The 10 Worst Small Towns In West Virginia For 2024

The worst small towns in West Virginia are Mount Gay-Shamrock and Newell for 2024 based on Friday Night Science.

Most Americans have never been to small town West Virginia. However, as the West Virginian who live there know, small town West Virginia is an awesome place to call home.

But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, West Virginia has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using Saturday Night Science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Mountain State. Don’t freak out, we will use data to show which places have high crime, poverty, and unemployment.

After analyzing more than 119 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:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

These are the worst small towns in West Virginia for 2024:

  1. Mount Gay-Shamrock
  2. Newell
  3. Williamson
  4. Welch
  5. Spencer
  6. Logan
  7. Oceana
  8. Richwood
  9. Bradley
  10. Mount Hope

Worst Small Towns To Live In West Virginia Map

So what is the worst small town to call home in West Virginia for 2024? According to the most recent census data, Mount Gay-Shamrock is the worst small town to live in West Virginia.

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 Mount Gay-Shamrock home. Everyone

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 West Virginia or the worst places to live in West Virginia.

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 West Virginia For 2024

1. Mount Gay-Shamrock

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,418
Median Home Value: $67,406
Median Income: $43,491
Unemployment Rate: 23.8%

2. Newell

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,129
Median Home Value: $64,827
Median Income: $23,808
Unemployment Rate: 17.0%

3. Williamson

Williamson, WV

Source: Wikipedia User FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,035
Median Home Value: $52,802
Median Income: $23,173
Unemployment Rate: 11.6%

4. Welch

Welch, WV

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,475
Median Home Value: $38,219
Median Income: $32,109
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%

5. Spencer

Spencer, WV

Source: Wikipedia User Richie Diesterheft | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,057
Median Home Value: $110,536
Median Income: $23,983
Unemployment Rate: 24.0%

6. Logan

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,213
Median Home Value: $67,217
Median Income: $38,267
Unemployment Rate: 17.0%

7. Oceana

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,232
Median Home Value: $67,020
Median Income: $37,083
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%

8. Richwood

Richwood, WV

Source: Wikipedia User Youngamerican at English Wikipedia | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,567
Median Home Value: $53,857
Median Income: $30,962
Unemployment Rate: 21.7%

9. Bradley

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,603
Median Home Value: $124,847
Median Income: $40,179
Unemployment Rate: 16.3%

10. Mount Hope

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,032
Median Home Value: $75,421
Median Income: $25,404
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%

Methodology: How do you decide if a small place in West Virginia is lousy or not?

To rank the worst small towns to live in West Virginia, 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.

Using FBI crime data and the Census’s 2018-2022 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 many – 119 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 2024, which is our tenth time ranking the worst small places to live in West Virginia.

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.

The worst small towns in West Virginia are Mount Gay-Shamrock, Newell, Williamson, Welch, Spencer, Logan, Oceana, Richwood, Bradley, and Mount Hope.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in West Virginia, according to science:

  1. Mineralwells (Pop. 2,549)
  2. Shenandoah Junction (Pop. 1,205)
  3. Williamstown (Pop. 2,980)

For more West Virginia reading, check out:

