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The 20 Worst Places to Live in Virginia

The state of Virginia is home to some beautiful cities and towns. There is a good mixture of wealthy and middle-class neighborhoods, but there are some areas that do not offer the amenities or comforts that are required for a good livability score.

The cities can differ like night and day. Some of them are places that are not good places to live because of high crime rates, a high cost of living, poor housing, bad public schools, and other negative factors.

Some of these towns and cities have a few things going for them, but not enough to make it worth your time to live there. Here are the 20 worst places to live in Virginia.

20. South Boston, Virginia

According to Richmond Alarm, South Boston is a town in Virginia with a population of just over 8,000 residents. There are better places to live because of the high crime rates reported by law enforcement. South Boston is a small town that isn't far from a few of the larger cities, which means that there are some great amenities within driving distance.

It is also a charming town with a rich history, however, residents have a 1 in 215 chance of becoming the victim of a violent crime. The odds of becoming the victim of a property crime are even higher with a 1 in 24 likelihood. It's a small town with 467 violent crimes. These include 202 robberies and 252 robberies. More than 3,300 property crimes were recorded.

19. Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk is one of the more popular cities in Virginia because of the creature comforts available in the city. For many, it is known as the favorite place to be with its 114 miles of oceanfront property, dining, shopping, and recreational opportunities.

It can be a fun place to live, but if you're considering a move to a fun city, there are a few things that you should take into consideration first. In Norfolk, residents have a 1 in 180 likelihood of becoming a violent crime victim.

There were 14.7 murders, 151 robberies, and 334 aggravated assaults committed in 12 months. The odds are 1 in 27 that you'll become a property crime victim with its 471 robberies, 2,984 thefts, and 292 car thefts. Crime is running rampant in the city, which makes it a dangerous place to live.

18. Petersburg, Virginia

Petersburg is a beautiful city that is set against the James River near the Appomattox River. The surroundings are breathtaking. The area has a peaceful and serene vibe. The economy in the city is also doing well.

Small businesses are on the rise and doing well, and there are plenty of jobs available. Shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities also get a high score. The problem with Petersburg is that it has a high rate of violent and property crimes.

The odds of becoming a victim of violence are 1 in 126. The likelihood of becoming a property crime victim is 1 in 30. It's just not worth the stress of worrying about your safety or having your belongings stolen for the lovely scenery.

17. Marion, Virginia

Marion is a unique city that truly has a lot going for it. It's known as a "cool" place to live with a historic district and lovely old homes, plenty of outdoor recreation areas, and tons of artisan shops.

There is a lot to do and it's a beautiful city, but all of this is overshadowed by its failing safety ratings. Residents of Marion have a 1 in 22 chance of becoming the victim of some kind of crime. The odds are 1 in 292 of having a violent encounter and 1 in 24 that you'll be a property crime victim.

16. Emporia, Virginia

Emporia is a small town that is known for its fun and exciting festivals and events. They're held throughout the year, which makes it a town that is often visited by out of town attendees.

It's also the home of the Virginia Peanut Festival, the Great Peanut Tour, and the Virginia Pork Festival, but the town that is only 8 miles from the state line between Virginia and North Carolina has a problem with criminal activity. You have a 1 in 22 risk of becoming the victim of a crime in this city. The odds for violent crime are 1 in 237 and risks for property crime are 1 in 24.

15. Portsmouth, Virginia

Portsmouth is a city that has a mixed reputation There are parts of this historic region that are lovely and safe to occupy. The best rea is the historic Olde Towne, but there is another part of town that is the opposite.

The Newtown neighborhood brings down the attractiveness of the city quickly. The chance of becoming a violent crime victim are 1 in 1141. 1 in 18 residents become victims of property crime and your odds of having any crime committed against you are 1 in 16.

14. Franklin, Virginia

Road Snacks lists Franklin as one of the worst places to live in Virginia for a few good reasons. The first is that the median home value is just $164,100. The town of just 8,147 residents has an unemployment rate of a whopping 13.6 percent, which is shocking.

To make matters worse, the median household income is only $40,417 a year. The poverty rates are 14.7 percent. The odds of getting robbed are 1 in 27, which is the icing on the cake. there aren't many reasons to move to this city.

13. Roanoke, Virginia

Roanoke is a fairly large city with a population of 99,229 residents. Although there are more jobs available in Roanoke than in most of our other worst cities, it has some other things pulling it down in desirability. The unemployment rate of 6.3 percent isn't low, but the median home value of $135,100 is pretty bad.

This suggests that homes are not in demand because people don't really want to live there anymore. There were 386 violent crimes committed in the city which makes it a dangerous place to live. Among these crimes were rape and murder. The odds of being robbed are 1 in 22.5. It's also tough to get by with an average family income of only $44,230 a year. You might be able to get a job, but it's not likely to pay much.

