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
According to science, Pahokee is the 1st worst place you can live in Florida.
Let’s see why. Pahokee has the 40th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Pahokee is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($93,300), and the 1st-highest unemployment rate in the state (26.3%), and across the board, Pahokee 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.
You might have passed through Belle Glade once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here’s what science says about why Belle Glade needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 14.9%, residents earn about $25,873 a year, and home prices are just over $111,400. 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 Belle Glade.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Florida, Cocoa came in 3rd. Let’s see why.
The city has very bad crime (10th worst) and an employment rate that’s nearly the highest for cities of its size 10.4%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
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 4th worst in Florida.
Leesburg residents had a 1 in 16.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Leesburg is through the roof, as more than 11.0% of the population can’t get a job. At least their mortgages aren’t too high; at $126,000, Leesburg has the 48th-lowest home prices in the state of Florida.
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.
When you’re looking at science and data, Homestead is the 6th 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. Homestead is the 49th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 27.1 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $166,700, which is the 100th 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 Homestead.
Income levels are just about $43,150, the 70th lowest in Florida.
When you add it all up, Homestead really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
North Miami is one of the poorest cities in the state of Florida. This city has 10.3% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $39,723 a year.
Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. North Miami has the 41st highest crime rate in Florida. While the numbers aren’t staggering (Florida is a relatively safe place when you compare it to the rest of the country), it’s still undesirable when you consider that there are far safer (and more stimulating) places to make your home in the Sunshine State.
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 for 2019.
Lauderdale Lakes doesn’t have the worst crime in the state, but it’s sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Lauderdale Lakes may not be your first choice for a vacation.
Avon Park 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 Avon Park its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index — the 20th worst in the whole state.
Lake Worth, part of Palm Beach County, is the 10th worst place to live in Florida for 2019.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $36,321, and crime 29th worst in Florida.
Additionally, the poverty level is 27.6% in Lake Worth.
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)
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