The 10 Worst Small Towns In Kansas For 2023

We used Saturday Night Science to determine the worst small towns in Kansas.

Most Americans have never been to small town Kansas. However, as the Kansan who live there know, small town Kansas is an awesome place to call home.

But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Kansas has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using Saturday Night Science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Sunflower State. Don’t freak out, we will use data to show which places have high crime, poverty, and unemployment.

After analyzing more than 142 of Kansas’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Kansas where you’d never want to live:

These are the worst small towns in Kansas for 2023:

  1. Chetopa
  2. Elwood
  3. Anthony
  4. Peabody
  5. Cherryvale
  6. Osage City
  7. Oaklawn-Sunview
  8. Yates Center
  9. Eureka
  10. Garnett

So what is the worst small town to call home in Kansas for 2023? According to the most recent census data, Chetopa is the worst small town to live in Kansas.

While many of these small towns have seen better days, they have wonderful communities and people. This report in no way means to knock the folks that call towns like Chetopa home. Everyone

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 Kansas or the worst places to live in Kansas.

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

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

The 10 Worst Small Towns In Kansas For 2023

1. Chetopa

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,113
Median Home Value: $54,200 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (5th worst)

2. Elwood

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,077
Median Home Value: $71,000 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (47th worst)

3. Anthony

Anthony, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,167
Median Home Value: $64,200 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (17th worst)

4. Peabody

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,249
Median Home Value: $70,800 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.9% (worst)

5. Cherryvale

Cherryvale, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,283
Median Home Value: $52,400 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (4worst)

6. Osage City

Osage City, KS

Source: Wikipedia User Ichabod | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,858
Median Home Value: $110,400 (84th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (12th worst)

7. Oaklawn-Sunview

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,853
Median Home Value: $47,200 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (23rd worst)

8. Yates Center

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,522
Median Home Value: $39,300 (worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (11th worst)

9. Eureka

Eureka, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,295
Median Home Value: $55,000 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (62nd worst)

10. Garnett

Garnett, KS

Source: Wikipedia User Bhall87 | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,219
Median Home Value: $95,500 (63rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (4th worst)

Methodology: How do you decide if a small place in Kansas is lousy or not?

To rank the worst small towns to live in Kansas, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. Assuming that people like low crime, solid education, things to do, and a stable economy isn’t a stretch.

We then analyzed the criteria using Saturday Night Science, the thinking you’d use at a bar. It seems like even your crazy Uncle would agree that a town with high crime is worse than a town with low crime; all else the same.

Using FBI crime data and the Census’s 2017-2021 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 many – 142 to be exact.

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

We base all our research on facts, which is meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2023, which is our tenth time ranking the worst small places to live in Kansas.

There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Kansas

If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Sunflower 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 Kansas, according to science:

