Wagswoofs – Arkansas is a state that boasts of a varied topography, a history steeped in culture, and hospitable locals. Nonetheless, not all regions within the state offer a desirable living experience. Certain cities have to contend with issues such as elevated crime rates, a lower standard of living, and restricted economic opportunities. To arrive at the least desirable place to reside in each state, 24/7 Wall St. developed a weighted index consisting of twenty-four social and economic indicators. Sadly, in Arkansas, this title falls upon Helena-West Helena.
What is Helena-West Helena?
Located in the eastern region of Arkansas, Helena-West Helena is a municipality in Phillips County that was formed after the merger of two cities – Helena and West Helena – in 2006. Despite being a smaller city in the state with a population of approximately 10,000 residents, its historical significance as a crucial port and trade center for cotton and a variety of agricultural commodities cannot be overlooked, given its location along the Mississippi River.
Why is Helena-West Helena Deemed the Unfavorable Place to Reside in Arkansas?
Helena-West Helena has earned the unfortunate title of being the least desirable place to reside in Arkansas due to multiple contributing factors. The following are some of the primary reasons for this distinction:
High Crime Rate:
In Helena-West Helena, there is a pressing issue with high crime rates that surpass not only the state but also the nation’s average. Based on the FBI’s 2019 data, the city has reported an alarming 1,590 violent crimes and 3,304 property crimes per 100,000 residents. To put this into perspective, individuals have a 1 in 63 chance of suffering from a violent crime and a 1 in 30 chance of becoming a victim of property crime. Alongside this, the city has also experienced 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 the quality of life. The poverty rate in the city is alarmingly high, standing at 38.4%, which is more than twice the state’s average of 17.2% and significantly higher than the national average of 12.3%. Moreover, the median household income in the city is only $24,441, which is less than half of the state’s median income ($48,952) and well below the national median income ($62,843). Additionally, the city is 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 are facing challenging economic prospects. The city has a low level of educational attainment, as only 14.8% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is significantly lower than the state’s 23.4% and the national rate of 32.1%. Furthermore, job growth has been sluggish, with an employment increase of only 0.2% between 2015 and 2019, compared to the state’s 4.8% and the nation’s 6.3%. Additionally, the median home value in the city is a meager $64,800, which is less than half of the state’s median of $136,200 and a mere fraction of the national median of $240,500.
Helena-West Helena holds the unfortunate designation of being the least desirable place to live in Arkansas. This is largely due to the area’s troubling social and economic indicators. With high crime rates, a low quality of life, and limited economic opportunities, there is much work to be done to improve the city’s overall condition. It is essential to address these challenges if Helena-West Helena hopes to attract both residents and businesses. Without effective solutions, the city will continue to struggle and maintain its unfavorable ranking.
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