The 10 Worst Small Towns In Colorado For 2022


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in CO are the pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst small places to live in Colorado.

Most Americans have never been to Colorado. However, as the people who live there know, Colorado is an awesome state.

But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Colorado has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Centennial State. Don't shoot the messenger, this is all using data.

After analyzing more than 102 of Colorado's smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Colorado where you'd never want to live:

These are the worst small towns in Colorado for 2022:

  1. Towaoc
  2. Pagosa Springs
  3. Rocky Ford
  4. Ellicott
  5. Julesburg
  6. Wray
  7. Parachute
  8. Monte Vista
  9. Center
  10. Olathe

So what is the worst small town to call home in Colorado for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Towaoc is the worst small town to live in Colorado.

Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Colorado has its stuff figured out.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.

And if you already know about the small towns, check out the best places to live in Colorado or the worst places to live in Colorado.

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

The 10 Worst Small Towns In Colorado For 2022

1. Towaoc

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,140
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $180,200 (26th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (3worst)
More on Towaoc:  Data

2. Pagosa Springs

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,751
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $250,000 (46th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (16th worst)
More on Pagosa Springs:  Data

3. Rocky Ford

Rocky Ford, CO

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 3,833
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $77,700 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (8th worst)
More on Rocky Ford:  Data | Photos

4. Ellicott

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,012
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $154,700 (2worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (52nd worst)
More on Ellicott:  Data

5. Julesburg

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,246
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $94,300 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (9th worst)
More on Julesburg:  Data

6. Wray

Wray, CO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,377
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $146,000 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (22nd worst)
More on Wray:  Data | Photos

7. Parachute

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,839
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $194,600 (33rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.5% (5th worst)
More on Parachute:  Data

8. Monte Vista

Monte Vista, CO

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 4,072
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $119,600 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.0% (4th worst)
More on Monte Vista:  Data | Photos

9. Center

Center, CO

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,379
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $88,300 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.9% (7th worst)
More on Center:  Data | Photos

10. Olathe

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,800
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 6)
Median Home Value: $139,200 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (33rd worst)
More on Olathe:  Data

How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?

In order to rank the worst small towns to live in Colorado, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn't a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we determined the worst small towns to live in Colorado for 2022

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the Census's 2016-2020 American Community Survey, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The lower the worse)
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Low housing costs (meaning there's no demand)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • Education (Number of high school dropouts)
  • High Crime

We looked at cities with populations between 1,000 and 5,000 people, of which, there were a lot - 102 to be exact.

Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.

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

There You Have It - The Worst Small Towns In Colorado

If you're analyzing teeny places in the Centennial State with the worst economic situations, where there's high crime and there's not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

If you're curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in Colorado, according to science:

  1. Castle Pines Village (Pop. 4,558)
  2. Holly Hills (Pop. 2,815)
  3. Columbine Valley (Pop. 1,498)

For more Colorado reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Colorado

