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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 ranks as the 3rd worst place to live in Utah for 2020.
The issues Moab has is with its local economy. The unemployment rate is the 2nd highest in Utah (9.3%), and as you might expect, the household salaries and home prices are both towards the bottom of Utah.
If you live in Roosevelt, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 2highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Utah. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 34.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 22 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 316 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 28th lowest salaries in Utah At $64,612 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for most folks.
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.
Vernal ranks as the 7th-worst place in Utah due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.
On top of that, residents have the 76th-worst commute of any place in the state.
Out of all the places to live in Utah, Midvale ranks as the 8th worst -- not something to brag about.
Midvale's unemployment rate stands at 4.3%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $57,214 a year in salaries. That's not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 34th cheapest in the entire state at $241,200. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there's not a lot of demand to live way out in Midvale. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 4th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 13.8 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 102 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
Hurricane takes the 9th worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons -- below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.
But what gives Hurricane its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index -- the 52nd worst in the whole state.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Utah, Taylorsville came in 10th. Let's see why.
When you're comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Utah residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Utah, you can see some really big differences. In Taylorsville, the number of people out of work is 4.8%
In Utah, that's the 17th highest in the state.
The residents in Taylorsville have the 26th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Taylorsville average $63,028 a year. Which isn't too shabby in comparison to the other 'lowest' income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $222,700 on average. That's the 23rd lowest in the state.
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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