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 5,000 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 2019.
For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Pennsylvania
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Pennsylvania
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Pennsylvania
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Pennsylvania For 2019
Mckeesport, part of Allegheny County, is the 1st worst place to live in Pennsylvania for 2019.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $28,750, and crime 9th worst in Pennsylvania.
Additionally, the poverty level is 33.1% in Mckeesport.
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Duquesne ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 2nd cheapest in the state here at $37,800. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Duquesne.
The median income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the state of Pennsylvania, at $24,390. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 19.2% of people in Duquesne were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
Chester, PA needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 18.1%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 10th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 30.4 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.
We’re seeing a pattern here. A small, isolated city with a bad economy. Clairton is located in Allegheny County.
Here, the schools are way underfunded, when you compare them to the rest of Pennsylvania. Families can barely make ends meet, and the unemployment rate (15.7%) is the 6th highest in the state. A home here sells for $45,700, on average. That signals it’s not a desirable place to live.
Plus, crime is in the top 10%.
Tamaqua is another coal mining town in this same region of the state (south of Hazleton).
Here, homes are priced at $60,300, and residents earn around $33,545 a year, combined. Crime and education aren’t horrible, but they’re not great, either.
At least they have a Wawa within an hour distance in any direction.
Darby, PA needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.
Additionally, crime is 8th worst in the state, which is very high considering Darby is so far removed from the rest of Pennsylvania.
If you know anyone in Darby, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
Welcome to Johnstown, which might be one of the poorest areas in the state. Residents average $23,636 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 37.9% of Johnstown residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $41,500 and the unemployment rate hovers near 16.1%. 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.
Reading ranks as the 8th worst place to live in Pennsylvania for 2019.
The issues Reading has is with its local economy. The unemployment rate is the 3rd highest in Pennsylvania (16.9%), and as you might expect, the household salaries and home prices are both towards the bottom of Pennsylvania.
If you live in Philadelphia, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 9th worst place to live in the state.
You’ve got the 23rd highest crime rate in Pennsylvania, which saw 14,930 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 32.5 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 105 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Philadelphia.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Philadelphia sports the state’s 17th highest unemployment rate (11.3%), and families bring in a combined $40,649 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $151,500.
Sure, it’s in a beautiful area, and there’s lots of culture, especially in terms of music. But, if you’re measuring desirability, it’s the 10th worst in Pennsylvania.
Mckees Rocks residents had a 1 in 18.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Mckees Rocks is through the roof, as more than 7.1% of the population can’t get a job. At least their mortgages aren’t too high; at $39,600, Mckees Rocks has the 3rd-lowest home prices in the state of Pennsylvania.
How we determined the worst places to live in Pennsylvania for 2019
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.
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 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Pennsylvania:
- Lititz (Pop. 9,269)
- Conshohocken (Pop. 7,985)
- Camp Hill (Pop. 7,906)
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