These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Wisconsin For 2019


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

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for . This is our fourth time ranking the worst small places to live in Wisconsin.

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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 229 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:

These are the worst small towns in Wisconsin for 2019:

  1. Little Round Lake
  2. Lac du Flambeau
  3. Wautoma (Photos)
  4. Hurley
  5. Crandon
  6. Keshena
  7. Centuria
  8. Adams
  9. Wittenberg
  10. Cornell

So what is the worst small town to call home in Wisconsin for 2019? According to the most recent census data, Little Round Lake is the worst small town to live in Wisconsin.

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.

And if you already know about the small towns, check out the best places to live in Wisconsin or the worst places to live in Wisconsin.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

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 determined the worst small towns to live in Wisconsin 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 – 229 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.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,338
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $81,800 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 22.6% (1st worst)
More on Little Round Lake:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,725
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $110,700 (64th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.6% (2nd worst)
More on Lac Du Flambeau:  Data

Wautoma, WI

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,010
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $76,900 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (37th worst)
More on Wautoma:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,487
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $62,100 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (14th worst)
More on Hurley:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,967
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $103,900 (47th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.0% (25th worst)
More on Crandon:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,400
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $87,100 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.9% (8th worst)
More on Keshena:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,024
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $94,000 (33rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.5% (3rd worst)
More on Centuria:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,936
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $82,100 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (18th worst)
More on Adams:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,036
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 9)
Median Home Value: $89,100 (21st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (77th worst)
More on Wittenberg:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 1,557
Rank Last Year: 36 (Up 26)
Median Home Value: $89,400 (22nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (74th worst)
More on Cornell:  Data

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:

