Video Claims One of the Worst Western Cities in America is Minutes from Boise
“The people of Idaho hate this place.”
That’s a direct quote from a video titled “These Are THE Worst Western Cities, According to the People That Live There” that’s making its way around YouTube. Produced by “Stuck in the Kernfield,” the video dies a deep dive to find out which cities people detest in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and of course, Idaho.
While introducing the video, the host says:
“Sometimes that community is hated for a good reason. Maybe it's a lack of opportunities. Maybe it's a violent town. Maybe it's just boring.”
Throughout the video, the host shares a whole bunch of statistics from crime and unemployment rates to median household income and percent of the population living below the poverty line. She also pulled up local news stories and resident reviews from Niche.com to support the numbers. It seemed really well researched and you could tell she put a lot of time into putting together a convincing argument for why each city was “the worst.”
The choice for Idaho doesn’t appear until nine and a half minutes into the video, so we grabbed some popcorn and sat through a handful of other “worst western cites” including:
10 Worst Western Towns in America According to "Stuck in the Kernfield"
Based on the resident reviews, most of these places sound downright awful. We were, however, surprised to see Provo on the list. As proud Boise State fans, our main problem with Provo is BYU. Not the institution itself. It’s the fact that they embarrassed us 51-17 on The Blue back in 2020. That one is always going to sting. But otherwise? Provo’s pretty nice. We can’t deny that it lacks diversity (but hey, so does Boise) but it’s clean and relatively safe.
So, seeing Provo on the list made us nervous to see who “Stuck in the Kernfield” picked for Idaho. Needless to say, we were FURIOUS when we saw the pick.
Caldwell?! How dare they besmirch Caldwell’s name like that? Caldwell has put SO much work into revitalizing their city and it paid off exactly the way they hoped it would. Indian Creek Plaza quickly became one of the most popular gathering places for live music and events in the Treasure Valley. More and more local businesses want to open their next location in Downtown Caldwell because of those improvements. The revitalization may not be moving fast enough for everyone, but each piece of it proves to be worth the time it takes to complete it.
Plus, Caldwell’s been home to some of the best wineries in the state for decades and hosts some incredible community events like the Caldwell Night Rodeo and Treasure Valley Nightlight parade. There’s no way that it’s one of the worst cities in the country. No way!
So how did Caldwell end up on “Stuck in the Kernfield’s” radar? It appears we weren’t the only people skeptical about this list. One commenter said “This is a weirdly selective list, considering how many worse places there are. For example, all the problems you listed for Salem (homelessness, violent crime, property crime) are much worse in Portland.”
“Stuck in the Kernfield” replied:
“Right? I'm guessing that most of the people who responded to the survey actually lived in Portland, and they didn't want to pick their own city. But that's just a theory.”
We’re not sure who the “survey” was distributed to, but it appears that the YouTube channel pulled data for the city with the most votes. Their statistical data for Caldwell was accurate. The crime statistics they pulled were from the FBI’s Crime in America Report from 2019. They cited that Caldwell’s crime rates were 53% higher than the state average BUT what they didn’t tell you is that there are other cities in the Treasure Valley that had higher crime numbers than Caldwell. For 2019, Caldwell ranked #8 for violent crime rates. Emmett was #6. Mountain Home was #5. Garden City was #1. When it came to property crime? Caldwell was #9, Nampa was #8 and Garden City was #4.
The median household income and percent of people living in poverty numbers they pulled came from the most recent American Community Survey data available through the Census Bureau. Yes, Caldwell’s median household income of $55,059 is about $10,000 lower than the national average BUT what they didn’t tell you is that there are 21 other major Idaho cities with even lower wages, including Emmett and Mountain Home.
Yes, 13.7% of Caldwell’s population lives below the poverty line BUT that ranks them #15 for the most people in poverty. It’s worse in Mountain Home (13.8%,) Nampa (13.9%) and Emmett (21.1%.)
We also find it ironic that the segment began with the words “The people of Idaho hate this place” but they proceeded to use images from packed events at Indian Creek Plaza like the Indian Creek Festival, Tuesdays on the Creek, Farm to Fork Farmers Market and Winter Wonderland light display. The images alone disprove that very inaccurate statement about Caldwell.
Grr. This video upset us. Don’t worry, Caldwell. We got your back. We know how truly cool you are. We mean, just look how far you’ve come!