These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2018


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

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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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:

  1. South Tucson
  2. Eloy (Photos)
  3. Winslow (Photos)
  4. Coolidge (Photos)
  5. San Luis
  6. Guadalupe (Photos)
  7. Tucson (Photos)
  8. Tolleson
  9. Nogales (Photos)
  10. Cottonwood (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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.

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

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How we determined the worst places to live in Arizona for 2018

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

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

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 — South Tucson. 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.

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1. South Tucson


Population: 5,627
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $74,100 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.9% (1st worst)
Welcome to South Tucson, where criminals go to make a living. South Tucson has the 7th highest crime rate in the state. When you’re within South Tucson city limits, you have a 1 in 16.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime such as a car break in or home invasion robbery every year.

Plus, there were 45 violent crimes here in 2015. For a city of 5,627 people, that’s absolutely off the charts high. You have a 1 in 124 chance of being raped, attacked or killed when you’re in South Tucson every year as well.

2. Eloy

Eloy, Arizona

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 17,128
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $73,300 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (10th worst)
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 32nd most dangerous place you can live in Arizona.

Residents in Eloy have a 1 in 37.2 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$73,300. That’s the 1st-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.

3. Winslow

Winslow, Arizona

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,539
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Values: $81,500 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.8% (3rd worst)
You can’t blame them for living in Winslow since it’s really beautiful, but there are sacrifices you make to live in the boonies. One of them is income.

Not only is the unemployment rate the 3rd highest in the state here (16.8%), the residents in Winslow earn the smallest household income in the state of Arizona. At a combined income of $34,239, families of four are barely above the poverty line.

In addition, the crime here is really high for a small city in Arizona. Winslow has the 2nd highest crime rate in the state.

4. Coolidge

Coolidge, Arizona

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 12,073
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Home Values: $82,600 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.1% (5th worst)
Coolidge is only a half hour drive south of the outskirts of Chandler and ranks as the 4th worst city on this list. However, there are some major differences in the quality of life between the two.

Coolidge has the 17th highest crime rate in Arizona, where residents have a 1 in 20.2 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 6th cheapest in the state ($82,600), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.

5. San Luis


Population: 31,118
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Home Values: $112,100 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.2% (2nd worst)
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 17.2% unemployment rate for a city of 31,118 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.

6. Guadalupe

Guadalupe, Arizona

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,172
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Values: $82,200 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.4% (4th worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Guadalupe is the 6th worst place you can live in the state of Arizona. Let’s see why.

First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Arizona. Guadalupe is the 10th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 18.3 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.

Homes here average $82,200, which is the 5th lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Guadalupe.

Income levels are just about $30,326, the 4th lowest in Arizona.

When you add it all up, Guadalupe really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.

7. Tucson

Tucson, Arizona

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 527,586
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Home Values: $132,200 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (15th worst)
Tucson ranks as the 7th worst city on this list.

Tucson has the 6th highest crime rate in Arizona, where residents have a 1 in 16.9 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 19th cheapest in the state ($132,200), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.

8. Tolleson


Population: 6,985
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 5)
Home Values: $154,500 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (33rd worst)
Tolleson, part of Maricopa County, is the 8th worst place to live in Arizona for 2015.

. Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $39,714, and crime 10th worst in Arizona.

Additionally, the poverty level is 2390.0% in Tolleson.

9. Nogales

Nogales, Arizona

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 20,355
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 7)
Home Values: $114,600 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (9th worst)
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 $27,929. Which means most of Nogales is having trouble making ends meet. Especially when the unemployment rate is 12.4%.

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.

10. Cottonwood

Cottonwood, Arizona

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,598
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Home Values: $135,000 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (21st worst)
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 $135,000, which is the 20th 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, 2150.0% of the population here lives below the poverty line.

Plus, the crime rate is the 20th highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Cottonwood city limits, you have a 1 in 23.4 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.

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, South Tucson ranks as the worst city to live in Arizona for 2018.

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

  1. Paradise Valley (Pop. 13,833)
  2. Scottsdale (Pop. 234,495)
  3. Gilbert (Pop. 226,832)

For more Arizona reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Arizona

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
South Tucson 1 1 5,627 20.9% $74,100
Eloy 2 2 17,128 11.9% $73,300
Winslow 3 4 9,539 16.8% $81,500
Coolidge 4 6 12,073 13.1% $82,600
San Luis 5 8 31,118 17.2% $112,100
Guadalupe 6 7 6,172 15.4% $82,200
Tucson 7 11 527,586 10.1% $132,200
Tolleson 8 3 6,985 7.0% $154,500
Nogales 9 16 20,355 12.4% $114,600
Cottonwood 10 14 11,598 8.6% $135,000
Camp Verde 11 9 11,096 9.8% $154,300
Bisbee 12 20 5,330 5.7% $129,300
Somerton 13 13 14,866 12.7% $112,800
Globe 14 12 7,369 8.1% $117,900
Snowflake 15 22 5,643 8.8% $135,400
Apache Junction 16 10 37,775 10.9% $89,600
Douglas 17 5 16,764 10.9% $87,700
Casa Grande 18 20 51,571 9.2% $122,900
Page 19 28 7,532 11.0% $157,500
Phoenix 20 18 1,555,324 7.7% $178,200
Glendale 21 19 239,943 7.2% $163,400
Holbrook 22 5,011 6.6% $78,300
El Mirage 23 24 33,937 7.6% $124,800
Kingman 24 26 28,586 8.2% $115,400
Yuma 25 17 93,704 11.7% $120,200
Chino Valley 26 25 11,015 4.8% $165,400
Avondale 27 27 80,631 6.9% $160,600
Florence 28 32 26,221 12.9% $112,100
Show Low 29 22 10,875 7.6% $136,500
Cave Creek 30 36 5,275 8.7% $453,300
Safford 31 29 9,616 12.5% $136,600
Payson 32 33 15,297 7.7% $207,700
Sedona 33 49 10,209 7.0% $419,700
Prescott Valley 34 31 41,070 8.3% $176,400
Wickenburg 35 37 6,766 0.4% $190,400
Flagstaff 36 35 69,270 7.0% $280,200
Mesa 37 34 470,456 6.9% $168,500
Tempe 38 38 174,708 6.0% $219,900
Goodyear 39 42 72,629 4.2% $235,200
Sierra Vista 40 41 44,381 8.1% $178,000
Maricopa 41 43 45,473 6.2% $155,500
Peoria 42 47 158,677 6.4% $208,200
Prescott 43 40 41,090 9.0% $283,500
Surprise 44 45 127,492 7.8% $197,600
Marana 45 48 40,221 6.6% $220,200
Queen Creek 46 39 30,849 2.8% $282,600
Litchfield Park 47 44 5,449 4.9% $279,100
Fountain Hills 48 46 23,863 4.9% $361,000
Chandler 49 50 242,131 5.0% $248,500
Sahuarita 50 51 27,780 4.1% $178,000
Oro Valley 51 54 42,379 6.3% $281,700
Gilbert 52 53 226,832 5.4% $264,700
Scottsdale 53 52 234,495 4.9% $405,500
Paradise Valley 54 55 13,833 2.4% $1,332,600

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16 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2018

  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.

  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. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

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