  1. Merton (Pop. 3,574)
  2. Bayside (Pop. 4,450)
  3. Maple Bluff (Pop. 1,441)

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Wisconsin

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Little Round Lake 1,338 22.6% $81,800
2 Lac Du Flambeau 1,725 18.6% $110,700
3 Wautoma 2,010 7.0% $76,900
4 Hurley 1,487 9.2% $62,100
5 Crandon 1,967 8.0% $103,900
6 Keshena 1,400 10.9% $87,100
7 Centuria 1,024 14.5% $94,000
8 Adams 1,936 8.8% $82,100
9 Wittenberg 1,036 4.9% $89,100
10 Cornell 1,557 5.0% $89,400
11 Mil 1,205 4.7% $87,000
12 Muscoda 1,412 6.7% $85,500
13 Eagle River 1,569 4.5% $125,600
14 Grantsburg 1,215 4.2% $93,800
15 Rib Lake 1,001 9.0% $113,500
16 Park Falls 2,294 3.1% $73,000
17 Tomahawk 3,225 5.8% $124,700
18 Nekoosa 2,603 7.6% $81,500
19 Gillett 1,199 5.7% $82,600
20 Ladysmith 3,206 1.9% $85,000
21 Montello 1,478 5.1% $108,000
22 Redgranite 2,108 7.2% $90,800
23 Stanley 3,629 4.1% $93,300
24 Hayward 2,436 6.6% $128,600
25 Clear Lake 1,045 7.1% $119,500
26 Clintonville 4,429 3.7% $92,500
27 Spooner 2,593 6.8% $106,100
28 Phillips 1,482 3.6% $77,000
29 West Milwaukee 4,200 9.2% $135,300
30 Fox Lake 1,724 8.8% $121,600
31 Elroy 1,305 7.5% $80,100
32 Niagara 1,612 4.5% $68,300
33 Cumberland 2,270 8.2% $120,500
34 Glenwood City 1,340 9.3% $107,000
35 Abbotsford 2,103 3.3% $104,300
36 Lake Delton 2,982 0.0% $122,300
37 Shell Lake 1,330 6.2% $123,700
38 Independence 1,673 9.3% $117,400
39 Oconto 4,463 9.7% $91,000
40 Wisconsin Dells 2,681 6.8% $156,200
41 Peshtigo 3,402 8.8% $108,200
42 New Lisbon 2,505 4.1% $90,700
43 Greenwood 1,009 4.2% $78,600
44 Mondovi 2,663 7.8% $110,200
45 Mauston 4,392 3.4% $106,400
46 Marion 1,116 3.6% $89,400
47 Sharon 1,745 6.2% $139,300
48 Colfax 1,141 6.0% $103,600
49 Colby 2,000 3.8% $99,300
50 Woodville 1,264 4.8% $119,000
51 Arcadia 3,001 4.2% $120,200
52 St. Croix Falls 1,918 6.0% $145,000
53 Neillsville 2,302 5.1% $82,800
54 Algoma 3,081 9.2% $101,300
55 Iola 1,272 5.8% $96,900
56 Cadott 1,434 3.1% $113,100
57 Thorp 1,596 4.2% $89,500
58 Medford 4,294 5.6% $105,700
59 Markesan 1,386 5.2% $113,100
60 Manawa 1,398 4.4% $90,200
61 Princeton 1,174 3.8% $84,300
62 Augusta 1,590 2.5% $101,100
63 West Baraboo 1,793 7.9% $155,300
64 Weyauwega 1,790 3.4% $102,200
65 Schofield 2,185 6.7% $104,700
66 Durand 1,788 3.6% $110,100
67 Hillsboro 1,395 4.9% $98,700
68 Boscobel 3,161 5.8% $99,200
69 Amherst 1,090 6.0% $134,900
70 Loyal 1,327 4.7% $88,200
71 Port Edwards 1,639 11.7% $99,000
72 Black River Falls 3,537 5.2% $114,700
73 Walworth 2,828 7.6% $172,800
74 Blair 1,339 3.2% $97,000
75 Albany 1,207 9.3% $120,900
76 Barron 3,346 2.4% $82,200
77 Darien 1,722 12.1% $141,800
78 Chetek 2,243 3.7% $116,500
79 Luck 1,138 2.5% $109,100
80 Osceola 2,499 5.2% $138,600
81 Juneau 2,678 8.7% $133,400
82 Viroqua 4,363 1.2% $117,100
83 Westfield 1,349 2.0% $99,400
84 Lomira 2,421 6.2% $156,100
85 Cameron 1,962 4.8% $113,800
86 Marshall 3,977 7.4% $161,300
87 Whitehall 1,710 2.9% $113,700
88 Shullsburg 1,277 1.4% $86,700
89 Washburn 2,016 4.6% $133,000
90 Bonduel 1,432 4.6% $123,700
91 Whiting 1,588 4.7% $145,200
92 Spencer 1,724 3.7% $102,400
93 Ellsworth 3,253 8.2% $146,500
94 Galesville 1,688 4.3% $134,800
95 Bloomer 3,523 2.9% $136,800
96 Osseo 1,583 4.4% $124,600
97 King 1,788 2.5% $109,500
98 Orfordville 1,327 5.0% $130,200
99 Hilbert 1,185 1.2% $119,800
100 Darlington 2,312 1.4% $93,900

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19 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Wisconsin For 2019

  1. What a bunch of idiots! Steuben has THE best prime rib you will ever have! And when a neighbor needs help, we all help out! As for crime? What a joke….we don’t HAVE any crime. Assholes!!

  2. I guess that if having a great meal at an affordable price, served by people who actually are interested in who you are and where your from, is a measure for a “small town where you’d never want to live” then I guess these towns are just that. These small communities in Wisconsin are great places to live if you like talking with your neighbors and having people wave at you when you travel thru town. These people are mostly kind, gentle, loving people who would watch each other’s kids in their yard or take a disabled person to the store EVERY week because they couldn’t go themselves. I miss living in my small home town, the one that’s 10th on your list, and would love to move back when I can. So go ahead and make your assumptions of our small little towns based on your statistics like Steuben being the 7th highest crime rate for small towns. It’s a village so it doesn’t qualify as a “town” in the first place, second there hasn’t been a serious crime there that I can remember (I lived ther from 1971 to 2013). If you want to live your life in a peaceful place check them out, if you like the big city then stay away. We like it just the way it is!

