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:
- Sheridan (Photos)
- Rifle (Photos)
- Pueblo (Photos)
- Sterling (Photos)
- Federal Heights (Photos)
- Delta (Photos)
- Edgewater (Photos)
- Trinidad (Photos)
- Alamosa (Photos)
- Aurora (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 2017.
How we determined the worst places to live in Colorado for 2017
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
The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
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 — Sheridan. 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.
Population: 5,912Home Values: $139,600 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.9% (1st worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Sheridan is the worst place you can live in the state of Colorado. Let’s see why.
Crime and no jobs. How does that sum it up? When you look at the numbers, you can see why Sheridan might be a bad place to live. Would you believe Sheridan has the 2nd highest crime rate in Colorado? It does. You have a 1 in 13.0 chance of being robbed when you’re within Sheridan city limits each year.
Plus, Sheridan has the 1st highest unemployment rate in the state at 12.9%.
And the home prices ($139,600) are the 9th cheapest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is, homes are priced on demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Sheridan.
Population: 9,451Home Values: $195,600 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (12th worst)
If you’re looking to live in Colorado, Rifle might not be the best choice as it places 2nd in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Centennial State for 2015.
The average family earns $54,175 a year out here, and 10.8% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 10.5% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it’s just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you’re in Rifle, every year, you have a 1 in 16.3 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it’s an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it’s the 8th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
Population: 108,073Home Values: $114,200 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.2% (4th 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 8.2 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: 14,046Home Values: $98,500 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (7th worst)
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Colorado, Sterling ranks 4th worst. Let’s see why.
Here in Sterling, crime is the 19th highest in the state, and 1 out of 25.3 residents was robbed here according to the latest FBI numbers.
That’s not the first place you think of making home, is it?
Additionally, you have a 1 in 222 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rapes, attacks or murders. That’s really high.
When you look at adult education in Colorado, the folks in Sterling have the 15th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Sterling undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 7th highest in Colorado, at 11.8%. That’s actually on par with the national average, which means Colorado has some hard workers.
5. Federal Heights
Population: 12,037Home Values: $34,000 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (22nd worst)
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 Federal Heights average $34,000, which is the 1st lowest 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 Federal Heights.
Plus, 15.9% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 70th highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Federal Heights city limits, you have a 1 in 0 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
Population: 8,779Home Values: $161,600 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (11th 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: 5,237Home Values: $218,600 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (9th worst)
You might have passed through Edgewater once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here’s what science says about why Edgewater needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 11.5%, residents earn about $44,148 a year, and home prices are just over $218,600. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.
And there simply isn’t anything to do in Edgewater.
Population: 8,470Home Values: $136,500 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (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: 9,592Home Values: $146,000 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (2nd 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: 345,867Home Values: $189,100 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (18th worst)
Things are starting to get progressively more ‘modern’ and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Colorado when we get to Aurora. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 8.7% (which is really high), and the median income is $53,011. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.
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, Sheridan ranks as the worst city to live in Colorado for 2017.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Colorado:
- Louisville (Pop. 19,548)
- Superior (Pop. 12,815)
- Centennial (Pop. 106,604)
For more Colorado reading , check out:
- A Boulder Woman Has Taken Her Art To A New Extreme. What She Does Will Blow You Away.
- If You’re From Colorado This Will Be The Most Jaw-Dropping Thing You See All Day. Guaranteed.
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Colorado – RoadSnacks
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Colorado