These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Minnesota For 2018


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

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

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

After analyzing more than 428 of Minnesota’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Minnesota where you’d never want to live:

  1. Naytahwaush
  2. Rice Lake
  3. White Earth
  4. Nett Lake
  5. Woodstock
  6. Mcgregor
  7. Ball Club
  8. Milan
  9. Mizpah
  10. Hilltop

Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Minnesota 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 Minnesota or the worst places to live in Minnesota.

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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 Minnesota, 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 – 428 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. Naytahwaush


Population: 423
Median Income: $25,417
Median Home Value: $46,700

2. Rice Lake


Population: 349
Median Income: $22,321
Median Home Value: $58,300

3. White Earth


Population: 563
Median Income: $19,732
Median Home Value: $63,800

4. Nett Lake


Population: 300
Median Income: $27,500
Median Home Value: $64,400

5. Woodstock


Population: 144
Median Income: $33,750
Median Home Value: $42,500

6. Mcgregor


Population: 470
Median Income: $26,429
Median Home Value: $74,500

7. Ball Club


Population: 186
Median Income: $29,375
Median Home Value: $161,600

8. Milan


Population: 362
Median Income: $40,469
Median Home Value: $43,000

9. Mizpah


Population: 130
Median Income: $25,250
Median Home Value: $56,500

10. Hilltop


Population: 799
Median Income: $27,778
Median Home Value: $11,100

There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Minnesota

If you’re analyzing teeny places in the North Star 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 Minnesota, according to science.

  1. Best: Minnetonka Beach
  2. 2nd Best: Loretto
  3. 3rd Best: Skyline

For more reading, check out:

  • These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Minnesota
  • These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Minnesota
  • These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Minnesota
  • Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Minnesota

    City Rank Population Home Price
    Naytahwaush 1 423 $46,700
    Rice Lake 2 349 $58,300
    White Earth 3 563 $63,800
    Nett Lake 4 300 $64,400
    Woodstock 5 144 $42,500
    Mcgregor 6 470 $74,500
    Ball Club 7 186 $161,600
    Milan 8 362 $43,000
    Mizpah 9 130 $56,500
    Hilltop 10 799 $11,100
    Zemple 11 103 $36,300
    Mahnomen 12 268 $152,100
    Northome 13 249 $60,500
    Floodwood 14 457 $56,400
    Vineland 15 998 $119,000
    Rutledge 16 174 $78,900
    Mentor 17 195 $37,100
    Pine Point 18 392 $106,500
    Landfall 19 793 $13,200
    Brookston 20 134 $102,100
    Garvin 21 136 $52,500
    Ogilvie 22 402 $61,500
    Trommald 23 100 $95,000
    Big Falls 24 262 $50,000
    Squaw Lake 25 128 $166,700
    Riverton 26 149 $96,700
    Remer 27 400 $75,000
    Lake Bronson 28 215 $31,100
    Cass Lake 29 653 $53,100
    Ceylon 30 347 $31,100
    Dunnell 31 167 $35,200
    Ruthton 32 263 $44,600
    Twin Lakes 33 168 $43,300
    Arco 34 107 $27,500
    Calumet 35 397 $62,800
    Walnut Grove 36 797 $42,500
    Boyd 37 112 $37,900
    Harding 38 138 $121,900
    Erhard 39 131 $70,000
    Holland 40 164 $48,800
    Gonvick 41 262 $63,500
    Franklin 42 529 $59,600
    Brooks 43 121 $57,000
    Delavan 44 243 $46,300
    Revere 45 101 $37,500
    Bigfork 46 416 $76,300
    Marietta 47 153 $37,000
    Lismore 48 202 $70,000
    Henning 49 896 $67,000
    Hewitt 50 232 $73,000
    Hill City 51 573 $77,500
    Ogema 52 189 $78,300
    Butterfield 53 661 $42,200
    Lansing 54 178 $80,900
    Browns Valley 55 499 $32,900
    Clements 56 168 $33,300
    Elmore 57 571 $34,900
    Ironton 58 713 $79,900
    Canton 59 283 $75,000
    Kelliher 60 310 $91,000
    Backus 61 299 $79,200
    Odessa 62 184 $53,100
    New Auburn 63 447 $78,000
    Round Lake 64 444 $51,300
    Barrett 65 387 $75,000
    Pine River 66 808 $74,100
    Murdock 67 308 $60,000
    Eagle Bend 68 479 $64,400
    Isle 69 787 $128,400
    Deerwood 70 634 $95,000
    Bricelyn 71 325 $44,400
    Shevlin 72 155 $72,500
    Deer River 73 977 $76,000
    Frost 74 215 $49,300
    Onamia 75 918 $94,500
    Erskine 76 467 $79,200
    Sanborn 77 282 $50,400
    Mcintosh 78 642 $58,800
    Blackduck 79 796 $78,300
    Dalton 80 278 $63,200
    Magnolia 81 237 $66,400
    Meire Grove 82 194 $94,000
    Hoffman 83 667 $85,400
    Waubun 84 509 $68,000
    Bovey 85 751 $84,100
    Claremont 86 616 $75,200
    Dundee 87 105 $35,800
    Felton 88 161 $68,000
    Bingham Lake 89 113 $52,500
    Welcome 90 716 $78,100
    Nielsville 91 114 $40,900
    Marble 92 548 $79,400
    Chandler 93 329 $72,200
    Callaway 94 210 $73,300
    Sebeka 95 664 $60,700
    Finlayson 96 314 $125,000
    Biwabik 97 887 $78,600
    Ulen 98 528 $98,500
    Dent 99 153 $62,200
    Motley 100 635 $101,900

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    13 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Minnesota For 2018

    1. Lake Bronson is a mile away and connected with a paved walking trail, from a beautiful State Park and there is plenty to do there!

      1. I find the folks very friendly at Lake Bronson Beautiful Park, Beach, Fishing, Hiking Trails, Extremely nice County Museum just to name a few things. They also have Nice clean grocery store, Brand New Gas Bar, A Bar, A Legion, Good Auto mechanic shop, etc. Whomever wrote the article no doubt has never visited the area. The place is a very busy tourist stop each summer

    2. What are your “obvious’ reasons for not discussing Native American communties? Rice Lake and Ogema are Native American communities.

      1. I believe whomever wrote this has never visited many of these places, I found greet people and many things to do in most of these towns listed along the HWY 59 stretch

    3. You don’t even talk about the top 10 you list? Way to proof read….wow is all I can say. Not taking advice from someone like you.

    4. Should check your facts before you publish. Darfur does not have two post offices. There is a bank there And fertilizer plant and gas station. They also have a library.

    5. Get your facts straight before you publish about Darfur There are not two post Offices there. There is have a big fertilizer plant with a gas station. There is a library. There is a bank

    6. Pretty sad about some of these. I doubt that they really looked into this. I life by De Graff and work at the Walmart. Sad article.

    7. I think it’s interesting especially when you get to the bottom of the “article” and see the “Top 100” list and the top 3 are on a reservation but they decided to skip over them and go to the 3rd place on the list which is Brooks and go down from there, and that they don’t mention that Brooks is another retirement town that wouldn’t have tons of working people along with the low education levels is possibly due to the high average age of the community being from a time that a education wasn’t important.

    8. If there was high speed internet, so you could work from home, some of those low home prices would be great places to live.Jo

    9. Everyone knows that Bejou Rules! I think they actually need to visit the places before they put them on the Shit list. The list of towns mentioned doesn’t match match up with the list below.

    10. Maybe the person who wrote this article should actually go visit the people in the towns they are referring to. Clearly, they didn’t because the picture from the town of Boyd isn’t even a picture of the town!! Complete moron!

    11. Lol…one person’s opinion means nothing. What type of person would want to find fault where people call their home…sad.

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