Worst Places To Live In America For 2020

We used science and data to determine which cities in America are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst places to live in America. This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment — don’t freak out.

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Today, we’re going to talk about the worst places to live in the entire country. We might hurt some feelings along the way, and some people will agree with each city. Either way, we did the research, so we know we’re pretty darn close.

How did we determine the worst places to live in America anyways? Most people would agree with us that bad places to live have a lot of crime, crummy schools, not a lot of culture, and crappy jobs. Basically, we’re talking about the cities where you want to avoid if you’re looking for a fresh start in life. And if you live in the places we’re about to talk about, well, then, you are clearly not going to move away if you haven’t left by now. So, good for you!

The cities below all share those qualities. There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against. We had more than 10 million people read our worst cities in a state series, which was featured in hundreds of media outlets, including an NPR feature.

So we know what we’re talking about.

After analyzing the biggest cities in the country, here is our list of the worst cities to live in America.

You might be surprised to see some of these cities on this list. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty, ‘friendly people’, and community involvement), there are far better options in America for making a place home.

What’s the worst place to live in America for 2020? The worst place to live in America is Birmingham, AL based on the most recent crime and census data around quality of life.

The best place to live in America? Naperville, IL. More on that later.

Now, I’d like to add that we’d like to also help these cities too. So, in the description, there’s links to places in each city where you can do your part if you want, to make things better. So, while we’re poking a little fun at some of these places, we want to do our part to help, too.

That said, try not to get too depressed as we begin our journey of America’s worst cities.

For more reading about America, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In America For 2020

Birmingham, AL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 212,021
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $89,200 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (17th worst)
More on Birmingham:  Data | Photos

What’s the worst city in America for 2020? The city of Birmingham, Alabama. If you live in Birmingham, you’re either going to tell us we’re idiots because you’re fiercely protective of your city, or you know it’s a tough place to live. The fact remains, Birmingham has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, where 10.17% of the population is out of work. That’s far above the national average, and households only bring in about $35,346 a year on average.

So most people in Birmingham are broke.

And then there’s the crime. Birmingham is one of the more dangerous places you can live in America. You have a 1 in 15 chance of being robbed here every year. And things have been getting worse, lately, too. In many parts of Birmingham, respect for human life has eroded, and some people care very little about their communities anymore.

Job wise, most of the jobs here aren’t great jobs, and are low paying. There’s little you can do to really move up in the world in the greater Birmingham area. Other parts of Alabama aren’t much better, Mobile and Montgomery also have issues with crime and poverty.

Review Of Birmingham by HomeSnacks User

This place is very racist and not good at all its like a ghost town.

Its very racist and not a good place to live.

Memphis, TN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 653,248
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $97,000 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (23rd worst)
More on Memphis:  Data | Photos

If you were looking for a match and Memphis came across your screen, you would definitely swipe left. Memphis, my friends, needs some real TLC.

Here in Memphis, crime is the 3rd highest in the country, and 1 out of 17.7 residents was robbed here according to the latest FBI numbers. That’s not the first place you think of making home, is it? Additionally, you have a 1 in 54 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes all sorts of bad stuff. That’s really high.

When you look at adult education in Tennessee, the folks in Memphis have the 76th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Memphis undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.

The unemployment rate is the 23rd highest in the states, at 9.28%

Sadly, Memphis is a really lousy place to live.

Review Of Memphis by HomeSnacks User

I’ve lived in Memphis since I was on highschool. Memphis is a city you love but hate. I love the people, I’m a white woman and I’ve lived downtown 7 block from Beal St. for 4yrs I live in midtown and I’ve lived in East Memphis the one thing they have in common is your only a couple of streets from a bad area so you have to be aware of your surroundings all the time.

The city has alot to like, Memphis in May, the Grizzlies, music fest…. but it has alot of negative.

