The 10 Worst Places To Live In Utah For 2021


We used science and data to determine which cities in the Beehive State are the worst to call home.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst places to live in Utah.

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 81 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 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 South Salt Lake.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Utah reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Utah For 2021

South Salt Lake, UT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 25,017
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $226,000 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (10th worst)
More on South Salt Lake:  Data | Photos

When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Utah, South Salt Lake came in 1st. Let's see why.

Welcome to the 4th most dangerous city in Utah. Is that surprising?

There were two murders here in 2021, and when you're in SSL, you have a 1 in 122 chance of being raped, attacked or murdered yourself every year. Plus, you have a 1 in 13.4 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 $47,813 a year combined. Education and home values are also far below the state average.

Roosevelt, UT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,041
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $199,600 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (3rd worst)
More on Roosevelt:  Data | Photos

Roosevelt was founded in 1906. Can you guess who was president at the time? That's right: Theodore Roosevelt. Lucky too, because the town's original name was Dry Gulch. That just doesn't have the same ring.

This community of 7,041 residents, located in the northeast part of the state, has a boom-bust relationship with the local oil reserves. Sometimes, the oil is pumping and life in town gets flush. Other times, wells run dry and the town suffers.

Currently, Roosevelt faces an unemployment rate of 8.7%, though those oil jobs help to support a median income of $63,479. Crime runs about 40% above the national average.

Tooele, UT

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 34,535
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $195,300 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (7th worst)
More on Tooele:  Data | Photos

Tooele stands in the north-central part of the state, just south of the Great Salt Lake and about 40 minutes outside of Salt Lake City. The town's economy chugs along rather nicely. The unemployment rate hovers at an elevated 6.0%, but the median income comes in at a healthy $63,851. Housing and education are relatively strong as well.

Still, Tooele ends up on this list. What's the issue? Well, given its location, commutes are difficult. At the same time, crime presents a modest problem, with a crime rate slightly above the national average.

Moab, UT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,268
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $237,700 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (2nd worst)
More on Moab:  Data | Photos

If you love spectacular mountain views and exciting outdoor adventure, you might want to plan a trip to Moab. It stands in the eastern part of the state, on the edge of the Arches National Park and alongside the Colorado River.

Unfortunately, the 5,268 residents of town can't eat breathtaking views. And with an unemployment rate of 9.3% and a poverty rate of 13.8%, it gets tough to make ends meet.

Even with these problems, the real estate market prices many locals out of home ownership. The median home price in the region sits at $237,700, compared to a median income of $51,168.

Grantsville, UT

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 11,021
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $254,700 (29th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (11th worst)
More on Grantsville:  Data | Photos

Most of the towns on these worst lists earn their spot through a weak economy. Not Grantsville. The town, located about 40 minutes west of Salt Lake City, boasts a median income of $72,378 and an unemployment rate of 5.4%.

Still, the town has its share of troubles. Diversity is spotty and the distance from the city makes for a long commute. Also, a mild lack of amenities leads to inconveniences.

Of course, things could get worse. How much worse? Head to the town's Donner-Reed Museum to learn about a group of pioneers who got stranded in the region and had to turn to canabalism. Now that's a grueling commute.

Ogden, UT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 86,833
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $170,100 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (14th worst)
More on Ogden:  Data | Photos

Would you believe that Ogden is the 15th most dangerous place in Utah? That's the case, as every year, you have a 1 in 27.0 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 226 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 14th highest in Utah (4.8%), and homes are the 4th cheapest in the state ($170,100). 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.

Hurricane, UT

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 17,212
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $238,800 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (12th worst)
More on Hurricane:  Data | Photos

If you're familiar with typical weather patterns in the U.S., then you'll recognize that "Hurricane" represents a strange name for a town in Utah. You know, a state that mostly consists of mountains and desert. (The name, by the way, comes from an incident when an early settler got stuck in a whirlwind.)

