The 10 Worst Places To Live In The United States For 2024

The worst cities in the US are Memphis and Birmingham for 2024 based on Saturday Night Science.

Worst Cities In The United States Map

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 used Saturday Night Science, so we know we’re pretty darn close.

How did we determine the worst places to live in the United States? 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.

We’re talking about the cities 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!

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.

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.

For more reading about America, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In America For 2024

Memphis, TN

Source: Wikipedia User Thomas R Machnitzki | GFDL
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Population: 630,027
Average Home Price: $144,868 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (18th worst)
Median Income: $48,090
More on Memphis: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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 2nd 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 dropout rate. And other factors that make Memphis undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.

The unemployment rate is the 18th highest in the states, at 8.61%

Sadly, Memphis is a really lousy place to live.

Review Of Memphis by HomeSnacks User

I like the convenience of living in the up town area of Memphis. its close to many restaurants and venues and the house I have is fairly new. the problem with Memphis is that no matter where you live, theres a slum area nearby. you can be driving through a neighborhood with upscale housing and clean streets and all of a sudden there’s an area that definitely on the downgrade with abandoned houses, prostitutes, and trash laden streets.

wonderful music events and great food venues.

Review Memphis

Birmingham, AL

Source: Flickr User argusfoto | CC BY-ND 2.0
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Population: 200,431
Average Home Price: $102,370 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (38th worst)
Median Income: $42,464
More on Birmingham: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

What’s the worst city in America for 2024? 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 7.5% of the population is out of work. That’s far above the national average, and households only bring in about $42,464 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.

Review Birmingham

Dayton, OH

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL
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Population: 137,305
Average Home Price: $110,664 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (8th worst)
Median Income: $41,443
More on Dayton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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 29th 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 1,605 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

I’m from Cincinnati and driving through Dayton is like going thru a small ghost town/war zone. I have family there and they even say it’s depressing. Sad part is most people from Dayton go to Columbus, Middletown, Cincinnati or elsewhere to have fun. Funny thing is Rooster’s is like a club for local folks, yea I said Rooster’s Restaurant.

The terrible a** roads and a lot of empty houses

Review Dayton

Detroit, MI

Source: Wikipedia User User:AE at Quicken Loans | CC BY-SA 1.0
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Population: 636,787
Average Home Price: $66,544 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.7% (1st worst)
Median Income: $37,761
More on Detroit: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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



Review Detroit

Cleveland, OH

Source: Flickr User Tim Evanson | CC BY-SA 2.0
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Population: 370,365
Average Home Price: $100,343 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (2nd worst)
Median Income: $37,271
More on Cleveland: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Practically right next door is Cleveland — it ranks as the 5th 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 off ramp. And, remember, i grew up in San Bernardino, so I’m tough.

On paper, Cleveland is miserable. Cleveland has a 11.91% unemployment rate, which is the 2nd worst in the entire country. It has far below average income levels and the 25th 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

Everything in Cleveland is terrible. The crime, the roads, the people, the weather. It is the worst place I have ever had the misfortune to live in.

The worst thing is the snow in the winter months and having to deal with all of cold and mess. Everybody is really cranky so you get no friendliness from people. The air quality s***s so you can never take a real breath. Just an awful place.

Review Cleveland

Mobile, AL

Source: Public domain
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Population: 186,316
Average Home Price: $183,563 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (60th worst)
Median Income: $48,524
More on Mobile: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

We don’t have to go too far away to visit our next worst city in America — the city of Mobile, Alabama. If you live in Mobile, 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, Mobile has the one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, where 6.52% of the population is out of work. That’s far above the national average, and households only bring in about $48,524 a year on average.

So most people in Mobile are broke.

And then there’s the crime. Mobile is one of the most dangerous place 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 Mobile, 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 Mobile area. Other parts of Alabama aren’t much better, Birmingham and Montgomery also have issues with crime and poverty.

There ARE some very accomplished people who are from Mobile, though, which proves you can grow up here and still manage success. Apple CEO Tim Cook is from here. The guy who invented the super soaker is from here. And the Duchess of Marlborough is from here.

Review Of Mobile by HomeSnacks User

I live in mobile and it’s a very nice place full of great and friendly people very good for retirement

My favorite place here is cooper riverside park it has great fishing

Review Mobile

Shreveport, LA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 186,183
Average Home Price: $129,604 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (12th worst)
Median Income: $45,967
More on Shreveport: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Our next stop is the terrible, terrible city of Shreveport, Louisiana. Actually, Shreveport 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 Shreveport. Gang activity probably has something to do with that.

Shreveport is the slowest growing city in America, too. Did you know Shreveport ranks 3rd in the nation for least gender equality? That means the number of men versus women is really low.

No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $139,800. What else makes Shreveport so noxious? It has to be the most boring and stagnant place in Louisiana to live, quite honestly. So it’s not really a shock to anyone when a story comes out that paints Shreveport in a negative light. People don’t get upset and say “that’s not our Shreveport” they usually go “yup, that sounds about right”.

