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Utah is possibly one of the most misunderstood states in the nation. You've got a very right-leaning group, the dominance of the LDS church, and then you have Salt Lake City, which is ranked as one of the largest in terms of LGBT populations in the nation.
It's a really beautiful state, no question. And it stays quiet, remaining out of the headlines, despite being one of the most hard-working and wealthiest states in the U.S.
Is it all rosy in the Beehive State? Of course not. Just like every other state, Utah 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 Utah your home.
After analyzing 79 of the state's most populous cities (over 5,200 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Utah:
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 Utah? That would be Tooele.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more Utah reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Utah For 2020
Here in Tooele, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in Utah. That's not a good combination.
Located just west of Salt Lake City, you have a 1 in 29.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Tooele city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (7.8%). That's good for the 5th highest unemployment rate in Utah.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Utah, South Salt Lake came in 2nd. Let's see why.
Welcome to the 4th most dangerous city in Utah. Is that surprising?
There were two murders here in 2020, and when you're in SSL, you have a 1 in 102 chance of being raped, attacked or murdered yourself every year. Plus, you have a 1 in 13.8 chance of being robbed here as well.
Not only is there a lot of crime here, the residents here earn just about the lowest salaries in Utah, bringing in $42,749 a year combined. Education and home values are also far below the state average.
Moab, part of Grand County, is the 3rd worst place to live in Utah for 2020.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $48,879, and crime 17th worst in Utah.
Additionally, the poverty level is 10.5% in Moab.
Roosevelt is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Roosevelt is the 2most dangerous place you can live in Utah.
Residents in Roosevelt have a 1 in 34.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.
When you're considering home prices, you can't do much lower than in Roosevelt, where average homes are valued at only$188,600. That's the 15th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
Would you believe that Ogden is the 16th most dangerous place in Utah? That's the case, as every year, you have a 1 in 26.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within Ogden city limits.
In addition, every year, you have a 1 in 206 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Ogden. That means raped, attacked or killed. Again, for Utah, that's just unacceptable.
Beyond the crime numbers, Ogden's unemployment rate is the 11th highest in Utah (5.8%), and homes are the 2nd cheapest in the state ($152,100). Say what you want about 'cheap living', the fact is homes are priced on demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Ogden.
Price has a small university presence and a museum, but that's just about it. Located out in the middle of nowhere, (a long drive from Provo), you can imagine why home prices are just about as cheap as you can get. In fact, at $138,600, homes are a steal here if you can tolerate the isolation.
Few other city have cheaper homes.
As you can imagine, finding work way out here can be tough. The unemployment rate (6.7%) is the 6th highest in the state.
But the schools are highly rated. At least they have that.
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 7th worst in Utah.
Vernal residents had a 1 in 40.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Vernal is through the roof, as more than 8.8% of the population can't get a job. At least their mortgages aren't too high; at $163,500, Vernal has the 6th-lowest home prices in the state of Utah.
Welcome to Midvale, which might be one of the poorest areas in Utah. Residents average $57,214 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 15.5% of Midvale residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $241,200 and the unemployment rate hovers near 4.3%.
Hurricane is another place in the Beehive State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Hurricane is a staggering 6.5%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($52,023 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $214,700, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Hurricane is bad, but not horrible.
you're looking to live in Utah, Taylorsville might not be the best choice as it places 10th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2020.
Taylorsville doesn't have the worst crime in the state, but it's sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Taylorsville may not be your first choice for a vacation.
How we determined the worst places to live in Utah 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 79 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 79 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 Utah -- Tooele. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Utah. 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 Utah
If you're looking at areas in Utah 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, Tooele ranks as the worst city to live in Utah for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Utah:
- Syracuse (Pop. 28,342)
- Farmington (Pop. 23,208)
- Kaysville (Pop. 30,961)
For more Utah reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Utah
- Richest Cities In Utah
- Safest Places In Utah
- Best Cities For Singles In Utah
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Utah?
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