    1. Well said. The author has built a “straw man” argument, but likely wouldn’t be able to identify a real one.

  3. Wow! Been in a number of these towns and here my life. This site, who did this data, is so full of BS! From the crime rates, per capita not being correct and the unemployment rates?? Farming is a job!! Not employer paid, but ALL Farming areas. How misleading of our towns!!!

  4. Montello should be added, horrible Schools, and other reasons I do not feel comfortable posting just because I have to live here, For Now…

  5. I can not believe that Sheldon is on that list! They have the best burgers in the world and don’t forget the North Star! The families are farm families and great folks. The county fair and the park are top notch.

  6. 1st off , dangerous and ashley madison as topics in the header of this website shows it is nothing but click bait bullshit, at the expense of a few small towns who actually take care of their own. Sharing these websites only defers tourism and commerce that real positive websites info provides. Whoever is the author(cant be searched) go back to your hole and take your online degree and crappy ass stats and take some real college classes with a real professor in journalism. Pathetic.

  7. These small towns may have issues time to time but the majority of the time they are very safe and almost everyone knows each other. Most of the major cities under report many crimes and people do not seem to have the time or care to get to know this neighbor. I must admit I have not lived in Wisconsin for almost 17 years and do not care much for the winters.

  8. There’s nothing like the charm of a small town, probably including most of the towns on this list. The town I’m connected with, Almond, used to be so much more than it is now. For Almond I think it was a gathering place for farmers to come to town on Friday to go to market, drink at the tavern, do your banking, pick up your mail, etc. But big corporate farms came in, most of the farmers are now in area cemeteries, and the whole village has changed character. Stevens Point is up the road, but I was there last October and I’d have to say that’s not even the town it once was! Just my take, though. The residents love these places, I’m sure.

  9. I lived in Hatley WI for 44 years never locked my house left my keys in the car not one time in 44 years did my car or anything from my house go missing. I moved to Cleveland Ohio my first year here my truck was stolen and my windows were broken out of my van. Last weekend 5 kids were shot playing out side . I can’t wait to get back to my home town and live in peace and quiet. I Love small town living

  10. I grew up in Medford , which had a population of 2,799 back then. I had no fear of crime and feel that I got a decent 12 years of education. People knew each other and were friendly. I didn’t really know anyone who didn’t have a job. The evaluation of “small towns in Wisconsin” doesn’t include My home town due to the higher population. However, I think Wisconsin, in general, was a great place to grow up. I never lacked anything and feel about Medford as I would think that those people in the “small towns” also feel. Home is where the heart is, whether it be in a small town in Wisconsin or a crime laden city like Chicago. Personally, I’ll take the small, friendly town.

  11. i felt myself shrinking painfully a bit under the satistics and references to people based on money earned and education. you are talking about me. i understand that is used in statistics, but as i have had mensa people in my family ,and have lived among university types for years, i must say i find them no better at all , in any way, including kindness , faith , happiness ,and generosity, than the less educated and less wealthy. this is not just reverse snobbishness. i live in one of the ‘larger small towns’,certainly not on this list, and to me it is not so small. i have actually had things stolen, have had people try to break into my home while i was at home, and there is meth and other drugs here ,and just houses down from me there are plenty of users. a workman at my home, newly arrived from one of the bigger cities in the state, was surprised to see a cocaine deal made on the table of a bar/restaurant downtown at noon. I do not know what the crimes are that are used here in the statistics. it might have been helpful to break them down. as for ‘things to do’, are we spoiled children? people who live in big cities with so many things to do, often head out to remote areas for thier vacations. there is always something to do no matter where you are. and yes, farming is a job!

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