The state of New York. You can’t possibly attempt to summarize the entire state in a couple of paragraphs. Except we can tell you, the people there are fiercely protective of where they live. And, like most other people in the northeast, they’d most likely you stay out. Even when you’re on vacation.
If you’ve ever been to the state of New York (besides NYC), you’d know why it’s a gem. If you haven’t been, and actually venture out beyond the confines of downtown, you’d see it’s one of the most beautiful places in the country.
But is it all good in The Empire State? Of course not. Just like every other state, New York has its least desirable spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities are the worst you could possibly live in if you make New York your home.
After analyzing 163 of the state’s most populous cities (over 5,100 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of New York:
- Monticello (Photos)
- Rochester (Photos)
- Newburgh (Photos)
- Buffalo (Photos)
- Niagara Falls (Photos)
- Utica (Photos)
- Binghamton (Photos)
- Syracuse (Photos)
- Jamestown (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.
How we determined the worst places to live in New York 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
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 5,100 people were considered — leaving 163 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 163 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 New York — Monticello. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in New York.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Population: 6,577Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $83,700 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.9% (1st worst)
There’s probably not many people in New York that would be surprised to see Monticello on this list. In fact, if Monticello wasn’t somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Monticello has the 106th worst crime rate in New York. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 30 violent crimes in Monticello in 2015. Residents here had a 1 in 213 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Monticello are the 19th cheapest in the state ($83,700), the unemployment rate is the 1st highest (15.9%), and the annual household income is 4th lowest in New York, at $26,786. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
Population: 210,291Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Values: $77,800 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.0% (5th worst)
If you live in Rochester, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 12th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of New York. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 26.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 1,845 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 113 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 12th lowest salaries in New York at $31,684 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Population: 28,406Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Home Values: $165,900 (73rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (12th worst)
Newburgh is another place in the Empire State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Newburgh is a staggering 11.9%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($33,469 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $165,900, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Newburgh is bad, but not horrible.
Population: 15,158 Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Home Values: $76,500 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.6% (16th worst)
Gloversville is right next door to Johnstown. Both areas are really undesirable, when looking at it from a scientific perspective. However, Gloversville takes the cake as the worst of the worst.
The issue with Gloversville is crime and homes that are some of the least expensive in the state. For an average price of $76,500, you can live in Gloversville. Does that tell you how bad it is here?
Additionally, Gloversville currently has a huge problem with robberies. If you’re within Gloversville city limits, you have a 1 in 34.1 chance of being robbed. Perhaps it’s the high unemployment rate (11.6%) or the low income levels ($33,760 per household), but you simply can’t let your guard down if you live here.
Population: 258,989Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Values: $72,600 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (28th worst)
Buffalo, NY needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.
Additionally, crime is 2nd worst in the state, which is very high considering Buffalo is so far removed from the rest of New York.
If you know anyone in Buffalo, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
6. Niagara Falls
Population: 49,180Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Values: $69,200 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (24th worst)
Niagara Falls is the 1st most dangerous place in the state of New York. We’re not talking about falling over the cliffs. And yes, pick pocketers preying on unsuspecting tourists is probably a high number of those crimes. But the fact remains, that when you’re within Niagara Falls city limits, you have a 1 in 20.5 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.
Does that sound like a fun place to live? Did you know Niagara Falls also has the 24th highest unemployment rate in the state at 10.2%? Or that homes are only valued at $69,200?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s little demand to live in Niagara Falls.
Population: 61,337Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Home Values: $89,300 (29th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (12th worst)
If you live in Utica, you’re either going to come to the defense of your city and tell us that we’re idiots, or you secretly hoped you wouldn’t see your city mentioned here. The fact is, Utica isn’t necessarily a very desirable place to live, no matter how you look at it. And you probably know it.
Crime is the 13th highest in the whole state, per capita. Income levels are just about as low as you can expect, and homes are just about as cheap as you’ll find within 300 miles.
Population: 46,277Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 4)
Home Values: $87,500 (28th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (20th worst)
The city of Binghamton is the 8th worst place you can live in the state of New York in 2015.
It’s unlucky for Binghamton, which has the 20th highest unemployment rate (10.8%), the 7th lowest household incomes ($30,183) and the 28th lowest home prices in the state ($87,500).
Basically, a lot of people in Binghamton 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 New York.
Population: 144,350Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Home Values: $89,900 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.7% (22nd worst)
you’re looking to live in New York, Syracuse might not be the best choice as it places 9th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2015.
Syracuse doesn’t have the worst crime in the state, but it’s sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Syracuse may not be your first choice for a vacation.
Population: 30,345Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 5)
Home Values: $64,700 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (34th worst)
Here in Jamestown, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in New York. That’s not a good combination.
Located in Chautauqua County, you have a 1 in 28.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Jamestown city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (9.5%). That’s good for the 34th highest unemployment rate in New York.
Wrapping Up The Worst In New York
If you’re looking at areas in New York 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, Monticello ranks as the worst city to live in New York for 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New York:
- North Hills (Pop. 5,420)
- Floral Park (Pop. 16,189)
- Rye (Pop. 15,949)
For more New York reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Snowiest Cities In New York
- These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Places In New York
- These Are The 10 Cities In New York That Have The Best Lottery Winning Luck
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In New York