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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 unemployment rate in Mckeesport is a sky high 13.1%, which is the 9th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Mckeesport is $29,312. That means 32.9% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn't horrible here, but you have a 1 in 38.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within city limits every year.
Duquesne is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $39,600. That means it ranks as the 2nd lowest in Pennsylvania.
You can make a case that based on the fact that Duquesne has no real indoor entertainment, and crime is the 17th worst in the state, it's one of the worst places you can live 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.
Clairton is just a tiny place in the middle of nowhere where people have a hard time making ends meet. Folks here earn barely more than $31,374 a year, which is barely over the poverty line. And for Pennsylvania, a 15.0% unemployment rate is really high.
Crime is also the 50th highest in Pennsylvania here. Meaning people need to stop breaking into homes and start looking for jobs.
Say what you want about how beautiful Darby might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.
The unemployment rate rankss 14th highest in the state at 10.8%. Homes are the 22nd lowest priced ($74,600), and the median income per household is just a tad over $43,406.
The fact is most of the people who live here are having a hard time making ends meet, when you consider their earned incomes and lack of jobs.
If you're looking to live in Pennsylvania, Coatesville might not be the best choice as it places 7th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Keystone State for 2020.
The average family earns $39,577 a year out here, and 28.2% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 11.8% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it's just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you're in Coatesville, every year, you have a 1 in 44.0 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it's an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it's the 22nd most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
Reading is the 39th most dangerous place in the state of Pennsylvania. That's part of the reason it's the 8th worst place in Pennsylvania.
The fact remains, that when you're within Reading city limits, you have a 1 in 44.5 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Reading also has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 15.5%? Or that homes are only valued at $70,800?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's little demand to live in Reading.
Connellsville is one of the poorest cities in the state of Pennsylvania. This city has 9.0% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $33,884 a year.
Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Connellsville has the 14th 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 York, 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 10th worst place to live in the state.
You've got the 24th highest crime rate in Pennsylvania, which saw 450 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 38.7 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 97 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of York.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. York sports the state's 8th highest unemployment rate (13.2%), and families bring in a combined $30,283 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $75,200.
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:
- Richest Cities In Pennsylvania
- Safest Places In Pennsylvania
- Best Cities For Singles In Pennsylvania
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Pennsylvania?