Worst Small Towns In North Carolina For 2020


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in NC 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 North Carolina.

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

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

After analyzing more than 278 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:

These are the worst small towns in North Carolina for 2020:

  1. Garland
  2. Yanceyville
  3. Chadbourn
  4. Gaston
  5. Andrews
  6. Magnolia
  7. Enfield
  8. Vanceboro
  9. East Rockingham
  10. Millers Creek

So what is the worst small town to call home in north carolina for 2020? According to the most recent census data, Garland is the worst small town to live in North Carolina.

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

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 North Carolina For 2020

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,052
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $67,100 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (58th worst)
More on Garland:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,248
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $88,400 (50th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.8% (10th worst)
More on Yanceyville:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 2,412
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $51,300 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.1% (16th worst)
More on Chadbourn:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,172
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $60,900 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.5% (19th worst)
More on Gaston:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,830
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $70,000 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.4% (20th worst)
More on Andrews:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,252
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $59,100 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.4% (21st worst)
More on Magnolia:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,322
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $75,600 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 19.8% (5th worst)
More on Enfield:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,291
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 11)
Median Home Value: $85,000 (42nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (43rd worst)
More on Vanceboro:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,289
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $53,000 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (73rd worst)
More on East Rockingham:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,661
Rank Last Year: 39 (Up 28)
Median Home Value: $110,600 (96th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.1% (15th worst)
More on Millers Creek:  Data

How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?

In order to rank the worst small towns to live in North Carolina, 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 North Carolina 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 - 278 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 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:

  1. Trent Woods (Pop. 4,081)
  2. Wrightsville Beach (Pop. 2,536)
  3. Westport (Pop. 4,119)

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In North Carolina

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Garland 1,052 10.3% $67,100
2 Yanceyville 2,248 16.8% $88,400
3 Chadbourn 2,412 15.1% $51,300
4 Gaston 1,172 14.5% $60,900
5 Andrews 1,830 14.4% $70,000
6 Magnolia 1,252 14.4% $59,100
7 Enfield 2,322 19.8% $75,600
8 Vanceboro 1,291 11.7% $85,000
9 East Rockingham 3,289 9.6% $53,000
10 Millers Creek 1,661 15.1% $110,600
11 East Spencer 1,537 24.6% $80,600
12 Maxton 2,494 19.9% $81,200
13 Lucama 1,200 9.8% $74,700
14 Plymouth 3,542 9.9% $79,700
15 Franklinville 1,106 12.6% $69,500
16 Pinnacle 1,010 11.0% $98,100
17 Robbins 1,743 13.6% $85,900
18 Navassa 1,677 9.2% $107,600
19 Cricket 1,944 4.9% $94,300
20 Connelly Springs 1,588 8.0% $88,800
21 Mount Olive 4,731 15.3% $79,800
22 North Wilkesboro 4,201 10.1% $112,800
23 Kenly 1,956 4.7% $88,600
24 Mount Gilead 1,161 12.5% $98,100
25 Tabor City 3,990 4.5% $86,700
26 Rowland 1,119 9.9% $71,700
27 Snow Hill 1,604 12.6% $92,300
28 Light Oak 1,274 12.3% $75,900
29 Fairplains 2,172 8.5% $94,800
30 Belhaven 1,879 8.9% $77,400
31 Icard 2,468 12.0% $120,300
32 Warsaw 3,131 6.8% $84,300
33 Scotland Neck 1,380 7.7% $87,500
34 Sparta 1,851 4.9% $99,400
35 Rhodhiss 1,009 9.6% $72,500
36 South Rosemary 2,288 4.1% $96,900
37 Flat Rock 1,257 3.3% $70,800
38 Hertford 2,336 13.6% $131,900
39 Pembroke 3,044 8.1% $90,800
40 Ramseur 1,738 7.5% $99,600
41 Ahoskie 4,882 14.6% $99,000
42 Polkton 3,187 12.3% $74,100
43 Murphy 1,920 13.3% $158,200
44 Bladenboro 1,934 14.7% $64,700
45 Troy 3,348 5.3% $93,700
46 Weldon 1,679 10.8% $99,600
47 Rose Hill 2,547 5.0% $80,000
48 Fremont 1,196 9.2% $84,700
49 Jonesville 2,390 3.9% $96,200
50 Liberty 2,657 7.7% $108,600
51 Candor 1,097 2.5% $91,800
52 Green Level 2,153 6.5% $71,600
53 Brogden 2,337 13.8% $79,900
54 Gamewell 3,959 9.4% $95,400
55 Elm City 1,360 18.0% $83,400
56 Fairmont 2,655 6.6% $70,200
57 Mayodan 2,754 12.9% $87,700
58 Grifton 2,863 11.2% $85,300
59 Red Springs 3,419 7.8% $71,600
60 West Jefferson 1,485 8.5% $163,000
61 Biscoe 2,490 6.7% $95,900
62 Elroy 3,719 12.1% $88,300
63 Bryson City 1,709 5.9% $121,200
64 Roseboro 1,249 9.7% $98,000
65 St. Pauls 1,925 6.4% $73,300
66 Sharpsburg 2,158 11.2% $75,600
67 Faison 1,227 10.5% $100,800
68 Long View 4,949 10.9% $88,800
69 Spring Hope 1,603 8.7% $99,200
70 Spruce Pine 2,204 3.8% $133,600
71 Raeford 4,882 8.8% $101,300
72 Elizabet 3,525 1.5% $116,900
73 Jefferson 1,420 6.9% $175,700
74 Laurel Hill 1,096 10.1% $66,900
75 Mulberry 2,327 10.1% $158,800
76 Cherokee 2,163 3.4% $116,900
77 Dobson 1,584 5.0% $123,300
78 Princeville 2,357 8.2% $70,300
79 Franklinton 2,076 10.6% $101,400
80 Wilson's Mills 2,552 5.5% $122,000
81 Enochville 2,990 9.4% $108,900
82 Bayboro 1,213 2.0% $78,700
83 Spindale 4,231 8.2% $83,600
84 Buxton 1,319 17.9% $322,600
85 La Grange 2,702 8.2% $101,400
86 Bethel 1,753 10.6% $84,900
87 Spencer 3,231 13.5% $98,700
88 Hildebran 2,052 14.0% $140,900
89 Marshville 2,644 8.4% $103,200
90 Walnut Cove 1,599 4.4% $127,400
91 Pinetops 1,273 5.6% $66,300
92 White Plains 1,150 3.0% $95,500
93 Mar-Mac 3,290 3.4% $125,100
94 Beulaville 1,513 8.9% $125,000
95 Edenton 4,734 16.8% $150,400
96 Castle Hayne 1,023 11.0% $170,700
97 Columbus 1,094 5.6% $164,100
98 Denton 1,820 6.8% $96,800
99 Benson 3,651 10.7% $123,100
100 Burnsville 1,990 12.0% $170,700

