These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In New York For 2019


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in NY 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 . This is our fourth time ranking the worst small places to live in New York.

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

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

After analyzing more than 418 of New York’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in New York where you’d never want to live:

So what is the worst small town to call home in New York for 2019? According to the most recent census data, Whitehall is the worst small town to live in New York.

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

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 New York, 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 New York 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 – 418 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.

Whitehall, NY

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,550
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $84,400 (40th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.0% (44th worst)
More on Whitehall:  Data | Photos

Cairo, NY

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,194
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $140,500 (180th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.1% (5th worst)
More on Cairo:  Data | Photos

Liberty, NY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 4,175
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $106,100 (111th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.4% (7th worst)
More on Liberty:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,299
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 17)
Median Home Value: $169,800 (226th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (64th worst)
More on South Fallsburg:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,428
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $77,200 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (191st worst)
More on Plattsburgh West:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,483
Rank Last Year: 24 (Up 17)
Median Home Value: $160,300 (214th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (35th worst)
More on Stottville:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,158
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 6)
Median Home Value: $44,100 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.0% (6th worst)
More on Friendship:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,901
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $85,400 (43rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (112th worst)
More on Ontario:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,755
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $76,100 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (100th worst)
More on Wolcott:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,089
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $82,600 (35th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.3% (4th worst)
More on New Berlin:  Data

There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In New York

If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Empire 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 New York, according to science:

  1. Katonah (Pop. 2,091)
  2. Halesite (Pop. 2,770)
  3. Kensington (Pop. 1,131)

For more New York reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In New York

