These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Indiana For 2018


We used science and data to determine which cities in the Hoosier State are the real pits.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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The Hoosier State. A state that’s about 90% farms and one large city, with small places sprinkled between long stretches of corn and beans. A place with a rich history, great colleges, and some of the friendliest people in the midwest. There are some really nice places in Indiana.

But is it all great there? Of course not. Just like every other state, Indiana has its trouble spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities in the Hoosier State have some serious issues, at least on paper.

After analyzing 112 of the state’s most populous cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Indiana:

  1. Gary (Photos)
  2. East Chicago (Photos)
  3. Connersville (Photos)
  4. Anderson (Photos)
  5. Elkhart (Photos)
  6. Lake Station
  7. South Bend (Photos)
  8. Salem (Photos)
  9. Richmond (Photos)
  10. New Castle (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.

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

For more Indiana reading, check out:

How we determined the worst places to live in Indiana 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

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 5,000 people were considered — leaving 112 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 112 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 Indiana — Gary. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Indiana.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

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1. Gary

Gary, Indiana

Population: 77,858
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $65,400 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.6% (1st worst)
More on Gary: Data | Jobs | Photos
There’s probably not a single person in the state that would be surprised that Gary tops this list. In fact, if Gary wasn’t atop this list, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.

Here are the statistics. Gary has the 10th worst crime rate in Indiana. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 460 violent crimes in Gary in 2015. Residents here had a 1 in 169 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.

The home values in Gary are the 4th cheapest in the state ($65,400), the unemployment rate is the 1st highest (16.6%), and the annual household income is 3rd lowest in Indiana, at $28,895. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.

If there’s one bright side to Gary, it’s that the education is ranked above average. Meaning the kids at Gary public schools are getting as much attention and support as possible. Hopefully, that has an impact on the next generation that grows up here.

It’s pretty much Gary, and then everyone else on this list.

2. East Chicago

East Chicago, Indiana

Population: 28,961
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $75,000 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.2% (2nd worst)
More on East Chicago: Data | Jobs | Photos
Since the southside of Chicago is one of the worst areas for crime in the nation, you can sure expect that East Chicago is going to be pretty rough. It is. In fact, East Chicago has the 21st-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.

There were 192 violent crimes here in 2015, and residents have a 1 in 26.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in East Chicago, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.

You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits. It is. The only thing saving East Chicago from being higher on the list is that the public schools are well funded. They may not be safe, but at least the kids are getting as much attention as they want.

3. Connersville

Connersville, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 13,202
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $67,100 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (6th worst)
More on Connersville: Data | Jobs | Photos
There’s absolutely nothing to do in Connersville. Located out in the boonies toward the Ohio state line, the residents are most likely bored, and probably wouldn’t have much disposable income to do much even if there was some form of entertainment. At least they can spend their Sundays with Andrew Luck.

The unemployment rate is the 6th highest in the state (11.7%), the income levels and home prices are both in the bottom five in Indiana as well.

However, the public kids get just about as much attention and support than in any other region.

4. Anderson

Anderson, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 55,342
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Values: $70,600 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (11th worst)
More on Anderson: Data | Jobs | Photos
Anderson is the first of a few cities near Indianapolis to make this list. When you’re comparing things to Gary, things look a lot better here, but they still have some issues, according to science.

Anderson is the 19th most dangerous place in Indiana, according to FBI statistics. And the residents here have a hard time keeping a job — at least in comparison to the rest of the state. The unemployment rate is 10.5% — not horrible — but worse than the state average.

Home values are really low ($70,600), and residents earn just $34,441 a year.

Plus, it’s an hour drive into downtown Indy, so your entertainment options are fairly limited.

5. Elkhart

Elkhart, Indiana

Population: 52,378
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Values: $85,500 (31st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (19th worst)
More on Elkhart: Data | Jobs | Photos
Here in Elkhart, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in Indiana. That’s not a good combination.

