The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2023

The worst places to live in Arizona are Eloy and Winslow for 2023 based on Friday Night Science.

If you’ve ever been to Arizona, you know it’s a beautiful place. The desert landscapes are some of the prettiest places in the country, and the mountain areas have some of the best outdoor activities in the entire southwest.

But is it all great in the Copper State? Of course not. Just like every other state, Arizona has its trouble spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities in Arizona are the least desirable to live in.

Of course, you’ll most likely disagree if you see your town atop this list. But nonetheless, according to science, these cities are the worst places you could possibly live if you make Arizona your home. These places need a big hug right about now.

After analyzing 51 of the state’s most populous cities (over 5,200 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Arizona:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2023

  1. Eloy
  2. Winslow
  3. Snowflake
  4. Guadalupe
  5. Coolidge
  6. Benson
  7. San Luis
  8. Nogales
  9. Sedona
  10. Tolleson

Where are these places, you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small towns in Arizona, that’s not the case.

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. For example, the best place to live in Arizona is Oro Valley.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), the state has far better options for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Arizona? The worst place to live in Arizona is Eloy.

Read below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your city fared in 2023.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Arizona reading, check out:

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

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2023

Eloy, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,171
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $137,600
Unemployment Rate: 9.1%
More on Eloy:  Data | Photos

Eloy, along I-10 south of Chandler, is also a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Eloy is the 20th most dangerous place you can live in Arizona.

Residents in Eloy have a 1 in 37.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.

When you’re considering home prices, you can’t do much lower than in Eloy, where average homes are valued at only $137,600. That’s the 5th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.

Winslow, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,961
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 9)
Median Home Value: $106,400
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
More on Winslow:  Data | Photos

If you’re a classic rock fan, you probably know Winslow from the Eagles song “Take It Easy.” In fact, the town has a statue commemorating the lyric: “Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona/And such a fine sight to see.” Unfortunately, reality doesn’t live up to the legend. Winslow stands as the number 2 worst location in Arizona.

The economy is the main problem in the area. The median income stands at $41,926. However, 25.4% of the town’s 8,961 residents live below the poverty level. 12.2% of them receive food stamps.

These financial hardships lead to other problems. The schools rate a score of 4/10 on Great Schools. The crime rate is more than 140% above the national average.

Snowflake, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,086
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $186,800
Unemployment Rate: 10.3%
More on Snowflake:  Data | Photos

Snowflake has an ironic name. Typically, the average temperature in the area never drops below the high 40s. So, as you might guess, snowflakes are rare in Snowflake. That’s not all the community is missing. The town counts as the number 3 place you’d most want to avoid in Arizona.

Unfortunately, poverty is a major problem in the area. About 22.9% of the town’s 6,086 people live below the poverty line. Meanwhile, unemployment sits at 10.3% and the median income hovers at $63,458.

Snowflake sits in a rural part of the state, about three hours from Phoenix. It’s close to a few reservations, lying between the Fort Apache Reservation and the Hopi Reservation.

Guadalupe, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,334
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $172,600
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
More on Guadalupe:  Data | Photos

Guadalupe sits just outside of Phoenix, about 20 minutes from the center of the state’s biggest population center. Meanwhile, it’s also on the edge of the South Mountain Park and Reserve, providing access to abundant outdoor activities. Unfortunately, this great location comes with problems. Guadalupe also serves as the number 4 least appealing town in Arizona.

The economy is the main challenge for the 5,334 residents of Guadalupe. About 34.6% of them live below the poverty line. The median income sits at $45,114 and the unemployment rate hovers at 5.4%.

With such a limited tax base, Guadalupe also suffers from bad schools. They rank a score of 4/10 on Great Schools.

Coolidge, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,347
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $127,700
Unemployment Rate: 14.2%
More on Coolidge:  Data | Photos

Coolidge is only a half hour drive south of the outskirts of Chandler and ranks as the 5th worst city on this list. However, there are some major differences in the quality of life between the two.

