The 10 Worst Places To Live In Texas For 2021


These are the places in the Lone Star State that are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst places to live in Texas.

Ah, Texas. The Lone Star State. The state where secession is talked about on a daily basis. A place for rebels, pick-up trucks, sexy cheerleaders, and the hardest-working Americans of all time.

But, is it all roses in Texas? Of course not. For every good, there has to be a bad. And that's where this post aims to investigate. Even in one of the best states in the union, there have to be bad spots. The dead zones. The bruises on the apple, if you will.

After analyzing almost 335 of the most populous cities, we came up with this list as the absolute worst 10 places in the state of Texas:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Texas For 2021

  1. Hutchins
  2. Diboll
  3. Cleveland
  4. Progreso
  5. Alton
  6. Livingston
  7. Palmview
  8. Port Arthur
  9. Robstown
  10. Humble

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 Texas? That would be Hutchins.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Texas reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Texas For 2021

Hutchins, TX

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 5,718
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $68,800 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (56th worst)
More on Hutchins:  Data | Photos

Hutchins stands on the outer rim of suburbs surrounding Dallas, about 20 minutes from the city center. Theoretically, this should provide an excellent base for commuters. Not quite. In reality, the community is mired in an economic wasteland, a place where more than 1 in 3 of its residents make due with sub-poverty circumstances.

Beyond the economic problems, Hutchins is haunted by other problems. For instance, the crime rate hovers more than 60% above the national average. At the same time, most locals make due with subpar education and housing as well.

Diboll, TX

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,266
Rank Last Year: 66 (Up 64)
Median Home Value: $80,700 (45th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.8% (5th worst)
More on Diboll:  Data | Photos

Located in the eastern part of the state, about two hours northeast of Houston, Diboll sits in the midst of natural splendor. You've got Davy Crockett National Forest to the west, the Sam Rayburn Reservoir to the east, and the Angelina National Forest to the north.

Too bad life in town isn't quite as beautiful. Instead, Diboll presents a dire economic picture: an unemployment rate of 14.8%, a poverty rate of 28.1%, and a median income of $39,750. The schools are weak as well, with none scoring better than a 5/10 on Great Schools.

Cleveland, TX

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 8,061
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $91,100 (77th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (58th worst)
More on Cleveland:  Data | Photos

Cleveland lies along I-69, about 45 minutes outside of Houston. High crime and a lack of jobs make this one of the worst places in Texas to call home.

A quick review of the statistics will show you what we mean. The unemployment rate stands at 7.4%, while the poverty rate hovers at 14.4%. Looking at the town's safety issues, the crime rate tracks at more than 150% above the U.S. standard.

Life in Cleveland might be difficult, but at least it takes place in a beautiful setting. The town sits near the entrance to the Sam Houston National Forest.

Progreso, TX

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,905
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $57,500 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (14th worst)
More on Progreso:  Data | Photos

Progreso is located at the very southern tip of the state, within a quick drive of the Mexican border. Meanwhile, an hour's trip will take you to the coast, with such spots as South Padre Island and the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.

Daily life in town can be a struggle. The local median income hovers at a respectable $52,500. However, jobs are hard to come by. The unemployment rate sits at 10.1% and a fifth of residents live below the poverty line. The local schools consistently miss the mark as well, with none scoring better than a 6/10 on Great Schools.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 16,976
Rank Last Year: 40 (Up 35)
Median Home Value: $73,900 (29th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.0% (6th worst)
More on Alton:  Data

This is another community located in the extreme south of the state, close to the border with Mexico. Once again, economics play the key role in landing Alton on a list of least appealing Texas towns.

To start with, the town suffers a massive poverty problem. Specifically, nearly a third of the town struggles with sub-poverty conditions. This comes about as a result of a 13.0% and a $32,495 median income.

Alton also has issues with housing and education. Great Schools rates the local schools as a 6 out of 10.

Livingston, TX

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,115
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $108,400 (114th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (72nd worst)
More on Livingston:  Data | Photos

Livingston stands in the southeastern section of Texas, about an hour outside of Houston. Lake Livingston provides the main feature of the surrounding landscape. The lake, home of the Camp Cho-Yeh summer camp, offers a peaceful haven for the folks in town, a place where residents can get away and enjoy the calm of nature.

