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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:
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 Ohio? That would be Trotwood.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more Ohio reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Ohio For 2020
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Trotwood ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 16th cheapest in the state here at $72,900. 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 Trotwood.
The median income levels here are the 20th lowest in the state of Ohio, at $34,948. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we'll talk about in a minute. And almost 12.3% of people in Trotwood were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
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 ($38,730). The schools and the crime are far below average, but not horrible.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Ohio, New Carlisle came in 3rd. Let's see why.
When you're comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Ohio residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Ohio, you can see some really big differences. In New Carlisle, the number of people out of work is 7.0%
In Ohio, that's the 74th highest in the state.
The residents in New Carlisle have the 63rd lowest incomes in the state. Folks in New Carlisle average $41,772 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 $91,400 on average. That's the 53rd lowest in the state.
Sure, it's in a beautiful area, and there's lots of culture, especially in terms of music. But, if you're measuring desirability, it's the 4th worst in Ohio.
Cleveland residents had a 1 in 22.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Cleveland is through the roof, as more than 14.7% of the population can't get a job. At least their mortgages aren't too high; at $68,500, Cleveland has the 10th-lowest home prices in the state of Ohio.
Middletown, where there's absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the 5th worst city in Ohio.
Besides the lack of pure amenities, Middletown has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 9.7%, and families earn around $39,520 a year. It's also the 42nd highest in Ohio for crime, where 1 in 23.2 people gets robbed every year.
Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?
Mansfield is another place in the Buckeye State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Mansfield is a staggering 10.8%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($35,697 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $76,300, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Mansfield is bad, but not horrible.
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 Moraine average $88,600, which is the 50th 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 Moraine.
Plus, 15.7% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 32nd highest in the state here. Every year, when you're within Moraine city limits, you have a 1 in 22.3 chance of being robbed. That's a lot of broken into cars and homes.
Dayton is one of the poorest cities in the state of Ohio. This city has 11.9% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $31,395 a year.
Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Dayton has the 32nd highest crime rate in Ohio. While the numbers aren't staggering (Ohio is a relatively safe place when you compare it to the rest of the country), it's still undesirable when you consider that there are far safer (and more stimulating) places to make your home in the Buckeye State.
Things are starting to get progressively more 'modern' and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Ohio when we get to Logan. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 9.0% (which is really high), and the median income is $37,612. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren't a complete mess.
Situated along the Ohio river in central Ohio, Portsmouth residents don't have it much better than in Youngstown. The unemployment rate is the 11th-highest here than anywhere else in Ohio. Plus, the crime is almost as high as you get in the state, and people who live here earn the 8th-lowest salaries of all Buckeye State residents.
Plus, it's out in the middle of nowhere, so unless you want to cross over the Ohio River and go to...Olive Hill, Kentucky, you're gonna be bored living here.
How we determined the worst places to live in Ohio for 2020
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 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. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
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 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Ohio:
- Wyoming (Pop. 8,535)
- Upper Arlington (Pop. 35,223)
- Grandview Heights (Pop. 7,681)
For more Ohio reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Ohio?