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Towaoc 1,140 5.6% $180,200
2 Pagosa Springs 1,751 8.6% $250,000
3 Rocky Ford 3,833 10.2% $77,700
4 Ellicott 1,012 3.8% $154,700
5 Julesburg 1,246 9.5% $94,300
6 Wray 2,377 6.9% $146,000
7 Parachute 1,839 15.5% $194,600
8 Monte Vista 4,072 17.0% $119,600
9 Center 2,379 10.9% $88,300
10 Olathe 1,800 5.2% $139,200
11 Ordway 1,642 17.4% $69,400
12 Del Norte 1,509 5.6% $103,000
13 Las Animas 2,286 7.6% $56,100
14 Hudson 2,691 2.8% $249,500
15 Aristocrat Ranchettes 2,080 8.5% $303,300
16 Hotchkiss 1,230 7.6% $159,300
17 Manassa 1,039 5.2% $117,600
18 Palisade 2,783 7.6% $191,000
19 Cedaredge 2,614 20.4% $192,100
20 Wiggins 1,170 9.0% $227,000
21 Springfield 1,381 2.3% $91,800
22 Fraser 1,304 9.5% $295,100
23 Walsenburg 2,982 3.3% $106,900
24 Colorado City 2,200 6.7% $162,200
25 Yuma 3,500 4.5% $187,400
26 Ignacio 1,411 9.1% $183,300
27 Sanford 1,260 6.4% $110,100
28 Dolores 1,017 1.5% $172,000
29 Orchard City 3,164 5.7% $262,300
30 Georg 1,205 8.9% $323,800
31 Holyoke 2,596 0.0% $184,100
32 Florence 3,913 4.0% $153,300
33 Log Lane Village 1,057 3.4% $103,500
34 Platteville 3,017 11.0% $281,100
35 Meeker 2,745 4.2% $211,000
36 Paonia 1,528 5.1% $193,800
37 Aetna Estates 1,231 8.7% $48,300
38 Kremmling 1,618 3.2% $250,000
39 Gilcrest 1,381 0.0% $204,500
40 Ridgway 1,142 8.1% $426,000
41 Fowler 1,139 3.5% $99,000
42 Laporte 2,299 3.5% $326,200
43 Akron 2,073 1.2% $139,700
44 Pierce 1,352 4.6% $246,900
45 Ault 2,153 4.5% $236,900
46 Rangely 2,326 2.8% $162,400
47 Mountain Village 1,776 3.0% $845,000
48 Battlement Mesa 4,870 4.0% $207,200
49 Kersey 1,879 6.4% $252,000
50 Poncha Springs 1,041 1.0% $391,300
51 Bennett 2,603 4.6% $280,500
52 Limon 1,161 3.8% $140,600
53 Byers 1,338 20.3% $259,200
54 Buena Vista 2,935 0.0% $312,700
55 Silverthorne 4,610 4.7% $526,900
56 Silt 3,076 4.1% $301,900
57 Burlington 3,237 3.2% $107,200
58 Lincoln Park 3,559 4.9% $207,000
59 Keenesburg 1,774 3.6% $279,300
60 Mancos 1,349 3.4% $217,600
61 Loma 1,571 1.5% $285,100
62 Idaho Springs 1,848 1.5% $289,100
63 El Jebel 4,349 2.2% $590,300
64 Palmer Lake 2,946 6.8% $329,700
65 Leadville 2,731 4.3% $228,800
66 Granby 2,281 1.3% $248,100
67 Mead 4,978 3.6% $371,600
68 Penrose 3,185 5.8% $221,100
69 Strasburg 2,987 4.1% $312,300
70 Mount Crested Butte 1,050 1.5% $466,400
71 Leadville North 2,200 0.3% $346,300
72 Bayfield 2,550 3.5% $329,700
73 Hayden 2,452 1.3% $261,300
74 Dove Valley 4,943 5.0% $322,000
75 Ouray 1,046 2.4% $463,600
76 Nederland 1,465 2.3% $496,000
77 Coal Creek 2,605 3.6% $437,900
78 Elizabeth 1,754 2.6% $321,100
79 New Castle 4,877 2.4% $384,800
80 La Salle 3,377 1.5% $257,900
81 Minturn 1,149 3.9% $732,900
82 Meridian 4,792 8.8% $460,600
83 Telluride 2,059 3.0% $415,100
84 Ponderosa Park 3,533 2.8% $491,100
85 Aspen Park 1,045 3.8% $452,700
86 Timnath 1,916 2.2% $532,900
87 Niwot 4,085 5.9% $663,500
88 Crested Butte 1,335 2.6% $534,300
89 Frisco 2,928 1.2% $590,900
90 Lazy Acres 1,071 0.0% $746,100
91 Inverness 1,863 1.5% $640,000
92 Basalt 3,941 3.4% $790,400
93 Lyons 2,302 4.5% $625,400
94 Indian Hills 1,363 0.0% $516,400
95 Todd Creek 4,635 2.3% $640,100
96 Snowmass Village 2,786 0.0% $642,400
97 Perry Park 1,821 1.4% $579,300
98 Genesee 4,099 1.7% $785,600
99 Acres Green 2,888 1.0% $378,300
100 Castle Pines Village 4,558 6.0% $961,200

How Is The Area In ?

 Worst