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Most Americans have never been to Florida. However, as the people who live there know, Florida is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Florida has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Sunshine State. Don't shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 285 of Florida's smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Florida where you'd never want to live:
So what is the worst small town to call home in Florida for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Lake Placid is the worst small town to live in Florida.
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Florida 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.
The 10 Worst Small Towns In Florida For 2022
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $108,300 (59th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 30.5% (4th worst)
More on Lake Mack-Forest Hills: Data
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 14)
Median Home Value: $58,800 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 22.7% (12th worst)
More on Moon Lake: Data
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $60,000 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 50.4% (worst)
More on Lacoochee: Data
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 15)
Median Home Value: $134,900 (93rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 26.0% (8th worst)
More on Crescent City: Data
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $83,300 (33rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 34.0% (2nd worst)
More on Lawtey: Data
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 11)
Median Home Value: $161,000 (124th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.7% (14th worst)
More on Five Points: Data
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $77,100 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (77th worst)
More on Gretna: Data
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 8)
Median Home Value: $68,400 (18th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (98th worst)
More on Chattahoochee: Data
How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?
In order to rank the worst small towns to live in Florida, 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 Florida 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 - 285 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 Florida
If you're analyzing teeny places in the Sunshine 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 Florida, according to science:
- Vineyards (Pop. 3,407)
- Highland Beach (Pop. 3,907)
- Tierra Verde (Pop. 4,013)
For more Florida reading, check out: