Most Americans have never been to Idaho. However, as the people who live there know, Idaho is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Idaho has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Gem State. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 54 of Idaho’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Idaho where you’d never want to live:
So what is the worst small town to call home in Idaho for 2019? According to the most recent census data, Homedale is the worst small town to live in Idaho.
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Idaho 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.
How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?
In order to rank the worst small towns to live in Idaho, 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 Idaho for 2019
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 2013-2017 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 – 54 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.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $83,900 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (26th worst)
More on Homedale: Data
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $88,400 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (20th worst)
More on Marsing: Data
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $102,600 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.0% (7th worst)
More on Plummer: Data
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $92,000 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (18th worst)
More on Parma: Data
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $82,800 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (28th worst)
More on Wilder: Data
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $94,000 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.7% (3rd worst)
More on Lapwai: Data
Rank Last Year: –
Median Home Value: $83,300 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 1.2% (55th worst)
More on Ponderay: Data
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $102,800 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (10th worst)
More on Kamiah: Data
There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Idaho
If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Gem 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 Idaho, according to science:
- Lincoln (Pop. 3,331)
- Dalton Gardens (Pop. 2,579)
- Iona (Pop. 2,409)
For more Idaho reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Idaho
- 10 Safest Places In Idaho
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Idaho
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Idaho
Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Idaho