6% $130,200
59 Hurricane 6,388 3.5% $159,100
60 Vienna 10,623 5.1% $123,200

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57 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Cities In West Virginia For 2017

  1. How did you determine which “cities” to use for the purpose of this list? I see only a handful of towns listed here. Also, using “short commutes to work” is a bogus qualifier…first, how short is short? Who determines what distance short is. And second…it’s WEST VIRGINIA…most of this state is rural…there isn’t going to be a “short commute” from the front door to the end of the driveway… And based on your lead-in to the top 10 Worst Cities in WV, the rest of the criteria you used is bogus as well. You said “We compiled a list of which places in West Virginia are the least wild and wonderful to live” yet only one of criterion you used in determining which cities were the “worst of the worst” had anything to do with WV’s claim to being Wild & Wonderful, and it was vague at best. When you use flawed criteria to determine the value of something, you will have skewed results. Not to mention, that your evaluation only takes into consideration those statistics that are on paper. To be a truly acurate measure of whether a place is great to live or awful, you need to survy the people and take their answers into consideration as well.

    1. I like your comment. Bridgeport is a best well this is opinions! What I would consider a good town is NOT what the world would choose! I would want to be in a community that loves Jesus and is accountable to Him! GOD BLESS YOU!

      1. ….and that is why WV sucks -due to religious simple minded people who have no interest in improving the state’s economy and social issues.

        1. Just because people are religious doesn’t mean they are simple minded & have no interest in economic, political or social issues! You & most others are selling WV short!
          Neither myself nor my husband are natives-we chose to live & raise our child in WV. I am a retired teacher after 34 yrs. in the classroom, his dad was a CPA with an MBA and our son is also a CPA with an MBA! He is a happily married (to a beautiful & talented Christian native) Christian and father of adorable twin toddlers. He is a Managing Senior in one of the largest CPA firms in the eastern US! His wife owns her own business & is Music Director at their church! I’d say WV is a pretty good place to live & raise a family!

          1. Lol you and you situation DOES NOT reflect the masses who live in the area. YOU are the exception. I stay to myself because the only thing I see are drug ridden ignorant people who consider themselves God fearing Christians who know nothing of the Bible or politics but could tell you about pills, meth, weed and who has what not to mention white trash gossip of meaningless things. Even allot of the working class people are the same. THERE IS A PROBLEM HERE! I was born and raised here and I can tell you how it USE TO BE and what is different now. THE WILLFULLY ignorant are all that’s left. If it weren’t for my aging parents who need my help I’d already be gone.

          2. I guess any poor city in WV would look Very good to anyone who is retired. They have regular income & housing would look mighty cheap to live a good life. Probably why they moved there from the other “not so cheap” states to live, because they HAVE REGULAR INCOME. Hello! Bragging is the way I see it when anyone says how good they live, in a poor state. Try working for your living & forgetting the retirement coming in—then see how comfortable your life is, there.

        2. No it’s not christians fault west Virginia sucks. You vote for the democrat party for decades. Slavery is live and well in the democrat party. One day maybe you will want change but till then keep voting for misery.

          1. Robert Byrd, a democrat, was the best thing that happened to WV. Except for him, the state keeps voting Republican, against their own best self interest. Don’t know how you equate slavery to Democrats.

          2. WV does not suck you are probably a child trying start a internet fight so let me hit you with the facts. One WV is Republican and has been for years now, two WV what are you talking about slavery? It does not matter if you are a Democrat or Republican, there are some democrats that are for slavery and vise versa.

          3. Obviously, you do need an education. Slavery in WVA? Where? As far as Democrats go, who do you think gave you all the benefits that poor people are allotted? I never understood a poor man or woman voting for a Republican, just ask yourself what they ever did for you.

  2. So Beckley is the worst and Welch doesn’t even make the list? I don’t have to crunch numbers to prove that Beckley is a way better place to live than Welch either, I’ve simply driven through them…

  3. Ridiculous. There are maybe 15 towns with population of over 10,000 people in the state, to make of list of the worst and best places is preposterous. Martinsburg is probably in the same list as best places to live in WV. Doesnt work in a state with the population base of WV.

  4. Roadsnacks doesn’t have a clue! They know nothing about the real West Virginia and nothing about some great small towns.

  5. Do you even live in West Virginia Matt?? I don’t, but I used to and that is where my family lives. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but have you ever done a ’10 best places to live’ for West Virginia? If not, what the fuck?

    And if we’re truly nitpicking here, the fact that Huntington is #8 on the list is laughable! If you did a vote from residents of WV I’m sure Huntington would be top 3 worst, put lightly.

    If you ARE from WV then you’re a fucking sell out. For what? 200 views on your article??

    Back to the point at hand. Why don’t you post something POSITIVE? How about this Matt? The only place for WV to go is UP?? I live in a major city in the south now and once I decide to settle down, you can bet your ass that I want my kids growing up in WV! The positives are endless and if you’d like me to contribute an article supporting that, please, let me know! I’ll uses ‘science’.

    You are a douche.

    1. The truth is the truth is the truth. Too many West Virginian’s want to paint a rosy picture of themselves while sweeping their problems under the rug.

      1. The truth is that nothing is wrong with WV, I am sure wherever you live your state has problems. We do not sweep them ” under the rug”, we “paint a rosy picture” like every other state in the U.S., but the cities they are showing are not bad cities, if you had ever lived in WV you would understand but you most likely don’t so you would not know what the truth is.

  6. Would someone please just respond to this email by telling me why on earth someone feels the need to write articles about the “worst” ANYTHING?? Honestly, have you nothing better to do? What, pray tell, do you hope to accomplish by publishing negative non-facts about communities, especially when those communities are may be doing the very best they can to keep their heads above water? You remind me of the kid in school who felt like they had to bully the little chubby boy or the girl with the funny looking glasses.

    I see that “Chasing Chains” is located in Durham – – OMG, really!!!?? I lived in Durham and now Durham County, and seeing this article that included my HOMETOWN in WV makes me feel like going to the front door of one of the “founders” of Chasing Chains to give someone a piece of my mind, (or maybe a swift kick in the rear end!!)

    Why don’t you guys get out into the community and see what you can do to help out folks, improve the area, or maybe spread GOOD WILL!! Have you ever thought of that?! Why don’t you try writing a piece of real journalism that might inspire someone in a POSITIVE way?! I think most people are sick to death of hearing others belly ache about their own situation or criticize someone else’s.

    Have I made my point here? Need I make any more suggestions? Someone is likely to include your article and/or this Chasing Chains and RoadSnacks on a ‘WORST’ list somewhere!! How would you like that!?

    I’ll be interested to see your reply.
    Mary Beth Cecil

    1. They want you to fix it, through your findin prayers, both blessins and curses, in the Bible.

  7. “Beckley takes the first/worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons – below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.” You meant, I think, “employment rate” instead of “unemployment “. The wording of each city’s description is similarly convoluted and grammatically incorrect. How can you discuss the education of the ten cities’ populations when you can’t write properly? It pained me to read this article.

  8. Huntington this year was a quarterfinalist for 50,000 population category of Americas Best Cities. To put that in perspective a more reputable source found that Huntington is educated, culturally elevated above the state of WV, and the economy is out pacing most of the entire state. Therefore good sir I must say you have not researched this article very well.

  9. I couldn’t agree more with this artical. Good job. I have spent time in Hutington, Clarksburg, Keyser, Bluefield, Beckley and currently live in Martinsburg. Each of these towns are all holes.

    It’s amazing to see how offended people get when you say something bad about West Virginia. Its definitely miss placed pride in these locations. If you all don’t believe this list spend some time in Martinsburg.

    Just watch out for all the heroin needles on public sidewalks, parking lots and parks all around town. If you’re shopping don’t use cash after dark. You will be robbed when you leave the store. If you’re a woman don’t walk down the street alone, dudes will try to pick you up for sex and they don’t like to hear no. Homeless men hangout all over town, in the mall (the mall is about dead, only about 12 stores remaining), at the library (witch has cut hours because in Martinsburg, education is a low priority), in the park, the train station and just all over downtown. All they do is drink, do drugs and panhandle for cigs and booze money. You can’t even walk downtown without someone asking for money, a cig, and they get really pissed if you don’t give them anything, as if they are some how entitled to what you have.

    As for the ‘Almost Heaven’ crap everyone is always talking about, its only almost heaven here because leaving the house is putting your life on the line.

    1. If you feel this way then why don’t you do us all a favor and move to a different state? I think everyone wins in that situation

      1. Yes, Austin, telling people to “move away” will solve the problems in our state. It’s people like you that make WV a hellhole to live in—you don’t want anything to change, and those of us that do want things to change seem to pose a threat to your ‘way of life’.

      2. I think it’s funny that Cory is knocking education in Martinsburg, but can barely spell himself. Let’s count the number of misspelled words.