My biggest complaint is city leaders they have screwed police and fire by cutting their benefits and pension. So now the city doesn’t have enough fireman to operate the ambulance for most stations we do have private but response time is alot longer we have a severely depleted police department it’s bad some stations don’t have half the patrol cars out, by that I mean the 4pm to 1am shift should have 25ish patrol cars out but can fill 12 cars in South Memphis. At any given time there’s 100-150 less police officers. This is all the mayor’s fault he’s been told the police have found ways to fix it but didn’t want to because it might hurt reelection Chance’s.. let that sink in. His reelection was more important than the lives of the citizens. Memphis has a lot of good but it has alot of bad most of which is in city hall. Thanks mayor Strickland

Jackson, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 168,862
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $90,800 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (9th worst)
More on Jackson:  Data | Photos

So who’s the 3rd worst? Jackson Mississippi, that’s who.

Like several other cities on this list, Jackson is a poor place plagued by high crime, and no real bright future on its horizon. Incomes, number of jobs and home prices are all in the bottom 10 in the US.

Jackson has been on the decline. The city experienced population loss, especially among higher-income residents, and businesses followed, draining millions, if not billions, of potential revenue. As the tax base continued to erode, crime increased, infrastructure began to crumble, and urban blight grew. Also, the school system began to erode, reflected in test scores and the dropout rate.

You can look online for things to do, ask people about what makes Jackson interesting, and you’ll struggle to find anything appealing or charming about Mississippi’s capital. Roads are beat up and businesses are boarded up. There are parts of Mississippi that look like a developing nation.

Such a sad place indeed. When Little Rock is better than you are, that says a lot about how bad you are.

Now, let’s try and be positive. What is good Jack town? They have an all-female Flat Track Roller Derby League. That’s cool. And that’s pretty much all we could find that’s cool about Jackson Mississippi after 10 minutes of Googling.

Review Of Jackson by HomeSnacks User

I love Jackson, MS I was born and raised here. I love how you can’t even walk down the streets because Jamal or Tyrone might have had a bad day and decide he wants to end your life. I also like all of the homeless harassing me for money and urinating in front of my family and I. The city government is also a haram of idiots pretending to be competent leaders who can’t even maintain roads and water lines. I also love how you can’t even go to a decently priced restaurant without hearing Tyrone and Shanequa having a screaming match or just screaming for fun. If you have to move here I advise a trip to a gun store. It’s a great place, everyone should move here.

My favorite place is when I leave on vacation to somewhere out side of the ghetto

Dayton, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 140,782
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $66,500 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (8th worst)
More on Dayton:  Data | Photos

Next up is the seriously unimpressive city of Dayton, Ohio. This city also makes sense to me based on firsthand experience. Dayton is quite a depressing place. Whenever I drive through Ohio, I try and always time my trip so I don’t have to stop in Dayton for gas. And it’s not the only Ohio city we’re going to talk about…

If you live in Dayton, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 39th highest crime rate, per capita in the country. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 20 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery. Plus there were 1,291 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 100 chance of being a major crime victim.

Finally, the folks who live here earn the 3rd lowest salaries in America’s big cities at ~$30,000 a household — that’s simply not enough to get by for most folks. People in Dayton need money BAD. They’ll take anything they can get their hands on – Christmas lights, Ja Rule Tickets, even your cracked cell phone.

Review Of Dayton by HomeSnacks User

All of Dayton bad the Westside being the worst there ar junkies every where alot of fentanyl h****n junkies and m**h junkies if you want good dope come to Dayton Ohio drive James H Macgee or Gettysburg ave you can find dope on the east end and Northside to I’m born and raised here if you want to live in a grimy a*s drug fueled crime ridden city but don’t want to lived in a over populated place like Cleveland Cincinnati or Columbus come to Dayton will meet all your f****d up dreams we were the overdose capital of the country for few years we have big city crime without big city traffic where nightmares came to die Dayton Ohio oh yeah home of the Wright Brothers Ohio Players And Roger Troutman same place Roger Troutman was murdered and China Arnold stuck her baby in the microwave wave and killed it

The Dope and Dope fiends everyone grimy

Detroit, MI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 677,155
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $45,700 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.3% (1st worst)
More on Detroit:  Data | Photos

Moving right along on our terrible tour of America brings us to America’s favorite punching bag, Detroit.

Well, good for you, Detroit, you’re not the absolute worst place to live.

Detroit has all sorts of issues. Particularly with its economy. 1 in 5 people in Detroit is out of work, which is the highest rate in America. And, home prices are around $40 or $50,000, which is the lowest rate in the country. You could be an unemployed joker and still afford a house in Detroit.