Worst Small Towns In West Virginia

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value Median Income
1 Mount Gay-Shamrock 1,418 23.8% $67,406 $43,491
2 Newell 1,129 17.0% $64,827 $23,808
3 Williamson 3,035 11.6% $52,802 $23,173
4 Welch 3,475 8.7% $38,219 $32,109
5 Spencer 2,057 24.0% $110,536 $23,983
6 Logan 2,213 17.0% $67,217 $38,267
7 Oceana 1,232 7.5% $67,020 $37,083
8 Richwood 2,567 21.7% $53,857 $30,962
9 Bradley 1,603 16.3% $124,847 $40,179
10 Mount Hope 1,032 11.9% $75,421 $25,404
11 Marlinton 1,139 11.2% $143,555 $39,643
12 New Cumberland 1,121 9.0% $150,331 $40,000
13 Mallory 1,353 4.9% $101,326 $31,677
14 Fairlea 1,300 4.9% $0 $24,794
15 Granville 1,384 10.4% $116,279 $29,000
16 Sophia 1,730 12.7% $95,743 $33,372
17 Ceredo 1,255 5.8% $140,204 $32,305
18 Montgomery 1,706 8.3% $70,854 $27,174
19 Rupert 1,093 2.4% $112,189 $27,244
20 Hinton 2,167 9.7% $109,760 $35,735
21 Ansted 1,276 8.6% $105,994 $55,404
22 Romney 2,062 13.9% $202,645 $34,063
23 Coal Fork 1,278 34.0% $66,110 $60,534
24 Benwood 1,251 4.6% $114,314 $38,000
25 Wayne 1,335 4.5% $120,461 $25,391
26 Bluewell 2,369 3.5% $122,714 $32,763
27 Belington 2,015 13.0% $116,826 $46,927
28 Parsons 1,524 13.8% $111,805 $45,729
29 Coal City 1,461 8.1% $105,577 $26,353
30 Pennsboro 1,359 6.5% $99,673 $48,452
31 Macarthur 1,362 7.0% $139,890 $33,444
32 Grafton 4,711 11.3% $137,222 $38,934
33 Crab Orchard 1,946 23.3% $124,685 $48,438
34 Brush Fork 1,150 0.0% $72,699 $44,493
35 Terra Alta 2,040 8.5% $162,118 $50,278
36 Marmet 1,658 9.6% $99,797 $47,682
37 Glenville 1,172 4.2% $113,041 $43,690
38 Weston 3,922 12.9% $126,845 $44,955
39 Ronceverte 1,426 3.2% $143,124 $40,605
40 Man 1,185 18.5% $93,531 $70,481
41 Madison 2,880 10.5% $124,702 $63,864
42 Philippi 2,920 8.0% $135,293 $36,563
43 Wellsburg 2,180 13.1% $116,805 $39,000
44 Craigsville 2,051 0.0% $117,069 $34,375
45 Mannington 1,677 9.4% $108,420 $54,625
46 Rainelle 1,424 3.4% $73,400 $39,338
47 Ravenswood 3,853 6.4% $157,644 $31,818
48 Enterprise 1,185 10.7% $102,510 $77,788
49 Salem 1,873 4.0% $128,266 $45,521
50 Harrisville 1,620 5.3% $120,549 $40,114
51 Mullens 2,317 3.8% $40,416 $66,905
52 Mcmechen 1,812 5.3% $61,151 $51,389
53 West Liberty 1,764 4.1% $135,401 $39,181
54 Fayetteville 2,890 3.5% $162,239 $63,514
55 Chesapeake 1,585 5.4% $83,304 $48,375
56 Lesage 1,030 0.0% $139,897 $46,693
57 Sissonville 2,680 11.4% $161,598 $54,856
58 Buffalo 1,151 7.5% $148,515 $46,389
59 Stonewood 2,428 11.4% $131,871 $49,402
60 White Sulphur Springs 2,707 6.3% $157,940 $47,292
61 Nutter Fort 1,700 5.9% $124,314 $56,125
62 Sistersville 1,261 9.1% $111,649 $38,950
63 Daniels 1,564 3.9% $244,241 $52,061
64 Keyser 4,879 6.0% $159,152 $46,724
65 Petersburg 2,822 5.8% $167,222 $46,629
66 Stanaford 1,401 9.5% $171,784 $60,375
67 Ripley 3,084 4.3% $181,763 $35,489
68 Point Pleasant 4,067 3.3% $133,546 $45,996
69 Prosperity 1,531 16.8% $144,081 $66,905
70 Moorefield 2,846 4.6% $188,183 $51,985
71 Alum Creek 1,420 11.5% $121,952 $65,179
72 Belle 1,445 8.3% $97,570 $59,167
73 Carpendale 1,256 8.9% $154,847 $65,938
74 Chester 2,134 9.4% $114,559 $58,988
75 Shady Spring 3,581 10.4% $177,901 $64,215
76 Barrackville 1,430 8.2% $148,980 $66,083
77 Monongah 1,052 4.5% $95,415 $55,288
78 Paden City 2,740 5.1% $97,862 $53,833
79 Shannondale 3,294 5.7% $255,043 $83,125
80 Fort Ashby 1,174 0.0% $215,454 $41,992
81 St. Marys 2,281 6.4% $144,949 $53,125
82 Milton 2,773 8.0% $181,057 $42,857
83 Lewisburg 3,890 0.0% $263,908 $47,563
84 Shinnston 2,328 4.3% $132,013 $55,089
85 Hamlin 1,380 4.7% $109,217 $48,611
86 New Haven 1,761 4.4% $104,351 $58,533
87 Pleasant Valley 3,480 1.6% $203,882 $61,067
88 Inwood 2,831 10.7% $287,527 $90,327
89 Washington 1,155 4.4% $206,212 $41,920
90 Hooverson Heights 2,329 3.2% $130,924 $55,588
91 Mabscott 1,550 2.2% $117,745 $52,083
92 Kingwood 2,997 7.4% $162,262 $74,961
93 Summersville 3,415 5.3% $150,220 $53,529
94 Follansbee 2,812 4.8% $118,862 $47,386
95 White Hall 1,025 5.0% $230,274 $67,679
96 Westover 4,012 3.0% $176,115 $55,625
97 Lubeck 1,290 11.8% $215,939 $67,282
98 Poca 1,133 1.8% $173,458 $64,408
99 Tornado 1,029 0.4% $158,038 $79,952
100 Kenova 3,019 1.4% $122,509 $49,896
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