Hurricane lands on this list because of a sluggish economy, a high cost of living, and a shortage of diversity. The financial situation isn't horrible. The area supports a median income of $55,190 and a 5.4% unemployment rate. However, this earning power makes it difficult for many locals to afford the $238,800 median home value.

Midvale, UT

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 33,318
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $261,400 (32nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (2worst)
More on Midvale:  Data | Photos

A suburb of Salt Lake City, Midvale stands just 15 minutes from the center of the state's biggest metropolitan area. This gives the local economy a major boost. The median income hovers at $60,216 and the unemployment rate comes in at 4.2%.

This financial good fortune comes with a downside, though. The cost of living makes it difficult for many of the town's 33,318 residents. Services, groceries, and healthcare are all more expensive than the national average. At the same time, locals struggle to afford housing, thanks to Midvale's $261,400 median home value.

Riverdale, UT

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,752
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $206,900 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (17th worst)
More on Riverdale:  Data | Photos

Riverdale is just outside of Ogden. Remember what we said earlier about Ogden? Riverdale is a smaller, less intense version where unemployment is far above the state average, and income levels and home prices are far below Utah standards.

Riverdale has the 8th highest crime rate in the state. You have a 1 in 17 chance of being robbed here every year you live within its city limits. That's a lot of stolen laptops and cell phones.

Taylorsville, UT

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 60,138
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $239,400 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (22nd worst)
More on Taylorsville:  Data | Photos

Here's another suburb of Salt Lake City that winds up ranked among the least appealing spots in the state. And, once again, affordability represents the community's major sin.

After all, the economy in town underpins a median income of $66,311. And the unemployment rate comes in at a respectable 4.2%. Diversity, housing, and education are all strong as well.

Then you get to the cost of living. Different story. In Taylorsville, you'll spend more than the national average on groceries, healthcare, and transportation. At the same time, the median home value hovers at $239,400.

How we determined the worst places to live in Utah for 2021

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

The data comes from the Census's most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

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 81 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 81 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 -- South Salt Lake. 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, South Salt Lake ranks as the worst city to live in Utah for 2021.

If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Utah:

  1. Mapleton (Pop. 9,872)
  2. Kaysville (Pop. 31,494)
  3. Salem (Pop. 8,099)

For more Utah reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Utah?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 South Salt Lake 25,017 5.5% $226,000
2 Roosevelt 7,041 8.7% $199,600
3 Tooele 34,535 6.0% $195,300
4 Moab 5,268 9.3% $237,700
5 Grantsville 11,021 5.4% $254,700
6 Ogden 86,833 4.8% $170,100
7 Hurricane 17,212 5.4% $238,800
8 Midvale 33,318 4.2% $261,400
9 Riverdale 8,752 4.4% $206,900
10 Taylorsville 60,138 4.2% $239,400

How Is The Area In ?

24 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Utah For 2021

  1. How come you’re rating cities on education based on money spent, rather than SAT scores?

    New Hampshire schools spend less than a fourth, per student, what schools in Washington, DC spend. Yet mysteriously New Hampshire students do better on all test scores.

  2. The picture you have for Price Utah is not in Price or the cities close to it. Also we live an hour and twenty minutes from Provo not hours. Besides that unless you grew up here or like the out doors and small towns I agree its not a good fit.
    No arguing just wanted to let you know.

  3. Very flawed methodology. For example Riverdale residents actually experience very little crime. The reason the “Crime rate” is so high is because Riverdale is host to a very successful merchant district (Riverdale Rd) that draws in shoppers (and shoplifters) from the surrounding areas. Get off the Commercial road and it’s a quiet peaceful bedroom community. Another example, housing costs, Ogden’s average prices are lower because much of the city is older smaller homes that simply don’t cost as much as newer construction. Some of these old homes are hidden treasures that when fixed up show of the history of the city. Similarly Nephi, Price, and Cedar city have lower home costs because they are away from the pressure areas of the Wasatch Front or St George where population demands push costs up.

