These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In West Virginia For 2018


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in WV are the pits.

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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 172 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:

  1. Davy
  2. Anawalt
  3. Iaeger
  4. Switzer
  5. Jefferson
  6. Red Jacket
  7. Smithfield
  8. Monaville
  9. Keystone
  10. Matewan

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.

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.

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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 crunched the numbers

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the Census’s 2010-2014 American Community Survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 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 100 and 1,000 people, of which, there were a lot – 172 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.

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1. Davy


Population: 259
Median Income: $24,375
Median Home Value: $28,200

2. Anawalt


Population: 162
Median Income: $22,500
Median Home Value: $24,700

3. Iaeger


Population: 271
Median Income: $25,000
Median Home Value: $37,000

4. Switzer


Population: 765
Median Income: $24,228
Median Home Value: $64,200

5. Jefferson


Population: 822
Median Income: $24,500
Median Home Value: $52,500

6. Red Jacket


Population: 558
Median Income: $21,700
Median Home Value: $63,100

7. Smithfield


Population: 150
Median Income: $20,972
Median Home Value: $45,000

8. Monaville


Population: 173
Median Income: $18,214
Median Home Value: $58,900

9. Keystone


Population: 129
Median Income: $32,500
Median Home Value: $32,300

10. Matewan


Population: 535
Median Income: $13,477
Median Home Value: $82,200

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.

  1. Best: Mitchell Heights
  2. 2nd Best: North Hills
  3. 3rd Best: Hedgesville

For more reading, check out:

  • These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In West Virginia
  • These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In West Virginia According To Science
  • These Are The 10 Safest Places In West Virginia
  • Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In West Virginia

    City Rank Population Home Price
    Davy 1 259 $28,200
    Anawalt 2 162 $24,700
    Iaeger 3 271 $37,000
    Switzer 4 765 $64,200
    Jefferson 5 822 $52,500
    Red Jacket 6 558 $63,100
    Smithfield 7 150 $45,000
    Monaville 8 173 $58,900
    Keystone 9 129 $32,300
    Matewan 10 535 $82,200
    Gypsy 11 302 $27,600
    Deep Water 12 335 $41,500
    Northfork 13 258 $50,700
    Brenton 14 252 $54,600
    Henderson 15 197 $42,500
    Quinwood 16 174 $68,800
    Hillsboro 17 249 $61,700
    Valley Head 18 260 $47,100
    Fort Gay 19 934 $70,400
    Auburn 20 123 $48,100
    Anmoore 21 630 $65,400
    Berwind 22 532 $29,300
    Crumpler 23 148 $25,900
    Pine Grove 24 575 $60,000
    Bradshaw 25 265 $55,000
    Piedmont 26 763 $39,300
    Sarah Ann 27 252 $39,800
    Camden-On-Gauley 28 192 $46,700
    Delbarton 29 624 $74,800
    Pullman 30 166 $75,000
    Flatwoods 31 286 $71,000
    Worthington 32 160 $78,800
    Elk Garden 33 154 $75,000
    Gauley Bridge 34 753 $62,400
    Clay 35 558 $61,700
    Kopperston 36 524 $39,200
    Matoaka 37 172 $49,000
    Hilltop 38 717 $29,200
    West Hamlin 39 747 $85,600
    Scarbro 40 693 $43,200
    Grantsville 41 632 $69,600
    Justice 42 413 $52,600
    Hundred 43 280 $78,300
    Durbin 44 284 $59,600
    Cowen 45 525 $52,100
    Tunnelton 46 255 $57,500
    Amherstdale 47 274 $74,400
    Junior 48 455 $69,200
    Albright 49 363 $61,100
    Whitesville 50 523 $42,500
    Cedar Grove 51 808 $58,900
    Cameron 52 914 $56,600
    Chelyan 53 898 $48,500
    Newburg 54 368 $53,300
    Rhodell 55 205 $50,900
    Gassaway 56 948 $81,000
    Gary 57 703 $28,000
    Rossmore 58 767 $55,700
    Huttonsville 59 262 $65,000
    Rowlesburg 60 578 $60,200
    Wiley Ford 61 845 $84,400
    Friendly 62 103 $52,500
    Danville 63 788 $90,400
    New Richmond 64 270 $43,600
    Ellenboro 65 408 $56,700
    Leon 66 161 $69,300
    Elizabeth 67 857 $68,900
    Ridgeley 68 564 $73,400
    Harts 69 796 $83,100
    Handley 70 233 $50,000
    Flemington 71 373 $64,600
    Reedy 72 125 $52,300
    Matheny 73 356 $87,500
    Hambleton 74 239 $77,300
    Meadow Bridge 75 328 $62,100
    Cairo 76 381 $50,400
    Kincaid 77 188 $56,000
    Racine 78 253 $84,400
    Beech Bottom 79 604 $49,200
    Great Cacapon 80 329 $88,200
    Kermit 81 268 $90,600
    Grant Town 82 574 $56,500
    Accoville 83 922 $85,700
    Bayard 84 305 $75,400
    Glen Ferris 85 143 $153,400
    Springfield 86 401 $154,600
    Boomer 87 974 $55,200
    Verdunville 88 592 $95,800
    Mason 89 850 $62,000
    East Dailey 90 459 $126,000
    Hico 91 133 $97,000
    Bramwell 92 321 $69,500
    Gallipolis Ferry 93 790 $83,900
    Union 94 466 $95,000
    Gilbert 95 384 $83,100
    Triadelphia 96 679 $74,600
    Bath (Berkeley Springs) 97 543 $144,200
    Fenwick 98 152 $52,500
    Sylvester 99 186 $67,500
    Enterprise 100 835 $79,200

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    18 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In West Virginia For 2018

    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 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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