Most Americans have never been to Kentucky. However, as the people who live there know, Kentucky is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Kentucky has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Bluegrass State. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 234 of Kentucky’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Kentucky where you’d never want to live:
- St. Charles
- Water Valley
- Crab Orchard
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Kentucky 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 Kentucky, 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 crunched the numbers
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the Census’s 2010-2014 American Community Survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 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 100 and 1,000 people, of which, there were a lot – 234 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.
1. St. Charles
Population: 320 Median Income: $22,292
Median Home Value: $20,800
Population: 332 Median Income: $18,667
Median Home Value: $28,700
Population: 315 Median Income: $26,625
Median Home Value: $39,200
4. Water Valley
Population: 253 Median Income: $23,333
Median Home Value: $55,300
Population: 649 Median Income: $22,333
Median Home Value: $53,800
Population: 825 Median Income: $21,042
Median Home Value: $36,300
Population: 123 Median Income: $25,000
Median Home Value: $35,600
Population: 773 Median Income: $24,844
Median Home Value: $58,000
9. Crab Orchard
Population: 877 Median Income: $21,801
Median Home Value: $69,100
Population: 596 Median Income: $20,000
Median Home Value: $72,300
There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Kentucky
If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Bluegrass 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 Kentucky, according to science.
- Best: Thornhill
- 2nd Best: Norbourne Estates
- 3rd Best: Manor Creek
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