The Worst City to Live in Vermont Has Been Revealed

Vermont stands out as a picturesque state, adorned with scenic attractions and charming towns. Nevertheless, not every corner of the Green Mountain State shares equal safety, prosperity, or livability. Based on various social and economic indicators, encompassing crime, poverty, education, and health, one city emerges as Vermont’s least desirable place to reside: Barre.

Barre: The Granite Center of the World

Barre, a petite city in central Vermont near the state capital Montpelier, boasts a population of approximately 8,500 people, according to the 2020 census. Recognized as the “Granite Center of the World,” Barre’s rich history revolves around its granite quarrying and carving industry. The city’s buildings, monuments, and sculptures, crafted from local granite, lend it a distinctive and artistic allure.

However, beneath the stone facade, Barre contends with numerous challenges and predicaments that render it a challenging place to call home for many of its residents.

Elevated Crime Rates

Foremost among Barre’s issues is its heightened crime rate. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, Barre witnessed 57 violent crimes and 166 property crimes in 2020, equating to 6.74 violent crimes and 19.63 property crimes per 1,000 residents. These figures significantly surpass the state averages of 1.76 and 14.35, respectively. Barre also claims the highest crime per square mile in Vermont, with 80 crimes per square mile compared to the state average of 5.

Common crimes in Barre include assault, robbery, burglary, theft, and vandalism. The city grapples with drug abuse and trafficking, particularly involving opioids and methamphetamine, boasting the highest number of opioid-related deaths in the state in 2019, with 13 fatalities.

Limited Income and Heightened Poverty

Another factor contributing to Barre’s diminished quality of life is its meager income and elevated poverty levels. In 2019, Barre reported a median household income of $42,031, significantly lower than the state median of $63,001. The poverty rate in Barre stood at 19.4%, more than double the state rate of 9.1%. A substantial portion of Barre’s children (28%) and seniors (15%) resides below the poverty line.

The decline of the granite industry, once the primary source of employment and income, contributes to Barre’s low income and high poverty rates. Increased competition from cost-effective materials and foreign imports has led to job losses and reduced wages. The city’s failure to diversify its economy exacerbates the challenge of attracting new businesses and industries to stimulate growth and opportunities.

Subpar Education and Health Outcomes

Barre grapples with subpar education and health outcomes, further constraining residents’ prospects and well-being. With only 86.5% of adults holding a high school diploma or higher, and merely 19.9% possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher, the city lags behind state averages of 92.3% and 37.6%, respectively. A high dropout rate of 4.6% in 2019, compared to the state average of 2.3%, exacerbates the educational challenges.

Health-wise, Barre contends with elevated rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, surpassing state averages. Higher rates of smoking, obesity, and substance abuse further contribute to the city’s health concerns. Barre’s lower life expectancy of 77.9 years, compared to the state average of 80.5 years, reflects the overall health disparities. Additionally, the city faces reduced access to healthcare, with fewer doctors, dentists, and mental health providers per capita than the state averages.


Barre boasts a rich history and culture, yet grapples with multifaceted problems that position it as the least favorable place to live in Vermont. Elevated crime rates, meager income, high poverty, inadequate education, and compromised health outcomes underscore the city’s challenges. Addressing these issues is imperative for Barre to enhance its residents’ quality of life, preventing it from trailing behind the rest of the state and the nation.


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