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 54 of the state’s most populous cities (over 5,000 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Arizona:
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case.
We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Arizona? That would be Eloy.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Arizona reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Arizona
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Arizona
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Arizona
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2019
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 30th most dangerous place you can live in Arizona.
Residents in Eloy have a 1 in 34.5 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$80,600. That’s the 2nd-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
South Tucson is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $77,700. That means it ranks as the 1st lowest in Arizona.
You can make a case that based on the fact that South Tucson has no real indoor entertainment, and crime is the 10th worst in the state, it’s one of the worst places you can live in Arizona.
When you’re looking at science and data, Guadalupe is the worst place you can live in Arizona. Let’s see why.
The unemployment rate here is 15.3%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $101,400, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 0.0 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That’s not fun, either.
Guadalupe is a far drive south from Louisville.
Winslow is the 8th most dangerous place in the state of Arizona. That’s part of the reason it’s the 4th worst place in Arizona.
The fact remains, that when you’re within Winslow city limits, you have a 1 in 12.0 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Winslow also has the 4th highest unemployment rate in the state at 14.6%? Or that homes are only valued at $87,800?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s little demand to live in Winslow.
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 15.9% unemployment rate for a city of 31,509 people, that’s a sign that things aren’t just bad. They are downright depressing. That’s by far 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.
Coolidge is only a half hour drive south of the outskirts of Chandler and ranks as the 6th worst city on this list. However, there are some major differences in the quality of life between the two.
Coolidge has the 20th highest crime rate in Arizona, where residents have a 1 in 23.1 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 6th cheapest in the state ($88,200), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.
Things are starting to get progressively more ‘modern’ and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Arizona when we get to Globe. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 9.3% (which is really high), and the median income is $44,821. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.
Globe is tucked away in the canyons of the Superstition Mountains, near two large reservations.
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Cottonwood ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 23rd cheapest in the state here at $147,600. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Cottonwood.
The median income levels here are the 5th lowest in the state of Arizona, at $32,746. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 8.2% of people in Cottonwood were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
Tolleson is a really small, densely populated place in Arizona.
The unemployment rate here is sky high at 4.1%, and income levels are the 15th lowest in Arizona. Homes sell for an average of $161,500.
If you’re trying to have some sort of professional career in Arizona, this is one of the last places you would want to live.
While the median household income in Tucson is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of “worst cities”, Tucson still has the 12th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 10th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Tucson household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn’t help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.
How we determined the worst places to live in Arizona for 2019
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 54 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 54 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 10 worst cities in Arizona.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
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 not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Eloy ranks as the worst city to live in Arizona for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Arizona:
- Gilbert (Pop. 232,176)
- Scottsdale (Pop. 239,283)
- Paradise Valley (Pop. 13,961)
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