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 101 of the largest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Alabama:
- Bessemer (Photos)
- Tarrant (Photos)
- Anniston (Photos)
- Childersburg (Photos)
- Lanett (Photos)
- Russellville (Photos)
- Talladega (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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2017.
How we determined the worst places to live in Alabama for 2017
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
The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
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 101 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 101 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 — Prichard. 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.
Population: 22,439 Home Values: $66,000 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 21.0% (5th worst)
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.
Population: 27,043Home Values: $88,100 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.3% (12th worst)
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 (1st worst) and an employment rate that’s nearly the highest for cities of its size 15.3%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
Population: 6,278Home Values: $76,200 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (16th worst)
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Alabama, Tarrant came in 3rd. Let’s see why.
When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Alabama residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Alabama, you can see some really big differences. In Tarrant, the number of people out of work is 14.9%
In Alabama, that’s the 16th highest in the state.
The residents in Tarrant have the 4th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Tarrant average $25,653 a year. Which isn’t too shabby in comparison to the other ‘lowest’ income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $76,200 on average. That’s the 5th lowest in the state.
Population: 22,626Home Values: $99,900 (26th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.0% (9th worst)
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 6.3. As several residents of Anniston said on City-Data, don’t move there.
Population: 5,105Home Values: $109,300 (36th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.7% (10th worst)
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Childersburg ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 36th cheapest in the state here at $109,300. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Childersburg.
The median income levels here are the 5th lowest in the state of Alabama, at $25,948. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 15.7% of people in Childersburg were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
Population: 6,457Home Values: $81,300 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.2% (15th worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Lanett is the 6th worst place you can live in the state of Alabama. Let’s see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 10th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Lanett had a 1 in 12.1 chance of being robbed in 2014. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Lanett, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Lanett’s other issues are a very high unemployment rate (15.2%) and income levels of its residents ($25,220).
Population: 9,824Home Values: $93,300 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.8% (25th worst)
You can sure expect that Russellville is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 7th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Russellville has the 55th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 41 violent crimes here in 2015, and residents have a 1 in 24.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Russellville, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.
You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits — the unemployment rate sits at 12.8% which is the 25th worst in Alabama.
Population: 15,931Home Values: $84,500 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 21.4% (3rd worst)
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.
Population: 6,665 Home Values: $90,400 (18th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.3% (13th worst)
You can sure expect that Opp is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 9th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Opp has the 23rd-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 53 violent crimes here in 2015, and residents have a 1 in 17.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Opp, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.
You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits — the unemployment rate sits at 15.3% which is the 13th worst in Alabama.
Population: 8,715Home Values: $104,900 (33rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.2% (35th worst)
According to science, Clanton is the 10th worst place you can live in Alabama.
Let’s see why. Clanton has the 22nd-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Clanton is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($104,900), and the 35th-highest unemployment rate in the state (11.2%), and across the board, Clanton 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.
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, Prichard ranks as the worst city to live in Alabama for 2017.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Alabama:
- Mountain Brook (Pop. 20,518)
- Vestavia Hills (Pop. 34,116)
- Hoover (Pop. 83,547)
For more Alabama reading , check out:
- A Hilarious Look At The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Alabama
- These Are The 10 Kinkiest Cities In Alabama
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Alabama
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Alabama