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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 is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we're aware that it's beautiful and "fun". But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Moab residents earn the 8th-lowest salaries in the state. At $48,879 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $231,700, which means there isn't a lot of demand.
Crime is the 17th highest in Utah per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 2nd highest in the state, at 9.3%.
If you're looking to live in Utah, Roosevelt might not be the best choice as it places 4th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Beehive State for 2020.
The average family earns $64,612 a year out here, and 14.3% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 8.2% 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 Roosevelt, every year, you have a 1 in 34.6 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 2most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
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.
When you're looking at science and data, Vernal is the worst place you can live in Utah. Let's see why.
The unemployment rate here is 8.8%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $163,500, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 40.8 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That's not fun, either.
Vernal is a far drive south from Louisville.
The same problems that plague other cities on the list also affect Midvale. The only real difference is Midvale is a tiny bit safer, and the schools are rated a lot higher in terms of resources for students.
However, the unemployment rate in Midvale is at 4.3%, which is the 27th worst in Utah. And households earn a combined $57,214 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in Midvale is merely $241,200.
Midvale is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.
If you live in Utah, you may or may not be surprised that Hurricane ranked, at least on paper, as the 9th worst place to live in the state. It has the 7th highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 52nd most dangerous.
Incidentally, Hurricane is the 2nd most densely populated city in Utah. Draw your own conclusions.
When you're looking at science and data, the city of Taylorsville is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of Utah. Let's see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 4th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Taylorsville had a 1 in 13.8 chance of being robbed in 2019. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Taylorsville, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Taylorsville's other issues are a very high unemployment rate (4.8%) and income levels of its residents ($63,028).
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:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Utah?
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