With its stunning landscapes, vibrant cultural heritage, and welcoming locals, Arkansas is a state that has a lot to offer. Nonetheless, there are certain areas within it that can be less than ideal for living. These cities may suffer from high crime rates, limited economic opportunities, and a lower quality of life. To determine the least desirable place to live in Arkansas, 24/7 Wall St. used a weighted index that takes into account twenty-four social and economic metrics. Unfortunately, the index identified Helena-West Helena as the least desirable place to reside 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 emerged from the merger of two cities: Helena and West Helena, in 2006. Although it is one of the smaller cities in the state, with a population of around 10,000 residents, its historical significance as a pivotal port and trade center for cotton and other agricultural commodities cannot be overlooked, owing to its location 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, and this is due to several contributing factors. Some of the primary reasons include:
High Crime Rate:
Helena-West Helena is facing a major challenge of having one of the highest crime rates in both the state and the country. As per the FBI data of 2019, the city recorded 1,590 violent crimes and 3,304 property crimes per 100,000 residents. This means that the probability of experiencing a violent crime is 1 in 63, while there is a 1 in 30 chance of becoming a victim of property crime. Additionally, the city is also struggling with a high number of homicides, with 18 cases reported in the same year.
Low Quality of Life:
Helena-West Helena has a poor quality of life compared to other Arkansas cities and the national average. The city’s poverty rate is a staggering 38.4%, which is more than double the state’s average of 17.2% and significantly higher than the national average of 12.3%. Additionally, the median household income in the city is only $24,441, less than half of the state’s median income of $48,952 and well below the national median income of $62,843. The city also experiences 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:
Helena-West Helena’s residents are facing a grim economic future. The city’s educational attainment rate is low, with only 14.8% of adults holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the state’s 23.4% and the nation’s 32.1%. The growth of job opportunities is sluggish, with employment increasing by only 0.2% between 2015 and 2019, while the state saw a 4.8% growth and the nation, 6.3%. Moreover, the median home value in the city is a paltry $64,800, less than half of the state median ($136,200), and a fraction of the national median ($240,500).
According to recent data, Helena-West Helena has been labeled as the least desirable place to live in Arkansas. This is predominantly due to concerning social and economic indicators that the city faces. Residents must contend with substantial crime rates, a low quality of life, and limited economic opportunities. To improve the overall condition of the city and attract both people and businesses, it is crucial that these challenges be addressed. Until effective solutions to these issues are found, Helena-West Helena will unfortunately continue to hold the title of the least favorable place to live in Arkansas.
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