These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Kentucky For 2018


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in KY are the pits.

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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 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:

  1. St. Charles
  2. Kenvir
  3. Wayland
  4. Water Valley
  5. Fleming-Neon
  6. Wheelwright
  7. Wheatcroft
  8. Evarts
  9. Crab Orchard
  10. Martin

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.

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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.

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1. St. Charles


Population: 320
Median Income: $22,292
Median Home Value: $20,800

2. Kenvir


Population: 332
Median Income: $18,667
Median Home Value: $28,700

3. Wayland


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

5. Fleming-Neon


Population: 649
Median Income: $22,333
Median Home Value: $53,800

6. Wheelwright


Population: 825
Median Income: $21,042
Median Home Value: $36,300

7. Wheatcroft


Population: 123
Median Income: $25,000
Median Home Value: $35,600

8. Evarts


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

10. Martin


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.

  1. Best: Thornhill
  2. 2nd Best: Norbourne Estates
  3. 3rd Best: Manor Creek

For more reading, check out:

  • These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Kentucky
  • These Are The 10 Most Boring Places In Kentucky
  • These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky
  • Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Kentucky

    City Rank Population Home Price
    St. Charles 1 320 $20,800
    Kenvir 2 332 $28,700
    Wayland 3 315 $39,200
    Water Valley 4 253 $55,300
    Fleming-Neon 5 649 $53,800
    Wheelwright 6 825 $36,300
    Wheatcroft 7 123 $35,600
    Evarts 8 773 $58,000
    Crab Orchard 9 877 $69,100
    Martin 10 596 $72,300
    Corinth 11 174 $65,600
    Brownsville 12 821 $62,400
    Worthville 13 164 $55,000
    Bonnieville 14 248 $65,600
    Sharpsburg 15 425 $55,000
    Mcroberts 16 908 $70,400
    Arlington 17 379 $42,400
    Uniontown 18 713 $47,700
    Pleasant View 19 495 $69,000
    Caneyville 20 612 $68,900
    Pathfork 21 516 $24,300
    Eubank 22 245 $69,200
    Hindman 23 705 $89,700
    Rockport 24 241 $38,500
    Sparta 25 274 $75,900
    Flat Lick 26 992 $68,800
    South Wallins 27 544 $41,400
    Annville 28 881 $54,600
    Vicco 29 313 $64,200
    Loyall 30 614 $52,800
    Elkhorn City 31 939 $64,800
    Prestonville 32 132 $91,900
    Salt Lick 33 307 $84,200
    Garrison 34 540 $64,600
    Bedford 35 806 $68,300
    Summer Shade 36 229 $76,400
    Fordsville 37 549 $28,900
    Frenchburg 38 633 $75,000
    Sacramento 39 391 $75,500
    Inez 40 796 $110,500
    Clarkson 41 971 $77,000
    Freeburn 42 360 $86,000
    Dunmor 43 369 $60,000
    Warfield 44 325 $72,200
    Blackey 45 189 $64,200
    Centertown 46 442 $47,800
    Glencoe 47 438 $90,000
    Mchenry 48 346 $50,900
    Sandy Hook 49 655 $108,900
    Wallins Creek 50 145 $39,800
    Powderly 51 773 $73,100
    East Bernstadt 52 821 $74,500
    Milton 53 642 $83,100
    Upton 54 869 $81,900
    Dwale 55 281 $96,200
    Payne Gap 56 355 $46,700
    Raywick 57 147 $83,300
    Campton 58 662 $55,200
    Columbus 59 260 $53,300
    Crofton 60 672 $55,500
    Millersburg 61 867 $79,600
    Hyden 62 461 $102,700
    Virgie 63 265 $52,900
    Wickliffe 64 649 $69,600
    Mount Olivet 65 468 $74,200
    Ezel 66 213 $83,200
    Adairville 67 975 $77,200
    Calhoun 68 851 $81,500
    Hardin 69 600 $70,000
    West Point 70 930 $67,100
    Fountain Run 71 235 $54,100
    Buckhorn 72 158 $41,300
    Gamaliel 73 399 $60,500
    Drakesboro 74 461 $69,300
    South Williamson 75 607 $91,700
    Ekron 76 214 $55,000
    Salem 77 767 $75,900
    Butler 78 515 $74,200
    Allensville 79 115 $114,800
    Corydon 80 786 $72,100
    Barlow 81 675 $57,900
    Brooksville 82 639 $87,200
    Lafayette 83 135 $75,900
    Bradfordsville 84 329 $57,700
    Island 85 404 $56,300
    Summersville 86 575 $69,600
    Kenton Vale 87 111 $91,700
    Park City 88 546 $68,100
    Ewing 89 242 $76,300
    Artemus 90 617 $82,800
    Smithland 91 305 $64,100
    Sanders 92 274 $71,400
    Chaplin 93 293 $108,300
    Willisburg 94 312 $93,800
    Ghent 95 434 $79,700
    North Middletown 96 753 $76,600
    New Haven 97 615 $88,600
    Cannonsburg 98 602 $76,600
    White Plains 99 913 $68,400
    Ravenna 100 617 $60,200

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    6 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Kentucky For 2018

    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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