They could use the respite. Daily life in town can be a grind, what with a 7.0% unemployment rate and a 17.1% poverty rate. Locals also endure inadequate housing and education. Meanwhile, safety presents a significant issue as well, with a crime rate nearly 150% above the national average.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,733
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $89,900 (72nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (39th worst)
More on Palmview:  Data

With a name like Palmview, you'd expect a kind of paradise. Swaying palm trees. Ocean breezes. Pina coladas. Instead, you get one of the least appealing places to live in Texas.

Palmview sits near the Mexican border, in the southernmost tip of the state. I-2 rus through the town. If you're interested in those ocean breezes, they exist about an hour and a half down the road. If you stay in town, you'll find a poverty rate of nearly 30% and a median income below $30,000.

On top of these economic issues, housing and education are also substandard. In addition, the town's crime rate more than doubles the national average.

Port Arthur, TX

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 55,109
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $65,800 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (63rd worst)
More on Port Arthur:  Data | Photos

Port Arthur has 702 people per square mile. In comparison, Dallas has a population density of 3,500 per square mile. That means there's a lot of open space here. Say what you want about 'open spaces', but in terms of feeling like you're part of a community, it's hard to do when everyone is spread out.

In addition, homes in Port Arthur only cost $65,800 which is 14th lowest. Meaning...more open spaces. Unemployment here is 7.3%.

On the bright side, spending on students in Port Arthur is the second-highest in Texas at an astounding $16,494.

Robstown, TX

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 11,400
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $64,000 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.4% (2nd worst)
More on Robstown:  Data | Photos

Enjoy a nice game of poker? Well, if you've dragged a few pots in Texas Hold 'Em, you have Robstown to thank for it. At least officially. See, the Texas State Legislature has formally designated the town as the birthplace of Texas hold 'em poker.

With an economy like this, you can see why the people of Robstown turned to gambling. The area only supports a median income of $35,504 and the unemployment rate reaches 15.4%. Almost 2 out of every 5 residents struggles below the poverty line.

There are other benefits to life in Robstown, besides its card-playing past. This suburb of Corpus Christi sits close to Gulf Coast, with access to gorgeous locations like Padre Island National Seashore.

Humble, TX

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 15,864
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $122,900 (144th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (60th worst)
More on Humble:  Data | Photos

Humble is right. Well, maybe the name fits these days, considering that this suburb of Houston ranks as the number 10 worst place to live in Texas. But at one point, the community was far from humble. In the early 1900s, it marked the largest oilfield in Texas, the epicenter of a major economic bonanza.

In the 21st century, things have definitely taken a humbler turn. The unemployment rate stands at 7.4% and the area's median income hovers at $41,845.

As bad as the financial situation is, crime represents Humble's main problem. The crime rate runs an unnerving 360% above the U.S. norm.

How we determined the worst places to live in Texas for 2021

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

The data comes from the Census's most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

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 335 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 335 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 Texas -- Hutchins. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Texas. 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 Texas

If you're looking at areas in Texas 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, Hutchins ranks as the worst city to live in Texas for 2021.

If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Texas:

  1. Alamo Heights (Pop. 8,374)
  2. University Park (Pop. 25,036)
  3. West University Place (Pop. 15,603)

For more Texas reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Texas?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Hutchins 5,718 7.5% $68,800
2 Diboll 5,266 14.8% $80,700
3 Cleveland 8,061 7.4% $91,100
4 Progreso 5,905 10.1% $57,500
5 Alton 16,976 13.0% $73,900
6 Livingston 5,115 7.0% $108,400
7 Palmview 5,733 8.1% $89,900
8 Port Arthur 55,109 7.3% $65,800
9 Robstown 11,400 15.4% $64,000
10 Humble 15,864 7.4% $122,900

How Is The Area In ?

38 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Texas For 2021

    1. Is it… I mean… I lived in Cleveland, who the F would live there as a choice. So glad I get to choose where I want to live.