Houston, TX

Source: Wikipedia User Armbrust | CC BY 2.0
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Population: 2,296,253
Average Home Price: $260,901 (57th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (56th worst)
Median Income: $60,440
More on Houston: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Review Of Houston by HomeSnacks User

Crime is same as most major cities. It is very cosmopolitan with all sorts of amazing ethnic foods. Cost of living is also pretty good given it is a major city. Lots of job opportunities

Hermann park is lovely as is Discovery Green. There are many food options here for all budgets and easily accessible. There are lot of sporting and cultural activities such as the annual rodeo etc.

Review Houston

Baton Rouge, LA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 225,500
Average Home Price: $214,487 (36th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (20th worst)
Median Income: $50,155
More on Baton Rouge: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Review Of Baton Rouge by HomeSnacks User

This is probably one of the worst cities I’ve ever been too. The traffic is awful and almost as bad as Los Angeles, which has something like 5 times the population. Most of the areas outside of the central business district live in poverty, the schools are way below the national average, and the food pales in comparison to New Orleans. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone visit or move here.

The best part of Baton Rouge is that it is located pretty close to New Orleans, and is Louisiana’s state capital. The thing that stood out the most is the horrid traffic and degrading infrastructure.

Review Baton Rouge

Brownsville, TX

Source: Public domain
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Population: 186,999
Average Home Price: $176,876 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (66th worst)
Median Income: $46,735
More on Brownsville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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

First off, homes here average $176,876 a year. That’s the 15th 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.

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

To rank the worst places to live in America, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It’s safe to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do, and a stable economy.

Using FBI crime data and the most recent 2018-2022 American Community Survey data, this is the criteria we plugged into Saturday Night Science:

  • 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

We analyzed the biggest cities in the country. We updated this article for 2024. This is our tenth 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.

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.

What’s the worst place to live in America for 2024? The worst place to live in America is Memphis, TN 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.

Summary: The Worst Big Cities in America

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

The worst cities in the United States are Memphis, TN, Birmingham, AL, Dayton, OH, Detroit, MI, Cleveland, OH, Mobile, AL, Shreveport, LA, Houston, TX, Baton Rouge, LA, and Brownsville, TX.

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.

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: Jackson and New Orleans as well as Tulsa are also terrible places to live.

Here are the best cities in America, according to science:

  1. Naperville
  2. Sunnyvale
  3. Cary

Table: Worst Places To Live In America

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value Median Income
1 Memphis, TN 630,027 8.6% $144,868 $48,090
2 Birmingham, AL 200,431 7.5% $102,370 $42,464
3 Dayton, OH 137,305 10.0% $110,664 $41,443
4 Detroit, MI 636,787 14.7% $66,544 $37,761
5 Cleveland, OH 370,365 11.9% $100,343 $37,271
6 Mobile, AL 186,316 6.5% $183,563 $48,524
7 Shreveport, LA 186,183 9.2% $129,604 $45,967
8 Houston, TX 2,296,253 6.6% $260,901 $60,440
9 Baton Rouge, LA 225,500 8.6% $214,487 $50,155
10 Brownsville, TX 186,999 6.3% $176,876 $46,735
11 Jackson, MS 153,271 9.3% $62,707 $42,193
12 New Orleans, LA 380,408 8.4% $253,741 $51,116
13 Tulsa, OK 411,938 5.8% $192,607 $56,648
14 Winston-Salem, NC 249,571 6.2% $241,673 $54,416
15 San Antonio, TX 1,445,662 5.9% $257,552 $59,593
16 Fayetteville, NC 208,697 8.4% $198,110 $53,424
17 Rockford, IL 148,173 9.0% $144,774 $50,744
18 Waco, TX 140,545 4.5% $214,027 $47,421
19 Springfield, MO 168,873 4.8% $222,322 $43,450
20 Pasadena, TX 150,620 8.9% $214,267 $64,698
21 Akron, OH 190,273 7.7% $115,235 $46,596
22 Tucson, AZ 541,033 6.5% $324,757 $52,049
23 Chattanooga, TN 181,288 5.1% $294,487 $57,703
24 Toledo, OH 269,962 8.2% $114,512 $45,405
25 Hartford, CT 121,057 10.6% $171,873 $41,841
26 Corpus Christi, TX 317,804 5.6% $216,357 $64,449
27 Lubbock, TX 258,190 4.6% $204,713 $58,734
28 Milwaukee, WI 573,299 5.9% $191,843 $49,733
29 Wichita, KS 395,951 5.7% $183,706 $60,712
30 Columbia, SC 136,754 7.9% $222,099 $54,095
31 San Bernardino, CA 221,041 7.6% $455,364 $61,323
32 St. Louis, MO 298,018 5.4% $168,569 $52,941
33 Syracuse, NY 146,134 8.6% $175,959 $43,584
34 Indianapolis, IN 882,006 5.6% $218,415 $59,110
35 Independence, MO 122,218 6.2% $189,173 $57,415
36 Rochester, NY 210,992 8.5% $202,931 $44,156
37 Knoxville, TN 191,857 4.8% $339,691 $48,309
38 Cincinnati, OH 308,870 6.9% $235,782 $49,191
39 West Palm Beach, FL 117,588 6.2% $417,563 $64,044
40 Victorville, CA 134,417 10.3% $413,567 $65,746
41 Philadelphia, PA 1,593,208 8.6% $216,286 $57,537
42 Dallas, TX 1,300,642 5.0% $306,310 $63,985
43 Amarillo, TX 200,360 3.5% $193,058 $60,628
44 Greensboro, NC 297,202 5.5% $248,523 $55,051
45 Kansas City, MO 505,958 4.8% $227,993 $65,256
46 Tallahassee, FL 198,259 6.5% $279,088 $52,899
47 El Paso, TX 677,181 6.8% $213,288 $55,710
48 Fresno, CA 541,528 9.0% $363,927 $63,001
49 Little Rock, AR 202,218 4.4% $201,487 $58,697
50 Laredo, TX 255,293 5.9% $206,477 $60,928
51 Oklahoma City, OK 681,088 4.5% $195,449 $64,251
52 Paterson, NJ 157,864 10.5% $433,327 $52,092
53 Allentown, PA 125,292 9.2% $267,464 $52,449
54 Norfolk, VA 236,973 6.7% $284,301 $60,998
55 Topeka, KS 126,431 5.0% $174,701 $54,052
56 Gainesville, FL 142,414 5.5% $289,220 $43,783
57 Killeen, TX 153,708 10.9% $224,867 $57,086
58 Lafayette, LA 121,706 6.1% $215,488 $58,850
59 Newark, NJ 307,355 10.7% $432,693 $46,460
60 Mcallen, TX 142,722 5.4% $216,705 $56,326
61 Baltimore, MD 584,548 6.9% $179,189 $58,349
62 Buffalo, NY 276,688 7.0% $215,169 $46,184
63 New Haven, CT 135,736 7.8% $279,194 $54,305
64 Bakersfield, CA 404,321 7.1% $377,282 $73,827
65 Orlando, FL 307,738 5.2% $373,263 $66,292
66 Des Moines, IA 213,164 5.9% $194,392 $62,378
67 Albuquerque, NM 562,551 5.5% $321,089 $61,503
68 Bridgeport, CT 148,470 9.5% $305,486 $54,440
69 Fort Worth, TX 924,663 5.3% $303,501 $72,726
70 Glendale, AZ 248,083 5.7% $405,468 $66,375
71 Abilene, TX 126,356 2.8% $189,348 $59,254
72 Aurora, CO 387,349 5.5% $472,149 $78,685
73 Phoenix, AZ 1,609,456 5.2% $417,187 $72,092
74 Mesquite, TX 149,439 4.7% $272,912 $69,649
75 Jacksonville, FL 950,203 4.8% $293,086 $64,138
76 Richmond, VA 227,171 6.1% $328,655 $59,606
77 North Las Vegas, NV 264,022 8.4% $385,939 $71,774
78 Grand Rapids, MI 198,096 5.6% $262,762 $61,634
79 Stockton, CA 320,030 7.7% $428,288 $71,612
80 Lancaster, CA 171,465 7.5% $449,018 $71,367
81 Miami, FL 443,665 5.0% $569,425 $54,858
82 Norman, OK 127,701 5.8% $241,585 $62,849
83 Atlanta, GA 494,838 5.8% $379,030 $77,655
84 Elizabeth, NJ 135,665 5.9% $485,755 $59,939
85 Arlington, TX 393,469 5.6% $312,016 $71,736
86 Chicago, IL 2,721,914 8.2% $283,025 $71,673
87 Columbus, OH 902,449 5.2% $237,662 $62,994
88 Fort Wayne, IN 264,514 5.8% $216,656 $58,233
89 Salt Lake City, UT 201,269 3.6% $532,894 $72,357
90 Palmdale, CA 166,895 7.4% $486,827 $78,414
91 Denton, TX 142,262 4.8% $355,295 $71,921
92 Spokane, WA 227,922 6.2% $374,653 $63,316
93 Los Angeles, CA 3,881,041 7.7% $926,593 $76,244
94 Pomona, CA 149,831 6.5% $619,187 $73,515
95 Salem, OR 175,754 6.1% $418,511 $67,540
96 Providence, RI 189,715 7.2% $365,946 $61,365
97 Clarksville, TN 167,882 6.5% $298,690 $62,688
98 Newport News, VA 185,118 5.6% $263,687 $63,355
99 Palm Bay, FL 121,513 5.7% $313,458 $62,538
100 Minneapolis, MN 426,877 5.8% $318,812 $76,332

Worst Places By State

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

43 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In The United States For 2024

  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. Well, I CHALLENGE this – You haven’t lived in Port Allegany, PA yet! THE WORST PLACE TO LIVE ON PLANET EARTH.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. Wow, I had no idea some of these places were even still inhabited. I grew up in one of the worst places on this list and I can attest to the lack of opportunities and overall crappy quality of life. It’s crazy to see how much some of these places have fallen from grace. Can’t say I’m surprised about the ones in California, but the ones in the Midwest really did take me by surprise. Thanks for sharing this list, it’s definitely an eye-opener!

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