Most Americans have never been to small town North Carolina. However, as the North Carolinian who live there know, small town North Carolina is an awesome place to call home.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, North Carolina has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using Saturday Night Science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Tar Heel State. Don’t freak out, we will use data to show which places have high crime, poverty, and unemployment.
After analyzing more than 291 of North Carolina’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in North Carolina where you’d never want to live:
So what is the worst small town to call home in North Carolina for 2023? According to the most recent census data, South Henderson is the worst small town to live in North Carolina.
While many of these small towns have seen better days, they have wonderful communities and people. This report in no way means to knock the folks that call towns like South Henderson home. Everyone
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.
The 10 Worst Small Towns In North Carolina For 2023
Median Home Value: $1,000 (1000th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.3% (7th worst)
Median Home Value: $59,000 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.5% (11th worst)
Median Home Value: $90,400 (36th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.2% (13th worst)
Median Home Value: $116,500 (80th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.1% (9th worst)
Median Home Value: $91,900 (39th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (28th worst)
Median Home Value: $79,400 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (14th worst)
Median Home Value: $125,000 (93rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.3% (33rd worst)
Median Home Value: $95,700 (45th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (125th worst)
Median Home Value: $74,100 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (73rd worst)
Median Home Value: $86,900 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.3% (12th worst)
Methodology: How do you decide if a small place in North Carolina is lousy or not?
To rank the worst small towns to live in North Carolina, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. Assuming that people like low crime, solid education, things to do, and a stable economy isn’t a stretch.
We then analyzed the criteria using Saturday Night Science, the thinking you’d use at a bar. It seems like even your crazy Uncle would agree that a town with high crime is worse than a town with low crime; all else the same.
- 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 many – 291 to be exact.
We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets them from the cities. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.
We base all our research on facts, which is meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2023, which is our tenth time ranking the worst small places to live in North Carolina.
There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In North Carolina
If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Tar Heel 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 North Carolina, according to science:
- Trent Woods (Pop. 4,052)
- Kure Beach (Pop. 2,474)
- Fearrington Village (Pop. 2,642)
For more North Carolina reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In North Carolina