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)
- Tremonton (Photos)
- Tooele (Photos)
- Ivins (Photos)
- Moab (Photos)
- Richfield (Photos)
- Hurricane (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 2017.
How we determined the worst places to live in Utah for 2017
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 5,200 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: 24,501Home Values: $172,700 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (22nd 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 8th 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 107 chance of being raped, attacked or murdered yourself every year. Plus, you have a 1 in 13.6 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 $37,083 a year combined. Education and home values are also far below the state average.
Population: 84,273Home Values: $129,800 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (11th 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 22.5 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 217 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 (8.1%), and homes are the 2nd cheapest in the state ($129,800). 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: 8,505Home Values: $123,300 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (6th 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 $123,300, 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 (9.2%) is the 6th highest in the state.
But the schools are highly rated. At least they have that.
Population: 30,844Home Values: $194,700 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (27th worst)
Midvale seems to be the have’s and have not’s. While the annual average income levels here are respectful ($50,614), about 1 in 16.6 people here are without jobs. Homes are valued at only $194,700.
But the biggest eye opener is the sheer crime here. It seems as if just about everyone in town without a job is pillaging the community. Midvale has the 5th highest crime rate in Utah, where 1 in 107 people has a statistic chance of being attacked, raped or murdered each year.
Plus, 1 in 13.4 people are robbed.
If you’re headed past Midvale and stop for gas, make sure you lock your doors.
Population: 7,999Home Values: $149,500 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (7th worst)
Tremonton places 5th in our ranking of the worst places to live in Utah. Here, 17.5% of the adult population lack’s even a high school degree. That makes Tremonton have the 3rd highest adult drop out rate in Utah.
Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $149,500 each — the 6th lowest in Utah.
As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of demand to live here.
Population: 32,454Home Values: $160,600 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (9th 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 25.4 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 (8.4%). That’s good for the 9th highest unemployment rate in Utah.
Population: 7,406Home Values: $212,700 (37th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (56th worst)
Out of all the places to live in Utah, Ivins ranks as the 7th worst — not something to brag about.
Ivins’s unemployment rate stands at 4.5%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $52,920 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 37th cheapest in the entire state at $212,700. 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 Ivins. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 2nd worst in the state. You have a 1 in 11.1 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 136 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
Population: 5,175Home Values: $218,500 (41st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (3rd 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 Moab. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 10.4% (which is really high), and the median income is $40,497. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.
Population: 7,570Home Values: $155,900 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (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: 14,694Home Values: $183,500 (21st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (19th worst)
Hurricane needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Hurricane. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Hurricane. Of the 79 cities considered in this ranking, Hurricane had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Hurricane have Utah’s 22nd lowest home value rank, but it also had the 19th and 61st highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of “Worst City in Utah.”
If you know anyone in Hurricane, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
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 2017.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Utah:
- Kaysville (Pop. 29,213)
- Farmington (Pop. 21,223)
- Syracuse (Pop. 25,977)
For more Utah reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Utah
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Utah
- These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Utah
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Utah
|1||South Salt Lake|
|42||North Salt Lake|