The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2020

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

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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 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst places to live in Arizona.

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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 55 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:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2020

  1. South Tucson
  2. Guadalupe
  3. Eloy
  4. Winslow
  5. San Luis
  6. Snowflake
  7. Globe
  8. Coolidge
  9. Tolleson
  10. Chino Valley

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 2020.

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:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2020

South Tucson, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,666
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $82,000 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.2% (1st worst)
More on South Tucson:  Data | Photos

South Tucson is another place in the Grand Canyon State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in South Tucson is a staggering 14.2%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($23,603 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $82,000, but still far lower than the state average.

Crime in South Tucson is bad, but not horrible.

Guadalupe, AZ

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Population: 6,405
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $89,300 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.1% (5th worst)
More on Guadalupe:  Data | Photos

While the median household income in Guadalupe is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of "worst cities", Guadalupe still has the 5th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 3rd worst crime index.

Therefore, though the average Guadalupe 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.

Eloy, AZ

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Population: 18,083
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $83,100 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (7th 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 39th most dangerous place you can live in Arizona.

Residents in Eloy have a 1 in 51.5 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$83,100. 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.

Winslow, AZ

Source: Public domain
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Population: 9,505
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $91,400 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (6th worst)
More on Winslow:  Data | Photos

Winslow ranks as the 4th worst place to live in Arizona for 2020.

The issues Winslow has is with its local economy. The unemployment rate is the 6th highest in Arizona (11.8%), and as you might expect, the household salaries and home prices are both towards the bottom of Arizona.

San Luis, AZ

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Population: 32,279
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $115,500 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.9% (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 13.9% unemployment rate for a city of 32,279 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.

Snowflake, AZ

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Population: 5,724
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $159,200 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (8th worst)
More on Snowflake:  Data | Photos

Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Snowflake is the 12th most dangerous city in Arizona, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 23.2 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 24th cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Snowflake bring in just under $44,363 a year annually.

Globe, AZ

Source: Public domain
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Population: 7,346
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $129,500 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (9th 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 10.3% (which is really high), and the median income is $47,086. 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.

Coolidge, AZ

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Population: 12,503
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $92,500 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (3rd worst)
More on Coolidge:  Data | Photos

Coolidge is only a half hour drive south of the outskirts of Chandler and ranks as the 8th worst city on this list. However, there are some major differences in the quality of life between the two.

Coolidge has the 23rd highest crime rate in Arizona, where residents have a 1 in 28.9 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 6th cheapest in the state ($92,500), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.

Tolleson, AZ

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Population: 7,184
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $162,400 (26th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (48th worst)
More on Tolleson:  Data | Photos

Tolleson is just a tiny place in the middle of nowhere where people have a hard time making ends meet. Folks here earn barely more than $42,935 a year, which is barely over the poverty line. And for Arizona, a 3.8% unemployment rate is really high.

Crime is also the 6th highest in Arizona here. Meaning people need to stop breaking into homes and start looking for jobs.

Chino Valley, AZ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,376
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $190,700 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (30th worst)
More on Chino Valley:  Data | Photos

Chino Valley is one of the poorest cities in the state of Arizona. This city has 6.0% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $47,065 a year.

Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Chino Valley has the 45th 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.

How we determined the worst places to live in Arizona for 2020

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 55 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 55 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. You can download the data here.

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, South Tucson ranks as the worst city to live in Arizona for 2020.

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

  1. Scottsdale (Pop. 246,026)
  2. Gilbert (Pop. 237,484)
  3. Paradise Valley (Pop. 14,215)

For more Arizona reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Arizona?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 South Tucson 5,666 14.2% $82,000
2 Guadalupe 6,405 12.1% $89,300
3 Eloy 18,083 11.4% $83,100
4 Winslow 9,505 11.8% $91,400
5 San Luis 32,279 13.9% $115,500
6 Snowflake 5,724 10.5% $159,200
7 Globe 7,346 10.3% $129,500
8 Coolidge 12,503 12.4% $92,500
9 Tolleson 7,184 3.8% $162,400
10 Chino Valley 11,376 6.0% $190,700

How Is The Area In ?

27 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2020

  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.

  9. After doing some research I am considering cancelling y eight night visit to Tucson in April. have always wanted to go there as I only saw it for a day in about 1980. Now I live on the border of Tampa and FL has been compared to AZ in terms of weather and low salaries. Maybe I should return to LA to visit but I am hesitant because it will cost me much more.

  10. Douglas AZ deserves mention. Low quality of life. Drug smugglers delight. Described as “Like Mexico without the good parts.” I feel it is the city with the open hand. Avoid at all cost.It has been said that” Douglas has the best cops that money can buy”.(Will Rogers)nothing good here move along. Note those who say great things about Douglas are lying for pay or want your money.

  11. Tucson stinks. Stuck here due to a job but trying to transfer to Phoenix. Too many needy and lazy people in Tucson. My neighbor threatened to run me over because I have no interest in talking to her and yet, I am being the one to have to move out of my apartment because the apartment manager supports her. She must be on disability which pays for most of her rent. She is younger then me (just by looking at her) and she doesn’t work. Another thing about Tucson, if one person does not like you for what ever reason, they will tell other people and before you know it, you are being shunned by other people. Go for a bike ride down the Rillito River Trail (The Loop) and you will be subjected to drug addicts trying to sell you drugs. Go to Sabino Canyon and people are smoking dope while they are hiking. Drugs, needy people, low income, homelessness run ramped in Tucson.

  12. Don’t forget to add #prescottaz to this list. The giant influx of elderly and retired groups have wrecked the economy, squashed diversity, saturated the job market with part time positions at minimum wage, driven up housing and the tax bracket, moved our schools to the 90th percentile in educational funding, and generally caused everything to get a little more creepy and leering or bitter and cynical. Dry, suffocating heat continues to hover in the 80s well into October as all of the traffic, concrete, and new buildings go in. Driving anywhere while simultaneously trying to avoid the swerving Buick’s and confused Oldsmobiles give you an immediate panic attack. Moved here in my 20s with an open heart. Now I barely make eye contact with anyone because it’s just a bunch of unpleasantness. Can’t wait to leave this closed minded, hot, and horrible place now ASAP in my 30s. IF YOU ARE BUSINESS-MINDED DO NOT MOVE HERE. Takes 20 minutes to get a coffee at Starbucks.

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