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Whitehall 2,550 11.0% $84,400
2 Cairo 1,194 17.1% $140,500
3 Liberty 4,175 16.4% $106,100
4 South Fallsburg 2,299 9.9% $169,800
5 Plattsburgh West 1,428 6.1% $77,200
6 Stottville 1,483 11.7% $160,300
7 Friendship 1,158 17.0% $44,100
8 Ontario 1,901 8.1% $85,400
9 Wolcott 1,755 8.4% $76,100
10 New Berlin 1,089 17.3% $82,600
11 Deposit 1,696 10.0% $85,600
12 Canajoharie 2,015 10.8% $93,700
13 Livingston Manor 1,061 4.5% $85,900
14 Delevan 1,080 9.5% $95,500
15 Gouverneur 3,795 14.8% $93,500
16 Ellenville 4,082 7.0% $123,600
17 Stamford 1,476 11.5% $117,400
18 Hancock 1,085 7.5% $105,300
19 Norwood 1,686 13.5% $76,000
20 Randolph 1,201 7.8% $75,500
21 Richfield Springs 1,102 8.2% $98,500
22 Waverly 4,259 11.7% $89,400
23 Norfolk 1,432 5.4% $96,500
24 Riverside 4,068 6.2% $78,900
25 Celoron 1,161 11.0% $53,500
26 West End 1,530 6.7% $121,800
27 Mount Morris 2,511 8.1% $67,500
28 Brocton 1,384 9.7% $71,500
29 Montour Falls 1,737 9.9% $103,800
30 Warsaw 3,548 9.6% $105,700
31 St. Johnsville 1,858 13.1% $72,100
32 Port Henry 1,104 9.7% $94,700
33 Clyde 1,991 11.1% $68,600
34 Little Valley 1,268 5.6% $74,100
35 Westfield 3,224 11.1% $85,900
36 Yorkshire 1,190 6.4% $22,300
37 Sodus 1,943 8.7% $74,300
38 Port Byron 1,141 9.9% $79,700
39 Little Falls 4,790 9.4% $75,100
40 Holley 1,824 9.2% $81,000
41 Fort Covington Hamlet 1,501 14.4% $77,200
42 Dundee 1,655 7.8% $79,300
43 Sidney 4,160 12.1% $85,800
44 Camden 2,455 7.2% $97,300
45 Gowanda 2,864 5.7% $77,200
46 Kerhonkson 2,151 22.7% $171,100
47 Philadelphia 1,143 10.3% $131,400
48 Boonville 2,113 10.7% $83,200
49 Wellsville 4,514 6.4% $60,500
50 Granville 2,440 9.2% $101,700
51 Pulaski 2,132 12.8% $99,700
52 Angola On The Lake 1,788 12.0% $97,500
53 Adams Center 1,587 12.2% $115,200
54 Cuba 1,487 13.2% $66,900
55 Bolivar 1,122 14.8% $64,700
56 Fort Plain 1,698 6.3% $68,700
57 Marion 1,433 9.0% $101,700
58 Phoenix 2,388 7.7% $87,300
59 Newfane 4,024 5.2% $89,900
60 Carthage 3,536 11.8% $126,700
61 Dansville 4,499 8.2% $86,800
62 Watkins Glen 2,006 8.4% $122,400
63 Sherburne 1,366 6.5% $112,500
64 Tivoli 1,018 5.9% $216,700
65 Warrensburg 3,141 5.2% $128,900
66 Addison 1,826 8.0% $76,700
67 Catskill 3,894 10.8% $176,600
68 Nunda 1,442 10.5% $84,400
69 Bainbridge 1,345 7.6% $89,400
70 Philmont 1,238 6.8% $168,500
71 Unadilla 1,031 6.1% $93,900
72 Munsons Corners 2,890 14.4% $121,600
73 Palmyra 3,417 8.7% $99,900
74 Dolgeville 2,544 8.7% $82,000
75 Mohawk 2,551 9.7% $79,900
76 Owego 3,805 6.4% $92,700
77 Oxford 1,392 8.0% $100,400
78 Fort Edward 3,321 10.0% $98,900
79 Delhi 3,176 7.7% $156,100
80 Corinth 2,651 7.1% $141,600
81 Cobleskill 4,697 5.1% $137,300
82 Penn Yan 4,784 4.6% $99,800
83 Walton 2,947 6.0% $96,200
84 Franklinville 1,703 2.2% $66,600
85 Blasdell 2,631 10.8% $94,000
86 Lincoln Park 2,222 10.0% $170,400
87 West Carthage 1,809 10.3% $124,200
88 Arcade 2,159 3.7% $103,700
89 Silver Creek 2,557 12.5% $82,100
90 Weston Mills 1,511 10.8% $85,700
91 Saugerties 3,898 15.6% $215,800
92 Nedrow 2,332 9.5% $84,600
93 Sloan 3,615 8.0% $74,900
94 Dexter 1,213 8.3% $119,100
95 Lake Katrine 2,499 13.0% $179,300
96 Ticonderoga 3,084 7.8% $114,300
97 Tully 1,066 6.5% $133,300
98 Jordan 1,427 11.1% $98,300
99 Mayville 1,331 6.4% $101,200
100 Rosendale Hamlet 1,212 9.1% $188,300

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

  1. Living in the suburbs of Panama (#5), not in the town proper, I’d say the stretch comes in measuring a town by a few numbers. You would be hard pressed to find a more caring community filled with hard working people. Least densely populated? Maybe the over 1000 of acres of state lands has something to do with that, along with the farms, and larger land plots owned by residents. I’d be tempted to check out the other towns on this list if I ever have to move on from here.

  2. Boy, you missed the boat on many of these. And there are several smaller towns that never made this list. You probably all live in high rise apartments in the city. Snobs.

  3. Panama is in fact, a village, not a town. Charted in 1861. We are located in the Town of Harmony. Panama is also zoned…meaning that no farms can be located in the village unless they existed before zoning, as they were grandfathered in. (The exception being 4-H animal projects) If the farms are sold out of the family that currently owns them, they will not be able to be farmed without a variance. There are large farms in the surrounding area, many have been in families for generations. “Not much inside entertainment to be had.” Our school has one of the top music programs in the area. The auditorium is filled to standing capacity for concerts, musicals and plays. The area churches come together to present a spring musical. Basketball, volleyball, swim meets are attended by everyone, young and old. Our boys basketball team was recently ranked 3rd in the state, our girls basketball team, 2nd in the state. Not bad for a school of 750 students, preK-12. We have a dodge ball tournament that is second to none each year. The kids love it! And if you can’t find much ‘inside entertainment’, that’s a good thing, seeing that we are surrounded by thousands of acres of state lands, which contain hiking trails and in the winter cross country ski trails, as well as having an extensive network of seasonal roads. Miles of groomed and maintained snowmobile trails are found around the village also. We are about 13 miles from Peek and Peak Ski Resort. And let’s not forget Panama Rocks. A geological wonder. An ancient ocean floor which can be hiked and climbed. It is the pride of Panama. Our volunteer fire department is top rate. Their call response time is one of the (fastest) top in the county. In fact, it is being included in a study as to how this is possible…easy….when the siren goes off, many volunteers drop what they are doing and head to the call. Many have an agreement with their employer to do so. Being a volunteer, you don’t get time off from your job after you’ve been out all night fighting a fire. I’ve seen many men and women walking bleary-eyed into work after being out all night trying to save someone’s property. When responding to a call, there is a very high possibility that you know that person, are good friend of that person or even related to that person. Numerous fund raisers and dinners have been given by the people in and around this village for those that have had house fires, injuries or illnesses that have kept them from work. You can always count on the people to just ‘show up’ and help out if you need it, and haven’t even asked for it! Just passing the hat at a basketball game for someone who recently lost their house to a fire collected more than $500..I am proud to say that I am a third generation Panamanian. If I was ever to move, I would check out the other towns that made your infamous list. They sound just like the paradise that I live in and have raised my children in. If you would like to read about the history of our village, please purchase the book, Remembering Panama, Glimpses of the Past by Pamela A. Brown and Heather J. Schneider. You’ll know why we stay here.

  4. “Than you’d better get in shape. ” **Then** How am I supposed to trust a journalist that can’t even write?
    I live in Brushton. Low crime rate, fresh air, and quiet…and no, I don’t go to any of the churches around here.

  5. Although I have never lived in Altmar, I have visited there on several occasions and except for the world-class salmon and steel head fishing, the presence of the best snow mobile trail system in the eastern U.S. and an annual snowfall that requires that the trails be groomed every other day, I would pretty much agree with your rating.

  6. I’ve lived in the Utica area for 70 years and never heard of Nelliston. I go north and south of Utica a lot, and never saw any Nelliston south of Utica. When I looked it up it’s actually 35 miles to the East of Utica. As a scientist I’d say that isn’t a very accurate depiction.

    Further, the assumption that low population density is a bad thing, is clearly unscientific and illogical. Would you rather have a thousand people living within a block of your home, or ten?

  7. So people packed together in high density with crazy high home prices, would give a higher score? I think that is a value judgement that some may like, others of us would totally reject. I understand the crime and the unemployment measures.

    But come on, in these towns you can buy a decent home for well under 100k, and in some really pretty areas of NY. Physical beauty should also have been taken into account. Just some thoughts.

  8. How ignorant is all u, if u was og u know Hempstead is the most dangerous, og, gang filled town in all of NY. We gots the crips, blood, bdk, gdk, bd, gd, ms13, 18 st, vatos locos, and alot of other gangs u ain’t heard of. I rep no set, but Ik the seriousness of gangs & I’m warning all of u that ain’t from the ‘Stead & fk Uniondale. U all wannabes, u ain’t never gonna be Hempstead.

  9. How is hooville(Hoosick falls) not on this list? With our poison water, crooked ass judges, failing infrastructure, and lack of employment.

  10. I actually love small town living and upstate NY has a lot of beauty I would take any of these towns over Elmira NY any day.. these places seem beautiful and affordable

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