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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 297 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 2022? According to the most recent census data, South Henderson 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.
The 10 Worst Small Towns In North Carolina For 2022
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $37,400 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 25.1% (2nd worst)
More on South Henderson: Data
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 12)
Median Home Value: $95,200 (63rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (5worst)
More on South Rosemary: Data
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $61,700 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.9% (22nd worst)
More on Chadbourn: Data
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $93,200 (60th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.8% (24th worst)
More on Yanceyville: Data
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $93,100 (58th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (85th worst)
More on Garland: Data
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $60,500 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.5% (7th worst)
More on Enfield: Data
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $81,800 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (3worst)
More on Robbins: Data
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 6)
Median Home Value: $70,400 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 21.8% (4th worst)
More on Gaston: Data
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $52,500 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (7worst)
More on Magnolia: Data
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $97,500 (66th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (39th worst)
More on Alliance: 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 2022
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 2016-2020 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 - 297 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:
- Royal Pines (Pop. 4,499)
- Trent Woods (Pop. 4,043)
- Fearrington Village (Pop. 2,692)
For more North Carolina reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In North Carolina