Located in Elkhart County, you have a 1 in 23.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Elkhart city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (9.7%). That’s good for the 19th highest unemployment rate in Indiana.

6. Lake Station


Population: 12,199
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Values: $81,000 (22nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.3% (5th worst)
More on Lake Station: Data | Jobs
Lake Station’s issue is that it’s right next door to Gary. However, it’s a real head scratcher, since the crime here is actually right around the state average.

The issues Lake Station has is with its local economy. The unemployment rate is the 5th highest in Indiana (12.3%), and as you might expect, the household salaries and home prices are both towards the bottom.

7. South Bend

South Bend, Indiana

Population: 101,037
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Home Values: $80,500 (21st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (11th worst)
More on South Bend: Data | Jobs | Photos
Welcome to South Bend, where criminals go to make a living. South Bend has the 3rd highest crime rate in the state. When you’re within South Bend city limits, you have a 1 in 19.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime such as a car break in or home invasion robbery every year.

Plus, there were 1,037 violent crimes here in 2015. For a city of 101,037 people, that’s absolutely off the charts high. You have a 1 in 97 chance of being raped, attacked or killed when you’re in South Bend every year as well.

8. Salem

Salem, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 6,214
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Home Values: $83,700 (27th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (20th worst)
More on Salem: Data | Jobs | Photos
The unemployment rate in Salem is a sky high 9.6%, which is the 20th highest in the state. Ouch.

The median income in Salem is $33,022. That means 2540.0% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn’t horrible here, but you have a 1 in 27.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within city limits every year.

9. Richmond

Richmond, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 36,082
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Home Values: $81,900 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (31st worst)
More on Richmond: Data | Jobs | Photos
While the median household income in Richmond is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of ‘worst cities’, Richmond still has the 32nd worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 33rd worst crime index.

Therefore, though the average Richmond 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.

10. New Castle

New Castle, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 17,634
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Home Values: $68,800 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.6% (8th worst)
More on New Castle: Data | Jobs | Photos
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Indiana, New Castle came in 10th. Let’s see why.

When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Indiana residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Indiana, you can see some really big differences. In New Castle, the number of people out of work is 11.6%

In Indiana, that’s the 8th highest in the state.

The residents in New Castle have the 17th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in New Castle average $34,924 a year. Which isn’t too shabby in comparison to the other ‘lowest’ income cities in most other states.

Additionally, the homes are valued at $68,800 on average. That’s the 8th lowest in the state.

Wrapping Up The Worst In Indiana

If you’re looking at areas in Indiana 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, Gary ranks as the worst city to live in Indiana for 2018.

