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 needs some tough love as it ranks as the 2nd worst city to live in Arizona for 2019. There’s not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it’s not a place you might want to move to.
And the crime in South Tucson is the 10th highest in the state, where 1 in 19.0 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Guadalupe is the 3rd most dangerous city in Arizona, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 0.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s really high for Arizona, but not even the highest in the state.
Home values are the 8th cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Guadalupe bring in just under $28,491 a year annually.
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.
Cottonwood, part of Yavapai County, is the 8th worst place to live in Arizona for 2019.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $32,746, and crime 28th worst in Arizona.
Additionally, the poverty level is 20.4% in Cottonwood.
Tthe small town of Tolleson has the 15th lowest income levels in the entire state. At $40,846, many of the people are having trouble making ends meet, and the unemployment rate is 4.1%. Additionally, 23.3% of the population lives below the poverty line.
The cost of a home here is bottom barrell at $161,500.
At least the crime is very minimal here.
Tucson is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we’re aware that it’s beautiful and “fun”. But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Tucson residents earn the 12th-lowest salaries in the state. At $39,617 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $137,600, which means there isn’t a lot of demand.
Crime is the 10th highest in Arizona per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 12th highest in the state, at 9.4%.
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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