Remember when the entire city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy? The city was slashing jobs, cutting services and closing parks. They even shut street lights off on many blocks in town. But Detroit is apparently getting better. People talk about a resurgence of jobs, a new attitude, and lower crime rates. While many areas of Detroit ARE improving, overall, the city as a whole is still doing very poorly.

We’re all pulling for you Detroit.

Everyone except Cleveland.

Review Of Detroit by HomeSnacks User

I an 63 years old and grew up in detroit in the 1950s and 1960s. i no longer live there but have visited it several times in recent years.

Favorite places! The Detroit Institue of Art–too much time spent there is never enough. Plenty of art of all varieties to look at. Beautiful, provocative, awe-inspiring.

Princess Cruises- will take you on a ride up and down the Detroit River on both the Detroit side and the Canadian side. Scenic and restful.

Motown Museum-or as Paul McCartney put it “the Holy Grail”. must see for all music fans.

Any sports venue-Detroiters are enthusiastic sports fans and that makes for a lot of fun. The same for music concerts. Have seen McCartney and Eminem and Jay-Z-there-the crowd is entertaining as the show

What has always been a downside-problematic school system and poverty. Like to feel Detroit is on its way back but a lot of improvement needed in these areas.

Cleveland, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 387,398
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $68,500 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.7% (2nd worst)
More on Cleveland:  Data | Photos

Practically right next door is Cleveland — it ranks as the 6th worst city you can live in America.

What makes Cleveland so abominable? Well, the weather here stinks. It’s a gray, cloudy, dreary and very cold place for a majority of the year. They’ve made an attempt at fixing up the downtown area a bit, but there’s still a bunch of downtown that’s dangerous and very sketchy. And don’t EVER get off the freeway in east Cleveland. I did that once to let my dog out to pee and I seriously thought I was going to get shot. Like a block from the offramp. And, remember, i grew up in San Bernardino, so I’m tough.

On paper, Cleveland is miserable. Cleveland has a 14.74% unemployment rate, which is the 2nd worst in the entire country. It has far below average income levels and the 26th highest crime rate in the country.

If you look up Cleveland on forums, you’ll see headlines like this:
“Cleveland is the most depressing, boring place on earth”
“Why is Cleveland filled with so many negative people?”
“Why do Clevelanders hate Cleveland?”

Some place called the Economic Innovation Group called Cleveland the most distressed place in the country, citing factors such as a lack of educated, successful people. Did you know a quarter of all Cleveland residents doesn’t even have a high school degree? For people in Cleveland, that means 25%. Or, 1 in 4. And, 1 in 5 homes in Cleveland is vacant.

Review Of Cleveland by HomeSnacks User

I have lived in Cleveland, OH for five years now and I enjoy the many attractions there are including sporting events, downtown, variety of food places, and the night scene.

Downtown Cleveland, University Circle, and Little Italy are my top 3 favorite places in Cleveland. The things I do not like about Cleveland are the brutal winters due to the lake effect and crime rate in certain areas.

Brownsville, TX

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 182,679
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $87,600 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (90th worst)
More on Brownsville:  Data | Photos

Brownsville Texas really isn’t all that great. And if you move there then you’ll know.

First off, homes here average $87,600 a year. That’s the 9th lowest home price value in the USA. You can judge a city by the cost of the homes there, and when homes cost well under $100K a year, that means, well, no one wants to live there.

What else makes Brownville so lousy? Well, unfortunately, the reality of living in a border town means higher crime. Statistically, border towns are far less desirable when you measure quality of life factors.

Many Brownsvillians will defend Brownsville, saying it’s a diverse place, and it’s affordable. Plus, there are a bunch of places in Brownsville to get Mexican food, which means…are you kidding me? They have a MR. TACO? OMG, we might have to move Brownsville off this list. Guys, seriously. Why is Brownsville on here? They have a Mr. Taco there.

San Bernardino, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 215,182
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $225,700 (117th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.3% (10th worst)
More on San Bernardino:  Data | Photos

San Bernardino, California. Man, this one hits close to home. Literally. I grew up right next door, and went to college in San Bernardino. I can personally attest that there are many, many reasons why San Berna-ghetto is certainly deserving of being on this list.