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

  1. Zionsville (Pop. 25,709)
  2. Carmel (Pop. 86,940)
  3. St. John (Pop. 15,777)

For more Indiana reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Indiana

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Gary 1 1 77,858 16.6% $65,400
East Chicago 2 2 28,961 16.2% $75,000
Connersville 3 3 13,202 11.7% $67,100
Anderson 4 4 55,342 10.5% $70,600
Elkhart 5 6 52,378 9.7% $85,500
Lake Station 6 5 12,199 12.3% $81,000
South Bend 7 9 101,037 10.5% $80,500
Salem 8 11 6,214 9.6% $83,700
Richmond 9 10 36,082 8.4% $81,900
New Castle 10 7 17,634 11.6% $68,800
Marion 11 15 28,698 10.0% $64,400
Hammond 12 14 78,349 11.7% $87,100
Terre Haute 13 16 61,021 10.2% $76,000
Brazil 14 12 8,105 10.2% $70,500
Linton 15 17 5,305 8.3% $63,800
Shelbyville 16 27 19,083 8.8% $96,900
Elwood 17 24 8,489 10.1% $68,800
Plymouth 18 20 10,012 12.8% $89,700
Kendallville 19 36 9,980 9.5% $90,800
Muncie 20 21 69,583 11.4% $70,000
Rushville 21 19 6,267 3.6% $81,800
Logansport 22 13 17,924 9.3% $66,000
Washington 23 57 11,941 10.2% $84,900
Indianapolis 24 23 846,674 9.1% $120,400
Peru 25 28 11,415 12.5% $61,300
North Vernon 26 8 7,134 3.4% $85,100
Rochester 27 29 6,110 3.0% $87,200
Lawrence 28 26 47,415 8.9% $129,700
La Porte 29 31 21,876 8.6% $93,000
Martinsville 30 25 11,714 8.5% $93,900
Portland 31 18 6,225 11.0% $69,300
Crawfordsville 32 46 15,996 7.3% $87,600
Evansville 33 42 120,156 7.0% $89,600
Wabash 34 58 10,414 7.2% $76,300
Charlestown 35 22 7,990 4.9% $100,500
New Albany 36 38 36,622 8.0% $110,500
Westville 37 34 6,862 6.5% $90,200
Goshen 38 43 33,385 7.5% $111,500
Alexandria 39 33 5,060 8.2% $72,200
Mishawaka 40 39 48,234 7.0% $92,000
Kokomo 41 40 58,075 8.5% $83,000
Huntington 42 37 17,340 6.7% $77,300
Princeton 43 59 8,617 6.9% $79,800
Clarksville 44 49 21,812 5.3% $112,000
Angola 45 56 8,624 7.4% $118,900
Lafayette 46 43 71,249 8.0% $103,900
Speedway 47 30 12,145 8.0% $116,200
Frankfort 48 35 16,447 7.2% $79,900
Boonville 49 67 6,186 2.9% $86,400
Madison 50 50 12,045 7.6% $119,600
Bedford 51 32 13,341 5.1% $87,800
Beech Grove 52 48 14,319 9.1% $94,300
Vincennes 53 45 18,098 6.2% $74,500
Merrillville 54 63 35,268 7.7% $127,400
Hobart 55 54 28,693 8.1% $136,200
Bluffton 56 66 9,702 4.3% $92,100
Seymour 57 53 18,996 4.5% $108,400
Monticello 58 52 5,312 6.2% $90,600
North Manchester 59 91 6,346 8.6% $91,700
Garrett 60 55 6,620 7.5% $84,100
Fort Wayne 61 61 260,954 7.9% $103,100
Rensselaer 62 62 5,359 4.6% $115,600
Huntingburg 63 46 6,414 2.5% $98,900
Warsaw 64 71 14,640 5.9% $118,500
Greensburg 65 51 12,107 5.2% $113,000
Franklin 66 69 24,021 4.9% $114,500
Bloomington 67 77 83,093 8.0% $172,100
Greencastle 68 65 10,413 5.7% $99,200
Mooresville 69 78 9,553 7.0% $124,300
Scottsburg 70 41 6,671 4.7% $98,900
New Haven 71 60 15,677 6.9% $96,000
Portage 72 64 37,054 7.5% $136,000
Cedar Lake 73 68 11,872 10.2% $162,300
Jeffersonville 74 74 46,415 6.8% $126,500
Nappanee 75 70 6,767 4.8% $119,500
Ellettsville 76 82 6,501 5.8% $120,900
Greenwood 77 71 54,564 6.5% $138,900
Avon 78 87 15,712 4.8% $182,800
Decatur 79 75 9,384 7.2% $91,200
Mount Vernon 80 79 6,579 6.1% $92,200
Lebanon 81 83 15,846 2.9% $113,400
Mccordsville 82 86 5,924 4.8% $196,500
Greenfield 83 85 21,380 6.5% $125,600
Danville 84 93 9,482 6.4% $149,100
Winfield 85 80 5,233 4.4% $267,700
Schererville 86 84 28,899 5.1% $208,000
Tipton 87 73 5,217 2.8% $83,500
Griffith 88 91 16,583 8.4% $133,700
Cumberland 89 81 5,422 6.5% $152,100
Plainfield 90 88 30,318 6.6% $147,200
Lowell 91 90 9,423 7.3% $150,600
New Whiteland 92 96 5,814 7.0% $95,900
Columbus 93 97 46,474 4.8% $146,000
Sellersburg 94 95 8,722 5.9% $152,900
Batesville 95 100 6,417 3.7% $170,200
Winona Lake 96 5,129 3.8% $148,800
Bargersville 97 94 6,824 2.6% $159,000
Valparaiso 98 99 32,271 6.4% $170,500
Chesterton 99 98 13,912 7.8% $171,500
West Lafayette 100 106 44,543 5.2% $192,100

