Worst Small Towns In Kentucky For 2020


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 2020. This is our sixth 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 147 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:

These are the worst small towns in Kentucky for 2020:

  1. Jenkins (Photos)
  2. Pine Knot
  3. Burkesville
  4. Brodhead
  5. McKee
  6. Clay City
  7. Russell Springs
  8. Vanceburg
  9. Whitley City
  10. Jamestown (Photos)

So what is the worst small town to call home in kentucky for 2020? According to the most recent census data, Jenkins 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.

The 10 Worst Small Towns In Kentucky For 2020

Jenkins, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 2,358
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $50,300 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 23.7% (3rd worst)
More on Jenkins:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,350
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $84,700 (58th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (17th worst)
More on Pine Knot:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,733
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 16)
Median Home Value: $77,100 (35th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.0% (27th worst)
More on Burkesville:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,527
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $76,500 (33rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 28.3% (1st worst)
More on Brodhead:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 1,060
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $86,800 (64th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.5% (4th worst)
More on Mckee:  Data

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,059
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 9)
Median Home Value: $52,200 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.1% (14th worst)
More on Clay City:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 2,550
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $82,800 (50th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (69th worst)
More on Russell Springs:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,400
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $54,300 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (40th worst)
More on Vanceburg:  Data

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,694
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $61,900 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (89th worst)
More on Whitley City:  Data

Jamestown, KY

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,052
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 7)
Median Home Value: $79,100 (41st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (47th worst)
More on Jamestown:  Data | Photos

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 2020

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 2014-2018 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 - 147 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 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. Hurstbourne (Pop. 4,383)
  2. Lakeside Park (Pop. 2,749)
  3. Audubon Park (Pop. 1,352)

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Kentucky

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Jenkins 2,358 23.7% $50,300
2 Pine Knot 1,350 13.5% $84,700
3 Burkesville 1,733 12.0% $77,100
4 Brodhead 1,527 28.3% $76,500
5 Mckee 1,060 20.5% $86,800
6 Clay City 1,059 16.1% $52,200
7 Russell Springs 2,550 7.0% $82,800
8 Vanceburg 1,400 9.8% $54,300
9 Whitley City 1,694 5.6% $61,900
10 Jamestown 2,052 9.0% $79,100
11 Flat Lick 1,316 8.8% $66,200
12 Cumberland 2,039 18.9% $48,300
13 Salyersville 1,772 13.7% $100,000
14 Cave City 2,772 19.1% $79,600
15 Elkhorn City 1,064 9.5% $70,400
16 Morgantown 2,627 6.8% $77,500
17 Clinton 1,368 9.7% $54,600
18 Breckinridge Center 2,363 27.7% $55,000
19 Prestonsburg 3,645 12.2% $102,600
20 Albany 2,293 12.2% $66,400
21 Guthrie 1,340 15.0% $79,400
22 Hickman 2,318 7.9% $40,200
23 Pineville 1,808 18.8% $81,200
24 Providence 3,050 5.4% $42,700
25 Edmonton 1,676 10.0% $82,900
26 Tompkinsville 2,731 8.8% $66,900
27 Mortons Gap 1,241 10.0% $50,300
28 Annville 1,110 6.5% $59,400
29 Sebree 1,362 5.3% $78,300
30 Horse Cave 2,376 6.2% $74,100
31 Manchester 1,440 19.1% $81,400
32 Beattyville 1,375 5.4% $76,400
33 Dawson Springs 2,690 4.8% $57,300
34 Muldraugh 1,066 19.5% $64,100
35 Lancaster 3,832 13.0% $90,500
36 Jackson 2,022 12.8% $95,700
37 Mount Vernon 2,702 11.0% $86,600
38 Fulton 2,522 5.7% $67,400
39 Harlan 1,452 7.3% $85,300
40 Munfordville 1,688 9.6% $78,400
41 Olive Hill 1,715 3.2% $85,600
42 Elkton 2,291 9.2% $81,100
43 Earlington 1,458 5.5% $47,500
44 Catlettsburg 1,931 16.5% $71,500
45 Carlisle 2,323 9.7% $69,100
46 Falmouth 2,915 6.3% $67,900
47 Stanford 3,673 9.9% $105,400
48 Irvine 2,230 11.9% $78,100
49 Livermore 1,304 10.5% $80,300
50 Scottsville 4,412 7.4% $104,100
51 Owenton 1,616 6.4% $83,300
52 Louisa 2,947 7.4% $118,300
53 Owingsville 2,052 8.5% $99,800
54 North Corbin 2,211 20.1% $80,100
55 Greenup 1,268 17.6% $83,700
56 Dry Ridge 2,465 3.6% $122,100
57 Cadiz 2,608 12.5% $106,800
58 Watterson Park 1,082 7.1% $131,500
59 Coal Run Village 1,534 5.0% $71,100
60 Dixon 1,069 6.5% $69,200
61 Liberty 1,970 5.0% $83,400
62 Marion 2,935 2.7% $69,600
63 Eminence 2,546 5.6% $107,300
64 Greenville 4,323 12.3% $115,800
65 Columbia 4,722 8.4% $92,900
66 Barbourville 3,119 19.0% $163,000
67 Irvington 1,268 8.0% $87,100
68 Camargo 1,399 4.5% $83,600
69 Auburn 1,293 5.9% $100,900
70 Farley 4,398 3.8% $70,000
71 Springfield 2,982 6.5% $113,900
72 Flemingsburg 2,837 12.4% $84,000
73 Ryland Heights 1,106 8.1% $119,500
74 Wurtland 1,385 6.9% $72,500
75 Greensburg 2,214 4.6% $78,400
76 Whitesburg 2,335 10.4% $110,100
77 Burgin 1,087 8.6% $107,100
78 Jeffersonville 1,912 9.0% $96,100
79 Warsaw 1,861 4.9% $95,800
80 Brandenburg 2,850 12.1% $139,500
81 Eddyville 2,565 1.8% $114,300
82 Carrollton 3,849 9.9% $122,700
83 Stanton 2,646 8.1% $96,800
84 Beaver Dam 3,560 12.6% $95,900
85 Williamstown 3,924 5.1% $153,700
86 Burnside 1,087 7.2% $130,100
87 Clay 1,030 2.9% $72,500
88 New Castle 1,094 5.8% $99,600
89 West Buechel 1,501 4.2% $86,600
90 Paintsville 4,134 11.1% $154,200
91 Perryville 1,009 10.1% $88,400
92 Augusta 1,119 5.9% $100,900
93 Brooks 2,575 6.4% $126,200
94 Hardinsburg 2,357 5.1% $101,600
95 Sturgis 1,771 5.8% $71,600
96 Morganfield 3,463 6.4% $77,000
97 Grayson 4,015 4.0% $111,000
98 Lewisport 1,877 5.8% $82,000
99 Silver Grove 1,450 5.6% $93,800
100 Hartford 2,722 7.5% $86,200

How Is The Area In ?

7 thoughts on “Worst Small Towns In Kentucky, 2020

  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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