Crime here is horrible. And it’s getting worse. People are really, really disrespectful here, where they vandalize, steal, rob and leave trash everywhere. In some parts of San Bernardino, you’d think you were in a third world country with all the trash on the side of the roads. More than 1 in 10 residents are without jobs, and well… we could go on and on about San Bernardino’s issues.

San Bernardino used to be a great place. In the 50’s it was home to McDonalds, cruising USA, and home to major military personnel. Then, in the 80’s it was like all the unsuccessful people from LA decided San Bernardino was the bees knees and moved there and brought the whole area down.

But San Bernardino is home to In and Out and Del Taco, possibly the best places you could ever possibly eat in your entire life.

What’s the future of San Bernardino? As professionals continue to flee into the nearby enclaves of East Highlands, Yucaipa and Redlands, the city of San Bernardino, which saw its glory days spike in the late 1970s, will continue to head down the drain and unfortunately, become an area only for those who have no aspirations to exceed in life.

Review Of San Bernardino by HomeSnacks User

It’s pretty bad these days. Used to be better. There are a few nice areas left.

Waco, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 133,964
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $116,600 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (152nd worst)
More on Waco:  Data | Photos

We’re heading back to Texas, as we take a very depressing pitstop in the city of Waco. Let’s see why.

Waco, surprisingly, has the 76th-highest crime rate in the country. The number of both violent crimes and property crimes is double what it should be for a city the size of Waco. Factor in a very low home values, really lousy public schools, and a 5.37% unemployment rate, and across the board, Waco doesn’t sound like the best of the best.

Another large news outlet once stated Waco has the nation’s 4th highest vandalism rate. Other people online complain about endless strip malls, termites, and too many prisons. Plus, the weather is Yucky. You have to pretty much use an oven mitt to get to work in the summer.

Tulsa, OK

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 402,223
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $133,900 (45th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (96th worst)
More on Tulsa:  Data | Photos

Our next stop is the terrible, terrible city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Actually, Tulsa isn’t the worst place you could possibly live, but on paper, it ranks really high as a bad place to live. Here’s why.

First off, crime is really high. You have a 1 in 16 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 113 chance of being a crime victim here for every year you spend in the city limits of Tulsa. Gang activity probably has something to do with that.

Homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $133,900. What else makes Tulsa so noxious? It has to be the most boring and stagnant place in America to live, quite honestly. So it’s not really a shock to anyone when a story comes out that paints Tulsa in a negative light. People don’t get upset and say “that’s not our Tulsa” they usually go “yup, that sounds about right”.

Review Of Tulsa by HomeSnacks User

Tulsa, OK is home to many, including my parents. The crime in Tulsa is absolutely horrible, and it seems to be ran down very much. There are fun places to visit if you are into water parks or gambling at a Casino. I can’t get past the area though. It gives me an uneasy feeling, along with dread. It has a lot of litter and homeless people. It really needs help.

You definetly have to watch out for the tolls. They are everywhere, and if you’re not from around there you can easily miss a turn and have to go back through the same toll. The workers at the toll show no mercy either. One time I had went to a toll and told them I was lost. They told me to go down to the next exit and turn around and come back through. So, I paid to go through the toll, turned around, and then went back to the toll and they charged me again. Not only are there tolls EVERYWHERE but there is ALWAYS construction going on and the roads there are absolutely terrible. So, the money you pay in tolls seems to not really go into the roads. Over the 20 years of me going there and visiting my family I have known it to always have crappy roads and construction going on but no workers in sight.

How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?

In order to rank the worst places to live in America, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, asked for the opposite of those, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers for 2020

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the most recent 2014-2018 American Community Survey data, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The lower the worse — meaning there’s less to do for indoor entertainment)
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • Low home prices
  • A lot of uninsured individuals
  • A high portion of uneducated adults
  • High Crime
  • High Poverty

If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, scroll to the bottom of this post to see a link to the entire data set. Or you can download the data here.

Note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves.

There You Have It — The Worst Big Cities in America

If you’re looking at cities in the U.S. where crime is high, people are broke, and the public schools are lousy, this is an accurate list.

