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Ah, the P.A. Where you've got two liberal bookends, and in between, some pretty rural stretches of conservatism. The only place in the country where all the sports teams have the same colors, and where the fans actually know what the heck they're talking about.
And then there's the food and the culture. Plus, Pittsburgh has been named as one of the best cities in the nation many times over now.
Pennsylvania might be one of the most interesting and unique states in the nation.
Is it all good in the Keystone State? Of course not. Just like every other state, PA has its least desirable spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which places are the worst you could possibly live in if you make Pennsylvania your home.
After analyzing 170 of the state's most populous cities (over 5,100 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Pennsylvania:
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we're picking on small town America, that's not the case.
We understand there's a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn't measure things like beauty and 'friendly people'), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Pennsylvania? That would be McKeesport.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Pennsylvania
- Cheapest Places To Live In Pennsylvania
- Most Dangerous Cities In Pennsylvania
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Pennsylvania For 2020
The city of Mckeesport is the worst place you can live in the state of Pennsylvania in 2020.
It's unlucky for Mckeesport, which has the 9th highest unemployment rate (13.1%), the 4th lowest household incomes ($29,312) and the 5th lowest home prices in the state ($46,500).
Basically, a lot of people in Mckeesport are out of work. And crime is certainly a factor here as well. Although it's not one of the most dangerous places we'll look at, it's in the top 20%.
Add it all up, and this is truly one of the worst places you could live in Pennsylvania.
Duquesne places 2nd in our ranking of the worst places to live in Pennsylvania.
You can imagine it's a pretty simple life down there. Which is fine, unless you look closely at the data.
Homes are the 2nd cheapest in the state, and at $39,600, just about anyone with a pulse can buy a home here. However, the unemployment rate (13.6%) is the 6th highest in Pennsylvania, and income levels are far below the state average. And 40.2% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Would you have guessed that the area around Duquesne has one of the highest crime rates, per capita in Pennsylvania?
Chester, PA needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 14.8%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 7th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 29.5 chance of being robbed here every year.
Oh yeah, and they had 22 murders a couple of years back.
Chester is right along the Delaware river, south of Philly. Youse could find a much better place to call home.
Welcome to Johnstown, which might be one of the poorest areas in the state. Residents average $24,294 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 38.7% of Johnstown residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $39,700 and the unemployment rate hovers near 14.2%. According to Wikipedia, several efforts have been made over the years to fix the eroding city, including cleaning up the drug use, as the population is leaving its city limits. The city has seen a 12% decrease in population in the last 10 years.
Johnstown is located two hours east of Pittsburgh on Route 119.
You might have passed through Clairton once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here's what science says about why Clairton needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 15.0%, residents earn about $31,374 a year, and home prices are just over $43,800. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.
And there simply isn't anything to do in Clairton.
Darby's situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.
Darby has the 9th worst crime index of any place in Pennsylvania, and has the 70th lowest income.
If you live in Coatesville, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 22nd highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Pennsylvania. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 44.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 80 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 70 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 50th lowest salaries in Pennsylvania At $39,577 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Reading is one of the poorest cities in the state of Pennsylvania. This city has 15.5% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $30,087 a year.
Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Reading has the 39th highest crime rate in Pennsylvania. While the numbers aren't staggering (Pennsylvania is a relatively safe place when you compare it to the rest of the country), it's still undesirable when you consider that there are far safer (and more stimulating) places to make your home in the Keystone State.
If you live in Pennsylvania, you may or may not be surprised that Connellsville ranked, at least on paper, as the 9th worst place to live in the state. It has the 28th highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 14th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Connellsville is the 73rd most densely populated city in Pennsylvania. Draw your own conclusions.
York needs some tough love as it ranks as the 10th worst city to live in Pennsylvania for 2020.
Crime in York is the 24th highest in the state, where 1 in 38.7 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Additionally, the income is almost dead last in Pennsylvania.
If commute time is important, York residents have the 110th longest commute of any residents on our list.
How we determined the worst places to live in Pennsylvania for 2020
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We don't think it's a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight -- if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered -- leaving 170 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 170 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one "Worst Place To Live Score".
Finally, we ranked every city on the "Worst Place To Live Score" with the lowest score being the worst city in Pennsylvania -- McKeesport. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Pennsylvania. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Pennsylvania
If you're looking at areas in Pennsylvania with the worst economic situations, where there's higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Mckeesport ranks as the worst city to live in Pennsylvania for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Pennsylvania:
- Conshohocken (Pop. 8,010)
- Bellefonte (Pop. 6,289)
- Camp Hill (Pop. 7,911)
For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Pennsylvania
- Richest Cities In Pennsylvania
- Safest Places In Pennsylvania
- Best Cities For Singles In Pennsylvania
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Pennsylvania?