10 Small Towns In Maryland Where You’d Never Want To Live


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

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Most Americans have never been to Maryland. However, as the people who live there know, Maryland is an awesome state.

But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Maryland has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Old Line State. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.

After analyzing more than 105 of Maryland’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Maryland where you’d never want to live:

  1. Eden
  2. Friendsville
  3. Zihlman
  4. West Pocomoke
  5. Finzel
  6. Kitzmiller
  7. Shaft
  8. Henderson
  9. Crellin
  10. Deer Park

Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Maryland 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.

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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 Maryland, 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 – 105 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. Eden

Eden, Maryland

Source: Google Maps

Population: 661
Median Income: $38,576
Median Home Price: $80,300

We begin our tour of small Maryland towns that you’d never want to live in with Eden, south of Salisbury along Route 13. Here, more than a third of the population is a high school dropout, and homes are the 6th cheapest in the state. Say what you want about cheap living, but homes are priced by demand, and there’s simply no demand to live here.

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On the bright side, only 5% of the population is out of work. So at least you’d probably have a job if you made this place your home.

2. Friendsville

Friendsville, Maryland

Source: Google Maps

Population: 512
Median Income: $29,167
Median Home Price: $100,000

We’re sure Friendsville is a friendly place and all, but this speck of a town along I-68 is plain broke. A majority of the population lives at the poverty line, and you probably would too if you lived here.

Crime is the 11th worst in the state, and 3 in 10 residents are dropouts.

3. Zihlman

Zihlman, Maryland

Source: Google Maps

Population: 387
Median Income: $47,381
Median Home Price: $78,700

Just outside of Frostburg is teeny little Zihlman. Despite being so close to a university, about 1 in 6 residents are out of work. There are plenty of jobs in the area, so at least you’d have a good chance to avoid a similar fate if Zihlman was your home.

However, buyer beware; crime is the 8th highest of any small town we measured, and homes are only $78,000 each. Which means your property values wouldn’t necessarily be shooting up any time soon.

4. West Pocomoke

West Pocomoke, Maryland

Source: Google Maps

Population: 522
Median Income: $36,538
Median Home Price: $169,400

This Somerset County town has a Walmart, so wouldn’t have to drive too far for groceries and/or your job. That’s certainly worth something, right?

Incomes are far lower than most other small towns in Maryland, but home prices are actually fairly expensive. Meaning you’d be overpaying to live in…West Pocomoke.

5. Finzel

Finzel, Maryland

Source: Google Maps

Population: 439
Median Income: $41,250
Median Home Price: $149,300

Welcome to Finzel, Maryland, where crime is the worst of all small towns in the state. If you spent a year here, there’s a 1 in 19 chance you’d be a victim yourself.

Most of the community lives at the poverty line, and homes are the third least expensive in Maryland. But hey, for fun, you could always truck into Frostburg for shits and giggles. (If you’ve ever been to Frostburg, that’s an inside joke.)

6. Kitzmiller

Kitzmiller, Maryland

Source: Google Maps

Population: 320
Median Income: $26,000
Median Home Price: $73,000

If you lived in Kitzmiller, MD, these would be your options for fun:

  • Hiking
  • Swimming in the North Branch of the Potomac
  • Mingling at the Saddle Mountain Souvenir Shop in Elk Garden, West Virginia

If these sound appealing to you, and you wanted to shell out $70,000 for an older house, there are most likely some home owners in Kitzmiller who would welcome you with open arms.

7. Shaft

Shaft, Maryland

Source: Google Maps

Population: 219
Median Income: $39,500
Median Home Price: $78,400

It’s official; the small towns surrounding Frostburg are the worst places to live in the state of Maryland. In Shaft, crime is really bad, people are poor, and many are out of work.

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In looking at some of Google Street Views of the area shows many unpaved roads and broken down homes.

8. Henderson

Henderson, Maryland

Source: Google Maps

Population: 156
Median Income: $36,875
Median Home Price: $131,300

If you’re a religious person, you might fit in out in little ole’ Henderson, as there’s 3 or 4 churches within the town’s limits. But there’s a reason homes sell for what a recent college graduate earns annually.

There’s nothing else to do here for miles in any direction and crime is the 10th worst of all Maryland small towns. Henderson is way up near the Delaware border.

9. Crellin

Crellin, Maryland

Source: Google Maps

Population: 92
Median Income: $33,235
Median Home Price: $54,600

Odds are if you moved to Crellin, you’d get to know the community pretty quickly. It’s a high crime area where lots of people are out of work. And since there are less than 100 people in town, you’d have to stick together, right?

During long winter storms, it would only take you about 45 minutes to drive to the nearest place to get milk and bread. But if Browning’s Shop n Save is closed, you might have to drive into West Virginia to stock up.

