Florida takes some abuse. Not just from its own residents, but from the general public, the media, and on social media.
We’re not here to debate Florida’s merits. As far as we’re concerned, it’s a warm place that’s quite beautiful almost all year long.
But, for those who are considering a relocation within Florida, or who are thinking of moving to the Sunshine State, this list should provide some value.
The following are the worst, avoid-at-all-costs cities in Florida:
- Pahokee (Photos)
- Belle Glade (Photos)
- Cocoa (Photos)
- Leesburg (Photos)
- Palatka (Photos)
- Homestead (Photos)
- North Miami (Photos)
- Lauderdale Lakes (Photos)
- Avon Park (Photos)
- Lake Worth (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. And the worst place to live in Florida? That would be Pahokee.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Florida reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Florida
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Florida
- 10 Most Dangerous Places In Florida
How we determined the worst places to live in Florida for 2019
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 203 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 203 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 Florida — Pahokee. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Florida.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Pahokee ranks as the 1st-worst place in Florida due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.
On top of that, residents have the 58th-worst commute of any place in the state.
Yes, every dog has a few fleas. But the crime in Belle Glade is actually quite atrocious. Some of the punks there who are causing trouble need a time out. It’s that simple.
Residents here have a 1 in 80 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, meaning raped, attacked or murdered. And they have a 1 in 21.6 chance of being robbed each year. That’s off the charts high.
And the unemployment rate is at 14.9%, which isn’t horrible, but the 5th-highest in the state. Plus, residents here earn about $25,873 a year in combined household income.
Cocoa doesn’t have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 10.4%, and people average less than $32,685 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $106,100, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Florida.
And again, in terms of the overall ‘enjoyment’ factor, it’s not easy to find fun on a Friday night.
Say what you want about how beautiful Leesburg might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.
The unemployment rate rankss 18th highest in the state at 11.0%. Homes are the 48th lowest priced ($126,000), and the median income per household is just a tad over $36,710.
The fact is most of the people who live here are having a hard time making ends meet, when you consider their earned incomes and lack of jobs.
Palatka has almost every other city in Florida beat when it comes to crime, as only 20 other cities in the entire state have a worse crime index. According to Wikipedia, Palatka has been hit by a loss of automobile and a surge big box retail jobs has taken a toll on the city’s economic landscape.
Palatka is on the St. John’s River, about an hour’s drive east of Gainesville.
Out of all the places to live in Florida, Homestead ranks as the 6th worst — not something to brag about.
Homestead’s unemployment rate stands at 9.4%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $43,150 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 100th cheapest in the entire state at $166,700. 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 Homestead. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 49th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 27.1 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 100 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
If you’re looking to live in Florida, North Miami might not be the best choice as it places 7th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Sunshine State for 2017.
The average family earns $39,723 a year out here, and 22.7% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 10.3% 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 North Miami, every year, you have a 1 in 23.8 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 41st most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
Sure, it’s in a beautiful area, and there’s lots of culture, especially in terms of music. But, if you’re measuring desirability, it’s the 8th worst in Florida.
Lauderdale Lakes residents had a 1 in 25.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Lauderdale Lakes is through the roof, as more than 12.5% of the population can’t get a job. At least their mortgages aren’t too high; at $101,600, Lauderdale Lakes has the 21st-lowest home prices in the state of Florida.
Avon Park, FL needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 19.1%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 20th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 19.5 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
When you’re looking at science and data, Lake Worth is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of Florida. Let’s see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Florida. Lake Worth is the 29th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 24.8 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $165,600, which is the 99th 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 Lake Worth.
Income levels are just about $36,321, the 29th lowest in Florida.
When you add it all up, Lake Worth really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Florida
If you’re looking at areas in Florida 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, Pahokee ranks as the worst city to live in Florida for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Florida:
- North Palm Beach (Pop. 12,749)
- Palm Beach (Pop. 8,593)
- Key Biscayne (Pop. 13,074)
For more Florida reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Florida
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Florida
- 10 Safest Places In Florida
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Florida
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Florida
|15||North Miami Beach||43,963|
|25||New Port Richey||15,674|
|44||West Palm Beach||106,805|
|80||Green Cove Springs||7,345|