19 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Small Towns In West Virginia For 2024

  1. You didn’t mention or say how many people lived in all of these town back in the 40,50,60,70 when the cold Mines was booming plenty of jobs, take war, wva they were 2 theater then, stores to shop at car dealers ships and things were still ok up until Obama stop coal sales Mines went out of business everything has come to a halt in all these towns we wander why, the government has shut it down it that plain and simple these people’s are miners, so looked at when times were good there, the grew up there went to school there, and I still love my home town of war, wva
    So in stead of finding all the bad things look into what happen,
    In the pass 3 years I know of 4 Mines that have closed up over 600 or more people out of work.
    I know I am rambling on but dam get you shit right before you Wright an article on something you don’t know about..
    I am done

    1. If your going to speak for your small city and let judgmental ppl know, you nothing to make fun of, please don’t write like your not stupid and use correct spelling, etc. That just makes us look stupider!!

    2. I work in coal industry. Bush exempted oil and gas from any kind of EPA oversight. That hurt us more than Obama (who was against coal).
      Blame AEP for switching immediatemly to gas after they didn’t get ready for new air regulations that they had 20 years to prepare for.
      We have the highest quality and most kinds of coal (in the world) in central and southern WV, but our underground seams are very small compared to the ones In Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are of lower quality, but far less expensive to mine.

  2. I don’t see how Bradshaw came in as number 1 worst. Let me tell you. My husband and I lived in other countries around the world. And other states in the USA. We retired in the little town of Bradshaw. Why? Because the rate is low. Income is average. And the price of homes is average like it would be anywhere in the world for there economy. I think you need to re-do your homework. I would give you an “F”, on this report.

  3. My family was from Rhodell and at one time it was a great little town. It’s a shame that the drug users and pushers have ruined what was once a beautiful little town!! Goes to show you just what prescription pill abuse can do to a small community!

  4. Gauley Bridge might not be a very nice place to live now, but when I lived there it was a nice little town . I’m proud to call Gauley Bridge my hometown.

  5. I was raised in a large town in W.Va. Then I moved to Cairo. it is a nice little town. Where a neighbor is a neighbor. This town used to be a very large Oil Boom town. It might be a little slower pace town now. It is funny that there is a lot of people coming back to Cairo to retire and they are building beautiful homes. I like my small town where you know the people that live here. How do these people rate the towns that they live in??? Come and check out these places before you print the next time!!!!!!

  6. hmm.. If you’re using figures Census’s American Community Survey 2010-2014 showing some of these towns with population of 1, then how are there at least two houses for sale in Gary, with at least three other homes in their direct vicinity, and apparently occupied as evidenced by used wash cloth hanging over the bathtub? Having served as a census taker in previous years, it’s very important to obtain as accurate of a population count as possible, even if the home is only occupied during a certain period of the year. According to Wikipedia, Gary WV has a population of 968 according to 2010 U.S. Census. Perhaps you may need to recheck the actual figures?

