The 10 Worst Places To Live In Colorado For 2023

The worst places to live in Colorado are Sheridan and Delta for 2023 based on Friday Night Science.

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 73 cities with a population over 5,000, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Colorado:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Colorado For 2023

  1. Sheridan
  2. Delta
  3. Fort Lupton
  4. Aurora
  5. Alamosa
  6. Federal Heights
  7. Lochbuie
  8. Glenwood Springs
  9. Pueblo
  10. Trinidad

Where are these places, you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small towns in Colorado, that’s not the case.

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. For example, the best place to live in Colorado is Centennial.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), the state has far better options for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Colorado? The worst place to live in Colorado is Sheridan.

Read below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your city fared in 2023.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Colorado reading, check out:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Colorado For 2023

Sheridan, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,090
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $280,700
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
More on Sheridan:  Data | Photos

Delta, CO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,036
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $195,500
Unemployment Rate: 6.4%
More on Delta:  Data | Photos

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.

Fort Lupton, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,947
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $306,100
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
More on Fort Lupton:  Data | Photos

Fort Lupton came into existence as a trading post in the 1830s, part of the early migration to the area. You can still see a reconstructed version of the original fort in town. Life was presumably tough in the area back then. It remains so today, as Fort Lupton stands as the number 3 worst place in Colorado to put down roots.

The education system is a major drawback for the 7,947 residents. Even on the high side, the schools in the area rank a paltry 4/10 on Great Schools.

There are pluses to life in Fort Lupton. The crime rate hovers about 60% below the national average. Meanwhile, the overall cost of living is about 10% below the U.S. norm, thanks in large part to affordable housing.

Aurora, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 383,496
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $350,200
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
More on Aurora:  Data | Photos

In 2012, Aurora suffered a horrific mass shooting that killed 12 people and made headlines around the country. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated incident. The crime rate in the area stands about 50% above the national average. This is the main factor that makes Aurora the number 4 worst location in Colorado.

Though its 383,496 residents battle a high crime rate, Aurora has other benefits to provide. Located about a half hour east of Denver’s city center, it gives excellent access to the region’s major metropolitan area. Meanwhile, the economy is relatively strong, with unemployment at 5.4% and the median income at $72,052.

Alamosa, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,704
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $154,500
Unemployment Rate: 7.4%
More on Alamosa:  Data | Photos

Alamosa started life as a railroad town. Unfortunately, technology and transportation patterns have moved on from those boom days. Now, a weak economy makes Alamosa the number 5 least attractive place to live in Colorado.

Finding a job is difficult for the town’s 9,704 residents. The unemployment rate sits at 7.4%. At the same time, 19.9% of inhabitants scrape by on the wrong side of the poverty line. The median income sits at $43,153.

Aside from the economic troubles, the area has a lot to offer. It’s known as the gateway to Great Sand Dunes National Park, located in the south-central part of the state.

Federal Heights, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,111
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $74,600
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
More on Federal Heights:  Data | Photos

Lochbuie, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,730
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $293,500
Unemployment Rate: 2.7%
More on Lochbuie:  Data | Photos

Lochbuie originated as a development called the Spacious Living Mobile Home Park…or “Space City” for short. These days, it gets its name from a town in Scotland. Unfortunately, it also counts as the number 7 worst place to live in Colorado.

Built on the northeastern edge of the circle of suburbs surrounding Denver, Lochbuie sports a median income of $76,240 and an unemployment rate of 2.7%. Education is a major problem for the 7,730 residents of the town. The schools score a 3/10 on Great Schools.

Things aren’t all bad in Lochbuie. Locals have excellent access to one of the region’s major metropolitan areas. It’s just a 30-minute drive to the city center.

Glenwood Springs, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,017
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 11)
Median Home Value: $465,600
Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
More on Glenwood Springs:  Data | Photos

Pueblo, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 111,424
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $163,400
Unemployment Rate: 7.3%
More on Pueblo:  Data | Photos

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 13.7 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.

Trinidad, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,318
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $158,700
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
More on Trinidad:  Data | Photos

Trinidad has a violent history. In the early 20th century, it was the site of a deadly labor dispute between miners and the Colorado Fuel & Iron company. These days, those types of clashes are a thing of the past. Still, the community has its challenges. It sits at number 10 on the list of least appealing spots in Colorado.

The economy presents a major issue for Trinidad’s 8,318 inhabitants. The unemployment rate stands at 8.0%, while 22.4% of people struggle below the poverty line.

