Most Americans have never been to West Virginia. However, as the people who live there know, West Virginia is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, West Virginia has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Mountain State. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 110 of West Virginia’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in West Virginia where you’d never want to live:
So what is the worst small town to call home in West Virginia for 2019? According to the most recent census data, Pennsboro is the worst small town to live in West Virginia.
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since West Virginia 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.
How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?
In order to rank the worst small towns to live in West Virginia, 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 West Virginia 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 – 110 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.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $57,300 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 24.2% (3rd worst)
More on Pennsboro: Data
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $57,800 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (36th worst)
More on Marlinton: Data
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $50,000 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (43rd worst)
More on Oceana: Data
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $54,600 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.2% (24th worst)
More on Gilbert Creek: Data
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $55,100 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.0% (13th worst)
More on Sophia: Data
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $67,500 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (30th worst)
More on Mount Hope: Data
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $60,500 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.6% (20th worst)
More on Rainelle: Data
There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In West Virginia
If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Mountain 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 West Virginia, according to science:
- Winfield (Pop. 2,332)
- Bolivar (Pop. 1,246)
- Bethany (Pop. 1,008)
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia
- 10 Safest Places In West Virginia
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In West Virginia
- 10 Worst Places To Live In West Virginia
Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In West Virginia
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