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 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
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Florida For 2019
If you’re looking to live in Florida, Pahokee might not be the best choice as it places 1st in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2019.
The unemployment rate here is 26.3%, and households bring in a combined $27,172 a year in income. That’s not too far from the poverty line, even though money goes a lot further in the boonies of Florida.
Crime is the 40th highest in the state in Pahokee as well. Just not a very desirable place at all to make home.
There’s probably not many people in Florida that would be surprised to see Belle Glade on this list. In fact, if Belle Glade wasn’t somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Belle Glade has the 17th worst crime rate in Florida. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 238 violent crimes in Belle Glade in 2019. Residents here had a 1 in 80 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Belle Glade are the 30th cheapest in the state ($111,400), the unemployment rate is the 5th highest (14.9%), and the annual household income is 3rd lowest in Florida, at $25,873. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
When you’re looking at science and data, Cocoa is the worst place you can live in Florida. Let’s see why.
The unemployment rate here is 10.4%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $106,100, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 18.6 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That’s not fun, either.
Cocoa is a far drive south from Louisville.
You might have passed through Leesburg once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here’s what science says about why Leesburg needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 11.0%, residents earn about $36,710 a year, and home prices are just over $126,000. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.
And there simply isn’t anything to do in Leesburg.
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.
Homestead’s situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.
Homestead has the 49th worst crime index of any place in Florida, and has the 70th lowest income.
When you’re looking at science and data, North Miami is the 7th 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. North Miami is the 41st most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 23.8 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $167,700, which is the 103rd 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 North Miami.
Income levels are just about $39,723, the 42nd lowest in Florida.
When you add it all up, North Miami really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
If you’re looking to live in Florida, Lauderdale Lakes might not be the best choice as it places 8th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Sunshine State for 2019.
The average family earns $33,754 a year out here, and 22.7% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 12.5% 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 Lauderdale Lakes, every year, you have a 1 in 25.7 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 47th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
Avon Park ranks as the 9th worst city on this list.
Avon Park has the 20th highest crime rate in Florida, where residents have a 1 in 19.5 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 3rd cheapest in the state ($65,100), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.
Lake Worth takes the 10th worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons — below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.
But what gives Lake Worth its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index — the 29th worst in the whole state.
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.
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: