People from Alabama are really passionate about being from Alabama. As a state, Alabama doesn’t necessarily get a lot of media attention, but it’s also a quiet gem, tucked away in the deep south.
This article isn’t a knock on Alabama, it’s just a scientific analysis on where the worst places to live there are. Of course, there are a lot of awesome places to live in Alabama. This is, though, isn’t that. It’s the opposite.
It’s the places you don’t want to live in.
After analyzing 99 of the largest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Alabama:
- Bessemer (Photos)
- Prichard (Photos)
- Anniston (Photos)
- Atmore (Photos)
- Talladega (Photos)
- Tarrant (Photos)
- Gadsden (Photos)
- Lanett (Photos)
- Clanton (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 Alabama? That would be Bessemer.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Alabama reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Alabama
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Alabama
How we determined the worst places to live in Alabama 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 99 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 99 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 Alabama — Bessemer. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Alabama.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
The city of Bessemer, a Birmingham suburb, has tried to rebound from a loss of manufacturing and railroad jobs, but its population has shrunk nearly 20% in the last 20 years.
The hometown for NFL quarterback Jameis Winston has very bad crime (5th worst) and an employment rate that’s nearly the highest for cities of its size 13.9%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
Prichard, a Mobile suburb, has the 2nd lowest income in Alabama. The unemployment rate here is almost higher than in any other place in Alabama, and nearly 1 in 5 homes is vacant.
Additionally, Prichard is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings, and has seen its population cut in half over the last 20 years.
Anniston is out in an area on its own, about an hour drive east of Birmingham. In 2002, it was determined by 60 Minutes that Anniston was one of the highest-contaminated cities in the country.
Crime is bad here, houses are vacant, and the unemployment rate is nearly 1 in 7.3. As several residents of Anniston said on City-Data, don’t move there.
Atmore, a Mobile suburb, is the smallest city on our entire list. As Alan Jackson says, “It’s alright to be itty bitty”, but when you have a high unemployment rate, 1 in 6 houses are vacant, and household incomes are far below the state average, it’s not the first place you might want to move to.
On the bright side, Atmore has more sunny days a year than almost any other place in Alabama. And former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield was born there, so they have that going for them.
Eric Church recently released a song praising Talladega as being a fun place for boyhood memories (not sure if he actually spent time there or not). Nowadays, Talladega is a fairly dangerous place, statistically, with a household income much lower than the state average.
Like other places on this list, Talladega has failed to adjust to a new economy, as the population and overall economic output has shrunk in the last 30 years.
You might have passed through Tarrant once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here’s what science says about why Tarrant needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 8.3%, residents earn about $27,357 a year, and home prices are just over $76,500. 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 Tarrant.
Gadsden, about an hour north of Birmingham, takes the honor of being the worst place in Alabama, at least on paper. Crime is almost highest here than anywhere else in the state. And with an unemployment rate of more than 8%, and considering the fact that 1 in 5 houses are vacant, things aren’t looking up there.
Additionally, Gadsden residents have a very low household income level, and student spending is almost dead last in the state (schools spend, on average, a measly $8,500 per student, per year).
Things have changed here. Way back in 1991, Gadsden was awarded the honor of being called an “All-American City.”
Lanett is a really small, densely populated place in Alabama.
The unemployment rate here is sky high at 10.9%, and income levels are the 14th lowest in Alabama. Homes sell for an average of $97,100.
If you’re trying to have some sort of professional career in Alabama, this is one of the last places you would want to live.
Clanton ranks as the 9th-worst place in Alabama due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.
On top of that, residents have the 1st-worst commute of any place in the state.
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $89,400 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.1% (10th worst)
More on Opp: Data
Opp, where there’s absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the 10th worst city in Alabama.
Besides the lack of pure amenities, Opp has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 14.1%, and families earn around $33,012 a year. It’s also the 84th highest in Alabama for crime, where 1 in 47.0 people gets robbed every year.
Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?
Wrapping Up The Worst In Alabama
If you’re looking at areas in Alabama 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, Bessemer ranks as the worst city to live in Alabama for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Alabama:
- Madison (Pop. 47,079)
- Hoover (Pop. 84,150)
- Vestavia Hills (Pop. 34,003)
For more Alabama reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Alabama
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Alabama
- 10 Safest Places In Alabama
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Alabama
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Alabama