Coolidge has the 22nd highest crime rate in Arizona, where residents have a 1 in 38.4 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 4th cheapest in the state ($127,700), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,252
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $114,400
Unemployment Rate: 6.9%
More on Benson:  Data

San Luis, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 35,289
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $146,800
Unemployment Rate: 9.9%
More on San Luis:  Data | Photos

There are some bad places to live and some really, really bad places to live. According to the data, San Luis is one of the worst places you can live in Arizona. And quite possibly, one of the worst places you can live in, period. Let’s see why.

We’re not economists, but when you have a 9.9% unemployment rate for a city of 35,289 people, that’s a sign that things aren’t just bad. They are downright depressing. That’s one the highest unemployment rate of any city we’ve analyzed.

Not only that, but the public school system is completely underfunded in San Luis. The students get the least amount of spending in the entire state, and at $7,000 each per year, that’s about half the national average.

The city has a prison in town, and it sits right next to the Mexican border. Crime is above average here, and perhaps the only reason crime isn’t higher is that there are most likely lots of border patrol agents in the area.

Nogales, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,829
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $139,300
Unemployment Rate: 13.2%
More on Nogales:  Data | Photos

Nogales is a little better off, but not by much.

The U.S. poverty line is $25,000 for a family of four. In Nogales, household incomes hover at just over $31,997. Which means most of Nogales is having trouble making ends meet. Especially when the unemployment rate is 13.2%.

Homes are very cheap here, and the public schools are just about as underfunded as those in San Luis. Nogales also sits on the Mexican border.

It’s beginning to look like Arizona is really the super rich, the middle class and the destitute.

Sedona, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,723
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $569,800
Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
More on Sedona:  Data | Photos

Tolleson, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,180
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $218,600
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
More on Tolleson:  Data | Photos

Tolleson is part of the suburban sprawl surrounding Phoenix. It sits just of I-10, about 20 minutes west of the city’s heart. This prime location, close to the state’s biggest urban center, hasn’t given Tolleson a boost. In fact, it exists as the number 10 least appealing place to put down roots in Arizona.

Wages in the area just aren’t enough to provide a stable standard of living. The medium income sits at $48,002, with 18.4% of the people struggling below the poverty line.

There are other problems as well. Crime in the area is about 300% above the U.S. standard. Also, with rare exceptions, the schools in the area mostly below average.

Methodology: How we determined the worst places to live in Arizona for 2023

To figure out the worst places to live in Arizona, 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 the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a more significant weight. If you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are typically 7x more common and bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 51 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 51 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 Arizona — Eloy. Read on for a detailed look at the ten worst cities in Arizona.

Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2023. This is our tenth time ranking the worst places to live in Arizona.

Summary: Wrapping Up The Worst In Arizona

If you’re looking at areas in Arizona with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime and little to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Eloy ranks as the worst city to live in Arizona for 2023.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Arizona:

