Arkansas is known for its varied terrain, vibrant culture, and welcoming locals. However, some regions in the state are not suitable for living due to factors such as high crime rates, limited economic opportunities, and poor quality of life. To identify the least desirable place to reside in Arkansas, 24/7 Wall St. used a weighted index that considered twenty-four social and economic indicators. Unfortunately, Helena-West Helena emerged as the least desirable place to live in the state.
What is Helena-West Helena?
Located in the eastern region of Arkansas, Helena-West Helena is a municipality in Phillips County that came into being in 2006 through the merger of two cities, Helena and West Helena. With a population of around 10,000 residents, it is one of the smaller cities in the state. Its historical significance as a crucial port and trade center for cotton and other agricultural commodities is highlighted by its position along the Mississippi River.
Why is Helena-West Helena Deemed the Unfavorable Place to Reside in Arkansas?
Helena-West Helena has been labeled as the least desirable place to live in Arkansas due to various contributing factors. These primary reasons include:
High Crime Rate:
In Helena-West Helena, the community struggles to combat one of the highest crime rates not only in the state, but in the entire nation as well. According to FBI data from 2019, the city reported 1,590 violent crimes and 3,304 property crimes per 100,000 residents. This means that residents face a 1 in 63 chance of experiencing a violent crime and a 1 in 30 chance of falling victim to property crime. The city also has a high murder rate, with 18 homicides reported in the same year.
Low Quality of Life:
Helena-West Helena is lagging behind other cities in Arkansas and the national average when it comes to quality of life. The city has a poverty rate of 38.4%, which is more than double the state’s average of 17.2% and significantly higher than the national average of 12.3%. In addition, the median household income in the city is a meager $24,441, which is less than half of the state’s median of $48,952 and well below the national median of $62,843. The city is also grappling with a high unemployment rate of 9.4%, which is almost double the state’s rate of 5% and the national rate of 4.9%.
Limited Economic Opportunities:
Residents of Helena-West Helena face a challenging economic outlook. The city falls short in terms of educational achievement, with only 14.8% of adults possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the state’s 23.4% and the country’s 32.1%. Job opportunities are scarce, with employment rates increasing by just 0.2% between 2015 and 2019. This figure is significantly lower than the state’s 4.8% and the nation’s 6.3% growth rates during the same period. Additionally, the median home value in the area is a mere $64,800, which is less than half of the state’s median value of $136,200 and only a fraction of the national median value of $240,500.
According to recent reports, Helena-West Helena tops the list of the least desirable places to live in Arkansas. The city’s numerous social and economic challenges make it an unfavorable place to reside in. It is plagued by high crime rates, a low standard of living, and limited economic prospects, creating a challenging environment for its inhabitants. To improve its overall state and attract more residents and businesses, the city must address these issues promptly. Until these concerns are adequately resolved, Helena-West Helena will continue to hold the unfortunate distinction of being the least desirable place to live in Arkansas.
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