  10. It hit Clarksburg right on the head. It didn’t mention the amount of deaths due to drugs. Clarksburg has no entertainment of any sort. All you have is oops nothing you have to go to Bridgeport to even watch aovie or a delapadated drive in outside of Shinnston with toilet facilities that’s not fit for animals. You have zeal Mart and the outside mall and a lot of places to eat, so come and see obesity at its finest and take your camera to Wal Mart and you might get some interesting shots

  11. Using the word “science” doesn’t just magically make your list credible. How did you decide what makes your variables good or bad? Why are no towns with populations less than 5,000 considered?

  12. i dont agree on this at all beckley is a very nice place to live yea theres some flaws but there are incredibly nice people the nicest you’ll meet and i know alot of people think we are all red necks but thats not true! There are very classy people here like my family we wear very nice clothes we wear shoes and we brush are hair and bath every day!! and we dont all live in old small redneck houses either we have mansions and we have a very nice home!! beckley is a great place to live!! YOU GUYS ARE VERY VERY VERY WRONG AND U SHOULD BE ASHAMED!! so good day!

    1. And how many are like you in your life style versus the rest of the masses…. This is what this article is about. The masses not the exceptional. I know your type or types as long as your and yours are doing fine to hell with the rest and when articles like this comes along it’s a personal attack to YOU. Why do you get upset?

  13. I am so surprised that Beckley tops the list for the worst places to live. I love Beckley and in my opinion, it is the BEST city in West Virginia. I have lived in Beckley for 31 years and have enjoyed the peacefulness of the area. I am a retired teacher and have taught many students who have gone on to become productive citizens. Crime is everywhere and in today’s society a town should be judged on so much more. I find that there are numerous things to do in our town, kind and caring people, and beautiful West Virginia mountains. Our educational system in the county is a very good one, we have community colleges, and WVU is now going to be apart of our town which will bring many advantages to our youth. If there is unemployment, let’s put the blame on our national leadership and federal government. Many fine people have lost their jobs because of the EPA and other factors that have fought a war on coal. Also, with the moral decline in this country we can see why crime is up. People need to learn values and take responsibility for their actions. Today, people do what is politically correct instead of what is morally RIGHT.

  14. For sure Clarksburg is at the bottom of the trash can.Most every store is for sale/rent. They still pay meter maids to troll the streets putting tickets on cars in a has been ghost town. They are loaded with cops running wild. The whole town makes a citizen feel a defence mode . liken to cops feeling as if the town’s folks are the enemy . There is absolutely nothing here as entertainment ,culture ,arts etc.
    Its a huge ghetto barley holding its head above water. I moved here and question my own sanity for staying . The best thing for Clarksburg is to see it in your rear view mirror.

  15. There are so many errors in this I don’t know where to start.
    Four “towns” you list are not towns. Cross Lanes, Sissonville. Pea Ridge and Teays Valley are unincorporated areas with some population. Teays Valley has a post office but its name is Scott Depot.
    Now I will move on to your comment about South Charleston being northwest of Charleston.
    WHAT MAP DID YOU USE?
    DO YOU KNOW WHAT A MAP IS?
    A first grade student could look at a map and clearly see South Charleston is south west of Charleston.
    Your ratings are a boatload of crap.

  16. urg. I have lived in Illinois, Florida, Washington state, Japan, Guam, and now I am in Kentucky..Originally, I was in West Virginia. West Virginia will always be my home.My family and a lot of my friends are from W. V.

  17. The information is not a total reflection of the city’s in West Virginia example would be Charleston. Charleston has a horrible infrastructure. The drainage system is,way out dated for the population of the city. People’s basements are constantly flooded when there is to much water for the drainag system to handle.would you like to buy a home there? Also the,crime rate and drug issues are horrible. I think this study totally needs to be looked at or totally taken out because it is not a correct reflection of the cities in this study.

  18. Man… This dude really has something against small towns… Hardly any of his top ten worst of any of the states have pops of over 50K, and dude, seriously? Population density is a positive? Give me a break! Maybe in your libtard utopia that you have cocooned yourself with you can believe that BS, the rest of us will just hang out in our small towns waiting for something terrible to happen!