Crime is nearly double the national average and schools in the area top out at mediocre. That said, there are bright spots. Located in the southern part of the state, near the New Mexico border, residents can enjoy the region’s natural splendor at places like the Spanish Peaks State Wildlife Area.

Methodology: How we determined the worst places to live in Colorado for 2023

To figure out the worst places to live in Colorado, 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 the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a more significant weight. If you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are typically 7x more common and bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 73 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 73 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 — Sheridan. Read on for a detailed look at the ten worst cities in Colorado.

Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2023. This is our tenth time ranking the worst places to live in Colorado.

Summary: 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 little to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Sheridan ranks as the worst city to live in Colorado for 2023.

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

  1. Severance (Pop. 7,691)
  2. Louisville (Pop. 21,091)
  3. Centennial (Pop. 107,972)

For more Colorado reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Colorado?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Sheridan 6,090 5.8% $280,700
2 Delta 9,036 6.4% $195,500
3 Fort Lupton 7,947 6.3% $306,100
4 Aurora 383,496 5.4% $350,200
5 Alamosa 9,704 7.4% $154,500
6 Federal Heights 14,111 4.0% $74,600
7 Lochbuie 7,730 2.7% $293,500
8 Glenwood Springs 10,017 5.1% $465,600
9 Pueblo 111,424 7.3% $163,400
10 Trinidad 8,318 8.0% $158,700
11 La Junta 7,282 6.9% $98,100
12 Evans 21,727 6.9% $259,000
13 Greeley 107,014 6.0% $296,300
14 Montrose 20,098 7.3% $261,600
15 Rifle 10,325 4.0% $301,100
16 Cortez 8,742 8.7% $174,800
17 Grand Junction 65,067 5.1% $271,100
18 Fort Morgan 11,483 4.8% $215,100
19 Brighton 39,895 4.7% $366,200
20 Northglenn 37,899 4.7% $351,500
21 Avon 6,209 6.3% $531,600
22 Denver 706,799 4.6% $459,100
23 Thornton 140,538 4.7% $376,900
24 Wheat Ridge 32,340 5.7% $459,500
25 Lakewood 155,608 4.4% $428,800
26 Fountain 29,495 8.0% $284,900
27 Colorado Springs 475,282 5.9% $324,100
28 Craig 9,026 3.6% $182,100
29 Englewood 33,500 4.3% $409,800
30 Edgewater 5,047 3.6% $473,600
31 Berthoud 10,188 3.5% $399,000
32 Dacono 6,084 4.6% $347,500
33 Sterling 13,976 3.5% $149,700
34 Gunnison 6,459 5.4% $286,400
35 Lamar 7,636 4.9% $105,700
36 Westminster 115,535 4.3% $388,300
37 Wellington 10,769 5.7% $351,000
38 Monument 10,026 6.4% $417,900
39 Estes Park 5,942 4.9% $463,400
40 Woodland Park 7,854 6.7% $356,300
41 Brush 5,323 5.6% $205,200
42 Milliken 8,122 2.6% $336,000
43 Longmont 98,789 4.4% $423,300
44 Loveland 75,938 4.3% $359,400
45 Salida 5,671 3.6% $377,500
46 Firestone 15,949 3.4% $399,900
47 Lone Tree 13,701 3.1% $691,300
48 Fruita 13,296 3.9% $259,300
49 Arvada 122,903 3.9% $456,200
50 Golden 20,041 4.2% $579,800
51 Fort Collins 166,788 5.4% $431,300
52 Carbondale 6,464 1.6% $638,000
53 Boulder 104,930 5.6% $790,100
54 Littleton 45,465 3.8% $471,900
55 Frederick 14,127 3.7% $421,200
56 Steamboat Springs 13,193 3.3% $628,800
57 Durango 18,953 2.8% $497,100
58 Breckenridge 5,086 0.3% $479,400
59 Gypsum 8,047 0.6% $383,600
60 Windsor 31,972 4.8% $452,000
61 Broomfield 72,697 3.3% $482,100
62 Castle Rock 71,037 4.1% $472,800
63 Castle Pines 11,296 3.0% $688,100
64 Lafayette 30,307 3.5% $498,400
65 Eaton 5,648 3.4% $349,200
66 Timnath 6,289 1.2% $585,000
67 Erie 29,367 4.7% $565,500
68 Parker 57,311 3.3% $475,400
69 Eagle 7,420 1.9% $614,400
70 Superior 13,283 3.1% $660,000
71 Severance 7,691 1.1% $404,600
72 Louisville 21,091 3.3% $677,000
73 Centennial 107,972 3.5% $484,500

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.