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:
- South Salt Lake (Photos)
- Ogden (Photos)
- Price (Photos)
- Midvale (Photos)
- Richfield (Photos)
- Hurricane (Photos)
- Vernal (Photos)
- Tooele (Photos)
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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.
How we determined the worst places to live in Utah for 2018
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 5,200 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 — South Salt Lake. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Utah.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
1. South Salt Lake
Population: 24,575Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $174,100 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (23rd worst)
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 6th most dangerous city in Utah. Is that surprising?
There were two murders here in 2015, and when you’re in SSL, you have a 1 in 120 chance of being raped, attacked or murdered yourself every year. Plus, you have a 1 in 12.5 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 $39,198 a year combined. Education and home values are also far below the state average.
Population: 84,900Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $133,300 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (9th worst)
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 22.3 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 188 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 10th highest in Utah (7.1%), and homes are the 2nd cheapest in the state ($133,300). 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.
Population: 8,437Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $124,000 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (4th worst)
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 $124,000, 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 (9.4%) is the 4th highest in the state.
But the schools are highly rated. At least they have that.
Population: 6,714 Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 8)
Home Values: $178,200 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (17th worst)
The city of Roosevelt is the 4th worst place you can live in the state of Utah in 2015.
It’s unlucky for Roosevelt, which has the 17th highest unemployment rate (6.5%), the 31st lowest household incomes ($61,579) and the 19th lowest home prices in the state ($178,200).
Basically, a lot of people in Roosevelt are out of work. And crime is certainly a factor here as well. Although it’s not one of the most dangerous places we’ll look at, it’s in the top 20%.
Add it all up, and this is truly one of the worst places you could live in Utah.
Population: 31,659Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Values: $201,200 (28th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (27th worst)
Things are starting to get progressively more ‘modern’ and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Utah when we get to Midvale. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 5.4% (which is really high), and the median income is $52,521. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.
Population: 7,566Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Home Values: $151,600 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (14th worst)
The internet says Richfield is a cute, quiet town. The map says it’s an isolated place where you can get bored really quickly if you’re not an outdoors lover.
And the data says it’s crummy to live there. At least in Utah standards. The unemployment rate is 3.8%, which is the 8th highest in the state. Income levels are ($44,000), which are the 10th lowest in Utah, and the crime is above normal.
Population: 15,106Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Home Values: $181,200 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (13th worst)
According to science, Hurricane is the 7th worst place you can live in Utah.
Let’s see why. Hurricane has the 45th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Hurricane is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($181,200), and the 13th-highest unemployment rate in the state (6.8%), and across the board, Hurricane doesn’t sound like the best of the best.
Plus, there’s simply not a lot to do here (unless you count having a Walmart and a Piggly Wiggly as fun). We’re aware that people enjoy outdoor activities, but in terms of pure entertainment, you’d have to drive a ways away.
Population: 8,097 Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Home Values: $157,700 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (7th worst)
If you’re looking to live in Utah, Tremonton might not be the best choice as it places 8th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Beehive State for 2015.
The average family earns $49,173 a year out here, and 1960.0% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 8.6% 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 Tremonton, every year, you have a 1 in 43.5 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 42nd most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
Population: 10,588Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Home Values: $175,800 (18th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (11th worst)
While numbers in Utah are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Utah cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Vernal average $175,800, which is the 18th lowest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Vernal.
Plus, 1600.0% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 26th highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Vernal city limits, you have a 1 in 30.3 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
Population: 32,783Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 4)
Home Values: $159,700 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (6th worst)
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 54.9 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 (8.7%). That’s good for the 6th highest unemployment rate in Utah.
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 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Utah:
- Kaysville (Pop. 29,799)
- Syracuse (Pop. 26,668)
- Farmington (Pop. 21,983)
For more Utah reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Utah
- If You’re From Utah This Will Be The Most Jaw-Dropping Thing You See All Day. Guaranteed.
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Utah
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Utah
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