  19. As a living resident of WV, I would like to add that a much more constructive opinions articles could be used by show people were landfills which are contaminated with radioactive drilling wastes are being dumped ” like fairmont without regulations”, and how key manufacturers dump in the rivers like say chemical valley above charleston and up by the ohio river, or hey how about what is dumped and where the city water intakes exist. That criteria would be very important, but no lets just use crime! LAME… ” Who needs a decent chance at life right?, one must have clean water, lets face it WV is so far behind, that most people do not have water, because its contaminated by mines and frack wastes, they only test for chemicals they know are in the waters, so when they taste something out of the ordinary they just increase the chlorine levels, says all of Charleston.” How about where the fracking dumps are deep injection wells next to rivers/ next to reservoirs, and where the trucks dump the SOUR BRINES, or Drilling injection wastes onto the roads at night, call the police, they laugh at it. Did I mention they are using the waste brines which are mixed with 700+ deadly chemicals drying it up in aeration ponds, with tarps next to local residential homes, which breathe that air 24/7 and taking the salt residues to a dump onto the road ways, which then melts and feeds the creeks, which the animals drink and people eat. I would like to see real results, if your going to slam WV, at least do the work! Expose critical areas that pose hazards, then offer solutions, at the moment gas companies are destroying Wetzel County region, working north, so if you dont want to breathe benzenes and million other air chemicals avoid the entire northern panhandle, courts are on the Gas companies sides. Also if one were inclined to look into the very near future, those counties will suffer the most, due to lack of funding from residents as they are all moving away, so no more tax revenues, which will leave no funding for schools, and will drive everyone out of the state, miners are undermining peoples homes in wetzel, working towards new martinsville areas, so longshore mining is destroying the structure of the lands, and the proposal is to dump toxic waste into the mines down the road, yummy stuff, ps, all well water is destroyed by both operations making it near impossible to live in those areas affected. Wetzel-New Martinsville and territory north, are destroyed by factories now which are placed into the wood lines up on the hilltops, remote places which have little EPA oversight, and pollute the most fowl crap ever imagined, who wants to live in the countryside and be poisoned by pumping station and compressor stations making fuel which gets dumped out onto the grounds and air. PS> Shinneston has one of the highest cancer rates in WV. Why not look at cancer rates based by city year over year by % percentages?, oh yea, hit a nerve, getting robbed of your life is far worse than crime in small cities! WV the land of the heavenly, where you can slowly die at home, where doctors can blame everything on, I.B.S. your eating habits, and ignore environmental toxins, from poisons and vented gasses and wells contaminating your backyards to drinking it from the rivers. 😉 WV is a poisoned state, if you value life and your loved ones don’t even consider this state, it has no industry other than gass/coal mining, which will be gone in a few years and offers little to no hope for its residents. Leave while you can, because once your sick, its forever! People dying all around us from this stuff, and no one bats an eye, they all die from the same thing natural death due to heart stopping, interesting how they spin that. Don’t believe me visit some Emergency room waiting rooms, look at the gas workers who are sick from drilling methanes etc form your own opinion, gather your own knowledge, don’t just take my word for it.

    1. I would agree with you James. I was offered a job with the VA in Clarksburg a couple years ago, after finding out about the fracking and doing some research I declined the job offer. My health and my families health are too important to risk it for a good job. During that time I also researched the educational system in WV, if I remember correctly they were ranked 35th out of 50 states. The high school in Bridgeport was among the highest in the state of WV so we looked at houses to buy in that area. The housing prices were astronomical considering the area, I was shocked. After three days of looking at homes for $250K+ that were need of serious updating I gave up. Two different real estate agents told us that prices were elevated due to the fracking and oil companies in the area. So what happens in 5-10 years when these companies are done fracking? The beautiful state of WV will be left polluted and the housing market is going to crash when they have abandoned these sites; as well as leaving many people without jobs. I think the mountains and countryside are gorgeous however I think the governor made a gross error allowing fracking; it was a temporary fix to a sluggish economy and in the end the people in WV will pay dearly for it.

  20. We just bought a home In Spencer WV. Moving in October. All interaction with folks in WV have been wonderful. These negative comments are scary.

  21. I was born n raised in wva n I can say McDowell Co. Didn’t make the list?? Funny u must have never lived or visited wva…

  22. If you’re going to overspend for a place to live, you might as well live in a big city. Like we said earlier, naming the worst places in Rhode Island sounds silly, since many of the places here would rank really high in other states.