  1. Paradise Valley (Pop. 12,666)
  2. Gilbert (Pop. 262,249)
  3. Oro Valley (Pop. 46,515)

For more Arizona reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Arizona?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Eloy 15,171 9.1% $137,600
2 Winslow 8,961 10.6% $106,400
3 Snowflake 6,086 10.3% $186,800
4 Guadalupe 5,334 5.4% $172,600
5 Coolidge 13,347 14.2% $127,700
6 Benson 5,252 6.9% $114,400
7 San Luis 35,289 9.9% $146,800
8 Nogales 19,829 13.2% $139,300
9 Sedona 9,723 6.8% $569,800
10 Tolleson 7,180 3.7% $218,600
11 Casa Grande 53,488 7.0% $177,700
12 Tucson 538,167 7.0% $177,800
13 Globe 7,185 5.1% $153,400
14 Camp Verde 11,942 7.0% $210,400
15 Yuma 95,154 8.0% $157,300
16 Phoenix 1,591,119 5.4% $277,700
17 Apache Junction 38,311 9.2% $145,700
18 Cottonwood 12,073 3.5% $212,500
19 Show Low 11,623 7.3% $197,200
20 Chino Valley 12,854 5.2% $264,800
21 Glendale 245,685 5.8% $252,200
22 Avondale 88,065 5.8% $252,400
23 El Mirage 35,410 5.9% $204,700
24 Douglas 16,470 13.5% $107,300
25 Florence 25,356 6.4% $210,000
26 Kingman 32,204 6.7% $175,100
27 Somerton 14,126 7.3% $155,900
28 Queen Creek 57,728 5.4% $407,800
29 Goodyear 93,651 6.2% $333,900
30 Tempe 178,862 6.2% $321,300
31 Flagstaff 76,228 7.7% $388,500
32 Fountain Hills 23,639 5.1% $449,300
33 Payson 16,229 5.2% $272,500
34 Mesa 497,752 4.8% $269,400
35 Safford 9,981 4.1% $151,300
36 Litchfield Park 6,656 1.9% $393,900
37 Thatcher 5,172 5.9% $184,800
38 Wickenburg 7,359 1.7% $276,700
39 Maricopa 57,075 3.7% $235,000
40 Prescott Valley 46,014 5.0% $283,700
41 Peoria 187,733 4.0% $314,000
42 Sierra Vista 44,944 6.3% $182,900
43 Marana 50,834 4.1% $291,900
44 Surprise 141,875 4.7% $282,300
45 Sahuarita 33,524 6.5% $251,800
46 Prescott 45,063 5.4% $386,300
47 Chandler 272,439 4.0% $351,600
48 Scottsdale 238,685 3.6% $540,000
49 Paradise Valley 12,666 3.3% $1,778,000
50 Gilbert 262,249 3.5% $377,800
51 Oro Valley 46,515 3.6% $348,200

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.

27 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2023

  1. Honestly you should have put Wickenburg on the list. Forget what your study was based on. This town is actually called WICKEDburg. Extremely corrupt police, extremely high drug use, nothing really there for kids. Just a terrible place to live.

    1. Wicken is great for old-fart racist jackholes to sit around and bitch and moan about the “n*ggers and queers women and ‘Mescans ruining the country!” When the depression generation and racist/fascist snowbirds die out, Arizona will be a lot nicer place to live.

      1. thats funny when you say that racist and fascists should die off, but you have Hiroshima the place that got nuked by the us in 1945 in your name.

  2. I’m totally surprised that Safford didn’t make this list! Being a life long resident of this city I honestly can say it’s one of the worst!!

    1. Yeah, because who needs that pinko education about science and stuff anyway, right? Just send kids to tax dodging welfare mooch “churches” (aka, houses of the deluded)for some ‘Merican brainwashing.

  3. Any time an article starts throwing “school spending” into the mix–I toss. This type of “rating” is crap.

  4. You listed my small AZ town in the worst. I love it here! I am not going to say where but wanted to thank you. Hopefully your negative review will keep others from moving here. Thank you!

  5. Arizona is one of the better states to live in.The weather is the dominate factor.Of course the diversity of the land is an attraction as mountains and desert are combined.

    The minus is you pay for the climate by lower wages.This is true of Florida also.

    Phoenix was a beautiful town when last I was saw it.Economics has effected most cities.Bus transportation was not abundant when I live in Phoenix so you need private transportation.

    It is only about 8 hrs to San Diego from Phoenix?You can go for a swim in the Pacific.

    Arizona and Florida are best choices.Both are similar in many ways.Florida has no mountains are desert.

    For personal reasons I prefer Arizona.If you don’t like one part of the state you can move to another.

    In the winter live in Phoenix.In the summer live in the mountains if you can.

    Prescott has the rodeo and is allot cooler than Phoenix in the summer.

    A motorbike is a good means of transportation.Of course there are a few cold months.You have to be careful when you ride a motorbike.