  1. If a town is your home and you love it and can make a living there, isn’t that all that matters??

  2. I lived in Freeport 20 years, never saw the view you pictured. What is the large building, can’t read name. Didn’t love it there, but wasn’t as bad as you claim.

    1. GUEST COLUMN

      DANNY MASSEY: Inaccurate, unreliable website all wrong about Freeport

      DANNY MASSEY | 0 comments

      Recently, an online article ranking cities throughout Texas being shared on social media listed Freeport as one of the top 10 worst places to live. I usually do not respond to articles on social media, but Mr. (Facts Managing Editor) Michael Morris wrote an editorial defending Freeport and I, too, would like to add my support of the city of Freeport.

      First, let me address where the article came from. It is my understanding that the online piece was written by a for-profit group out of Durham, North Carolina. Apparently, the site creates disparaging stories to share on social media, and as more people click on them, the increased traffic on their website can generate more money from their advertisers. They are not a news outlet, and they are not a research think-tank scientifically seeking truth. No, they don’t have to worry about the accuracy of their data or even appropriately citing their sources.

      Secondly, I want to address the school funding and teacher ratios that were represented as being two of the criteria for the city’s low rating. As a public school district, BISD is funded by the state, based on their funding formulas that uses student enrollment numbers. Students in BISD are funded the same way whether they live in Freeport, Clute, Lake Jackson or any other of the municipalities BISD serves. We receive approximately $7,600 per student in BISD. With that said, it is important to note the state of Texas does fund students in each school district differently.

      BISD, along with other school districts, recently won a lawsuit against the state over inequities in funding formulas. The state has appealed the ruling to the State Supreme Court, and we are all waiting for the court’s decision. It is also important to note the state does have “weighted” funding for students in programs that may cost more. Special Education students and students enrolled in Career and Technical programs, for example, receive more funding. There are also “supplemental” funds that campuses may receive from the federal government based on the number of economically disadvantaged students enrolled.

      Another listed criterion for Freeport’s unfavorable ranking was the supposedly high student-to-teacher ratio in our schools. I cannot see where they could have gotten such inaccurate information. According to the most current published data, the 2013-14 Texas Academic Performance Report, the district’s student-to-teacher ratio was 16.3. Apparently, the online group that came up with these rankings does not have to worry about reliable and accurate data.

      Lastly, how can a company from North Carolina rate the city of Freeport if they have never had the opportunity to experience Freeport? They have never tasted the fresh vegetables from the Velasco School’s community garden, seen a Club Belay teen leadership lesson taught at Brazosport High School, witnessed the impact a high school Anchor Brother-mentor has had on a younger elementary student, shook the hands of students graduating high school with a college associate’s degree, danced at a concert in the park, fished in the Fishin’ Fiesta, jogged on the trail around the Old River and beautiful marina, felt goosebumps from hearing the Exporter Band play the “Salute to the Armed Forces” at the BHS graduation, or experienced many more great things that happen in this wonderful city and in our schools.

      I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Morris that what was written does not reflect what people see with their own eyes. However, I would also like to add that what is stated online is not necessarily even accurate, and it certainly does not reflect what we know and feel in our hearts about our city of Freeport.

      Anchor Down!

      Danny Massey, a Lake Jackson resident, is the superintendent of Brazosport ISD.

      1. Yeah I worked at Port Freeport & no housing except for total slumlords that payoff local judges. Fired cop/convicted rapist was best thievin’ landlord ever. He hurts families livin’ with snakes, filth, broken trailers, etc. by evictions instead of repairs. Laurencia Cano is one name he uses in court. Victoria PD fired his ass. Slumlordship is heavy in Freeport.

  3. Pretty silly article, with a pretty silly way of “calculating” the best and worst cities. The article did what it was supposed to do, though, and make you click on it. We all saw a few ads thrown up, and the website got a little traffic. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters to the author.