  23. Well I found this list because one of the towns with a very low crime rate in West Virginia happens to be on this list in fact it has the lowest crime rate in West Virginia and that is Grafton. I live near Edgefield South Carolina which is considered one of the safest towns in South Carolina and many people consider it one of the best places to live in the state. It has its crime and it’s not perfect but it’s fairly safe. How you going to tell me the town that’s safer than 97% of cities and towns in the country is bad? And since when is high population density a good thing High population densities are a very bad thing I hate crowds. When my sister lived in New Jersey I kept thinking I needed to get out of there faster when I visited. I’m very happy to live in a place with a fairly low population density I live in rural Edgefield County South Carolina at the moment. I like living here, because it isn’t crowded. For the comments that people made about religious folks you know you can be religious and believe in science it’s not a contradiction except people’s minds. Here in South Carolina I love the fact that I can talk about Jesus in public. Of course I’m Catholic so some of these well-meaning Southern Baptist try to “save “me, it’s okay though their fellow Christians and I have no problem considering themselves that and many of them are very good Christians. And I’ve been to West Virginia many many times I think it is a beautiful state.

  24. I’m Canadian and every year when I drive to Florida through West Virginia I am in disbelief of how many red necks and low budge people we see in WV. My family is mixed, I’m white but my wife is black and mixed daughter, nobody says anything to me but my wife gets all the racist comments at the Walmarts, restaurants or gas stations we stop in when passing through. I have to agree with this article, I have been all over the USA and West Virginia has to be the most racist, unintelligent state I have ever been in. I can’t believe how many run down pick up truck you see with gun racks in the back and the confederate flags on the hood or roof. (By the way the Confederates lost the civil war so if you fly the flag I guess that means you are still a racist). My wife refuses to stop for the night in WV because who knows how many KKK members still live in those small towns.

    1. If you are concerned about the flags the gun racks and the beat up trucks then maybe you should stop to think maybe you have a problem. I grew up in wv and one of the guys I grew up with married a black woman. No one I know that lives in wv is racist. There life style is one they choose just like the one you chose. I cannot name one person there that wouldn’t go out of there way to help you. The color of your wife didn’t have anything to do with anything. Wv people are proud people and love their state. Seems to me that people see someone a little different and they Hollar racism. Seems to me that you are the racist one you are profiling people in the state and saying they are all racist. Maybe you should look in the mirror.

  25. I’ve read this whole list and wonder the literal education level of the writers. Not to knock people, p!ease understand, BUT, when I see people writing who cannot properly express themselves, cannot spell even the most basic words, cannot form thoughts “on paper” and are (unfortunately) c!useless about some facts, I have to wonder WHO these people are…? Please understand that just because someone cannot perform the above observation’s means they are unworthy of being heard, but if anyone is expecting to be taken seriously, they had better come across as being at LEAST somewhat literate. Coming across as illiterate demeans you and easily causes readers to NOT take you seriously. Communication is important, and doing it properly and correctly MEANS something. Please people, if this post is to continue, please try to at LEAST come across as someone with even basic Intelligence. Yes, I have been the WV many times and DO like my visits there. Live there??? I don’t know. As always, what one likes, another might not. That’s normal. That’s what makes the human experience interesting. I, too, have traveled extensively, and WV is definitely a place that sticks in the mind. It’s easy to see through the comments of people’s pro’s and con’s on issues. Some comments were spot on, and this is from a total “outsider” looking in. Actually, I found all of this amusing. The people who stuck up for WV, good for you. NO place is “IT”, and will never be. All places cannot be the perfect places in California. Most of life is rough, somewhat uncultured and rustic. America, with all it problems, and they are growing faster every day, is still an interesting place. We ARE losing our country, and it seems as though we really may ultimately !ose it, but until then, we should fight and struggle to try to maintain what we have left. America isn’t America anymore. In name only. The young people have no idea of why we exist or what we’re supposed to stand for. THAT is why we are going to fall, and will fall. It’s sad. If today’s young people knew the U.S. from 50 or so years ago, despite its problems then, they would come out with a totally different perspective of what they are now missing. Right now, it’s all fighting, yelling for ” rights”, killng babies (don’t call it abortion), free use of drugs, mandating bathroom use of choice , no restrictions anywhere and the list goes on. NO ONE teaches the DUTIES that are required to live in the U.S. Freedom isn’t free. It’s enormously expensive to live in a society as ours, but it’s good and worth it if responsibility is practiced and respect is issued without restraint. I don’t see it anymore.
    People, learn to communicate. No one listens to babbling illiteracy. You embarrass yourself and are not taken seriously. No, this is not meant to be an insult, but basic skills are a necessity, not an option. No one credible listens to fools and takes them seriously.

