These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Louisiana

We used scientific data to determine which places in the Bayou State are the real pits.

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People who live in Louisiana are darn proud of it. There’s a certain grit that comes with living in the Bayou State. A little bit of toughness and ruggedness mixed in with a lot of culture. More culture than most Americans have seen, actually.

But, just like every other state in the U.S., Louisiana comes with some baggage. There are some pretty rough spots there, and the purpose of this post is to identify exactly which places stand out as being the least desirable, at least according to science.

After analyzing all 109 cities with a population of 5,000 or more, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Louisiana:

  1. Ponchatoula
  2. Ville Platte
  3. Rayne
  4. Bogalusa
  5. Marksville
  6. Hammond
  7. Bastrop
  8. Tallulah
  9. Mansfield
  10. Franklin

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked.


How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?

In order to rank the worst places to live in Louisiana, 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, great weather, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, found the opposite of those, 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 government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The lower the worse)
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • High Housing Vacancy Rate
  • Education (Low expenditures per student and low Student Teacher Ratio)
  • Long Commute Times
  • High Crime
  • The Worst Weather

We also didn’t include towns with tiny populations. It wouldn’t make sense to compare little places with 45 people in the same category as New Orleans.

If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, from worst to best, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the abridged chart.

1. Ponchatoula

Source: Google Maps

Population: 6,577
Education spending: 6th worst in the state
Household income: $34,487
Crime: 13th worst in Louisiana

It sounds a little mean to say it, but, according to the data, Ponchatoula is, by far, the worst place in the state of Louisiana. Students get almost the least amount of attention here, nearly 1 in 6 homes are vacant, and the household income levels are by far lower than other cities in the state.

Plus, the unemployment rate is 5% – higher than most of the rest of the state (but actually not that bad, statistically, if you measure it against the rest of America, which is at 6%).

Actually, if you measure the employment numbers here, Louisiana residents are employed far more than the national average. Which is nice.

Ponchatoula is located in I-12, 45 minutes east of Baton Rouge.

2. Ville Platte

Source: Google Maps

Population: 7,464
Crime: 10th worst in Louisiana
Household income: $21,176
Commute time: 10th worst in the state

Ville Platte, the parish seat of Evangeline Parish, is out in the middle of nowhere north of Lafayette. Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year than any other residents in the state, and crime is sky high.

Additionally, 17% of the homes here are vacant.

3. Rayne

Source: Google Maps

Population: 7,972
School expenditure: 11th lowest in the state
Household income: $30,996
Crime: 3rd worst in Louisiana for cities above 5,000

Crime is sky high here in Rayne, the ‘frog capital of the world’. Located in Acadia Parish on I-10 west of Lafayette, schools are underfunded, in respect to the rest of Louisiana, and residents earn a paltry annual salary.

On a positive note, a 3.9% unemployment rate is almost the lowest in Louisiana. That’s good.

4. Bogalusa

Source: Google Maps

Population: 12,254
Household income: $25,315
Crime: 7th highest in the state
Unemployment rate: 6%

Bogalusa has some issues for sure. Crime levels are very bad, in comparison to the rest of Louisiana, and residents earn one of the lowest annual salaries in the state. The unemployment rate is on par with the national average, but a lot higher than in other cities in Louisiana.

Bogalusa, in Washington Parish near the Mississippi state line, has seen its population shrink almost 9% in the last 15 years.

5. Marksville

Source: Google Maps

Population: 5,679
Education spending: 3rd worst in the state
Weather: 3rd worst in Louisiana
Population density: 9th lowest

Marksville is located about a half mile down a country round, south of Alexandria. There’s not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it’s not a place you might want to move to.

Weather factors include rainy days, amount of sunshine and humidity.

6. Hammond

Source: Google Maps

Population: 19,996
Crime: 2nd worst in Louisiana
Education spending: 6th lowest in the state
Household income: $31,406

Crime is just bad in this part of the state. Hammond, right next door to the worst place to live, Ponchatoula, has the 2nd highest number of crimes per capita in the entire state.

