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 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)
- Anniston (Photos)
- Tarrant (Photos)
- Lanett (Photos)
- Clanton (Photos)
- Selma (Photos)
- Atmore (Photos)
- Gadsden (Photos)
- Talladega (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 2018.
How we determined the worst places to live in Alabama for 2018
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 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: 22,340 Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $64,500 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.7% (4th 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: 26,856Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $85,300 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.3% (13th 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 14.3%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
Population: 22,441Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Values: $98,500 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.7% (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 6.4. As several residents of Anniston said on City-Data, don’t move there.
Population: 6,271Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Values: $72,900 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (26th worst)
The unemployment rate in Tarrant is a sky high 10.8%, which is the 26th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Tarrant is $26,800. That means 3260.0% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn’t horrible here, but you have a 1 in 14.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within city limits every year.
Population: 6,454Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Values: $81,200 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.5% (20th worst)
Welcome to Lanett, which might be one of the poorest areas in Alabama. Residents average $27,297 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 2900.0% of Lanett residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $81,200 and the unemployment rate hovers near 12.5%.
Population: 8,730Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Home Values: $114,300 (36th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.3% (25th worst)
You can’t blame them for living in Clanton since it’s really beautiful, but there are sacrifices you make to live in the boonies. One of them is income.
Not only is the unemployment rate the 25th highest in the state here (11.3%), the residents in Clanton earn the smallest household income in the state of Alabama. At a combined income of $40,837, families of four are barely above the poverty line.
In addition, the crime here is really high for a small city in Alabama. Clanton has the 21st highest crime rate in the state.
Population: 19,650Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 9)
Home Values: $90,400 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.2% (5th worst)
Selma is in a fix. It has some of the worst crime, lowest household incomes and one of the highest unemployment rates in the state of Alabama.
The economic base in Selma was decent at one point, but the population has been diminishing at a high rate for the last 30 years. Selma is located out in the boonies, about an hour west of Montgomery, and as one user on City-Data said, “There’s not a lot to do in Selma except hunt.”
Population: 10,067Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 4)
Home Values: $96,100 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.4% (6th worst)
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.
Population: 36,235Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Home Values: $72,700 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (33rd worst)
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.”
Population: 15,793Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Home Values: $83,500 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 19.5% (2nd 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.
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 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Alabama:
- Mountain Brook (Pop. 20,532)
- Vestavia Hills (Pop. 34,243)
- Madison (Pop. 46,396)
For more Alabama reading , check out:
- 10 Small Towns In Alabama Where You’d Never Want To Live – RoadSnacks
- These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Alabama – RoadSnacks
- These Are The 10 Kinkiest Cities In Alabama – RoadSnacks
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Alabama