10. Deer Park

Deer Park, Maryland

Source: Google Maps

Population: 401
Median Income: $33,438
Median Home Price: $145,300

We end our journey of small towns in Maryland where you wouldn’t want to call home in Deer Park, a teeny little place in the panhandle that Google Street View didn’t even bother to stop in and visit.

Perhaps there’s something to living in small town Maryland that doesn’t show up on paper, since home prices here are nearly $150,000.

401 people can’t be wrong?

There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Maryland

If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Old Line 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 Maryland, according to science.

Best: North Chevy Chase
2nd Best: Chevy Chase Section Three
3rd Best: Martin’s Additions
For more Maryland reading, check out:

Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Maryland

City Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Eden 1 661 $38,576 $80,300
Friendsville 2 512 $29,167 $100,000
Zihlman 3 387 $47,381 $78,700
West Pocomoke 4 522 $36,538 $169,400
Finzel 5 439 $41,250 $149,300
Kitzmiller 6 320 $26,000 $73,000
Shaft 7 219 $39,500 $78,400
Henderson 8 156 $36,875 $131,300
Crellin 9 92 $33,235 $54,600
Deer Park 10 401 $33,438 $145,300
Cedarville 11 547 $48,438 $23,700
Loch Lynn Heights 12 670 $27,404 $95,300
Pleasant Grove 13 488 $33,125 $83,800
Midland 14 482 $39,231 $90,000
Sandy Hook 15 155 $16,429 $89,200
Fairlee 16 222 $44,432 $215,800
Fairmount 17 387 $30,709 $184,900
Deal Island 18 411 $33,594 $98,100
Clarysville 19 155 $68,889 $108,300
Chewsville 20 143 $28,106 $133,300
Cordova 21 493 $44,583 $203,600
Mount Vernon 22 693 $43,000 $159,400
Mount Savage 23 716 $48,017 $92,800
Church Creek 24 109 $30,625 $240,000
Sabillasville 25 480 $73,269 $165,900
Mardela Springs 26 246 $45,625 $178,700
Pinesburg 27 461 $77,981 $194,800
Marydel 28 208 $66,250 $182,800
Clear Spring 29 389 $41,750 $133,600
Corriganville 30 564 $45,833 $161,300
Cecilton 31 602 $45,781 $209,900
Templeville 32 157 $42,250 $215,000
Secretary 33 763 $46,000 $165,500
Ellerslie 34 349 $40,625 $139,300
Sudlersville 35 340 $53,250 $188,700
Grantsville 36 842 $48,077 $179,500
Midlothian 37 305 $50,725 $110,700
Accident 38 299 $43,214 $168,500
Mount Lena 39 420 $33,828 $235,000
East New Market 40 370 $47,292 $174,500
Goldsboro 41 191 $71,875 $181,300
Breathedsville 42 241 $60,658 $110,500
Port Deposit 43 671 $51,563 $217,900
Mount Briar 44 116 $105,938 $223,400
Millington 45 600 $71,250 $197,800
Highfield-Cascade 46 929 $60,250 $188,300
Nanticoke Acres 47 61 $55,703 $264,100
Union Bridge 48 890 $48,359 $208,800
Edesville 49 276 $21,531 $149,500
Preston 50 631 $51,250 $214,000
Aquasco 51 807 $60,781 $325,400
Downsville 52 244 $42,396 $171,900
Eldorado 53 69 $71,458 $154,200
Moscow 54 305 $52,969 $89,400
Tilghman Island 55 819 $66,607 $285,900
Dawson 56 220 $63,281 $284,600
Barton 57 602 $50,000 $93,100
Bishopville 58 252 $67,016 $189,200
Vienna 59 303 $49,219 $160,400
Eckhart Mines 60 950 $57,917 $129,700
Bloomington 61 299 $53,478 $89,500
Hebron 62 1 $56,500 $158,700
Klondike 63 350 $59,677 $205,000
Church Hill 64 687 $50,417 $225,600
San Mar 65 348 $56,875 $258,800
North Brentwood 66 553 $73,750 $246,100
Rawlings 67 773 $61,250 $179,800
Sharpsburg 68 781 $62,857 $195,500
Leitersburg 69 720 $78,750 $191,900
Carlos 70 165 $97,730 $97,000
Betterton 71 440 $61,875 $240,200
Bagtown 72 349 $69,620 $196,800
Calvert Beach 73 751 $66,447 $283,500
Madison 74 133 $86,000 $555,600
Burkittsville 75 148 $81,667 $313,600
Monrovia 76 353 $68,906 $365,300
Pylesville 77 659 $122,875 $433,300
Darlington 78 484 $59,028 $277,400
Chesapeake City 79 683 $53,125 $278,200
Galena 80 764 $68,438 $230,300
Whaleyville 81 137 $85,078 $273,300
Pomfret 82 557 $92,250 $351,200
Friendship 83 450 $84,948 $447,300
Rosemont 84 325 $105,000 $311,600
Queen Anne 85 1 $97,344 $545,500
Nanticoke 86 324 $70,553 $412,500
Charlton 87 124 $98,958 $257,500
Antietam 88 121 $105,526 $119,700
Broomes Island 89 244 $131,923 $465,500
Cobb Island 90 676 $59,271 $313,300
New Market 91 649 $84,500 $316,700
Tilghmanton 92 485 $103,276 $211,400
Mount Aetna 93 616 $118,542 $327,500
Upper Marlboro 94 672 $85,833 $256,900
Jugtown 95 341 $84,716 $361,600
Highland Beach 96 89 $126,563 $500,000
Barnesville 97 198 $128,889 $557,700
Washington Grove 98 528 $110,781 $449,100
Brookeville 99 149 $262,000 $807,700
Glen Echo 100 232 $128,333 $744,200
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9 thoughts on “10 Small Towns In Maryland Where You’d Never Want To Live

