Kentucky boasts numerous attractions like the Kentucky Derby, the Bourbon Trail, and Mammoth Cave National Park. Nevertheless, not all areas in the Bluegrass State offer an equally appealing living experience.
Certain cities exhibit high crime rates, low incomes, subpar education, and limited opportunities. Mayfield emerges as the least desirable city to reside in Kentucky, considering factors like violent and property crimes, cost of living, unemployment, and overall livability.
Mayfield: A Small City with Big Problems
Mayfield is a small city with a population of under 10,000 situated in southwestern Kentucky, close to the Tennessee border. It serves as the county seat of Graves County and acts as the main city within the Mayfield Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Established in 1821, Mayfield derived its name from John Mayfield, a notable local politician. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the city played a significant role in the production and processing of tobacco.
However, the city has faced economic challenges and a decline in the quality of life due to the diminishing tobacco industry and the loss of manufacturing jobs.
Crime: The Most Dangerous City in Kentucky
Living in Mayfield is concerning due to its elevated crime rates. According to the latest FBI crime data, Mayfield is ranked as the most dangerous city in Kentucky. The city has a violent crime rate of 1,224 per 100,000 residents and a property crime rate of 6,778 per 100,000 residents.
These rates are over three times higher than the state averages, which are 383 for violent crimes and 3,732 for property crimes. Mayfield has experienced 118 violent crimes, including 9 murders, 16 rapes, 19 robberies, and 74 aggravated assaults.
The likelihood of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Mayfield is 1 in 15, a significantly high risk compared to other cities in Kentucky and the nation.
Economy: The Lowest Income and the Highest Poverty
Mayfield’s unfavorable economic conditions contribute to its drawbacks as a place to reside. With a median household income of $28,750—less than half of the state median ($61,247) and the national median ($68,703)—the city faces economic challenges.
Moreover, Mayfield’s poverty rate stands at 32.4%, more than double the state rate of 15.3% and the national rate of 10.5%. The city’s unemployment rate is 7.2%, surpassing both the state rate of 5.1% and the national rate of 5.4%.
Limited opportunities for employment, education, and career advancement further compound the issues, given that a significant portion of available jobs falls within low-paying sectors like retail, food services, and healthcare.
Education: The Lowest Attainment and the Worst Performance
Mayfield’s quality of life is adversely impacted by a notable factor: the city’s subpar level of education. The local high school graduation rate stands at 77.6%, falling below both the state average of 88.6% and the national average of 88.7%.
Furthermore, Mayfield reports a college graduation rate of 11.9%, significantly lower than the state’s 25.3% and the national average of 33.1%.
The public school system in the city is grappling with poor performance metrics, including low test scores, graduation rates, and elevated dropout rates.
According to the Kentucky Department of Education, the Mayfield Independent School District exhibits a four-year graduation rate of 75.9%, a 5.2% dropout rate, and proficiency rates of 51.8% in reading and 40.8% in math.
Additionally, the district contends with a notable percentage of economically disadvantaged students, English learners, and those with disabilities.
Livability: The Worst Place to Call Home
Several factors contribute to Mayfield’s poor livability. The city lacks essential amenities such as parks, libraries, museums, and restaurants, which are crucial for enhancing the overall quality of life.
Furthermore, Mayfield exhibits limited diversity, with a predominantly white population and only a small percentage of African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians. The city also struggles with low social capital, evident in low voter turnout, limited civic engagement, and a weak sense of community.
Mayfield faces challenges in health and wellness, with high rates of obesity, diabetes, smoking, and substance abuse. Additionally, the city grapples with poor environmental quality, characterized by high levels of air pollution, water pollution, and noise pollution.
Mayfield faces numerous challenges with limited solutions. The city grapples with issues such as crime, poverty, unemployment, and low education levels. Residents experience a lack of amenities, diversity, social capital, and environmental quality.
Being labeled the worst city to live in Kentucky due to various factors, Mayfield requires immediate attention and intervention. Both state and federal authorities, along with the local community, must collaborate to address these issues and enhance the city’s overall situation and prospects.