Now, do these cities have any redeeming qualities? Sure. We were being a little hard on most of them while trying to make our point, but there’s some culture in most of these places. Like anywhere in America, there’s good and bad around every corner. But overall, based on statistical data, and from what many top news gathering agencies have written in the past, these are your worst potential places you could live in the US.

If you live in Memphis, or any of the other cities we talked about, hopefully you’re working to make your city a better place. If not, you have nothing to complain about yourself.
In case you’re wondering which cities ALMOST made the list: St. Louis and Springfield Missouri as well as Hartford Connecticut are also terrible places to live.

Here are the best cities in America, according to science

  1. Naperville
  2. Sunnyvale
  3. Torrance

Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In America

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Birmingham, AL 212,021 10.2% $89,200
2 Memphis, TN 653,248 9.3% $97,000
3 Jackson, MS 168,862 11.8% $90,800
4 Dayton, OH 140,782 11.9% $66,500
5 Detroit, MI 677,155 17.3% $45,700
6 Cleveland, OH 387,398 14.7% $68,500
7 Brownsville, TX 182,679 6.5% $87,600
8 San Bernardino, CA 215,182 11.3% $225,700
9 Waco, TX 133,964 5.4% $116,600
10 Tulsa, OK 402,223 6.3% $133,900
11 Shreveport, LA 193,785 7.1% $144,800
12 Mobile, AL 191,485 6.5% $121,700
13 Springfield, MO 166,633 5.7% $115,200
14 Montgomery, AL 200,156 7.9% $119,600
15 Tucson, AZ 539,216 8.4% $146,500
16 New Orleans, LA 389,648 8.4% $219,600
17 Rockford, IL 147,881 11.9% $89,700
18 Chattanooga, TN 177,365 6.7% $160,100
19 Hartford, CT 123,628 13.6% $162,800
20 Knoxville, TN 185,429 5.9% $128,800
21 Beaumont, TX 118,632 5.3% $104,400
22 Indianapolis, IN 857,637 7.0% $129,300
23 St. Louis, MO 311,273 8.3% $131,900
24 Baton Rouge, LA 225,362 8.5% $169,200
25 Houston, TX 2,295,982 6.1% $161,300
26 Columbia, SC 133,352 7.4% $173,400
27 Akron, OH 198,314 8.4% $81,400
28 Rochester, NY 207,778 11.3% $82,000
29 Toledo, OH 278,193 9.5% $79,900
30 Cincinnati, OH 300,357 9.2% $129,100
31 Evansville, IN 118,952 6.4% $92,300
32 Milwaukee, WI 596,886 7.8% $118,000
33 Lubbock, TX 250,415 4.1% $131,500
34 Buffalo, NY 257,518 7.6% $82,900
35 Lansing, MI 116,699 9.0% $80,000
36 Newark, NJ 280,463 12.8% $231,500
37 Laredo, TX 257,575 5.1% $122,900
38 Tallahassee, FL 190,180 8.9% $193,100
39 Gainesville, FL 130,790 6.8% $154,400
40 Wichita, KS 389,563 5.8% $128,600
41 San Antonio, TX 1,486,521 6.0% $136,800
42 Mcallen, TX 141,597 7.2% $123,900
43 Richmond, VA 223,787 7.6% $220,700
44 Syracuse, NY 143,293 10.2% $93,200
45 Oklahoma City, OK 637,284 4.8% $153,700
46 Victorville, CA 121,861 13.6% $205,300
47 Miami, FL 451,214 7.0% $292,900
48 Dallas, TX 1,318,806 5.2% $169,400
49 Corpus Christi, TX 324,692 5.5% $133,200
50 New Haven, CT 130,529 9.8% $196,600
51 Pasadena, TX 154,193 8.7% $117,400
52 Kansas City, MO 481,417 5.4% $148,500
53 Amarillo, TX 198,773 3.6% $127,200
54 Baltimore, MD 614,700 9.1% $156,400
55 Orlando, FL 275,690 6.0% $217,800
56 Allentown, PA 120,410 11.1% $126,700
57 Stockton, CA 306,283 10.2% $248,000
58 Fresno, CA 522,277 10.1% $224,600
59 Phoenix, AZ 1,610,071 6.1% $217,400
60 El Paso, TX 680,354 6.7% $123,900
61 Bridgeport, CT 146,417 13.4% $173,100
62 Las Vegas, NV 626,637 7.6% $234,700
63 Philadelphia, PA 1,575,522 10.2% $156,800
64 Elizabeth, NJ 128,153 7.3% $273,700
65 North Las Vegas, NV 236,986 7.2% $208,100
66 Jacksonville, FL 878,907 6.7% $160,900
67 Independence, MO 117,207 5.4% $107,300
68 Little Rock, AR 198,135 4.3% $162,800
69 Greensboro, NC 288,719 6.3% $152,900
70 Abilene, TX 123,676 4.5% $114,000
71 Atlanta, GA 479,655 7.7% $261,400
72 Providence, RI 179,435 8.8% $192,100
73 Odessa, TX 118,582 6.5% $149,900
74 Lancaster, CA 159,662 7.6% $242,100
75 Albuquerque, NM 559,202 6.3% $193,000
76 Paterson, NJ 145,800 5.1% $237,500
77 Fort Worth, TX 855,786 5.7% $154,300
78 Nashville, TN 660,062 4.6% $216,500
79 Des Moines, IA 215,932 6.0% $127,200
80 Topeka, KS 126,877 5.0% $102,600
81 Bakersfield, CA 375,699 8.7% $240,900
82 Mesquite, TX 144,250 5.6% $129,100
83 Glendale, AZ 245,514 5.8% $197,600
84 Wilmington, NC 118,094 6.9% $237,700
85 Salt Lake City, UT 195,701 4.1% $289,200
86 Hialeah, FL 237,285 5.8% $203,700
87 Pomona, CA 152,494 8.7% $367,400
88 Norfolk, VA 245,592 8.2% $199,400
89 Lafayette, LA 126,515 4.7% $190,800
90 Fort Lauderdale, FL 178,783 7.7% $318,200
91 Warren, MI 135,192 8.4% $111,700
92 Fort Wayne, IN 264,052 6.2% $110,600
93 Grand Rapids, MI 197,081 6.8% $131,700
94 Durham, NC 264,310 5.2% $207,900
95 Chicago, IL 2,718,555 8.9% $246,500
96 Killeen, TX 143,070 9.8% $121,500
97 Clarksville, TN 150,602 7.2% $148,700
98 Spokane, WA 214,804 6.0% $174,300
99 Columbus, OH 867,628 5.8% $143,000
100 Palmdale, CA 156,904 8.7% $254,800