When you factor in low salaries and an underfunded education system, there are certainly some issues to address here.

Hammond is by far the largest city at the top of this worst ranking in Louisiana.

7. Bastrop

Source: Flickr user J. Stephen Conn

Population: 11,348
House vacancy rate: 20%
Unemployment rate: 3rd worst in Louisiana
Median income: $23,188

Bastrop is out in the boonies in the northeastern part of the state. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely. An astounding 1 in 5 homes is vacant here.

Additionally, crime is 5th worst in the state, which is very high considering Bastrop is so far removed from the rest of Louisiana.

8. Tallulah

Source: Flickr user Mark Wyatt

Population: 7,378
Unemployment rate: 2nd worst in Louisiana
Household income: $24,704

Tallulah has lost 14% of its already small population since 2000, and there may be some reasons why when you consider the sky-high unemployment rate and measly salaries here. Additionally, crime is above average.

On the bright side, residents have the 2nd best commute times in the state. If they can get a job, that is.

Tallulah is on I-20 on the eastern side of the state.

9. Mansfield

Samford University. Source: Google Maps

Population: 5,061
Crime: 6th highest in Louisiana
Household income: 3rd lowest in the entire state
Population density: 3rd lowest

Tiny Mansfield can’t help that it’s out in the middle of nowhere and that there’s nothing to do there except outdoor activities. But it has a very high crime rate, and residents earn only $23,000 a year.

On a positive note, Mansfield schools spend far much more on their students than any other city in Louisiana. Perhaps the upcoming generation can institute some change here.

10. Franklin

Source: Flickr user bugflickr

Population: 7,638
Crime: 14th highest in Louisiana
Household income: 15th lowest

While crime is abnormally high and residents expect to make far less than their Louisiana neighbors, Franklin has one thing going for it: Scientifically, it has the best weather in the state.

Franklin is on Route 90 halfway between New Orleans and Lafayette.

There You Have It

Turns out, most of the worst places to live are small places out in the middle of nowhere. Places with high crime and unemployed, underpaid people. New Orleans, or any of its surrounding areas was anywhere near the top of this list.

Here’s a complete chart to the data (chart coming). Worst starts from bottom to top. Here’s how larger cities in Louisiana ranked:

29. Lafayette
52. Baton Rouge
62. Shreveport
73. New Orleans

If you’re curious enough, here are the best places to live in Louisiana, according to science. Our complete list is here: HomeSnacks Best Places in Louisiana

  1. Youngsville (Pop. 8,172)
  2. Shenandoah (Pop. 18,774)
  3. Prairieville (Pop. 27,447)
  4. Metairie (Pop. 138,369)
  5. Estelle (Pop. 17,074)

About Nick Johnson

Nick has been working and writing about real estate for almost ten years. He's written about everything from the best places to live to the most boring places to live.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 140,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

24 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Louisiana

  1. Silly, senseless report. Quality of life and happiness can’t be measured using such data. Why go for the worst anyway? We have enough negative thinking already. How about looking for some positive aspects?

  2. You must have NEVER been to Ponchatoula, La.
    I am a Real Estate Agent in Tangipahoa area.
    Clients ask for Ponchatoula for the Schools. Vacant houses NO. In fact it is hard to find a vacant house to rent let alone purchase. Ponchatoula has lots of antique Dealers with quaint shops. It is also the strawberry Capital of Louisiana with the Strawberry festival in May. We count ourselves blessed to live close to this jewel of a city.

  3. Born and lived my entire life in Rayne and won’t have it any other way. Our citizens love our town and get praise from visitors who stop by our office on a constant basis. Why don’t you come by our town and visit — get out from behind that computer with your so-called stats. You probably want to visit on a weekend since our unemployment rate is so low, we will probably be working during the week days. Also, could you have taken our main street instead of a parking lot — cheap shot. have a beautiful boulevard and traditional downtown area…take your pick.

