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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:
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.
For more Arizona reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Arizona For 2020
When you're looking at science and data, the city of South Tucson is the worst place you can live in the state of Arizona. Let's see why.
Residents who live in South Tucson, located in Pima County, have the 10th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level--per resident--and homes valued around $82,000, and you've got yourself a crummy place to live. In terms of comparing it to the rest of Arizona, that is.
Guadalupe needs some tough love as it ranks as the 2nd worst city to live in Arizona for 2020. 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 Guadalupe is the 3rd highest in the state, where 1 in 0.0 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
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.
Say what you want about how beautiful Winslow might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.
The unemployment rate rankss 6th highest in the state at 11.8%. Homes are the 5th lowest priced ($91,400), and the median income per household is just a tad over $38,043.
The fact is most of the people who live here are having a hard time making ends meet, when you consider their earned incomes and lack of jobs.
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.
Yes, every dog has a few fleas. But the crime in Snowflake is actually quite atrocious. Some of the punks there who are causing trouble need a time out. It's that simple.
Residents here have a 1 in 114 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, meaning raped, attacked or murdered. And they have a 1 in 23.2 chance of being robbed each year. That's off the charts high.
And the unemployment rate is at 10.5%, which isn't horrible, but the 8th-highest in the state. Plus, residents here earn about $44,363 a year in combined household income.
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 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.
Welcome to Tolleson, where criminals go to make a living. Tolleson has the 6th highest crime rate in the state. When you're within Tolleson city limits, you have a 1 in 10.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime such as a car break in or home invasion robbery every year.
Plus, there were 61 violent crimes here in 2020. For a city of 7,184 people, that's absolutely off the charts high. You have a 1 in 117 chance of being raped, attacked or killed when you're in Tolleson every year as well.
Chino Valley 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.
Chino Valley residents earn the 20th-lowest salaries in the state. At $47,065 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $190,700, which means there isn't a lot of demand.
Crime is the 45th highest in Arizona per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 30th highest in the state, at 6.0%.
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
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:
- Scottsdale (Pop. 246,026)
- Gilbert (Pop. 237,484)
- Paradise Valley (Pop. 14,215)
For more Arizona reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Arizona
- Richest Cities In Arizona
- Safest Places In Arizona
- Best Cities For Singles In Arizona
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Arizona?