These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Minnesota For 2019


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

Join RoadSnacks
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 . This is our fourth time ranking the worst small places to live in Minnesota.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

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 213 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 2019:

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

So what is the worst small town to call home in Minnesota for 2019? 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.

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 2019

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 2013-2017 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 – 213 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.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,760
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $57,100 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 24.4% (2nd worst)
More on Red Lake:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,405
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $66,400 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.1% (3rd worst)
More on Redby:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,168
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $93,200 (53rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (14th worst)
More on Menahga:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 1,095
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $69,700 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 28.4% (1st worst)
More on Little Rock:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,449
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $46,100 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (13th worst)
More on Appleton:  Data

Crosby, MN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,719
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $84,300 (35th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (8th worst)
More on Crosby:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,519
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $92,700 (51st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (28th worst)
More on Hinckley:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,257
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $71,600 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (28th worst)
More on Mahnomen:  Data

Wadena, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 4,045
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $89,600 (44th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (10th worst)
More on Wadena:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,611
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $80,200 (29th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (41st worst)
More on Bagley:  Data

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. 1,380)
  2. Deephaven (Pop. 3,818)
  3. Elko New Market (Pop. 4,556)

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 1,760 24.4% $57,100
2 Redby 1,405 18.1% $66,400
3 Menahga 1,168 9.2% $93,200
4 Little Rock 1,095 28.4% $69,700
5 Appleton 1,449 9.4% $46,100
6 Crosby 2,719 10.2% $84,300
7 Hinckley 1,519 7.2% $92,700
8 Mahnomen 1,257 7.2% $71,600
9 Wadena 4,045 9.9% $89,600
10 Bagley 1,611 6.4% $80,200
11 Aurora 1,741 10.2% $72,000
12 Keewatin 1,012 8.1% $62,700
13 Babbitt 1,496 6.4% $69,800
14 Winnebago 1,401 7.6% $70,400
15 Milaca 2,881 8.5% $112,500
16 Pelican Rapids 2,659 4.4% $106,600
17 Park Rapids 3,934 3.3% $119,600
18 Long Prairie 3,346 4.8% $87,300
19 Moose Lake 2,815 3.2% $120,200
20 Braham 1,866 12.9% $107,600
21 Eden Valley 1,009 7.5% $96,800
22 Ortonville 1,927 2.6% $90,800
23 Pipestone 4,102 4.3% $81,300
24 Windom 4,488 6.8% $95,000
25 Wells 2,377 4.3% $83,100
26 Sandstone 2,702 7.7% $76,100
27 Baudette 1,004 5.6% $86,700
28 Buhl 1,011 11.7% $77,500
29 Nashwauk 1,005 6.6% $85,200
30 Eveleth 3,649 8.5% $77,700
31 Fosston 1,613 4.3% $103,200
32 Mountain Lake 2,084 7.0% $70,800
33 Le Center 2,504 6.0% $127,200
34 Clara City 1,383 5.0% $86,400
35 Mora 3,468 5.1% $120,900
36 Rush City 3,106 6.1% $134,100
37 Hoyt Lakes 2,086 6.7% $65,500
38 Houston 1,045 8.9% $105,500
39 Pine City 3,059 2.2% $124,500
40 Royalton 1,206 6.6% $127,300
41 Canby 1,684 5.7% $89,900
42 Fertile 1,086 9.9% $86,400
43 Coleraine 1,713 9.7% $141,100
44 Pierz 1,509 10.9% $124,700
45 Tyler 1,284 2.5% $79,600
46 Arlington 2,179 4.4% $116,200
47 Paynesville 2,717 4.6% $127,600
48 St. James 4,454 2.5% $85,300
49 Spring Grove 1,314 4.6% $91,700
50 Annandale 3,332 4.1% $141,200
51 Aitkin 2,171 3.3% $105,500
52 Gaylord 2,015 9.8% $109,900
53 Warroad 1,889 2.8% $116,000
54 Olivia 2,437 3.4% $97,500
55 Ely 3,425 6.8% $96,000
56 Madelia 2,599 1.8% $92,300
57 Slayton 1,979 4.0% $75,800
58 Tracy 2,142 5.5% $69,800
59 Silver Bay 1,724 5.1% $95,100
60 Edgerton 1,194 6.5% $89,600
61 Pequot Lakes 2,499 3.4% $152,300
62 Staples 3,008 1.3% $82,100
63 Truman 1,051 1.5% $74,400
64 Chisholm 4,974 8.6% $80,800
65 Mountain Iron 2,875 3.5% $127,700
66 Ada 1,795 5.5% $76,700
67 Carlton 1,003 4.6% $145,300
68 Sleepy Eye 3,431 4.6% $119,900
69 Warren 1,631 4.4% $94,300
70 Elbow Lake 1,283 2.7% $73,900
71 Granite Falls 2,638 1.6% $106,100
72 Osakis 1,668 7.9% $126,900
73 Preston 1,493 1.9% $113,700
74 Frazee 1,294 2.3% $103,900
75 Harmony 1,001 4.6% $99,700
76 Grand Marais 1,191 3.5% $198,700
77 Shafer 1,139 7.3% $150,900
78 Princeton 4,734 4.3% $121,700
79 Fulda 1,291 4.1% $95,000
80 Wanamingo 1,182 3.4% $142,700
81 Mapleton 1,634 6.0% $119,300
82 Jackson 3,250 6.0% $109,100
83 Wabasha 2,576 5.8% $162,000
84 Benson 3,113 1.2% $108,000
85 New Richland 1,174 4.8% $89,100
86 Montgomery 2,921 3.7% $119,100
87 Kenyon 1,928 5.3% $122,400
88 Madison 1,574 3.7% $61,200
89 Rock Creek 1,791 8.7% $170,400
90 Morristown 1,019 1.6% $126,500
91 Waterville 1,954 6.9% $131,500
92 Gilbert 1,750 5.5% $84,100
93 Parkers Prairie 1,025 0.6% $98,800
94 Red Lake Falls 1,366 1.9% $104,200
95 Luverne 4,587 2.2% $123,000
96 Melrose 3,619 3.4% $132,300
97 Cokato 2,732 7.9% $136,300
98 Breckenridge 3,273 1.0% $99,700
99 Wheaton 1,508 0.7% $70,600
100 Renville 1,427 2.7% $73,900

13 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Minnesota For 2019

  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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *