Most Americans have never been to Wisconsin. However, as the people who live there know, Wisconsin is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Wisconsin has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Badger State. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 351 of Wisconsin’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Wisconsin where you’d never want to live:
- Mole Lake
- New Odanah
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin, 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 – 351 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.
Population: 368 Median Income: $27,212
Median Home Value: $75,000
2. Mole Lake
Population: 521 Median Income: $20,982
Median Home Value: $88,800
Population: 808 Median Income: $28,558
Median Home Value: $55,500
Population: 151 Median Income: $33,750
Median Home Value: $30,800
Population: 542 Median Income: $36,458
Median Home Value: $78,800
Population: 479 Median Income: $27,500
Median Home Value: $64,200
7. New Odanah
Population: 458 Median Income: $19,500
Median Home Value: $57,700
Population: 568 Median Income: $29,097
Median Home Value: $71,500
Population: 180 Median Income: $30,521
Median Home Value: $73,500
Population: 335 Median Income: $32,361
Median Home Value: $115,500
There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Wisconsin
If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Badger 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 Wisconsin, according to science.
- Best: Brownsville
- 2nd Best: Park Ridge
- 3rd Best: North Bay
For more reading, check out:
Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Wisconsin