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30 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Indiana For 2018

  1. I am not a expert on what makes a city great and every city has its issues. I think everyone would agree, that they would want high median income, high rank in education (low student/teacher ratio and high expenditures), low crime rates, and high property values. The one question I have is population density. The way they calculated it was population divided by land area. Does a high population density make a city better or stronger? Is this common practice? Personally, I would rather live in a “Mayberry” than a big city. Ranking density (high to low) seems to be a personal opinion and biased.

  2. I didn’t get past the opening paragraph. Only about 63% of Indiana is used for agriculture. I’m not sure there are any facts in this post.

  3. This study gives some mighty broad assertions like, we think you should lock your doors when you drive past Michigan City. I beg your pardon…………This city is very safe and we have wonderful times here.

  4. Have you ever actually been to these places? I suggest you actually do before you criticize a place. Lawrenceburg is a great place to live. It is a great community to live in. There are plenty of things to do here like others have said. If something can’t be found or done here it most defiantly can in Cincinnati. I’m offended that Lawrenceburg is on the same list as Gary and Terre Haute. There is nothing scientific about this article.

    1. Seriously guys its bad but my grandparents house has been there for 60 years and we didn’t lock our doors or ever worry. Believe it or not it was a great place to grow up and am proud. Our thugs have a set back when you grow up with people from birth its harder to commit crime on peeps you share birtjdays with at least thats what I tell myself..Maybe black oak but DONT recall ever having my aunts place broken into.

    2. You don’t have to go there to tell about a place. If you have high crime, high unemployment, and low wages – the place is going to be undesirable. Those are facts the sane cannot dispute. Those conditions produce people who want their handouts. They don’t work so they gey bored and then go out and commit crime for something to do and to get more stuff (that they refuse to work to get).

  5. Can you give a little more info on terre haute. There wasn’t much listed on its schooling or its unemployment rates.

  6. Who are you to say stuff about Terre haute I’ve lived here all my life get over your selfs ppl really who cares

  7. I completely agree with Gary being #1. Everyone knows that. But Bedford being #10? Don’t agree at all. I love this county and wouldn’t trade it for anywhere.

    1. Also, Bedford is 30 minutes from Bloomington, not an hour. Unless you’re coming from the north side of Bloomington and get stuck in the I-69 construction at rush hour. Then it could take over an hour. 😉

  8. I am not sure how well this was researched. I can tell the picture of Lawrenceburg is from Google Maps so the writer did not travel to this town. Lawrenceburg only has one casino not two. There are a few other things to do in the town other than to gamble the money we clearly do not have. lol I know of several other things to do; Lawrenceburg Speedway, Perfect North Slopes, Lawrenceburg Pool which is free to residents in the summer months, Ice Staking Rink which is free to Lawrenceburg residents in the winter months, Durbin Bowl, ect… I have been to places that really have nothing to do I would say Lawrenceburg has a few more things to do than “just a casino”.

  9. Don’t forget Petersburg Indiana… Paul Harvey once said if you want to get away with murder go to Petersburg Indiana…Pike county…so very true!!! Crooked cops and politicians!!/

    1. I lived there for awhile and there were lots of murders, bodies floating in the river every few months…and it snows almost every day all winter long…and the people drive really slow and are rude…lots of abandoned houses…lots of blight/neglect/poverty/mental illness…definitely should have made the list.