  4. Your criteria sux. Commute time is a fact of life in a state the size of Texas and people that live in out there areas do it by choice. Some of the places you named have some amazing scenery and open spaces and really friendly people. Using Dallas for comparison shows how off you are. Dallas is stuck up and only for the “upper cut” and has the worst drivers and atmosphere on the planet. You simply don’t know what you are talking about and this article is pathetic

  5. Population density is a really stupid factor for judging a city. Shavano Park is far less population dense than the city of San Antonio surrounding it, but it’s leagues better as a place to live than San Antonio in general, with a hell of a lot fewer problems, thanks to the far higher median incomes.

  6. BTW, what makes Vidor especially bad isn’t the things you list, but that it’s ground zero of the KKK in Texas. That means it has the most toxic mix of hate, violence and stupidity in the state.

  7. Have lived in an area close in proximity to Vidor for 30+ yrs. Being only 6.5 miles from “town”, I can tell you that there’s a lot to be desired in this very small area….however, it WAS, keyword being WAS, a cesspool for the KKK many, MANY yrs ago but unless you’d care to come and take a head count, you’ll find this is not the “general consensus” any longer. People come and go from lots of different places and if you want to get the facts straight, you’re more than welcome to “come on down!!” and spend some time in this very small town. Don’t misunderstand, there are those who feel that they are ENTITLED in this small place just the same as in the largest towns/cities~~and they have to be dealt with the same as any other place. The breakdown of families and lack of supervision due to single parents working multiple jobs so therefore there is a lack of boundaries and guidelines so kids do things they shouldn’t and wind up in trouble.

  8. I just think it’s funny they pulled little ole Jacksonville out of their asses to be at number 1. I live in Jacksonville. Now most of what they say is true crappy school high unemployment. High crime because of lazy inept law enforcement. But I can still think of worse places to live. The county seat of Rusk for example you couldn’t pay me to live in that shithole. I don’t even like going there. There are others but they are too many. As for me I guess I’ll just enjoy the fact that my town is number 1 at something,even if it is a crappy internet list.LOL

  9. I mistakenly spent the first 2 years out of college, ’82-’83 in Freeport. A unionized area of stinking chemical plants. Generations of union workers who, at that time, made a point to drive away outsiders, especially young engineers like myself. At Dow Chemical USA, the lowest paid union worker at that time made about $0.50 per hour than a starting college degreed engineer. The stupid beach at this place kept the local redneck (I’m from West TX too BTW) sheriff and his deputies employed. They’d stand at the flashing red light and wait for beach goers to not come to a complete stop. Motion them over and write up the $25 or whatever ticket. If ever a place existed to keep the local redneck dumbass generations of union idiots employed, this is it. Everyone else stay away. I quit and left this dump with no future plans at the end of 1983..Best decision I ever made.

    I appreciate this post about Texas hell-holes, and there are plenty of them. As we are looking to move closer to my elderly parents in Midland…

    1. This place also has year-around mosquitoes. They will stay on the side of a building where the wind isn’t blowing. As in a white colored building will be solid black on the out-of-wind side with mosquitoes. Then they literally attack you when you walk by. This is the only place in the world, and we’ve worked and lived all over the world, where the mosquitoes actually kill cattle. When I said the lowest paid union worker made $0.50 more per hour than a starting degreed engineer, I was referring to the UNION JANITORS. I visited this place again in 1997 after returning from my 1st of 5 times living in Japan. Nothing about Freeport has changed at all..Want to pay for your sins in this and future lives? Move and live in Freeport..hopefully you’ll be single like I was at the time.

    2. Freeport has no housing except for ex(fired)cops & convicted tenant rapists. Evictions instead of repairs for snake infestations, mold, filthy broken trailers, etc. Local judges paid off by kickbacks.

    1. We lived in Aviano, Italy for 2 years. Saw plenty of Gypsies everywhere. Odessa’s where you raise hell. Midland 20 miles away is where you raise your family. Despite all that, both just got over their 2nd oil boom in the last 40+ years. Which always brings both cities to the top of the chart with the US highest per capita income. I grew up in Hobbs, NM, Lea County which used to be the highest crude oil producing county in the lower 48 states. Course fracking has changed that. Spent 4 years in Midland before moving back to Hobbs to graduate high school in ’76. Like anywhere else, a great economy always attracts a certain element of folks. Ex-cons, drug dealers, Yankees with I Heart-sign New York tee-shirts, etc. Being oil-field trash isn’t/wasn’t so bad. It’s all the other trash the good money attracts..

  10. I’ve lived in vidor for a long time, and I can see why you put it down for sixth. ONLY because the crime. besides there is plenty of things to do in vidor, and the whole kkk thing, I mean really do you know how long ago that was? 50s and 60s. Vidor is a beautiful town it may not be the biggest but it’s big enough for me.

  11. I live in Tomball and I went to college in Huntsville….I guess that makes me some type of glutton for punishment. It must just be me, though, I love both of these places. Tomball is a lovely town full of German heritage and great people. I’m also a realtor and our housing market is very good. I’m not sure where you got your statistics but there is also no shortage of sunny days, here (insert laugh / crying emoji, here!) I don’t agree with this article at all….I’ve lived in Texas all of my life and there are far worse cities than the ones you listed, here.

  12. you made a bad mistake. go live In marlin . no one wants to live there its like the fifth ward in Houston.

    1. You are correct about MARLIN and ALL of Falls County. My mother is from Lorena and my daddy from Calvert. For GENERATIONS Marlin has been a CORRUPT PIG STY. I had a cousin MURDERED there in 1970, he was MURDERED by Law enforcement for dating a Law Mans daughter.

  13. How are Odessa and Midland left off the list? They’re pure garbage. If it wasn’t for all the Oil in the ground I’d advocate fencing off all of west texas and making it a welfare state. Anyone in the U.S. who wants to live off the government should have to move to west texas. Texans are always talking like they’re above everyone because their infrastructure doesn’t depend on federal money. Well yall might want to take some of the fed money because your roads are the worst in the nation. And come on over to Florida and drive like a jackass like you do out here texas, someone will put a bullet in you real quick. I thought in a state where everyone is armed people would show a little more respect for one another but nope.

    1. If you’re from Florida, that instantly takes away any of your credibility to speak about Texas. Stay where you belong. You may have experienced disrespectful drivers because our tolerance for ignorance is low here. The entire state does not have terrible roads. West Texas probably does..if you noticed, most of our population is not in West Texas. Texas is a proud state because it has earned the right to be proud. When we have a disaster, we band together to help each other pick up the pieces. You want to live here and enjoy yourself, fall in line. You know the way out if you don’t like it.

  14. I lived in Cleveland for a few years and did not find it a bad place to live. I did not make a lot of money but I lived comfortably. To be sure there are a lot of poor people and no goodnicks there but my neighborhood was nice, quiet, and safe. We stayed in our areas and did not go into the bad parts of town (every city has these areas) and they were encouraged to do the same. I left because of a job transfer and have many good memories from there.

  15. You are right about Marlin there are no jobs there at all a lot of people work at the prison others are living in poverty looks very rundown

  16. Really, there are bad places and good places in every city/town in the country. I live in Palmview, Yes, it’s a small town, but it is part of the Rio Grande Valley along I-2 (formerly US 83) so it’s actually part of a larger community. Progreso & Donna are part of it too. Though the housing values are cheap, there is all kinds of housing from shacks in colonias to mobile homes to gated communities to mansions on acreage – just the kind of diversity I like to see. Employment opportunities abound in the RGV. As far as crime, it’s everywhere! No worse here than anywhere else, safer then most places I have lived or visited.

  17. I dont know how Pampa didnt make this list. Absolutely the worst place I ever lived. Nothing but toothless meth addicts and deserted downtown businesses. Take a look if you dont believe me. Its a good place to be from…about 500 miles any direction from.

  18. Frisco, Plano, McKinney, and Dallas are becoming crime havens. Car theft, home burglaries, apartment break-ins are happening all. Frisco PD does not tell you what is going on. In my neighborhood in Frisco, we had shootings, home burglaries, people stealing mail, gangs going through the neighbor casing homes. Frisco is not a great place to live. People just care about home values. Don’t believe Money Magazine, Forbes, or Fortune Magazine and their rankings. Dallas is a shit hole. It has become another Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore. Everyday there is a shooting, car theft, or homicide.

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