  26. Cory your post of needles men and homeless people seem to describe every city in the us not just wv. Try going to Charlotte winstonsalem reliegh hickory or try anywhere in Georgia Florida Alabama Virginia Tennessee etc. all states with cities have these same problems. The issues is not the state the issue is the drugs the unemployment rate and the fact the government is supporting all this is a shame. If the government would drug test everyone before giving assistance then we wouldn’t have this unemployment problem and the guys you say are not taking no for an answer would be at work and not on the street.

  27. You are wrong about Martinsburg having a terrible commute. The MARC Train connects it with DC, the AMTRAK connects it with DC and Chicago, and it is on the junction of two great highways, RT 45 and RT 81.

    As far as crime – there are save neighborhoods and not so safe neighborhoods, like any city. Just like DC. My wife and I lived in Martinsburg for 7 years and never had any problems.

  28. I grew up in Raleigh County – ten years in Beckley and then eight years in Grandview just down the road. I left at 18 for college and then travelled the world with my Air Force hubby. I swore I’d never move back due to the economy and ruralness but I always talked proudly of my home state. Well guess what? After looking for jobs from all over the US we are back here but in Jefferson County in the eastern panhandle not too far from Martinsburg. Why? Because of the cost of living in Virginia and Maryland we would be stupid not to buy here and drive in to work. Plus the school system here in Jefferson County is really great, the people are really nice, you can get out of the rat race that is the D.C. Metro area , and it’s just so pretty here. In this part of the state we have Martinsburg, Shepardstown, Charles Town, and Harper’s Ferry. We can be in Frederick MD, Hagerstown MD, or Winchester VA within 30-45 minutes and D.C. Like an hour and 15 minutes.
    I’m closer to Martinsburg so we frequent there for quick shopping and I’ve never felt scared there at all. It actually reminds me of Beckley. It definately could use some updating in curb appeal but other than that it’s like anywhere else.
    This listing in my opinion is flawed. Every town and country we lived in has its bad parts as do these on the list but great parts as well. It’s all in what amenities you’re looking for and jobs. The only reason we moved to back to WV was affordable housing and the military tax break for retired vets and this part of the state is alive and close to the things we don’t want in our backyard but can drive quickly to get to. WV is for us a quiet getaway.

  29. Planning on moving to WV next year from California. Looking for a safe & quiet, but not too rural area. Good employment opportunities. My friend lives a few cities up north of Wheeler. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

  30. Mr. Zane,
    I am a citizen of Philippi, WV, the 4th worst place to live according to your “science.” Your secondary analysis of the data isn’t in question. Barbour County managed to snag two of your worst top 10 (Belington) being the other. I’ve lived in Harrisonburg and Winchester, VA Martinsburg, WV (I’m batting 1000 on your list!) and Pittsburgh, PA. Philippi, when compared to the expensive housing and dense traffic in other areas, Barbour County is a welcomed change of pace. I have the fortunate opportunity to live and work in the same community. While I understand this situation isn’t afforded to many in my community, it’s hard to take the cynical tone in this article seriously. Specifically, your decision to use the unfortunate picture of Belington was a “infotainment” injustice given the options of solid building structures. Belington has a lot more to offer than just abject poverty.
    As a blogger, you had the opportunity to take the high road by presenting the challenges facing each community “The Top 10 Cites Facing the Most Challenges in WV.” Kicking these communities while they’re down in economic indicators doesn’t serve the blogosphere in the best capacity. I guess it serves as good click bait, but it fails to get at the heart of what’s ailing some WV cities. Philippi certainly isn’t a tropical paradise, but it’s certainly far from the worst place to live. Hopefully, you’ll offer a more in-depth analysis of these fine cities one day, but until then, I’ll let you ponder this insight from Teddy Roosevelt:
    “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    I live among some of the finest people doing their best to restore the city to greatness. While we don’t have all of the preferred economic indicators, I certainly wouldn’t call the towns the “worst.” There are a wealth of opportunities awaiting discovery.

  31. West Virginia as a whole

    1) 6th worst in education

    2) 1st worst depressed state

    3) 2nd worst mortality rate

    4) 2nd worst obesity rate

    5) 1st worst place to retire

    6) 6th worst in healthcare

    7) 12th worst with drug problems

    8) 1st worse in drug overdoses/deaths

    9) 2nd worst economy

    10) 7th worst in general health.

    11) 1st worst in smoking cigarettes

    HOUSTON… WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

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