How Is The Area In ?

10 thoughts on “Worst Small Towns In North Carolina, 2020

  1. As a resident outsider to Casar (from Miami, FL) I have to say that whomever (Bud Tapman) wrote this is an idiot and knows nothing about our town. First, our population is 298, not 410. Second, despite the fact that our average median income is under $20,000, there is not one single resident that would ever allow a neighbor to go to bed hungry. We pull together as a community to help one another in one way or another. This town is built on generations of kindness, humility, and hard working people. The folks her have strong roots in faith, love, and compassion. So when you say that we are number three on the your uninformed list of places to live, stay out if you don’t like the type of people I have described.

  2. My husband and I have lived here our entire marriage(43) yrs. In 2005 our home burned to the ground. Neither of is we’re home that day. He is a minister, was in Gastonia that day. I worked for a dermatologist, was off that day at a Dr’s appt. picked my granddaughter up. When I pulled in the fire department was trying to save our hpme. The fire men worked so hard to some actually passed out. Strangers showed up with clothes for us. My sister in law Carol fixed us a meal that night, stayed the night with my mother. Came the next morning to our burnt home and fireman had came back to check on us. Neighbors, strangers brought us money, food and clothes to wear. We lost everything, even a car sitting on the carport. This little town you describe as third came in first that day. It might be small and poor in your estimation but when it comes to a tragedy or needing a helping hand, its number one. Faith, living right, and being a good neighbor is all around us. Rethinking your status of #3 might be in order. No, we are not perfect. Come check is put in person.

  3. This must be another Gay rights Activist writing these articles, who is supported by our Attorney General, Roy Cooper!

  4. Lewiston is not a poor town with a lot of dropouts. There’s 36 teachers, doctors, parents of am NBA star, nurses, and prominent business owners within a 4 mile radius of my childhood home. It’s quiet and most people are related or friends. People need not write about things they truly don’t know.

    1. It very much is a poor town. I could not believe how bad it looks now compared to when I was a teenager. It’s gone downhill.

  5. I love living in Stonewall. Unlike these demographics, I have a job (often more than 3-4!) a college eduation (plus a grad degree!) and am not a criminal. Yes, we have some uneployment here.. but there are MANY retirees who chose to stay in Stonewall.
    SHEESH!

  6. THANK You For all the Great Info, and the Great replies too. Does anyone here happen to know the area or areas of Mt. Airy, NC.? From what im hearing about the drug scene, Andy has left the building. Have considered moving there for the good home prices, but there’s always a minus for a plus, understood, but druggies and violence in my face, ain’t worth it. I may have to redneck it on over to Robbinsville, Lol.

  7. In my view, I feel the article is directed, perhaps unconsciously, but it doesn’t feel unconscious frankly – is directed at predominately white people to warn them of towns that are predominately black. Yes, I do find it frankly offensive and under the banner of white privilege – and I wonder too how many of the towns listed as the “worst” have sizable minority populations.

    I don’t feel we can necessarily take a purely statistical approach and also say in a pejorative sense, that e.g. “Yanceyville” is one of the “worst” towns or the “pits” – and then have links to data that show it has a black majority in terms of residents.

    Maybe the fact there is higher unemployment has also something to do with the reinforcement of negativity in terms of the language chosen to use when describing the statistics? Potential businesses ostensibly review such info – and I find Bud Tapman to be essentially aiding and abetting social and economic racial injustice.

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