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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 74 cities with a population over 5,100, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Colorado:
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 Colorado? That would be Lochbuie.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more Colorado reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Colorado
- Cheapest Places To Live In Colorado
- Most Dangerous Cities In Colorado
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Colorado For 2020
While numbers in Colorado are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Colorado cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Lochbuie average $223,800, which is the 2lowest in the state. Say what you want about 'cheap living,' the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Lochbuie.
Plus, 13.2% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 12th highest in the state here. Every year, when you're within Lochbuie city limits, you have a 1 in 22.8 chance of being robbed. That's a lot of broken into cars and homes.
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.
Sure, it's in a beautiful area, and there's lots of culture, especially in terms of music. But, if you're measuring desirability, it's the 3rd worst in Colorado.
Federal Heights residents had a 1 in 22.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Federal Heights is through the roof, as more than 4.1% of the population can't get a job. At least their mortgages aren't too high; at $57,100, Federal Heights has the 1st-lowest home prices in the state of Colorado.
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.
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.
You can't blame them for living in Rifle since it's really beautiful, but there are sacrifices you make to live in the boonies. One of them is income.
Not only is the unemployment rate the 22nd highest in the state here (5.4%), the residents in Rifle earn the smallest household income in the state of Colorado. At a combined income of $64,832, families of four are barely above the poverty line.
In addition, the crime here is really high for a small city in Colorado. Rifle has the 44th highest crime rate in the state.
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 10.5 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.
Aurora, part of Adams County, is the 8th worst place to live in Colorado for 2020.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $62,541, and crime 27th worst in Colorado.
Additionally, the poverty level is 12.0% in Aurora.
All roads lead to La Junta. At least those in the southeast part of Colorado. The data suggests that the traffic flow might be heading away from La Junta, as the population has shrunk nearly 10% in the last 15 years. Perhaps residents are leaving to find better housing. The home prices here are the second lowest in Colorado, and quite frankly, some of the lowest in the entire country.
That means no one wants to live here.
A report by ColoradoEconomy.com stated that Grand Junction may have been hit harder by job losses than any other small city in the nation. That story was five years ago, and it doesn't look like the numbers are rebounding too quickly. In fact, Grand Junction has the third-highest unemployment rate in Colorado.
In addition, crime is a factor, and the children in Grand Junction's public schools get far less support than peers in most other states.
How we determined the worst places to live in Colorado 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 74 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 74 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 -- Lochbuie. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Colorado. 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 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, Lochbuie ranks as the worst city to live in Colorado for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Colorado:
- Parker (Pop. 52,563)
- Centennial (Pop. 109,505)
- Louisville (Pop. 20,705)
For more Colorado reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Colorado
- Richest Cities In Colorado
- Safest Places In Colorado
- Best Cities For Singles In Colorado
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Colorado?