People who live in Colorado are weirdly protective of their state. It’s almost like they warn you: Don’t you dare say anything bad about Colorado, especially if you don’t live here.
Well I am about to, and I don’t. So deal with it.
To be fair, I’ve been to Colorado many times, and it is a beautiful place. I’ve boarded there, and I’ve camped out in the mountains and in the deserts. Many of my friends spent time there, and many still make Colorado home. I hear nothing but great things.
But is it all good there? Of course not. Just like any other state, Colorado has some issues. And the purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which places in Colorado are the absolute worst. If you live in any of these places, you might agree with this analysis. And if you don’t agree, you have to admit that the criteria we’re using makes a lot of sense.
After analyzing all 71 cities with a population over 5,200, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Colorado:
- Federal Heights (Photos)
- Sheridan (Photos)
- Pueblo (Photos)
- Alamosa (Photos)
- Trinidad (Photos)
- Lamar (Photos)
- Delta (Photos)
- Sterling (Photos)
- Aurora (Photos)
- Montrose (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.
How we determined the worst places to live in Colorado 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
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 5,200 people were considered — leaving 71 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 71 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 Colorado — Federal Heights. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Colorado.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
1. Federal Heights
Population: 12,173Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 4)
Home Values: $42,200 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (34th worst)
While the median household income in Federal Heights is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of ‘worst cities’, Federal Heights still has the 34th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 10th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Federal Heights 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.
Population: 5,965Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Values: $151,500 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (6th worst)
Sheridan is the 5th most dangerous place in the state of Colorado. That’s part of the reason it’s the 2nd worst place in Colorado.
The fact remains, that when you’re within Sheridan city limits, you have a 1 in 12.8 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Sheridan also has the 6th highest unemployment rate in the state at 10.0%? Or that homes are only valued at $151,500?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s little demand to live in Sheridan.
Population: 108,385Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $116,800 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (5th worst)
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Pueblo is by far the worst place in Colorado.
The crime here is really bad and nearly 1 in 9.3 residents are without jobs — by far the highest in the state. And those who are employed earn a measly salary. The schools are underfunded and home values are low and not climbing at all.
If you’ve been to Pueblo, it would be hard to argue against this ranking. And if you live there, you might have expected to see your town towards the top of the list. The rest of these cities are a distant second.
Population: 9,671Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 5)
Home Values: $142,700 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (7th worst)
Alamosa is a mess. It has a horrible crime rate, and is out in the middle of nowhere (you might see it on your way to the city of Antonito if that helps). The unemployment rate is high and home values are way below the state average. And, there’s a prison there.
On the other hand, the school system spends almost more per student than any other place in Colorado. A real head scratcher.
Population: 8,280Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Home Values: $127,500 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (14th worst)
If you’re going to drive to New Mexico, Trinidad would be the last place you’d see on I-25 before you crossed the state line. And, there really isn’t much of a reason to stop. Unless they have great deals on weed.
People who have jobs earn meager livings and home prices are way below average. And there’s just not a lot to do. Except smoke the weed you just bought.
Population: 7,662Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 6)
Home Values: $77,600 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (2nd worst)
Tthe small town of Lamar has the 7th lowest income levels in the entire state. At $37,177, many of the people are having trouble making ends meet, and the unemployment rate is 12.4%. Additionally, 2310.0% of the population lives below the poverty line.
The cost of a home here is bottom barrell at $77,600.
At least the crime is very minimal here.
Population: 8,813Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Home Values: $152,900 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (12th worst)
Delta is out in the boonies, south of Grand Junction. The population has grown 15% in the last 15 years, perhaps due to the cheap housing, as homes cost an average $139,100 each.
Delta has some of the lowest public school funding in Colorado. And while the unemployment rate isn’t as bad as other cities, it’s still up there. Plus, there’s not a lot to do here for indoor entertainment. If you’re an outdoor person, it might not be so bad. But on paper, Delta isn’t desirable.
Population: 13,976Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Home Values: $107,000 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (12th worst)
The unemployment rate in Sterling is a sky high 8.7%, which is the 12th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Sterling is $36,282. That means 2040.0% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn’t horrible here, but you have a 1 in 28.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within city limits every year.
Population: 351,131Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Home Values: $206,300 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (21st worst)
Aurora seems to be the have’s and have not’s. While the annual average income levels here are respectful ($55,303), about 1 in 14.3 people here are without jobs. Homes are valued at only $206,300.
But the biggest eye opener is the sheer crime here. It seems as if just about everyone in town without a job is pillaging the community. Aurora has the 30th highest crime rate in Colorado, where 1 in 181 people has a statistic chance of being attacked, raped or murdered each year.
Plus, 1 in 31.3 people are robbed.
If you’re headed past Aurora and stop for gas, make sure you lock your doors.
Population: 19,016Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Home Values: $182,300 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (9th worst)
Montrose is a tiny place just down the road from Delta. And just like Delta, residents have a hard time getting a job with a 9.5% unemployment rate, while more people pour into the area.
The public schools are ranked really low and though crime isn’t horrible, it’s certainly not safe in Montrose, either.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Colorado
If you’re looking at areas in Colorado 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, Federal Heights ranks as the worst city to live in Colorado for 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Colorado:
- Louisville (Pop. 19,972)
- Parker (Pop. 48,442)
- Erie (Pop. 20,801)
For more Colorado reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Colorado
- This Father and Son Connection Is Why We Celebrate Father’s Day
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Colorado
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Colorado