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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 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.
For more Utah reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Utah For 2021
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 doesn't have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 8.7%, and people average less than $63,479 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $199,600, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Utah.
And again, in terms of the overall 'enjoyment' factor, it's not easy to find fun on a Friday night.
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 40.2 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 (6.0%). That's good for the 7th highest unemployment rate in Utah.
When you're looking at science and data, Moab is the 4th worst place you can live in the state of Utah. Let's see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Utah. Moab is the 18th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 39.9 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $237,700, which is the 23rd lowest in the state. You can defend 'cheap living' all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Moab.
Income levels are just about $51,168, the 9th lowest in Utah.
When you add it all up, Moab really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
While the median household income in Grantsville is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of "worst cities", Grantsville still has the 11th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 42nd worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Grantsville household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn't help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.
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.
If you're looking to live in Utah, Hurricane might not be the best choice as it places 7th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Beehive State for 2021.
The average family earns $55,190 a year out here, and 12.4% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 5.4% 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 Hurricane, every year, you have a 1 in 64.5 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 46th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Utah, Midvale ranks 8th worst. Let's see why.
Here in Midvale, crime is the 4th highest in the state, and 1 out of 13.4 residents was robbed here according to the latest FBI numbers.
That's not the first place you think of making home, is it?
Additionally, you have a 1 in 122 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rapes, attacks or murders. That's really high.
When you look at adult education in Utah, the folks in Midvale have the 8th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Midvale undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 2highest in Utah, at 4.2%. That's actually on par with the national average, which means Utah has some hard workers.
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.
If you live in Utah, you may or may not be surprised that Taylorsville ranked, at least on paper, as the 10th worst place to live in the state. It has the 22nd highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 4th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Taylorsville is the 8most densely populated city in Utah. Draw your own conclusions.
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
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:
- Mapleton (Pop. 9,872)
- Kaysville (Pop. 31,494)
- Salem (Pop. 8,099)
For more Utah reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Utah?
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