  4. You have never been to Louisiana.. Franklin.. please give me a break.. I loved the living in Franklin and miss it terribly.. don’t know where you obtained you data info but it sure isn’t reliable

    1. I also used to live in Franklin and I loved it! I now live in Baton Rouge and the crime rate is much higher here then in Franklin

  5. I’m from Ponchatoula, La. and I have to say this sounds about right. I moved almost 3 years ago and haven’t looked back.

  6. I live in Hammond apartment and I love da Hammond toula natalbany tickfaw etc area I love how ponchatoula has a good strawberry festival and has a gator in middle of town no udda city I heard of besides toula has live animal in middle of town

  7. And where would Opelousas rank? Because anyone who’s been to Opelousas, KNOWS this town is absolute sh*t! High crime,high drug usage,and just plain old nasty,trashy ppl! =/

  8. Like most that have commented. I have lived here all my life and would live no where else. Not sure where you got your information from but you need to research it again! Oh and btw I make more money then you will ever make. Add that to your survey.

  9. This is absolutely the worst journalistic piece of garbage I have ever read. I wonder if the author even took the time to visit each of these places or if they ever took a statistics course in their life or understand demographics. I study demographics and sell commercial real estate for a living and I am sure that Walmart and all of the bustling retailers choosing to locate in these areas are little more educated than the folks writing this article. I’m sure they at least visit the area before making major decisions such as writing an article (to post on social media.) These are all beautiful towns, especially Ponchatoula! (which has the best education and highest rated public schools by the way) The “facts” in this article are ALL wrong. The “author” of this article is a loser.

    1. I sell commercial real estate as well and could not agree more. This article should never have been written and should be retracted. Why would this even be written?

  10. This is not even a complete list….if your gonna list the best\worst places in Louisiana to live you should include every city not just pick and choose the ones you want to include

  11. Dude, do your research! Lake Providence has been named more than once as the poorest place in America! AMERICA! And it isn’t on this list anywhere! But it is a great place to live with a beautiful community so I can see why it didn’t make you list.

  12. Marksville is much further than “half a mile down a country road” from Alexandria. I stopped reading at that obvious and easy to fact check error.

  13. Some of us love living in the boonies. If you see someone coming they are coming to visit. As for crime we have a couple of BBBIIIGGGG dogs. Don’t won’t no part of town……

  14. As someone who respects logic and statistics, I can understand the mechanics involved in the selection. However, as a lifelong Louisiana resident, I absolutely take issue with Rayne, Pontchatoula, Hammond, and Franklin being on the list. They are all wonderful cities with great locals and special festivals. The only reason that the crime rate is higher in Pontchatoula and Hammond is because Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and much of the criminal element was relocated. It’s funny that a last year a list of the 10 happiest cities in the entire US was published and the 6 of them were in

  15. I was raised in Rayne and left 22 yrs ago and thinking about moving bk I went visit 3weeks ago and I was disappointed by how parts of the city looked too many abandoned houses and too many junked up yards, I think city officials should address that,However people are still the same ,smiling faces,hospitality, friendly,caring and helpful.. which is what I remember about Rayne and is much more then I can say about the city I have been in for the past 22yrs….Omw bk to Rayne

  16. Let’s not get bent out of shape people. The purpose of this article is to make us realize that laughter is the best medicine.

  17. My husband, Bryan KEITH Newton….is from Delhi…lived in Tallulah. (SP)…I love both places….We lived in Shreveport for 2 years…because of his Job….we met in Beaufort SC…and of course…that is where we came back to….I also think the article is wrong….there r jobs…if u really want to work.

  18. You claim you used scientific data. Can you list your sources? I see absolutely no sources listed here so I’m doubtful of this data.

  19. One of the things they used was “education”. Did they look at something important like graduation rates or student test scores? No. They used the most obvious measure (note dripping sarcasm) of a quality education: money spent.

    The only thing that was “proved” by this “study” was that you can “prove” almost anything if you get to make up the criteria.

    Don’t believe me? What if I told you that not only does water cause pregnancy, but that it is also the primary cause of death worldwide?

    You doubt? Show me one woman EVER that got pregnant that didn’t drink water! AND (excluding those currently alive) show me one person that drank water that didn’t die!

    You have to believe me. It’s “science”.

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