Worst Places By State

42 thoughts on “Worst Places To Live In America For 2020

  1. Over and over again they say that science doesn’t measure things like how nice people are, that it measures fact. Listen, science measures people’s feeling and attitudes all the time. The author’s clearly don’t understand “science”. Also, using median income as a happyness measure in a college town ia just flat out an errror. Why is the tone of this so snotty??

  2. I left Macon over 35 years ago. Best decision I ever made. I’m so much better for it. My lite was going no where. I couldn’t find a job that paid well. The people I left behind wish they had gone with me. I have a BSW degree and retired with Over 20 years in the military. I am happy where I am located now. When I visit Macon I see it worse. The house I sold several years ago 30K is still standing could have gotten much more for it here. Sorry but I am so blessed to have seen that leaving would be beneficial to me in 1979. It was the circumstances that forced me to leave. Now I can say thanks to the Crisis. It made me better.

  3. This is comical. The “science” of this article has holes in it that can be seen by even those of us who do not put all our thought into scientific criteria. It does not seem that making an assumption that using the criteria for coming up with best cities in reverse would be accurate. Things don’t work that way. To use criteria such as low home prices…mmm? Is this saying cities with high home prices are the best to live in? There is some reversal logic not making sense already. I know I have never used high home prices as a positive for moving to a city.

  4. This article and the statistics are crap. I would think Detroit would be number one, but none of the other cities shouldn’t even be on the list. Not enough variables built in to this study.

  5. Savannah is a crappy place to live because of the stupid southern local people that grew up here. Women like to visit, but very very few decent white ones live here. Black people are very racist, and red necks are as stupid as can be. Jobs? If you’re a queer lawyer you’re good, but not so good for the rest of the folks. Crime is bad, and income is low. So come and visit, but don’t settle down here.