12. Danville, Virginia

Danville is a beautiful city with a moderate population of 41,070 residents. The surroundings are breathtaking, but this doesn't make up for the fact that it's hard to make ends meet in this city.

The unemployment rate is 8.5 percent. Those who do find work are usually underpaid with a median household income of just $37,203 per year. The median home value is the fourth-worst in the state at just $90,500.

11. Martinsville, Virginia

Martinsville is a small town with a population of just 12,852 residents. The unemployment rate is 6 percent, which isn't the worst. The average family income is $34,371 a year.

This is the combined income of all family members working in the household. This tells us that Martinsville has a severe poverty problem. The median home value is the third-worst in the state at just $87,700. There are much better cities to choose to settle into than Martinsville.

10. Richlands, Virginia

Richlands is a small town with just 5,368 residents. The city is in a beautiful location in the mountains off Route 460. Although it's a picturesque town, there are a few things that make it a good place to avoid if you're looking to settle down.

The unemployment rate is 8.1 percent, which is remarkably high. The public schools have a funding problem that brings down their approval ratings, and the income levels are very low for families.

The median home value is the second-worst in the state at just $84,600.There isn't much demand for housing in the town because most people have no good reasons for wanting to move here.

9. Galax, Virginia

Galax is a town that is known for being an important place for travelers. It serves as the gateway for entering the Blueridge Mountains. The town is small but it does have a few things going for it including the beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities, but this is where its attraction ends. The crime rates are so high in this small town that you have a 1 in 25 chance of becoming the victim of a crime.

There aren't a lot of good places to shop or eat out either. Unless you're an outdoor enthusiast you might find it boring. Low wages may be to blame for high crime rates.

8. Lynchburg, Virginia

Road Snacks lists the city of Lynchburg as one of the most ghetto cities in the state of Virginia. It's the 23rd worst in the state for criminal activity, but this isn't the worst of it. The dropout rate for students is 20 percent.

The median household income is a shocking $37,405. Another negative for Lynchburg is the high poverty rate. Over 27 percent of the children of this city live below the poverty line while the state average is just 14 percent. Most jobs are blue-collar level, and educated people tend to leave the area to find better opportunities.

7. Bristol, Virginia

Bristol is a city that has its own share of miseries. It's worse than Lynchburg when it comes to being ghetto. The crime rate is the 31st worst in the state, but that isn't what put it on our list. It's the high drop out rate of 28 percent for high school students.

On top of that, the annual household income averages a mere $30,646 per year. That's not enough for the average family to live on. The poverty levels are insanely high in this city. It's a wonder that the crime rates aren't higher.

6. Hopewell, Virginia

Hopewell is a small town not far from Richmond or Petersburg. Although Hopewell is a small town, it has been rated as one of Virginia's most dangerous cities. There is a 1 in 30 chance of becoming a violent crime victim.

The combined annual household income averages a low $37,028, but the student drop out rate of 30 percent is just too much to take. It's not the place to raise your kids.

5. Bedford, Virginia

Zippia warns single women that five cities are deplorable in the way that women are treated in the job market ( They start the list with Bedford. It's the fifth-worst city to live in for single women and here's why. A woman makes just $0.56 on the dollar for what men earn for comparable jobs.

There is only 39.2 percent of women in management positions in the workforce. The poverty rate for single women in Bedford is 29.9 percent, which is nearly one-third of all single women living there, and 12 percent of them are uninsured.

4. Bellwood, Virginia

Women in Bellwood fared a little worse than those in Bedford. Compared to the dollar that a man makes, women earn $0.66. There is only 36.8 percent of women in management. The really shocking part is that 17 percent of single women are uninsured and a whopping 28.7 percent of single women live in poverty.

3. Harrisonburg, Virginia

Single ladies in Harrisonburg represent 41.1 percent of the management workforce, which is better than some of the other cities. The problem is that for every dollar a man earns for comparable work, a woman earns just $0.51. On top of that 13.6 percent of single women are uninsured and 30.3 percent of them live below the poverty line.

2. Wyethville, Virginia

Wytheville is another city in Virginia that isn't great for single women. Ladies earn $0.59 on the dollar compared to male wagers. Single women are uninsured at a rate of 9.8 percent and 26.4 percent of them live in poverty. The worst statistic for this city shows that only 11.7 percent of the management workforce is made up of females.

1. Yorkshire, Virginia

In Yorkshire, women earn an average of $0.66 on the dollar compared to male wages. There are only 26.5 percent of females in management in the Yorkshire workforce. Single women live in poverty at a rate of 18.9 percent and 20.5 percent of single women in this city are uninsured.

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Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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