    Oh and Ogden actually has a great night life with plenty to do, many large employers in and around it. It does have a gang problem (mostly latino) but is actually a nice town. With Ogden having the night life that provides the entertainment opportunities for nearby RIverdale (actually has an Ogden Zip Code) and Clearfield, those cities can get by being more bedroom type cities with affordable housing. The price range you posted is actually beneficial as many areas of Utah are getting too expensive for families to buy their first home in. And never discount the outdoor life in Utah. Regardless of where you are in the state, the Outdoors are one of the biggest and best attractions and forms of entertainment, from camping, fishing and hunting in the warmer months to The Greatest Snow on Earth(tm) during the winter. Speaking of which it should be noted that Ogden, Riverdale and Clearfield are all just 30-45 minutes from three ski resorts. 30 minutes and you are running down the slopes used in the 2002 Winter Olympics at Snowbasin, and just little further to Wolf Mountain and Powder Mountain Ski Resort.

  4. Price is not far from Provo. It is about an hour. And you could have picked a better picture than a business doing renovations. You’re trying to make the cities look worse than you’re already saying they are.

  5. My wife and I were considering a property in Tooele. In researching the location I came across the crime map on the Tooele Police Department website. Some many reported incidents that the maps is completely obscured by crime icons (layered several deep). Completely unacceptable. One would have to look a crime map of Chicago to see similar results.

  6. Cedar city is actually pretty awesome. The worst part about Utah is the church and how it controls everything no matter where you live in Utah. If you are not in a ward you will always be an outsider. Salt lake is probably the best place for outsiders. Members of the church operate much differently and don’t make you feel like you have a disease. Your kids anywhere else in Utah especially southern Utah will be bullied. Subtract the dominant church fro the state and it’s a great place all around. Lots of businesses go out of business unless you affiliate with the church. Church goers tend to frequent church member owned businesses more than outsiders and in southern Utah if you are different or risqué in anyway as an artist or person they will shit you down and isolate you. And in southern Utah it is extremely gentrified. St George is probably one of the most boring am cities in the country. If you want to do anything you eitherndrive 4.5 hrs to Salt lake or another state to have fun. It is very frustrating. There is nonhousingnidnyou want an rental unless you want to pay extremely high rent. Forget it if you have an animal. I could go on but I think you get the idea.

    1. I have lived in many cities in Utah and the mormons I’ve know have been nothing but great friends to my kids and great neighbors so I don’t know what your talking about. Sounds like you have a character flaw that makes you unlikable. Probably because when anything goes wrong you blame mormons. If I know my utah history correct I believe the mormons fled the east because they were being murdered every where they went so they walked hundreds of miles west to a dry undesirable desert that nobody wanted and established it. So if you are not a mormon it means you came here after they did and if you hate it so much then go back to wherever the hell you came from.

  7. Well, I think Park City, Utah is now the #1 on your “worst” list as of today. You have under 8800 people living there and 3 murders occurred in the past 36 hours. Considering their last murder was 2003 and before that it was in the 1990’s, the HOMICIDE rate just skyrocketed. It would literally put Park City as the most dangerous city based on your listing guidelines

  8. Davis county is a sh*thole, especially Sunset and Roy. If you work on base, you will never get a promotion as the Mormons only promote their own. Better to find a different base to be stationed at if you want to excel in your career.

    1. Plus Davis County is full of misogyny. It’s terrible to be a woman in this county. Women are ciphers here.

  9. I don’t get how my city (Farmington) gets in the top best places each year. We have a crappy police force, really lax punishment of Pedophiles and rapists living by schools and other institutions, it’s god awful with diversity, nosy neighbors are everywhere, unfriendly ones are everywhere too.

  10. Ogden sucks. Ive lived all over Utah, Ogden hands down sucks the most. Great outdoor stuff. The roads suck, schools suck, crime sucks, things to do in the city unless you want to go to a lame bar, sucks. Traffic is the worst, distracted rude drivers, too many crack heads, oh and shopping carts everywhere, delapitaded buildins all over, garbage on road ways, rude people, ghetto (i lived in Westvalley) and Ogden is just terrible. I always have disliked it. And now i live here. And am counting the days to leave. Oh and forget it if you have trouble, the cops will more than likely harrass or arrest you before helping. Get sexually asaulted? Yea dont bother asking the cops for help here. Oh and if you wanna almost get hit daily driving, live here. Want to have crackies all over, come to Ogden, home of white trash. Its the worst mix of hillbillies and wiggers. They try to make it ecleptic, its not. And no one wants to come here from SLC, why cuz it sucks.

    1. You are tripping Ogden is awesome. But finding an affordable home after May 2018 is good and quite impossible for the average Joe .

  11. West Valley is a horrible place to live. The gangs and violence are extreme. Why was it left off the list? I wouldn’t live in that city if someone paid me to live there. The LDS church is one of the reasons that Utah is a great place to live. At least people try to live peaceful lives because of religious beliefs and the golden rule. Gangs are a huge problem in South SLC, Ogden and West Valley City.

    1. Yeah this sounds like the typical LDS response. My co-worker flat out told me after I mentioned WVC as an area she could actually afford, “Too many brown people.” was the response. I’ve been robbed 3 times in utah, 1st time in American Fork shed broken into, 2nd just outside of of provo beach resort near orem center street from a pickpocket and and last was in Lindon at wallaby’s my car was smashed into. All this in 2 years so I moved to WVC, 6 years later and the worst I’ve dealt with is terrible drivers, definitely tons of those here but nowhere near as bad as the xanax popping housewives who drive bangerter near riverton.

  12. Oh boy, here’s a real lump of coal in the very rough, East Carbon, Utah. Located in the southeastern corner of Carbon County, this is hillbilly heaven, but a more proper term would be crackhead heaven. This little community has more crack-houses per capita than one square block in Detroit. You can buy a house here ranging from $12,000 to around 75,000 for the more exotic East Carbon Heights decor homes. If East Carbon don’t suit you, there’s Kenilworth, Martin and both upper an lower Miller Creek with comparable costs. For employment, traveling to Price or even further would be required.

  13. Saying that there’s nothing to do in Ogden ignores a lot of factors, mainly outdoor activities. We have close (or fairly close) access to many trail systems, ski resorts, Causey reservoir, Bear Lake, Crystal Hotsprings, to name a few. Albeit expensive, we have an amazingly large farmer’s market, as well as other downtown activities such as Christmas village, Harvest Moon Festival, Witchstock, and the always improving Ogden Twilight concert series. Oh, and I can’t leave out all the amazing taco carts downtown! It’s hard to not suspect that many of the negative Ogden “stats” are based off of race. But that’s OK, keep promoting Ogden as a crappy place, we won’t be upset if less people move here.

  14. This is such a blatantly dumb and reductionist ranking. Nobody lives in Moab, for example, because they want great job security – they want to live simply and enjoy the outdoors. Where in your ranking is “I can walk out my front door and be in a national park in minutes” or “easy to find friends who are passionate about the same things.” You’ve thrown some very basic data against the wall and called it “science” – but left out too many variables to be useful. If you change the title to “low salary high crime cities” it would at least be correct.

  15. Anyone who thinks that Utah is an undesirable place to live is wrong, wrong, and totally wrong! You either hate Mormons or you have never been anyplace else in your life. If you have never been anyplace place else, try living in Chicago. I have lived there and I will NEVER go back! The crime and drugs are unimaginable and there is probably over 20 murders or more each day. Same with Detroit and St. Louis. And California is so bad it is beyond any description! The liberals and Democrats have totally destroyed it as it was once a great place to be. And if you hate Mormons, get the hell out of Utah! By the way Mormons are everywhere!

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