  1. Westwood (Pop. 1,834)
  2. Mission Hills (Pop. 3,579)
  3. Fairway (Pop. 4,147)

For more Kansas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Kansas

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Chetopa 1,113 9.5% $54,200
2 Elwood 1,077 4.1% $71,000
3 Anthony 2,167 6.2% $64,200
4 Peabody 1,249 15.9% $70,800
5 Cherryvale 2,283 4.4% $52,400
6 Osage City 2,858 7.5% $110,400
7 Oaklawn-Sunview 2,853 6.0% $47,200
8 Yates Center 1,522 7.7% $39,300
9 Eureka 2,295 3.3% $55,000
10 Garnett 3,219 11.1% $95,500
11 Harper 1,250 5.0% $69,500
12 Erie 1,443 4.3% $72,800
13 Blue Rapids 1,091 6.7% $53,800
14 Pleasanton 1,612 5.3% $81,700
15 Horton 1,748 3.2% $68,900
16 Holton 3,343 7.8% $112,300
17 Kingman 3,114 3.6% $67,200
18 Oswego 1,695 6.0% $69,700
19 Humboldt 2,069 13.9% $80,700
20 Elkhart 1,641 3.4% $94,800
21 La Cygne 1,447 6.1% $80,700
22 Caney 1,563 4.8% $56,500
23 St. Francis 1,331 2.9% $73,400
24 Galena 2,786 0.0% $72,600
25 Columbus 2,945 0.7% $57,500
26 Oberlin 1,777 4.4% $62,200
27 Goodland 3,764 5.6% $88,300
28 Johnson City 1,346 2.9% $57,100
29 Russell 4,363 4.9% $116,200
30 Syracuse 1,600 0.0% $95,700
31 Plains 1,238 3.7% $87,600
32 Leoti 1,575 5.8% $87,800
33 St. John 1,245 1.9% $77,400
34 Burlington 2,634 3.9% $114,800
35 South Hutchinson 2,800 2.8% $119,100
36 Hiawatha 3,251 7.2% $85,100
37 Kinsley 1,441 2.7% $55,900
38 Osborne 1,554 2.5% $66,100
39 Medicine Lodge 1,364 4.7% $69,300
40 Lakin 1,846 3.9% $119,300
41 Hugoton 4,180 8.0% $104,500
42 Girard 2,648 2.1% $77,100
43 Baxter Springs 3,910 0.7% $76,000
44 Arma 1,375 5.5% $80,900
45 Council Grove 2,274 6.1% $105,400
46 Oskaloosa 1,000 8.0% $127,400
47 Fredonia 2,154 4.1% $81,100
48 Stockton 1,568 2.8% $67,300
49 Ellinwood 2,096 3.5% $88,400
50 Highland 1,083 4.0% $96,400
51 Lyons 3,580 6.0% $75,300
52 Lincoln Center 1,135 3.1% $62,000
53 Beloit 3,223 3.2% $95,000
54 Hill City 1,640 5.8% $84,100
55 Neodesha 2,275 6.2% $75,600
56 Grandview Plaza 1,744 6.3% $1,000
57 Smith Center 1,467 3.1% $65,100
58 Osawatomie 4,275 1.9% $90,800
59 Halstead 2,395 0.9% $126,100
60 Marysville 3,400 2.1% $95,600
61 Phillipsburg 2,234 2.7% $83,100
62 Belleville 2,063 2.3% $73,900
63 Herington 2,174 1.4% $62,600
64 Sublette 1,414 0.0% $106,100
65 Belle Plaine 1,450 4.9% $83,500
66 Valley Falls 1,173 4.6% $99,100
67 Pomona 1,056 2.6% $104,600
68 Altamont 1,074 0.0% $71,100
69 Larned 3,684 1.4% $83,400
70 Marion 1,852 1.9% $76,600
71 Douglass 1,676 5.5% $89,200
72 Ogden 1,651 13.1% $126,600
73 Mclouth 1,063 2.9% $117,500
74 La Crosse 1,284 0.9% $73,200
75 Cheney 2,226 2.1% $116,800
76 Hoisington 2,693 2.8% $76,800
77 Minneapolis 1,902 5.1% $127,500
78 Scott City 4,269 0.4% $175,000
79 Auburn 1,116 3.9% $112,200
80 Oxford 1,032 0.8% $86,700
81 Oakley 1,963 0.8% $115,400
82 Sterling 2,496 7.9% $108,400
83 Chapman 1,157 1.8% $160,900
84 Norton 2,813 0.0% $81,100
85 Sabetha 2,509 0.0% $115,000
86 Edwardsville 4,690 0.9% $149,300
87 Ellis 2,120 2.9% $115,700
88 Wathena 1,415 0.0% $118,600
89 Wakeeney 1,938 2.0% $106,900
90 Solomon 1,057 3.6% $102,800
91 Washington 1,056 1.7% $73,100
92 Carbondale 1,338 1.7% $87,200
93 Hillsboro 2,788 2.8% $95,600
94 Clay Center 4,147 1.4% $106,000
95 Mcconnell Afb 1,776 4.5% $1,000
96 Hesston 3,823 3.3% $147,300
97 Haven 1,471 4.7% $73,200
98 Wakefield 1,036 5.1% $150,500
99 Frontenac 3,390 1.1% $135,300
100 Whitewater 1,047 2.4% $102,600
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.

19 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Small Towns In Kansas For 2023

  1. This person (Roadsnacks) like most people, think everything they see on the internet is true. Well Mr. Roadsnacks next time you should take a road trip in your car NOT on your computer and see what these small towns are about. Severy is located 60 miles east of Wichita on 400 not 30 miles. One of the most beautiful drives you will every take. You would know that if you drove it in your car as I did for the last 20 years going back and forth to work at Beech Aircraft Co. Severy has one of the largest Food Pantrys in the region serving both Elk & Greenwood County at the Nazarene Church. There is a free community dinner every Thursday night at the Methodist Church. It is a community of hard working farmers that puts food on your table. Here in Severy we are one big family that takes care of one another. We use what we have and make it work. Oh we may not have A QT on every corner but we have Tripco Station! It has the best cup of coffee, sub sandwiches & pizza a person could want. In Sept. we have about 2000 people show up here in Severy for our Severy Labor Day Celebration with a Family Movie Night, Fising Derby, Mud Volleyball, Singspiration, Ice Cream Social, Softball Games, Biscuits & Gravy Breakfast, Parade, Car Show, Talent Show, Lawn & Tractor Pull, Kids Activities, Entertainment, Arts and Crafts, and Food Vendors. In Oct we have one of the best Haunted Hay Rack Rides around with about 300 people attending. In Dec we have a soup and chile feed with the kids getting the night before Christmas Story read to them by Mrs Clause. Kids have there pictures taken with Santa while Mrs Clause Hands them a sack of candy followed by a drawing for gifts… For Easter the Easter Bunny hides Easter Eggs for the kids in the park. Ya thats what it is like to live in Severy!!!!!!!!!!

    1. That’s great that you have the largest food pantries??? In otherwards not many people work or support themselves?? Not a great attribute to a towns survival

      1. Like I said we have the Largest Food Pantry in the region that is worked, supported, and financed by the people of this small town and other small town around us. Jesus said feed my sheep. Jesus said the poor will always be with you. I don’t care if you live in a small town or the big city the poor will always be with you. Feed them!!

