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:
- Trotwood (Photos)
- Cleveland (Photos)
- Dayton (Photos)
- Youngstown (Photos)
- Wellston (Photos)
- Middletown (Photos)
- Nelsonville (Photos)
- Mansfield (Photos)
- New Carlisle (Photos)
- Hillsboro (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 Ohio 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 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 — Trotwood. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Ohio.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Population: 24,372Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $75,800 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.6% (7th worst)
While numbers in Ohio are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Ohio cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Trotwood average $75,800, which is the 20th 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 Trotwood.
Plus, 2590.0% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 64th highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Trotwood city limits, you have a 1 in 25.3 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
Population: 389,165Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 7)
Home Values: $67,500 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.3% (3rd worst)
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Cleveland ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 9th cheapest in the state here at $67,500. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Cleveland.
The median income levels here are the 6th lowest in the state of Ohio, at $26,583. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 17.3% of people in Cleveland were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
Population: 141,143Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $66,600 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (10th worst)
Dayton needs some tough love as it ranks as the 3rd worst city to live in Ohio for 2015. There’s not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it’s not a place you might want to move to.
And the crime in Dayton is the 36th highest in the state, where 1 in 19.5 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Population: 65,161Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Home Values: $43,300 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.8% (4th worst)
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Youngstown is the 4th worst place in the state of Ohio.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Youngstown 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 Youngstown are the 1st 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 Ohio.
Population: 5,595Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Values: $85,700 (48th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.9% (15th worst)
Wellston is the smallest city to make the top of this list. It’s right next door to Jackson, and it has some of the same issues with ‘things to do’ as Jackson does.
It’s just generally lousy in Wellston. It doesn’t really stand out as being really bad in any category outside of the fact that its residents earn low salaries ($39,398). The schools and the crime are far below average, but not horrible.
Population: 48,527Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Home Values: $91,300 (61st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.1% (12th worst)
Welcome to Middletown, Ohio, where 1 in 7.6 people is without a job, and families bring in a combined $36,898 a year.
Crime is the 10th highest in Ohio, where you have a 1 in 14.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime, and every year, you have a 1 in 190 chance of being raped, attacked or murdered when you’re within Middletown city limits.
Population: 5,249Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 8)
Home Values: $77,700 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.0% (5th worst)
Nelsonville is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Nelsonville is the 71st most dangerous place you can live in Ohio.
Residents in Nelsonville have a 1 in 26.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.
When you’re considering home prices, you can’t do much lower than in Nelsonville, where average homes are valued at only$77,700. That’s the 25th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
Population: 46,902Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Values: $77,500 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (25th worst)
If you’re looking to live in Ohio, Mansfield might not be the best choice as it places 8th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Buckeye State for 2015.
The average family earns $33,257 a year out here, and 2560.0% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 11.8% 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 Mansfield, every year, you have a 1 in 18.0 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 39th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
9. New Carlisle
Population: 5,690Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 10)
Home Values: $90,800 (60th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (58th worst)
The same problems that plague other cities on the list also affect New Carlisle. The only real difference is New Carlisle is a tiny bit safer, and the schools are rated a lot higher in terms of resources for students.
However, the unemployment rate in New Carlisle is at 9.6%, which is the 58th worst in Ohio. And households earn a combined $37,798 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in New Carlisle is merely $90,800.
New Carlisle is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.
Population: 6,572Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 4)
Home Values: $85,000 (46th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (44th worst)
If, by some reason, you were driving from Mt. Orab to Circleville, you might have passed through Hillsboro. After stopping to ask for directions, you may have noticed that things aren’t so peachy keen here. It’s tough out there for people to stay afloat when their income levels are so low ($33,051) and they can’t get good jobs (10.3% unemployment rate).
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 not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Trotwood ranks as the worst city to live in Ohio for 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Ohio:
- Grandview Heights (Pop. 7,191)
- Upper Arlington (Pop. 34,675)
- Powell (Pop. 12,436)
For more Ohio reading, check out:
- 10 Small Towns In Ohio Where You’d Never Want To Live
- These Are The 10 Snobbiest Places In Ohio
- These Are The 10 Most Boring Cities In Ohio
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Ohio
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