Worst Small Towns In Minnesota For 2020


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in MN 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 Minnesota.

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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 209 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:

These are the worst small towns in Minnesota for 2020:

  1. Red Lake
  2. Redby
  3. Appleton
  4. Little Rock
  5. Hinckley
  6. Crosby (Photos)
  7. Mahnomen
  8. Bagley
  9. Keewatin
  10. Aurora

So what is the worst small town to call home in minnesota for 2020? According to the most recent census data, Red Lake is the worst small town to live in Minnesota.

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.

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 Minnesota For 2020

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,704
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $63,800 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 26.5% (2nd worst)
More on Red Lake:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,428
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $52,100 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.7% (3rd worst)
More on Redby:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,466
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $48,500 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (12th worst)
More on Appleton:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 1,137
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $69,200 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 31.0% (1st worst)
More on Little Rock:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,537
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $99,400 (61st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.0% (7th worst)
More on Hinckley:  Data

Crosby, MN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,825
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $87,300 (37th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (19th worst)
More on Crosby:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,222
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $67,500 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (15th worst)
More on Mahnomen:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,496
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $90,400 (42nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (43rd worst)
More on Bagley:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,001
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $59,600 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (9th worst)
More on Keewatin:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,640
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $65,000 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (11th worst)
More on Aurora:  Data

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 determined the worst small towns to live in Minnesota 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 - 209 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 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. Tonka Bay (Pop. 1,410)
  2. Bayport (Pop. 3,712)
  3. Deephaven (Pop. 3,864)

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Minnesota

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Red Lake 1,704 26.5% $63,800
2 Redby 1,428 20.7% $52,100
3 Appleton 1,466 9.6% $48,500
4 Little Rock 1,137 31.0% $69,200
5 Hinckley 1,537 11.0% $99,400
6 Crosby 2,825 7.8% $87,300
7 Mahnomen 1,222 8.4% $67,500
8 Bagley 1,496 5.5% $90,400
9 Keewatin 1,001 10.3% $59,600
10 Aurora 1,640 9.6% $65,000
11 Menahga 1,074 6.9% $94,800
12 Winnebago 1,355 7.5% $66,300
13 Sandstone 2,683 8.3% $75,900
14 Wadena 4,051 8.1% $100,300
15 Park Rapids 3,998 3.7% $135,900
16 Long Prairie 3,331 5.1% $92,700
17 Baudette 1,057 5.2% $99,500
18 Nashwauk 1,119 7.1% $93,000
19 Renville 1,380 4.5% $65,000
20 Milaca 2,876 8.0% $112,200
21 Wells 2,321 5.5% $83,100
22 Ortonville 1,965 2.2% $89,000
23 Braham 1,854 10.1% $110,000
24 Pelican Rapids 2,468 1.6% $109,000
25 Babbitt 1,460 5.5% $69,800
26 Rush City 3,139 6.2% $142,000
27 Mountain Lake 2,153 6.1% $72,000
28 Moose Lake 2,823 1.9% $119,600
29 Tracy 2,172 5.6% $73,900
30 Pipestone 4,093 3.0% $86,300
31 Fertile 1,089 11.4% $86,700
32 St. James 4,455 3.3% $84,100
33 Eveleth 3,633 8.8% $79,200
34 Paynesville 2,482 4.4% $127,500
35 Belgrade 1,012 3.1% $91,500
36 Aitkin 2,282 4.6% $111,600
37 Windom 4,459 4.5% $92,600
38 Hoyt Lakes 2,081 7.2% $67,600
39 Fosston 1,604 5.9% $99,600
40 Chisholm 4,934 13.2% $74,100
41 Hector 1,005 2.6% $81,600
42 Tyler 1,381 2.2% $77,400
43 Canby 1,627 4.9% $91,100
44 Olivia 2,477 4.5% $110,400
45 Le Center 2,650 5.0% $132,400
46 Staples 3,029 0.7% $92,900
47 Gilbert 1,902 6.0% $87,800
48 Clara City 1,406 5.3% $111,600
49 Houston 1,078 4.1% $104,400
50 Coleraine 1,648 10.5% $141,100
51 Royalton 1,302 5.2% $132,600
52 Warroad 1,952 4.1% $115,100
53 Silver Bay 1,748 6.4% $94,600
54 Madelia 2,690 1.0% $92,700
55 Grand Marais 1,201 6.6% $191,400
56 Pierz 1,528 9.6% $127,200
57 Mora 3,480 5.4% $121,000
58 Pine City 3,072 2.2% $137,800
59 Spring Grove 1,331 4.0% $89,500
60 Mountain Iron 2,852 4.0% $140,700
61 Warren 1,668 4.3% $95,800
62 Fairfax 1,037 2.7% $77,800
63 Frazee 1,439 2.6% $107,800
64 Elbow Lake 1,278 3.1% $78,500
65 Princeton 4,720 3.2% $132,800
66 Osakis 1,707 6.6% $121,700
67 New Richland 1,156 6.7% $88,600
68 Carlton 1,063 5.0% $140,300
69 Granite Falls 2,600 1.7% $115,100
70 Gaylord 1,877 4.7% $110,100
71 Edgerton 1,230 3.3% $93,700
72 Truman 1,073 1.3% $74,900
73 Le Sueur 4,009 3.7% $141,600
74 Ely 3,398 5.7% $99,100
75 Parkers Prairie 1,007 0.6% $102,800
76 Spring Valley 2,439 3.6% $105,400
77 Stacy 1,808 4.9% $156,900
78 Slayton 2,008 1.9% $84,500
79 Ada 1,820 5.4% $83,200
80 Rock Creek 1,730 7.2% $174,500
81 Kenyon 1,983 6.3% $125,200
82 Minneota 1,349 3.3% $98,900
83 Preston 1,409 1.8% $116,400
84 Starbuck 1,337 3.4% $112,200
85 Lexington 1,953 6.8% $167,900
86 Caledonia 2,769 3.1% $111,300
87 Pequot Lakes 2,330 2.0% $157,900
88 Wanamingo 1,249 3.0% $141,800
89 Benson 3,086 1.2% $106,300
90 Dassel 1,518 3.1% $149,400
91 Taylors Falls 1,024 5.2% $171,300
92 Morristown 1,036 1.3% $124,200
93 Wheaton 1,491 0.7% $71,800
94 Arlington 2,342 2.9% $124,200
95 Blue Earth 3,146 2.6% $84,300
96 Sherburn 1,058 0.9% $71,100
97 Madison 1,540 2.7% $63,800
98 New York Mills 1,310 2.4% $102,800
99 Shafer 1,121 6.5% $159,600
100 Cokato 2,714 4.2% $143,100

How Is The Area In ?

13 thoughts on “Worst Small Towns In Minnesota, 2020

  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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