  7. I have lived in Davy my entire life (35+ years) and have NEVER been the victim of any crime. I have had chances to leave and have decided to stay. You all need to do a little more research before you write such offensive articles!!! Also, my annual household income is darn sure more than $15-$18,000 a year! You people have no idea what you are talking about! Let me give you a little advice…numbers aren’t everything! Try getting out of you cozy, uppity office and visiting some of these places and you might change what you write about these places! You should think twice about what you’re writing; not only are insulting the place, you’re insulting the people who live there as well!!!!

    1. I grew up in Davy, it’s a shit hole. Between the drugs, no jobs, and people burning houses down. And as for your salary. It says average salary. No every. So I think he’s more correct than you think

  8. I have traveled all over lots of parts of USA. I’ve found the people in West Virginia to be the kindest, most beautiful and soulful people I’ve ever met in my life. I’ve never felt so welcomed anywhere else like I was there.

    1. Thank you Rose Mascitelli, well said.I have family roots in W.Va. the folks there are some of the finest people you ever want to meet, I try to visit Cairo and other places in W.Va. at least once a year.I for one like that lay back slow pace living.

  9. A Shame WV, nice place. No Jobs No Work. Nothing there but hardships and poor people. I was born there and went to school there. I have lived in Tennessee for 25 years and that is the best thing I ever did was to move out of WV. I Love WV football and watch every game. The ratty politicians have completely had their way up there. Complete Freedom for the wormy ratty bastards. nobody really cares about WV, Nobody. A Sad disgrace for this country. Loving WV Always. jes

  10. I live in War and have spent 55 years here only leaving to go to college and worked 3 years in Ky. I moved back here and never regretted it. All states have their problems and ours is no different. The politicians move money to larger areas for economics. They ignore small isolated communities and cause a lot of the problems. When a state has the ability to do so, it should work with small rural areas to build infrastructure which would enhance job opportunities, reduce poverty, and all the other negative factors. There were 11 children and yes some left to find work but those of us that stayed had good jobs and live in homes valued between $50K and $150K. My parents never were on public assistance and none of their children were. No child was ever in trouble with the law. There are a lot of good people in our communities, they work hard, build their homes and families, and retire. We do not let media define who we are. We are proud to be from WV and our small rural communities. Many of us fight daily to turn things around.

  11. Most people research more than median income. I am very proud of being raised in the Meadow Bridge area. As a writer you should check these places out more thoroughly. That little town pulled together to raise thousands of dollars in supplies when neighboring Rainelle was devastated by a flood. The wonderful people gave thousands of hours of hard work just because they cared. We love God, respect the flag, dote on our elders and support each other. In the state our world is in now you should be so lucky to call this place your home!!!

  12. My hometown is Northfork, we’re rated #12 on your list. If businesses would stop closing, poverty and crime wouldn’t be so high. I am proud of my town regardless of the negativity it receives, by people who never probably ever visited, or lived

  13. Your remarks about Meadow Bridge are pathetic as well as being totally incorrect. I was raised up about one mile outside of M.B. and graduated from the high school there which is now being fought over with the BOE who is trying to shut it down. That area has some of the finest and hardest working people in the world. Yes, it also has some of the laziest and those on welfare, but doesn’t every area? You need to go there and meet the people and stay there for awhile before you pass judgment.

  14. I was born in Welch, lived in iaeger, Bradshaw & Twin Branch. My mother packed us up & to Chicago. My memories were looking at a black & white picture, but my husband set up a vacation, it was amazing how beautiful it was. We got a home on the side of a mountain, no bugs, garbage on the streets homeles people begging for money or stuff that was what I seen everyday, I never thought how much I could just blend in like I just moved away not that long ago. We went to the lil towns I lived in when we were little kids. The state is so beautiful & welcoming, people waving hi, so friendly I think this is where I want to go to finish out my years I have left, people sometimes pass judgement before actually getting the real way the neighborhood is, but that’s the way alot of news gets put out. I’ll say McDowell county is a very beautiful welcoming place to live in. I miss my roots & can’t wait to go back there,

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