Vermont is renowned for its stunning natural scenery, picturesque landscapes, and forward-thinking policies. Nonetheless, not every corner of Vermont can be described as idyllic.
As per a recent study conducted by 24/7 Wall St., there is one city in Vermont that stands out as the least favorable place to reside in the state. This city is Barre, a small urban center located in central Vermont, close to the state capital of Montpelier.
What Makes Barre Vermont’s Worst City to Live in?
The report from 24/7 Wall St. utilized a weighted index comprising twenty-four social and economic metrics to determine the least desirable location in each state.
The assessment encompassed cities, towns, villages, and census-designated places with a population of at least 8,000. Among the six such places in Vermont with adequate data, Barre emerged as the least favorable place to reside. Several factors contributed to Barre’s unfavorable ranking, including:
High Crime Rate
The city’s violent crime rate stands at 6.74 per 1,000 residents, nearly four times the state average and 50% higher than the national average.
Additionally, the property crime rate is 19.63 per 1,000 residents, surpassing both state and national averages. This means residents in Barre are ten times more likely to experience crime compared to the rest of the state.
Low Income and High Poverty
Barre’s median household income is $44,470, which is approximately $20,000 lower than the state median and $25,000 lower than the national median.
The city also grapples with a poverty rate of 18.9%, nearly double that of both the state and national rates. The unemployment rate of 4.3% is also higher than the state and national averages.
Poor Education and Health Outcomes
Barre faces challenges in education, with only 22.5% of adults holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 37.6% in the state and 32.6% nationally.
Furthermore, the city’s life expectancy is 77.9 years, which is 2.5 years lower than the state average and 1.5 years lower than the national average. Barre’s residents also have higher rates of obesity, smoking, and binge drinking compared to state and national averages.
Is There Anything Good About Living in Barre?
Barre, despite its challenges, is not without its merits. Here are some positive aspects that may appeal to certain individuals:
Historical and Cultural Richness
Barre proudly bears the title of “Granite Center of the World,” having been a significant producer and exporter of granite since the 19th century.
The city boasts numerous historic structures and monuments constructed from granite, including the Vermont State House, the Barre Opera House, and the Hope Cemetery. Barre also hosts a lively arts and cultural scene, with its array of festivals, museums, galleries, and theaters.
Barre offers a relatively low cost of living, particularly in terms of housing. The median home value in Barre stands at $147,900, roughly half the state median and 40% lower than the national median.
Similarly, the median rent in Barre is $789, which is below both the state and national averages. The housing market in Barre presents a diverse range of options, from historic homes to contemporary apartments.
Natural Beauty and Recreational Opportunities
Barre is enveloped by the picturesque landscapes of the Green Mountains, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and adventure.
The city boasts several parks, trails, and rivers suitable for activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking. Furthermore, Barre is in close proximity to some of Vermont’s premier ski resorts, including Killington, Sugarbush, and Stowe.
Barre might not be the top choice for living in Vermont, but it’s a place with promise. It boasts a vibrant history, a varied culture, and a beautiful natural setting that could draw in more visitors and residents.
Yet, Barre grapples with significant issues like crime, poverty, and health challenges, which require attention from both city officials and its inhabitants. While it may not currently rank as the best city in Vermont to call home, there’s potential for positive change.