    Walter Haas—God Bless America

  6. El Mirage AZ is the # 1 speed trap white trash town in all the USA! Their ONLY source of income are traffic cameras operated by overweight ex cops from other loser towns. if you are 2 MPH over their speed traps they send you a $ 234 ticket within 2 days. They are really hard up! Best thing that could ever happen is if their cops all died of overdoses of burritos!

  7. Coolidge and eloy what a dump full of tweekers i know i used to work there!You can not go any where with out a begger asking for money.You go to Safeway you come out you’ll have something missing.Stanfield a dump tweeker town too.Sections of Maricopa getting bad.The south side of Casa Grande a dump. Sections of the west and east side of Casa Grande plenty of tweekers and gangs.Great place to live North West of Casa Grande.Beautiful homes good schools i know i own a home there.All the newer section of NW Casa Grande beautiful place to live .Chandler and Gilbert beautiful place to live i know i own homes there too.But Old Chandler close to Mesa very bad, tweeker town and gangs.

  8. You left out the toxic waste dump of the almost-a-ghost-town of Miami. Once the copper is tapped out here, it will take a hundred years to clean up the toxic crap left by the mines, but no one will want to, so it will just dry up and blow away, become even more haunted than it already is. Checklist: 1) Downwind site, just breathe in that radioactivity like my best friend did and get aplastic thyroid cancer and die, 2) Gateway to the Pinal mountains, site of US Govt spraying of Agnet Orange (yay!) 3) Mines poison everything in the area, hooray! 4) Suspicious number of “outlaw bikers” riding $30,000 bikes around town (Meth houses burning down abound) 5) Ignorant f*cks who support racists and traitors (Don’t worry, they hate everyone who’s not from there, including gays, blacks, women, etc.), Miami, the Original Sh*thole!

  9. thats funny when you say that racist and fascists should die off, but you have Hiroshima the place that got nuked by the us in 1945 in your name.

  10. After doing some research I am considering cancelling y eight night visit to Tucson in April. have always wanted to go there as I only saw it for a day in about 1980. Now I live on the border of Tampa and FL has been compared to AZ in terms of weather and low salaries. Maybe I should return to LA to visit but I am hesitant because it will cost me much more.

  11. Douglas AZ deserves mention. Low quality of life. Drug smugglers delight. Described as “Like Mexico without the good parts.” I feel it is the city with the open hand. Avoid at all cost.It has been said that” Douglas has the best cops that money can buy”.(Will Rogers)nothing good here move along. Note those who say great things about Douglas are lying for pay or want your money.

  12. Tucson stinks. Stuck here due to a job but trying to transfer to Phoenix. Too many needy and lazy people in Tucson. My neighbor threatened to run me over because I have no interest in talking to her and yet, I am being the one to have to move out of my apartment because the apartment manager supports her. She must be on disability which pays for most of her rent. She is younger then me (just by looking at her) and she doesn’t work. Another thing about Tucson, if one person does not like you for what ever reason, they will tell other people and before you know it, you are being shunned by other people. Go for a bike ride down the Rillito River Trail (The Loop) and you will be subjected to drug addicts trying to sell you drugs. Go to Sabino Canyon and people are smoking dope while they are hiking. Drugs, needy people, low income, homelessness run ramped in Tucson.

  13. Don’t forget to add #prescottaz to this list. The giant influx of elderly and retired groups have wrecked the economy, squashed diversity, saturated the job market with part time positions at minimum wage, driven up housing and the tax bracket, moved our schools to the 90th percentile in educational funding, and generally caused everything to get a little more creepy and leering or bitter and cynical. Dry, suffocating heat continues to hover in the 80s well into October as all of the traffic, concrete, and new buildings go in. Driving anywhere while simultaneously trying to avoid the swerving Buick’s and confused Oldsmobiles give you an immediate panic attack. Moved here in my 20s with an open heart. Now I barely make eye contact with anyone because it’s just a bunch of unpleasantness. Can’t wait to leave this closed minded, hot, and horrible place now ASAP in my 30s. IF YOU ARE BUSINESS-MINDED DO NOT MOVE HERE. Takes 20 minutes to get a coffee at Starbucks.

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