These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Wisconsin For 2018

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

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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 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:

  1. Reserve
  2. Mole Lake
  3. Neopit
  4. Zoar
  5. Bancroft
  6. Read
  7. New Odanah
  8. Fairchild
  9. Drummond
  10. Mountain

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.

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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 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.

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1. Reserve

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

3. Neopit

Population: 808
Median Income: $28,558
Median Home Value: $55,500

4. Zoar

Population: 151
Median Income: $33,750
Median Home Value: $30,800

5. Bancroft

Population: 542
Median Income: $36,458
Median Home Value: $78,800

6. Read

Source: Public Domain

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

8. Fairchild

Population: 568
Median Income: $29,097
Median Home Value: $71,500

9. Drummond

Population: 180
Median Income: $30,521
Median Home Value: $73,500

10. Mountain

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.

  1. Best: Brownsville
  2. 2nd Best: Park Ridge
  3. 3rd Best: North Bay

For more reading, check out:

  • These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Wisconsin
  • These Are The 10 Most Boring Places In Wisconsin
  • These Are The 10 Snobbiest Cities In Wisconsin
  • Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Wisconsin

    City Rank Population Home Price
    Reserve 1 368 $75,000
    Mole Lake 2 521 $88,800
    Neopit 3 808 $55,500
    Zoar 4 151 $30,800
    Bancroft 5 542 $78,800
    Read 6 479 $64,200
    New Odanah 7 458 $57,700
    Fairchild 8 568 $71,500
    Drummond 9 180 $73,500
    Mountain 10 335 $115,500
    Lynxville 11 157 $73,000
    Amberg 12 202 $56,300
    Iron Belt 13 211 $52,000
    Weyerhaeuser 14 243 $67,500
    Mattoon 15 511 $60,000
    Glidden 16 494 $56,900
    Nichols 17 236 $70,700
    Wheeler 18 341 $83,800
    Westboro 19 184 $109,800
    Gordon 20 228 $112,500
    Lyndon Station 21 491 $84,300
    Dallas 22 409 $76,300
    Wausaukee 23 507 $84,000
    Hancock 24 354 $71,000
    Sheldon 25 231 $76,500
    Conrath 26 117 $82,500
    Humbird 27 219 $68,300
    Radisson 28 183 $48,300
    Aniwa 29 235 $78,000
    Florence 30 537 $77,000
    Bruce 31 753 $80,400
    Packwaukee 32 178 $67,500
    Danbury 33 204 $65,700
    Friendship 34 721 $93,500
    White Lake 35 296 $67,300
    Winter 36 282 $64,500
    Goodman 37 265 $49,400
    Kennan 38 119 $72,900
    Grand Marsh 39 171 $82,800
    Bowler 40 512 $97,500
    Wabeno 41 439 $82,500
    Webster 42 701 $86,000
    Dellwood 43 605 $85,800
    Neshkoro 44 385 $96,100
    Curtiss 45 308 $65,000
    Almond 46 544 $83,000
    Butternut 47 412 $66,100
    Mellen 48 704 $61,200
    Union Center 49 165 $82,300
    Grand View 50 130 $107,100
    Tigerton 51 866 $73,200
    Tony 52 100 $66,700
    Bluffview 53 653 $26,600
    Mount Sterling 54 186 $77,500
    Junction City 55 432 $96,000
    Ontario 56 475 $75,300
    Merrillan 57 651 $92,000
    Chief Lake 58 578 $127,500
    Bell Center 59 113 $74,200
    Avoca 60 600 $65,800
    Prairie Farm 61 473 $90,200
    Owen 62 946 $72,100
    Suring 63 350 $70,800
    Hatfield 64 117 $115,000
    Laona 65 416 $89,200
    Soldiers Grove 66 630 $77,100
    Gilman 67 347 $79,600
    Gresham 68 539 $85,600
    Clayton 69 629 $100,000
    Coloma 70 444 $91,700
    New Post 71 258 $180,000
    Barronett 72 116 $153,100
    Prentice 73 606 $84,100
    Elderon 74 301 $73,300
    Catawba 75 112 $63,600
    Dunbar 76 125 $66,700
    Newald 77 117 $60,000
    South Wayne 78 441 $85,700
    Birchwood 79 433 $106,300
    Siren 80 770 $109,300
    Frederic 81 964 $100,000
    Pound 82 489 $80,900
    Emerald 83 118 $110,000
    Wyeville 84 144 $106,300
    Ogdensburg 85 185 $102,300
    Cable 86 210 $96,400
    Hustler 87 186 $89,200
    Milladore 88 276 $90,700
    Gays Mills 89 530 $86,700
    Arkdale 90 117 $158,900
    Eland 91 215 $85,600
    Ogema 92 143 $80,500
    Wonewoc 93 902 $76,300
    Norwalk 94 632 $84,000
    Springfield 95 201 $93,300
    Lime Ridge 96 181 $100,700
    Kendall 97 522 $92,600
    Wild Rose 98 882 $96,600
    Biron 99 873 $99,000
    Minong 100 435 $84,200

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    19 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Wisconsin For 2018

    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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