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:
- West Pocomoke
- 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.
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.
Population: 661Median 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.
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.
Population: 512Median 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.
Population: 387Median 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
Population: 522Median 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.
Population: 439Median 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.)
Population: 320Median Income: $26,000
Median Home Price: $73,000
If you lived in Kitzmiller, MD, these would be your options for fun:
- 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.
Population: 219Median 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.
In looking at some of Google Street Views of the area shows many unpaved roads and broken down homes.
Population: 156Median 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.
Population: 92Median 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
Population: 401Median 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:
- If You’re From Maryland This Will Be The Most Jaw-Dropping Thing You See Today. Guaranteed.
- These Are The 10 Most Douchebag Cities In Maryland
- These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Maryland
Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Maryland
|Loch Lynn Heights||12|
|East New Market||40|