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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:
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 2020.
For more Florida reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Florida For 2020
When you're looking at science and data, Pahokee is the 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. Pahokee is the 78th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 35.4 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $90,400, which is the 15th 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 Pahokee.
Income levels are just about $26,701, the 5th lowest in Florida.
When you add it all up, Pahokee really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
Yes, every dog has a few fleas. But the crime in Opa-Locka 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 65 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, meaning raped, attacked or murdered. And they have a 1 in 5.5 chance of being robbed each year. That's off the charts high.
And the unemployment rate is at 12.6%, which isn't horrible, but the 10th-highest in the state. Plus, residents here earn about $17,908 a year in combined household income.
When you're looking at science and data, Belle Glade is the worst place you can live in Florida. Let's see why.
The unemployment rate here is 16.1%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $104,300, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 24.6 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That's not fun, either.
Belle Glade is a far drive south from Louisville.
According to science, Leesburg is the 4th worst place you can live in Florida.
Let's see why. Leesburg has the 10th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Leesburg is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($139,700), and the 22nd-highest unemployment rate in the state (9.5%), and across the board, Leesburg 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.
Homestead, FL needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 7.8%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 5highest in the state. You have a 1 in 30.0 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
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.
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Avon Park is the 9th most dangerous city in Florida, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 17.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's really high for Florida, but not even the highest in the state.
Home values are the 2nd cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Avon Park bring in just under $30,675 a year annually.
North Miami doesn't have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 9.0%, and people average less than $40,661 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $183,200, 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.
Miami Gardens is by far, the largest place that's lousy to live in the state of Florida. In fact, it's one of the largest cities in the Sunshine State.
There's a lot more entertainment in Miami Gardens than in the cities we mentioned above, so at least folks here can take their mind off of these statistics. Miami Gardens has the 15th highest unemployment rate in the state, and homes are valued far below the rest of the state average.
Plus, crime is sky high here, in comparison to the rest of Florida. There were four murders here in 2019, and residents have a 1 in 24.9 chance of being robbed. Since the average person has 300 Facebook friends, if everyone you were friends with lived in Miami Gardens, 6 of them would have had something stolen from them last year.
Cocoa is the 8th most dangerous place in the state of Florida. That's part of the reason it's the 10th worst place in Florida.
The fact remains, that when you're within Cocoa city limits, you have a 1 in 17.7 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Cocoa also has the 30th highest unemployment rate in the state at 8.9%? Or that homes are only valued at $110,700?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's little demand to live in Cocoa.
How we determined the worst places to live in Florida 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 207 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 207 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. 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 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 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Florida:
- North Palm Beach (Pop. 12,899)
- Palm Beach (Pop. 8,667)
- Key Biscayne (Pop. 13,054)
For more Florida reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Florida?