  1. You have an inaccuracy regarding Crellin. I’m not from Crellin, but rather a larger town nearby that didn’t make your list. I realize you qualified that 45 minutes to the nearest town would be during a snow storm, but you’d have to be walking for it to take that long even with bad weather. I get the impression you didn’t interview many people when compiling your list. A lot of people in the areas with which I am familiar are quite happy living there, which is why they haven’t moved. I understand the spirit of your article, but highly recommend more thorough fact checking.

  2. Not only that. But I’d say your unemployment numbers are way off. You don’t think a hard working farmer is,employed?

  3. I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a polite way to respond to your article, but alas the only thing I can come up with is that you are a complete bonehead! Maryland has long considered the real Western Maryland, west of Frederick for you flatlanders, and the Eastern Shore red headed step children, but where do you all go in Maryland for your winter and summer fun close to home? I live in Garrett County and am darn proud of it, having been born and raised in the Baltimore metro area, I’ll take these small towns and the people here any day of the week. I challenge you to spend more than a few days out here and just maybe you’ll change your tune and if not go back to the city life cause we don’t need you anyway! By the way, your crime rate figures are a joke, nobody out here trashed their city or town because someone got killed, yes we have our crime and drug problems but at least I don’t have to carry a gun with me everywhere I go.

  4. Grew up in kitzmiller don’t know where you got your info but No One goes to that shop in elk garden. The town does rather quickly after the county stopped funding the elementary school and took our children 30 minutes away. Rather a shithole town with the worst mayor and council in many years.

  5. There on thing that bugs me about this, I’ve lived in pocomoke the majority of my life and this post said, “This Somerset county has a Walmart” first off most of this town especially the part where the Walmart is is in Worcester County, there is a very small portion was Pocomoke that is in Somerset and that is across the bridge more on the Northern eastern side, not West Pocomoke. This isn’t a big deal I just can stand the inaccuracy. If you did described the real West Pocomoke you would be right in this town it is the undesirable part of town, but you completely missed the area you were talking about when you were describing it. In fact the one area that is in Somerset is the country and is somewhat a desirable place to live, well at least more desirable than West Pocomoke.

  6. This “article” is insulting. Who apporved this trash? The only reason anyone has read it is because the title immediately comes off as snobby and directed at people who live in small towns. You cannot write something, and publish it based solely on statistics crunching and Google Street View. It’s rediculous and the author and whoever appoved it should see just how hard it is to live as an Unemployment Statistic.

  7. Where do you get off posting such crap?? I don’t know where you got your numbers but they are WRONG!! Finzel has the worst crime rate – are you kidding me??? I guess you haven’t counted Baltimore and all the surrounding areas?? Who are you to call any town a douchebag town? And GHETTO??? Again, have you over looked Baltimore and surrounding areas??? DID you even bother to drive through any of these towns – spend any time there – talk with any of the people?? You are completely wrong in this so called assessment and have absolutely no clue what you are talking about! Get the facts by spending time in these areas – go to the courthouses and get the public records and employment before you go running your mouth. Clearly the pictures came from Google maps and you showed the worst possible pictures out there! You are a complete moron of the worst kind. You think you are so smart but all you have done is piss off a bunch of people who love their towns and their people.

  8. It’s funny, people from the rest of the state like to look down on us in Western Maryland but you don’t seem to have a problem coming to vacation here or taking our tax dollars. It’s okay though, articles like this keep snobbish city people out of our lovely rural communities where there is incredibly little crime (your numbers aren’t particularly detailed and are, of course, skewed by the population). In fact, crime only seems to start to go up when people from downstate move here. Isn’t that an odd coincidence?

  9. I live in eden. I like the small town values, it beats city life any day. Don’t agree with the most high school drop outs either just your personal opinion which I don’t give a rat’s ass about.

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