    2. Sandy Rroberts, great response. The best things about small towns are not appreciated by computer trolls, because it includes human interaction, like you said (one big family), neighbors helping neighbors. I hope people that don’t appreciate small towns just move on down the road and don’t mess with our slow paced life style. By the way the small town I live in does have some unemployment, but by far more professional people that still work or have retired. So we are not all uneducated, lazy, slobs.

  2. I grew up in Severy, KS graduated High School there and love that small town. For the people in Severy it should be rated one of the best small towns. They have 2 quilt shops located there and are the best in the 4 state area.

  3. Like I said we have one of the largest Food Pantries in the region. Which is supported worked and financed by people of this small town and other small towns in this area. Jesus said feed my sheep. Jesus said the poor will always be with you. I don’t care if you live in a small town or the big city the poor will always be with you feed them!

  4. How do you decide if a place is lousy or not? Well, I’m guessing you make decisions like this by “googling” them. You might use a thesaurus as you write your opinion trying to use Google’s own “knowledge” when they obviously have no knowledge. In fact, Severy, Kansas, IS shown in Google Maps, with real streets with real street signs, but while taking pictures there Google may not have known where they were because their main goal was to get their pictures and get outta town to collect a paycheck. Did they stop for cup of coffee at Tripco? Did they speak to anyone IN Severy? Uh-huh. That’s the new way of “telling it like it is”. Oh well, you certainly do miss a lot, you are in such a hurry. Slow Down and Look Around. Why do people always want to pick on the State of Kansas, it is such a beautiful state, with skies that position themselves above Kansas like no other place. Pink and Blue skies.
    Tell us now, How many cities can you count in the USA where you truly feel safe walking down a street, alone, at night? How many gangs are located in Severy?

  5. If the authors of this article would have “googled” they would have found several pictures of downtown Severy.

  6. All places in Kansas that are outside the Big City are horrible. Stay away and leave us to suffer in peace. There are no loving communities, giant whitetails, fish-filled ponds and streams, stunning sunsets, wooded trails, hometown diners, safe and clean streets. None. Stay far away.

  7. Being from Neosho Falls, I’d be hard pressed to find fault in your numbers. Wait. No. I meant it’s fairly EASY to twist stats around to formulate an idea or biased opinion on unsubstantiated claims.

    Primary issues:
    -Small town with many elderly.
    -Property value being low is more of an issue in location. We are not a suburb. However, if you want to purchase a piece of ground in this vicinity, you better start out at $3,000/acre and continue up.
    -This is a low income area as you mentioned prior in your not so subtle comment about the drive towards Iola. Out of this small community, I know 5 people who would be designated millionaires solely on their yearly income, over a dozen making $100k+ (the group I’m in), and many more making $25k+ (which is why it hovers around the $23k mark). If you knew how a dba business runs, you’d understand the point of lowering your net income. We are not 9-to-5ers here.
    -Yet, we have our fair share of unemployed and, again, elderly/retired, which brings it down substantially. You’ll find that in most communities. You’ll also find that our “criminal record” substantiated primarily from a local with a severe mental health disorder (which we accept as a community and help to the best of our ability; new roof, repaired water pipes, food handouts, etc) who happens to break things. Do you know how to turn things into insurance? You report it.

    We are not like other towns that want to glorify ourselves. We don’t want you to move here. We find most people come in and trash our town anyway. We have great hunting, fishing, friends, and church. Our work is here along with our happiness. We’d rather be a known as a “ghost town” not to visit.

    Also, as someone with a science related degree, your use of the scientific method is horrible. Equating finances, property value, and paved roads (which runs 1/3rd the length of the town, thank you!) as town quality is horrendous. Unemployment, crime, and such is better, but again, use offsetting factors such as age of the community, crime detail (malicious or did someone just drink too much?), and community involvement. Just 2 cents, however.

  8. This is hillarious! Not much of Western Kansas on here. Maybe none past Great Bend? Well, I live in a shitty tiny town in the SW corner of KS. Let me tell you, this place is a stones throw from hell. Our property values are high but only because this town is filled with greedy dicks. We have more non-whites here. So we couldn’t be on the white trash list either. That’s what you get for not running away straight outta high school!

    Life is funny people! It’s not a serious poll, they’re obviously not making fun to hurt your feelings. Getting all bent outta shape over a comical column is useless! I honestly wanted our town to be on one of the list!

    Here’s a list for ya! Top 10 towns in Kansas with the most pompous dicks, without the slightest right to feel superior! Yep, that’ll do donkey, that’ll do!

  9. Guess the fool who done this don’t much know anything about Kansas. The pictures he put here don’t match the towns. That show what he knows. If he doesn’t like Kansas he can stay out of it, we don’t need fools like him here in our state anyway.

  10. Left coasters stay away from fly over country. Leave the high quality of life to us. We don’t depend much on others to do our bidding for us. Our lives are full in ways which your techy, fast paced lives often miss and long for. ALL THE TIME GOD IS GREAT.

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