The last time we talked about the state of Ohio, it was a happier time. We went over all of the Buckeye State’s charms. We talked about the grittiness of the folks in the bigger cities and the warm, friendly people in Ohio’s smaller towns.
But today, we’re going in the opposite direction. Because, like in any other state in America, there are bad places just like there are good places. And today, we’re going to address the worst of Ohio’s cities and towns.
So, Who Dey?
After analyzing all 250 cities with a population over 5,100, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Ohio:
Where are these places, you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small towns in Ohio, that’s not the case.
We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. For example, the best place to live in Ohio is Madeira.
However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), the state has far better options for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Ohio? The worst place to live in Ohio is New Carlisle.
Read below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your city fared in 2023.
For more Ohio reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Ohio For 2023
Located in southwest Ohio, about 25 minutes outside of Dayton, New Carlisle is the site of a famous crime. Bank robber John Dillinger robbed one of the town’s institutions in 1933. That may have set a tone for town, which is today the number 1 worst location in Ohio.
Jobs are the main problem for New Carlisle’s 5,561 inhabitants. To be specific: there aren’t enough of them. The unemployment rate stands at 17.3%. Along with this, the town has a lackluster educational system, with its best school getting just a 6/10 on Great Schools.
Trotwood is located in southwest Ohio, just outside of Dayton. The community faces a host of problems, starting with an anemic economy. This fuels challenges related to education and crime, making this the number 2 worst place to live in Ohio.
The sluggish economy can be seen in figures like a 7.5% unemployment rate and a median income of $40,428. The 23,157 residents of Trotwood also have to worry about safety. The crime rate in the area is about 30% above the national average. The schools are lackluster as well, reaching only a 5/10 on Great Schools.
The people of Trotwood have ways to forget their troubles. For instance, they can head to the beautiful Madison Lakes Park in the southern part of town.
Wellston sits in the southeast part of Ohio, in a less densely populated part of the state. It’s about an hour and a half outside of Columbus and two hours away from Cincinnati. But getting away from big cities doesn’t guarantee an idyllic rural setting. Wellston ranks as the number 3 least attractive location in Ohio.
The listless job market in the area keeps residents from reaching their full potential. The unemployment rate stands at 6.8%, while median incomes hover at $44,875. These financial problems trickle down to other aspects of life. Bad schools and high crime are other major issues for the community.
Still, the folks in Wellston get some value from their rural setting. They can enjoy a host of outdoor activities, with Lake Alma State Park just outside of town.
Cleveland is one of the biggest cities in Ohio, with a population of 374,861 people. Unfortunately, those folks could probably do better somewhere else. Cleveland stands as the number 4 most unappealing location in the state.
Like many large industrial cities in the Midwest,r Cleveland has suffered from economic upheavals of the last several decades. This has led to an unemployment rate of 12.4% and a whopping 31.4% poverty rate.
Along with these financial troubles, locals face a crime rate that is 140% above the U.S. average. Schools and housing are other challenges.
Of course, a city this size has its attractions. Besides its multiple pro sports teams, you can also check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Canton knows something about commemorating great achievements. Located in central Ohio, about an hour south of Cleveland, is home to both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum.
Unfortunately, the town itself has gotten famous for the wrong reasons. It stands as the number 9 most terrible place to put down roots in Ohio.
Jobs, housing, and safety present major problems for the 71,097 people of Canton. The unemployment rate stands at 10.0%, while the median income hovers at $34,611. The weak economy contributes to a high crime rate, which runs about 170% above the national average.
Dayton is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of Ohio. This is the 11th most violent place in the state, and the place with one of the highest number of murders. Dayton also ranks high for burglaries and rapes. Two cars are stolen here every single day. For a city of 138,416 people, that’s a LOT.
This wasn’t always a bad place. There were big companies here to make good money with – like NCR, General Motors, Standard Register, Mead, Frigidaire, Panasonic, and even the railroads. But today, so many houses are boarded up and buildings have been knocked down. Once the jobs are gone, the city starts to die. Most of the burglaries and prostitution and cat thefts are all directly tied to the heroin / fentanyl problem. Although apparently, the city has improved its drug treatment program.
On a good note, when a tornado passed through town in 2019, the community got Dayton Strong about it. They came together and helped pitch in.
Methodology: How we determined the worst places to live in Ohio for 2023
To figure out the worst places to live in Ohio, 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 more significant weight. If you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are typically 7x more common and bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 250 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 250 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 Ohio — New Carlisle. Read on for a detailed look at the ten worst cities in Ohio.
Summary: Wrapping Up The Worst In Ohio
If you’re looking at areas in Ohio with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime and little to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, New Carlisle ranks as the worst city to live in Ohio for 2023.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Ohio:
- Wyoming (Pop. 8,691)
- Upper Arlington (Pop. 36,566)
- Madeira (Pop. 9,397)
For more Ohio reading, check out:
Worst Places To Live In Ohio?
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