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 72 cities with a population over 5,000, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Colorado:
- Alamosa (Photos)
- Sheridan (Photos)
- Federal Heights (Photos)
- Pueblo (Photos)
- Lochbuie (Photos)
- Trinidad (Photos)
- Rifle (Photos)
- Delta (Photos)
- Sterling (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. And the worst place to live in Colorado? That would be Alamosa.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Colorado reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Colorado
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Colorado
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Colorado
How we determined the worst places to live in Colorado for 2019
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 72 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 72 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 — Alamosa. 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.
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.
Sheridan takes the 2nd worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons — below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.
But what gives Sheridan its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index — the 4th worst in the whole state.
There’s probably not many people in Colorado that would be surprised to see Federal Heights on this list. In fact, if Federal Heights wasn’t somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Federal Heights has the 19th worst crime rate in Colorado. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 77 violent crimes in Federal Heights in 2019. Residents here had a 1 in 161 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Federal Heights are the 1st cheapest in the state ($47,700), the unemployment rate is the 39th highest (4.7%), and the annual household income is 6th lowest in Colorado, at $38,328. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
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 9.7 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.
Lochbuie places 5th in our ranking of the worst places to live in Colorado. Here, 25.1% of the adult population lack’s even a high school degree. That makes Lochbuie have the 3rd highest adult drop out rate in Colorado.
Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $199,700 each — the 19th lowest in Colorado.
As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of demand to live here.
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.
The city of Rifle is the 7th worst place you can live in the state of Colorado in 2019.
It’s unlucky for Rifle, which has the 8th highest unemployment rate (9.1%), the 37th lowest household incomes ($61,696) and the 25th lowest home prices in the state ($221,600).
Basically, a lot of people in Rifle are out of work. And crime is certainly a factor here as well. Although it’s not one of the most dangerous places we’ll look at, it’s in the top 20%.
Add it all up, and this is truly one of the worst places you could live in 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.
Sterling ranks as the 9th worst city in Colorado. Located in Logan County, Sterling has the 7th lowest income levels in the state of Colorado ($38,432), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 8.1%.
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 9.7% 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, Alamosa ranks as the worst city to live in Colorado for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Colorado:
- Superior (Pop. 12,879)
- Parker (Pop. 51,125)
- Louisville (Pop. 20,319)
For more Colorado reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Colorado
- 10 Safest Places In Colorado
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Colorado
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Colorado