These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Kentucky For 2019


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in KY 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 . This is our fourth time ranking the worst small places to live in Kentucky.

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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 149 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:

So what is the worst small town to call home in Kentucky for 2019? According to the most recent census data, Pine Knot is the worst small town to live in Kentucky.

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.

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

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

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 determined the worst small towns to live in Kentucky 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 – 149 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.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,261
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $81,100 (52nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.8% (19th worst)
More on Pine Knot:  Data

Jenkins, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,235
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $48,300 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 22.5% (2nd worst)
More on Jenkins:  Data | Photos

Jamestown, KY

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,884
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $81,100 (52nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.6% (28th worst)
More on Jamestown:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,541
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $74,600 (34th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 21.4% (3rd worst)
More on Brodhead:  Data

Cumberland, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 1,999
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $44,000 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.0% (10th worst)
More on Cumberland:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,828
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $70,000 (28th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (36th worst)
More on Salyersville:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,220
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $38,100 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (58th worst)
More on Hickman:  Data | Photos

Prestonsburg, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,532
Rank Last Year: 29 (Up 21)
Median Home Value: $90,700 (72nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (20th worst)
More on Prestonsburg:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,518
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $83,100 (61st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (47th worst)
More on Russell Springs:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,437
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $50,400 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (30th worst)
More on Vanceburg:  Data

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:

  1. St. Regis Park (Pop. 1,346)
  2. Audubon Park (Pop. 1,428)
  3. Hurstbourne (Pop. 4,365)

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Kentucky

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Pine Knot 1,261 13.8% $81,100
2 Jenkins 2,235 22.5% $48,300
3 Jamestown 1,884 12.6% $81,100
4 Brodhead 1,541 21.4% $74,600
5 Cumberland 1,999 17.0% $44,000
6 Salyersville 1,828 11.4% $70,000
7 Hickman 2,220 8.6% $38,100
8 Prestonsburg 3,532 13.5% $90,700
9 Russell Springs 2,518 9.4% $83,100
10 Vanceburg 1,437 12.4% $50,400
11 Whitley City 1,231 6.3% $45,900
12 Mckee 1,179 22.5% $94,200
13 Morgantown 2,608 7.5% $76,000
14 Beattyville 1,450 10.3% $82,200
15 Clay City 1,075 12.5% $59,400
16 Breckinridge Center 2,431 16.2% $55,000
17 Elkhorn City 1,037 13.0% $70,200
18 Jackson 2,122 13.0% $77,700
19 Burkesville 1,522 8.1% $82,400
20 Guthrie 1,466 18.9% $80,800
21 Manchester 1,491 18.8% $81,500
22 Clarkson 1,041 10.2% $79,000
23 Pineville 1,876 16.1% $68,600
24 Nortonville 1,032 16.8% $64,200
25 Clinton 1,258 8.1% $57,800
26 Dawson Springs 2,711 5.1% $49,700
27 Mortons Gap 1,090 13.5% $57,500
28 Tompkinsville 2,511 9.3% $59,400
29 North Corbin 1,964 18.3% $80,500
30 Albany 2,083 6.5% $70,100
31 Sebree 1,501 7.4% $84,200
32 Muldraugh 1,109 19.3% $67,400
33 Scottsville 4,383 10.6% $104,600
34 Catlettsburg 1,883 17.6% $67,500
35 Munfordville 1,609 8.9% $79,000
36 Cave City 2,463 11.8% $79,600
37 Mount Vernon 2,730 15.6% $86,500
38 Providence 3,063 2.7% $43,800
39 Edmonton 1,876 8.5% $79,100
40 Cloverport 1,066 5.7% $53,600
41 Eminence 2,523 12.8% $101,900
42 Irvine 2,208 12.2% $75,800
43 Lancaster 3,828 16.6% $86,900
44 Cadiz 2,610 13.4% $103,100
45 Olive Hill 1,857 7.7% $81,600
46 Elkton 2,269 7.0% $86,900
47 Stanford 3,636 12.0% $104,700
48 Owingsville 2,028 10.5% $98,300
49 Fulton 2,465 5.9% $68,700
50 Burnside 1,185 10.4% $131,800
51 Burgin 1,120 10.7% $109,000
52 Horse Cave 2,284 5.1% $79,600
53 Carlisle 2,184 9.2% $70,700
54 Livermore 1,384 7.9% $77,200
55 Columbia 4,852 9.0% $91,300
56 Greenville 4,340 13.3% $108,700
57 Barbourville 3,125 14.1% $155,700
58 Liberty 1,805 0.2% $83,900
59 Stanton 2,670 7.7% $80,900
60 Falmouth 2,637 6.0% $66,900
61 Sturgis 1,814 6.9% $65,800
62 Springfield 3,017 9.6% $105,000
63 Marion 2,960 4.1% $68,900
64 Earlington 1,318 6.1% $62,500
65 Brandenburg 2,850 14.3% $132,500
66 Dry Ridge 2,356 4.7% $126,200
67 Jeffersonville 1,969 11.2% $98,200
68 Coal Run Village 1,361 5.0% $69,000
69 Greensburg 2,311 3.1% $76,800
70 Harlan 1,521 5.8% $84,800
71 South Shore 1,121 4.6% $66,300
72 Farley 4,432 3.6% $64,800
73 Whitesburg 2,230 5.4% $91,300
74 Augusta 1,082 9.2% $106,400
75 Owenton 1,622 6.3% $84,000
76 Watterson Park 1,292 5.8% $123,700
77 Williamstown 3,915 6.1% $115,600
78 Dixon 1,029 8.9% $72,500
79 Flemingsburg 2,869 13.4% $84,500
80 Louisa 2,902 5.5% $119,100
81 Ferguson 1,008 4.8% $89,500
82 Hartford 2,710 9.2% $80,600
83 Camargo 1,437 3.8% $85,000
84 Warsaw 1,789 6.0% $106,900
85 New Castle 1,015 6.5% $102,200
86 Clay 1,015 8.2% $75,000
87 Beaver Dam 3,540 12.4% $100,700
88 Carrollton 3,854 10.9% $108,800
89 Lewisport 1,829 7.6% $81,300
90 Perryville 1,090 15.8% $93,000
91 Auburn 1,457 5.1% $99,800
92 Wurtland 1,287 7.6% $72,500
93 La Center 1,067 2.2% $103,200
94 Ryland Heights 1,080 5.1% $117,900
95 Greenup 1,173 18.1% $82,900
96 West Buechel 1,306 4.2% $93,300
97 Grayson 4,052 6.4% $106,400
98 Hodgenville 3,204 4.6% $79,000
99 Morganfield 3,525 5.1% $69,800
100 Brooks 2,707 8.5% $110,400

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6 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Kentucky For 2019

  1. This is absouletly not true about Kenvir and Cawood. Yes, there aren’t many jobs but these places are very safe to live. Very little crime. Some of the best people live in these tight knit communities where they help each other. I live in Harlan County, I was born here and will die here. I am very offended about the negative remarks made about our communities.

  2. Has the writer done so much as visited Glencoe and tried to talk to it’s citizens? I detest the insulting conclusion in this ” article”. Where do you get your information? Research? Talking to people? Any of that?

    1. They get their data from sheriff’s office, Kentucky state police, unemployment office, news paper reports, federal census records, average pay rate, rate of population who lives under the poverty level, crime rate, cost of living, unemployment rate, number of things to do, how far you have to travel to find work, number of jobs available, drop out rate for all citizens living there not just the ones currently dropping out, teen pregnancy rate, and much much more

  3. I was living in Prestonville for over 5 years and I was manager in McDonald’s of Carrollton in first shift and manager in McDonald’s of Madison in second shift then if the people is poor there is because they are lazy ,also farmers raise a lot tobacco,about the safety l have 15 years living in this country and is the only place that someone broke into my house, l am sure my neighbors were…..bad,bad experience….

  4. There is good and bad in every community..I’m sure where this writer lives Everything is just perfect..Don’t blame everyone who lives in these places on a few bad apples..It’s the scourge of drugs that’s ripping these places apart

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