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 161 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:
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 New York? That would be Newburgh.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more New York reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In New York
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In New York
- 10 Most Dangerous Places In New York
The 10 Worst Places To Live In New York For 2019
According to science, Newburgh is the 1st worst place you can live in New York.
Let’s see why. Newburgh has the 33rd-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Newburgh is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($170,900), and the 17th-highest unemployment rate in the state (10.2%), and across the board, Newburgh doesn’t sound like the best of the best.
Plus, there’s simply not a lot to do here (unless you count having a Walmart and a Piggly Wiggly as fun). We’re aware that people enjoy outdoor activities, but in terms of pure entertainment, you’d have to drive a ways away.
Welcome to Monticello, which might be one of the poorest areas in New York. Residents average $31,169 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 27.2% of Monticello residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $83,700 and the unemployment rate hovers near 16.4%.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in New York, Rochester came in 3rd. Let’s see why.
When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, New York residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in New York, you can see some really big differences. In Rochester, the number of people out of work is 12.0%
In New York, that’s the 6th highest in the state.
The residents in Rochester have the 11th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Rochester average $32,347 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 $79,400 on average. That’s the 17th lowest in the state.
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $89,800 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (17th worst)
More on Endicott: Data
Endicott has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 4th-highest in the state of New York. And residents earn far less than it takes to live a normal life. The unemployment rank is also higher than almost every other city in the state at 10.2%.
Additionally, 19.6% of the population lives below the poverty line.
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Lockport is the 5th worst place in the state of New York.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Lockport is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Lockport are the 27th lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can’t get much worse in New York.
Out of all the places to live in New York, Poughkeepsie ranks as the 6th worst — not something to brag about.
Poughkeepsie’s unemployment rate stands at 12.7%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $40,840 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 80th cheapest in the entire state at $190,400. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there’s not a lot of demand to live way out in Poughkeepsie. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 58th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 50.6 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 143 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $77,400 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (9th worst)
More on Gloversville: Data
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 $77,400, 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 41.6 chance of being robbed. Perhaps it’s the high unemployment rate (11.1%) or the low income levels ($35,397 per household), but you simply can’t let your guard down if you live here.
If you live in Binghamton, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 8th worst place to live in the state.
You’ve got the 4th highest crime rate in New York, which saw 362 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 23.2 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 126 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Binghamton.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Binghamton sports the state’s 8th highest unemployment rate (11.7%), and families bring in a combined $31,103 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $87,500.
Niagara Falls is the 2nd 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 21.0 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 23rd highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.4%? Or that homes are only valued at $69,900?
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.
You can sure expect that Buffalo is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 10th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Buffalo has the 8th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 2,611 violent crimes here in 2019, and residents have a 1 in 26.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Buffalo, 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 — the unemployment rate sits at 8.8% which is the 30th worst in New York.
How we determined the worst places to live in New York 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 161 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 161 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 — Newburgh. 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.
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, Newburgh ranks as the worst city to live in New York for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New York:
- Sea Cliff (Pop. 5,085)
- North Hills (Pop. 5,524)
- Massapequa Park (Pop. 17,223)
For more New York reading, check out: