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:
- Eloy (Photos)
- South Tucson (Photos)
- Guadalupe (Photos)
- Winslow (Photos)
- San Luis (Photos)
- Coolidge (Photos)
- Globe (Photos)
- Cottonwood (Photos)
- Tolleson (Photos)
- Tucson (Photos)
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case.
We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. 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
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.
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.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of South Tucson is the 2nd worst place you can live in the state of Arizona. Let’s see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 10th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in South Tucson had a 1 in 19.0 chance of being robbed in 2018. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in South Tucson, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
South Tucson’s other issues are a very high unemployment rate (16.4%) and income levels of its residents ($21,160).
Guadalupe, AZ needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 15.3%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 3rd highest in the state. You have a 1 in 0.0 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
Winslow is a really small, densely populated place in Arizona.
The unemployment rate here is sky high at 14.6%, and income levels are the 9th lowest in Arizona. Homes sell for an average of $87,800.
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.
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.
While numbers in Arizona are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Arizona cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Cottonwood average $147,600, which is the 23rd lowest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Cottonwood.
Plus, 20.4% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 28th highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Cottonwood city limits, you have a 1 in 30.6 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Arizona, Tolleson ranks 9th worst. Let’s see why.
Here in Tolleson, crime is the 6th highest in the state, and 1 out of 9.1 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 103 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rapes, attacks or murders. That’s really high.
When you look at adult education in Arizona, the folks in Tolleson have the 7th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Tolleson undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 46th highest in Arizona, at 4.1%. That’s actually on par with the national average, which means Arizona has some hard workers.
Tucson is the 10th worst city in Arizona for 2019. When you’re comparing other cities to Tucson, things just don’t look great, at least according to science.
Tucson is the 10th most dangerous place in Arizona, according to FBI statistics. And the residents here have a hard time keeping a job — at least in comparison to the rest of the state. The unemployment rate is 9.4%, worse than the state average.
Home values are really low ($137,600), and residents earn just $39,617 a year.
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)
For more Arizona reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Arizona
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Arizona
- 10 Safest Places In Arizona
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Arizona
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Arizona