  6. When you think about it this is really a review of these cities from the bottom up. So yeah if you are unfortunate to be poor or even lower middle class in any of these places it really can be depressing. However, if you are fortunate enough to be reasonably affluent in these same locations that money can go a long way and make life pretty good. You know, the kind of lifestyle that people like to read about it Garden & Gun. The public schools in the upscale suburbs outside these cities can actually be pretty good (and if you have money to burn there are always the established private schools). There are no hour plus commutes to and from work in bumper to bumper traffic. Also with the cost of living so low in these places a lot of folks have the means to actually travel somewhere nice for family vacations. It all depends on whether your glass is half-full or half-empty.

  7. Suggesting dollars spent for education is the only criteria and validation for ‘good education’ is flawed, unscientific logic. It could be just as likely that cities that throw dollars at the education issues they have, have those issues because of inefficiency. More money doesn’t necessarily guarantee better results.

    Also saying: “you can’t argue with the data” in no less that two places in the article points to weak research. If anything, it calls it more into question.

    Lastly, with no northeast cities in the ‘worst’ list (Detroit being the Midwest) it suggests a bias from the writer; especially with the chronic and rampant opiate abuse that is so prevalent there. Heroin addiction and the crime it brings wasn’t a metric? Low population density IS a negative metric? What is the writer smoking? It’s a very thin justification to suggest more people crammed into an area is a ‘good’ thing. That’s a real stretch and so is the suggestion that affordable housing is a sign of negative circumstances. Lower household income balanced with lower cost of housing is a positive (or at least a neutral) factor. Bubble gum writing to draw clicks. Nothing more.

  8. Mobile has a certain magic that keeps you on your toes. Where a melting pot of people, flavors, cultures and traditions become one voice to lead all of life’s celebrations. Join the jubilee and welcome every day with an enduring passion and a little soulful hospitality, because life is the ultimate gift. This is the spirit of living. This is what we’re born to do.
    Funky, feisty, festive. Or historic, hip and happening. Colorful, cool and cultured. You can call this coastal town a lot of things when you have a vibrant 300 year history with lots of stories to tell and long-standing traditions celebrated on a regular basis. Once called the Paris of the South, Mobile has long been the cultural center of the Gulf Coast and you’ll find an authentic experience found nowhere else in the southern United States.
    Home to America’s original Mardi Gras that rolls through the streets of our historic downtown; dozens of festivals, art shows, or culinary cook-offs nearly every weekend, Mobile takes having fun pretty seriously. If you’re looking for a bit more leisurely experience, nearby historic neighborhoods lined with giant live oaks trees or a paddle in one of the most significant river delta systems in the country are just minutes from downtown.

  9. I lived in Springfield for 18 years and was never robbed once. It’s not even close to dangerous, it’s factored in because of the lower population ratio.

    1. I know several people who live in Springfield, MO. None have ever had any issues with crime. It’s also one of the lowest cost of living cities in the country. People there are extremely friendly and there are tons of things to do in close proximity. This so called “data” is laughable.

  10. I’m pretty sure all this site is about is bashing the South.
    Very bad science at that.
    I would even be willing to bet they haven’t been to any of the cities they trash. Just some moron a thousand miles away sitting in a cubicle staring at his phone all day.
    But hey, a Southern Man don’t need them around anyhow.

  11. The cities in central California are less bad than midwest cities?
    I have lived and worked in both areas and can tell you first hand Central California is a hot dusty drug infested crime ridden war zone, oh then there are the Tule fogs when make winter driving really interesting: 50 car pile ups any one?
    Stockton had to downgrade its ER status because it was overwhelmed by the number of trauma cases being dumped at its door way. Bakersfield is almost as bad, Modesto is boring and dangerous, Fresno is turning into a free fire zone. As for SF, it is OK if you are gay, have absurd amounts of money, and do not mind stepping over the piles of human excrement on the side walk and panhandlers who verge on being strong arm robber.

  12. As they say,

    “There are lies; then there are damn lies; and then there are statistics.”

    It should surprise no one that more detailed and definitive rankings show that some of the cities in your worst half are considered the very best places to raise a family, or the very smartest places, in the United States of America.