      1. South Bend used to be that way but a lot has changed in the 30+ years I have lived here. Many of the abandoned buildings have been torn down or rebuilt/repaired and used. Murder rate is down as is crime in general. Hasn’t been a body in the river in decades. winter is milder than the 60s and 70s. Elkhart is much worse. It has the highest number of Superfund sites in Indiana at 6. Indianapolis and Gary both have 5. Elkhart has always been bad.

  10. I’ve lived in Dyer and Valparaiso … Valpo is a much nicer community to live in, with more to do, i.e., shopping, university, dining in a downtown environment, equal or better school system, and many more positive factors favoring Valpo over Dyer. The study is very simplistic and naive.

  11. My parents grew up in East Chicago (HARBOR). My grandfather retired from Inland Steel after 42 yrs.
    My 3 brothers and my 2 sisters and I grew up in the Miller Beach area if Gary.

    So sad too see what has happened to NW Indiana. Wonderful memories.

  12. Don’t think this article was well researched. Bedford is 30 minutes South of Bloomington, not one hour. And it’s called Bedford, not Little Bedford. Maybe the person writing this had not heard of Bedford; however, it should be known that we provided limestone for some beautiful buildings throughout the United States and beyond. Claude Akins (the actor) was from Bedford, IN and two astronauts were born and raised in Bedford (Charles Walker & Kenneth Bowersox) and Virgil Grissom from Mitchell, IN just a 15 minutes south of Bedford but all in Lawrence County. Our Lady’s and Mens Bedford North Lawrence High School basketball teams have won many State Championships and Damon Bailey was well known throughout the country and was a much sought after player by Bobby Knight. The person who wrote this article needs to do more research. Many people are employed by General Motors in Bedford while even more are employed with Cook, Inc. in Bloomington and NSA Crane, IN.

  13. I would have expected Muncie to be high on the list of worst places. When I worked for the Indianapolis Star I frequently read the Muncie Star Press. Several times a week they ran stories about local people arrested for child molestation. If that doesn’t qualify for a bad place to live, I don’t know what does.

    I do agree about Anderson, though. I was born and raised there and left at the age of 26. Don’t miss it a bit. When I visit, I find it terribly depressing.

  14. Marion, IN is a great city. I’ve lived here my whole life. It’s a nice environment, great schools, and great high school sports. As long as you’re in a good neighborhood, you don’t need to worry about crime one bit. It gives you just the right amount of cultural diversity, unlike places like DeKalb County. I plan on living here for the rest of my life.

  15. I live in Michigan City, In.
    And we have alot to do here and we don’ t have to lock our doors when we are driving and going places. Yes we have homeless people as much as any other town would have. But i love our town and the Beautiful beach and shopping we have. Crime isn’ t as bad as you say it is.
    All are welcome to come here and enjoy. You need to get you facts straight before you make your remarks about locking your doors .

  16. Martinsville should replace Terre Haute…. Martinsville as of now gotten so bad with crime its not even funny…. And since Martinsville became diverse, due to the KKK leaving Martinsville in 2012…. The population with Hispanics and African-American grew…. And more people from different cities start forming street gangs there… Almost every building in Martinsville for gang Graffiti on it…. On every street theres at least 5 drug houses…. And 75% of the population is either on heroin or meth…. Youll see undercover FBI vans running around… And everyday multiple people are getting arrested… Everyday theres fighting…. And 40 out of 80 has a chance of getting robbed or there stuff stolen…. And the police are fucking lazy and all they do is fly their drones and speed race each other….

  17. Bedford is awful. The county leaders get rid of programs designed to help the people who live there. Education is discouraged, and people get made fun of for becoming educated. A lot of people there think those with an education are idiots, because apparently barely graduating high school, or dropping out of high school, makes you more knowledgeable about everything, including the Constitution, that studying and learning.

  18. Indianapolis should be somewhere on this list. It’s the largest hicktown, (pretending to be a big city) in the United States.

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