These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2019


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

Join RoadSnacks
Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the worst places to live in Arizona.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

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 (Photos)
  2. Eloy (Photos)
  3. Guadalupe (Photos)
  4. Winslow (Photos)
  5. San Luis (Photos)
  6. Coolidge (Photos)
  7. Globe (Photos)
  8. Tolleson (Photos)
  9. Tucson (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. And the worst place to live in Arizona? That would be South Tucson.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.

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:

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

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.

South Tucson, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,624
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $77,700 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.4% (1st worst)
More on South Tucson:  Data | Photos

Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, South Tucson ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 1st cheapest in the state here at $77,700. 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 South Tucson.

The median income levels here are the 1st lowest in the state of Arizona, at $21,160. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 16.4% of people in South Tucson were without jobs according to the latest numbers.

Eloy, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 17,537
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $80,600 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.1% (5th worst)
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 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.

Guadalupe, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,270
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $101,400 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.3% (3rd worst)
More on Guadalupe:  Data | Photos

Guadalupe is another place in the Grand Canyon State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Guadalupe is a staggering 15.3%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($28,491 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $101,400, but still far lower than the state average.

Crime in Guadalupe is bad, but not horrible.

Winslow, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 9,517
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $87,800 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.6% (4th worst)
More on Winslow:  Data | Photos

This may or may not be a surprise to you, but Winslow is the 8th most dangerous city in Arizona. For such a small city, there are an astounding number of property crimes. Residents here have a 1 in 12.0 chance of being the victim of some sort of robbery when within city limits every year. That’s lots of stolen cell phones, guns, snowmobiles and lobster traps.

Besides the crime, there are a few other factors why Winslow might be one of the worst places to live. The home values here are pretty cheap. Why is that not a good thing? Because the salaries of people working in Winslow are really low. People here earn about $36,647 a year per household.

Additionally, the public schools in Winslow are some of the lowest funded in the state.

When all is said and done, you could find much more desirable places to live in Arizona than in Winslow.

San Luis, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 31,509
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $112,200 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.9% (2nd worst)
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 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, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 12,221
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $88,200 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (14th worst)
More on Coolidge:  Data | Photos

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.

Globe, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,341
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 9)
Median Home Value: $116,600 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (14th worst)
More on Globe:  Data | Photos

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.

Tolleson, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,052
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $161,500 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (46th worst)
More on Tolleson:  Data | Photos

We’re seeing a pattern here. A small, isolated city with a bad economy. Tolleson is located in Maricopa County.

Here, the schools are way underfunded, when you compare them to the rest of Arizona. Families can barely make ends meet, and the unemployment rate (4.1%) is the 46th highest in the state. A home here sells for $161,500, on average. That signals it’s not a desirable place to live.

Plus, crime is in the top 10%.

Tucson, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 530,905
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $137,600 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (12th worst)
More on Tucson:  Data | Photos

Tucson, AZ needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.

Additionally, crime is 10th worst in the state, which is very high considering Tucson is so far removed from the rest of Arizona.

If you know anyone in Tucson, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.

Cottonwood, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 11,634
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $147,600 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (21st worst)
More on Cottonwood:  Data | Photos

Cottonwood is one of the poorest cities in the state of Arizona. This city has 8.2% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $32,746 a year.

Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Cottonwood has the 28th highest crime rate in Arizona. While the numbers aren’t staggering (Arizona is a relatively safe place when you compare it to the rest of the country), it’s still undesirable when you consider that there are far safer (and more stimulating) places to make your home in the Grand Canyon State.

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 2019.

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

  1. Gilbert (Pop. 232,176)
  2. Scottsdale (Pop. 239,283)
  3. Paradise Valley (Pop. 13,961)

For more Arizona reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Arizona

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 South Tucson 5,624 16.4% $77,700
2 Eloy 17,537 12.1% $80,600
3 Guadalupe 6,270 15.3% $101,400
4 Winslow 9,517 14.6% $87,800
5 San Luis 31,509 15.9% $112,200
6 Coolidge 12,221 9.3% $88,200
7 Globe 7,341 9.3% $116,600
8 Tolleson 7,052 4.1% $161,500
9 Tucson 530,905 9.4% $137,600
10 Cottonwood 11,634 8.2% $147,600
11 Holbrook 5,005 6.4% $83,700
12 Nogales 20,233 10.4% $117,500
13 Somerton 15,508 11.5% $116,700
14 Douglas 16,576 11.8% $88,200
15 Camp Verde 11,091 8.5% $167,500
16 Show Low 10,860 6.5% $139,400
17 Bisbee 5,261 3.4% $127,000
18 Yuma 93,851 10.1% $126,400
19 Casa Grande 52,501 8.4% $131,800
20 Snowflake 5,668 9.3% $154,100
21 Apache Junction 38,452 8.3% $90,600
22 Phoenix 1,574,421 6.9% $197,800
23 Glendale 241,543 6.3% $180,500
24 Kingman 28,855 7.8% $127,900
25 Chino Valley 11,155 3.6% $179,700
26 Page 7,515 10.1% $147,300
27 El Mirage 34,400 7.0% $136,300
28 Avondale 81,590 6.0% $174,800
29 Florence 26,066 8.9% $127,900
30 Cave Creek 5,423 7.6% $466,600
31 Flagstaff 69,903 7.7% $296,700
32 Prescott Valley 41,995 8.3% $192,400
33 Payson 15,338 6.2% $213,600
34 Safford 9,662 10.2% $136,600
35 Mesa 479,317 6.0% $187,900
36 Wickenburg 6,906 1.3% $218,800
37 Sedona 10,246 7.3% $446,900
38 Litchfield Park 5,686 5.6% $267,200
39 Sierra Vista 43,585 7.2% $180,400
40 Tempe 178,339 5.5% $237,200
41 Goodyear 74,953 3.9% $256,900
42 Queen Creek 33,298 3.5% $312,000
43 Fountain Hills 24,047 5.8% $387,800
44 Maricopa 46,248 5.3% $170,300
45 Peoria 161,383 6.1% $230,400
46 Prescott 41,468 7.7% $301,600
47 Surprise 129,534 6.7% $213,600
48 Marana 41,720 5.5% $234,400
49 Chandler 245,160 4.6% $268,000
50 Sahuarita 28,257 3.5% $187,100
51 Oro Valley 42,889 5.8% $288,400
52 Gilbert 232,176 4.7% $286,400
53 Scottsdale 239,283 4.1% $433,500
54 Paradise Valley 13,961 2.6% $1,406,700

Like RoadSnacks on Facebook:

 Worst 

19 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2019

  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. 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!

  8. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *