Article Claims Merrill is the Worst Place to Live in Wisconsin

An online article is creating social media buzz with a list of the least desirable places to live in the state. Among the places to make the top ten worst to live, four are in the NewsChannel 7 viewing area, including the city that wins the top spot.

If you ask people who live in Merrill one of the reasons why they like to call the city home, things likes parks and a small town feel are most likely among the answers, but in a recent survey by Merrill is listed as the number one worst place to live in the Badger State.

The article based their numbers on data from population density, unemployment, education and crime.

"Everyone just thinks it's kind of ridiculous," said Merrill resident Hollie Haskins.

It's creating some buzz on social media.

"I actually saw it on Facebook. A lot of my friends were talking about it at work," added Haskins.

Haskins grew up in Merrill, and she says despite the article giving the thumbs down on the city, that's not how she feels about her hometown.

"It's a nice place to live. I feel like there's at least a lot of outdoor things to do here. There's a lot of small shops, I mean, we have small ice cream shops, we have little shopping outlets. There's a lot of things to do here."

City Administrator Dave Johnson agrees.

"I came here by choice. I wanted a small city. I wanted a home town feeling. It was the kind of place that I wanted to raise my daughter, my wife and I wanted to raise our daughter," said Johnson.

Johnson added there's a lot of points in the article that unfairly critique Merrill, such as a low population and the low cost of housing.

"There are many other things that we don't have here that these supposedly more live-able cities do have. They have traffic jams. They have crowding. They have violent crime that we don't have. These are all things that we live here not to have," Johnson explained.

Johnson said that data collected on sites such as this one should be taken with a grain of salt.

"Why are they out there? What are they trying to do, and are they truly factual?" said Johnson. "And they refer to their site as science. I would state that it is not science, but people need to decide that for themselves."

Others on the list include Rhinelander with number two spot, number six is Wisconsin Rapids, and Antigo comes in at number nine.