    This list was obviously prepared by lazy bigots looking for a convenient outcome.

  13. The robbery comment for Springfield, MO makes no sense. For 2013, the robbery rate was 242.2 per 100,000 residents. That’s 24.2 per 10,000 and 2.42 per 1,000. One-eleventh of 100,000 is 9,091 then adjusted for Springfield’s population, that would be more than 14,000 robberies per year when in fact there were 390. Maybe the writer was referring to theft. However if the writer doesn’t know the difference between theft and robbery they shouldn’t be analyzing statistics.

  14. Yes -the cities that are walk white greg has your white collar criminals, mortgage, money laundering oh and methamphetamines, pill poppers – to say least -prefer my children to go off to college drug free!! Believe me that is what these statistics DONT SHOW!!

  15. Corrupt Malfeasant New Jersey Cities and Entire Counties including Bergen County and Camden County are the worst in the US to Live in – People aren’t Safe In their Homes when Corrupt New Jersey DCF/DCPP/DYFS Child Predatory Services will come by to Steal Their Children Followed by Court-Ordered Forced Injectible Psychotropics for the Parents Who Object – a Terrifying Criminal State and Cities to Live in, Read About Englewood NJ Apartheid Schools with City Terror and Just Ranked Singular Worst City Newark New Jersey for Children – Read about the daily terror New Jersey Residents Live Under Every Day and Even The Terror Caused Throughout The World, Add Englewood, Hackensack and Cherry Hill New Jersey. –

  16. How can Stockton, Modesto, Oakland, which are gang ridden war zones with over inflated home values be placed in the middle of your list? These are places where the predators come hunting for you and have no compunction about hurting you, in many of the cities that you rate as being less desirable, if you keep your nose clean you will be left alone. Redo your metrics, if an area has a high percentage of blacks, unemployed Central Americans, or a disproportionate number of male Muslim “refugees” from war zone hell holes, it will be a high crime murder ridden no go zone. Areas with a lot of poor whites may have a high rate of property crime, but violent crime rates are lower than in “diverse” areas, and outsiders or visitors are relatively safe.

  17. The worse city to ever exist is stockton california. Full of illegals, crime, murders. If you go there and spend the night, be prepared to get robbed. They steel moving trucks, cars, name it and they will steal it.

  18. Where in the heck did you get your stats – they’re wrong!
    You list Memphis at a 11 percent unemployment rate.
    In December of 2018 it was at 4.1 percent

  19. You haven’t seen how bad Covington KY is, it has a really high crime rate, and there is like 38% chance of a person to be homeless, also I see news about Covington every day and 99% of the time, it is bad news.

  20. I am thankful the method of determining livability was mentioned at the beginning of this article. Please change the method. Getting the most for your dollar should have a high priority. That includes your tax dollars. Also it is insulting to assume a city is bad place to live because of the small percentage of College educated people. Many honorable individuals make a living with out a college education. They are skilled in trades and services. Thanks for considering my suggestion. I will look for cities that have a cheap cost of living and a government that is effective some where else.

  21. Hi Nick,

    Although data is a factor to consider when ranking cities, it really is a shame that your same standards are not used with your analysis. Using “data” to back up your own assumptions of the area and inferences is not only bad “science” but also assumes your opinions are those of an expert. You’re not an expert, and unless you or your co-founder has gone into these areas, I would refrain from speaking so ill of them. Given that your website was founded by a Pomona College alumnus, I would expect much, much more by way of analysis.

    Rather than have people rely on your data and VERY bad analysis of the data, I hope people go into these communities and appreciate them for their richness in history and diversity. Finally, racism exists. And underinvestment in communities of color (I believe all of those listed on this list of WORST places in America are heavily communities of color) so how about you think more critically next time before posting yet another list that is void of any critical thought.


    Claremont College alumna
    Columbia Law graduate
    Former San Bernardino resident

  22. You do realize all this doesn’t take into account the volatile times we live in. Overnite, the best places can become the worst places, and vice versa.

  23. Waco and the surrounding areas are fantastic. We moved here from Silicon Valley. Lots of top schools. Nice people. Up and coming city. Sure there are dodgy parts and poor areas but not anything like the article says.

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