These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Texas For 2018


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

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it on 4-9-2018 with better images.

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

  1. Cleveland (Photos)
  2. Port Arthur (Photos)
  3. Donna (Photos)
  4. Robstown (Photos)
  5. Hempstead (Photos)
  6. Mercedes (Photos)
  7. Elsa (Photos)
  8. Raymondville (Photos)
  9. Progreso (Photos)
  10. Palmview

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.

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:

How we determined the worst places to live in Texas 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

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 328 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 328 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 — Cleveland. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Texas.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

1. Cleveland

Cleveland, Texas

Population: 7,879
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $72,300 (42nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.3% (7th worst)
Cleveland has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 12th-highest in the state of Texas. 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 15.3%.

Additionally, 26.7% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Did we get it wrong? Write your take on Cleveland.

2. Port Arthur

Port Arthur, Texas

Population: 54,913
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Home Values: $64,300 (21st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (32nd worst)
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 $64,300 which is 22nd lowest. Meaning…more open spaces. Unemployment here is 10.4%.

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

Did we get it wrong? Write your take on Port Arthur.

3. Donna

Donna, Texas

Public domain

Population: 16,349
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 7)
Home Values: $55,700 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.2% (25th worst)
Donna, located at the far southeastern tip of the state, is one of the more dangerous places in Texas. In fact, that entire region ranks very high on our most dangerous cities in Texas study.

Household incomes are very low here as well. Basically, Donna is a small town with a high unemployment rate where there’s not a lot to do in the general vicinity except listen to police sirens.

Did we get it wrong? Write your take on Donna.

4. Robstown

Robstown, Texas

Population: 11,622
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Values: $55,000 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.2% (6th worst)
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Robstown is the 4th worst place in the state of Texas.

The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Robstown 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 Robstown are the 11th 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 Texas.

Did we get it wrong? Write your take on Robstown.

5. Hempstead

Hempstead, Texas

Population: 6,727
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Home Values: $98,200 (128th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 19.7% (2nd worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Hempstead is one of the worst places you can live in Texas. Let’s see why.

The unemployment rate here is 19.7%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $98,200, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.

You have a 1 in 41.3 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That’s not fun, either.

Did we get it wrong? Write your take on Hempstead.

6. Mercedes

Mercedes, Texas

Population: 16,501
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Home Values: $57,900 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (20th worst)
Mercedes, located right next door to Donna at the tip of Texas, has a very low household income and a very high unemployment rate. And, the weather here is really lousy as well. The comfort index, a measurement used by BestPlaces.Net as a way to factor in temperature, rainy days and humidity, puts Mercedes toward the bottom of the list in Texas in terms of overall weather likeability.

Did we get it wrong? Write your take on Mercedes.

7. Elsa

Elsa, Texas

Population: 6,542
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 12)
Home Values: $47,000 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.7% (5th worst)
Elsa is one of the poorest cities in the state of Texas. This city has 16.7% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $22,693 a year.

Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Elsa has the 52nd highest crime rate in Texas. While the numbers aren’t staggering (Texas 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 Lone Star State.

Did we get it wrong? Write your take on Elsa.

8. Raymondville

Raymondville, Texas

Population: 11,165
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Home Values: $47,600 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.9% (4th worst)
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Texas, Raymondville came in 8th. Let’s see why.

When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Texas residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Texas, you can see some really big differences. In Raymondville, the number of people out of work is 16.9%

In Texas, that’s the 4th highest in the state.

The residents in Raymondville have the 5th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Raymondville average $24,167 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 $47,600 on average. That’s the 5th lowest in the state.

Did we get it wrong? Write your take on Raymondville.

9. Progreso

Progreso, Texas

Population: 5,826
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 6)
Home Values: $51,100 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (118th worst)

Progreso, where there’s absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the 9th worst city in Texas.

Besides the lack of pure amenities, Progreso has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 7.3%, and families earn around $43,355 a year. It’s also the 10th highest in Texas for crime, where 1 in 18.8 people gets robbed every year.

Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?

Did we get it wrong? Write your take on Progreso.

10. Palmview


Population: 5,644
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 4)
Home Values: $82,700 (74th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (72nd worst)
Palmview is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Palmview is the 11th most dangerous place you can live in Texas.

Residents in Palmview have a 1 in 18.8 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 Palmview, where average homes are valued at only$82,700. That’s the 74th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.

Did we get it wrong? Write your take on Palmview.

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, Cleveland ranks as the worst city to live in Texas for 2018.

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

  1. West University Place (Pop. 15,318)
  2. University Park (Pop. 24,346)
  3. Bellaire (Pop. 18,140)

For more Texas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Texas

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Cleveland 7,879 15.3% $72,300
2 Port Arthur 54,913 10.4% $64,300
3 Donna 16,349 11.2% $55,700
4 Robstown 11,622 16.2% $55,000
5 Hempstead 6,727 19.7% $98,200
6 Mercedes 16,501 11.8% $57,900
7 Elsa 6,542 16.7% $47,000
8 Raymondville 11,165 16.9% $47,600
9 Progreso 5,826 7.3% $51,100
10 Palmview 5,644 8.6% $82,700
11 Hutchins 5,644 6.4% $72,900
12 Alamo 19,021 8.1% $68,500
13 Crockett 6,561 8.9% $77,500
14 Mathis 5,003 7.1% $46,800
15 Wharton 8,773 9.4% $78,900
16 San Benito 24,442 11.2% $54,400
17 Port Isabel 5,015 4.6% $95,900
18 Terrell 16,626 14.0% $92,400
19 Center 5,421 22.3% $77,900
20 San Juan 35,983 8.3% $84,800
21 Bellmead 10,159 8.3% $67,900
22 Mexia 7,462 12.9% $74,000
23 Jasper 7,663 13.1% $83,100
24 Humble 15,569 10.0% $111,200
25 Jacksonville 14,803 5.3% $78,700
26 Corsicana 23,923 10.7% $80,700
27 Aransas Pass 8,180 7.7% $89,500
28 Kaufman 6,919 6.1% $86,900
29 Mineral Wells 15,691 8.3% $77,600
30 Freeport 12,122 13.0% $71,000
31 Balch Springs 25,043 6.3% $83,000
32 Brownsville 182,110 9.4% $83,800
33 Paris 24,936 8.7% $74,200
34 Commerce 8,732 14.8% $69,300
35 Forest Hill 12,774 9.1% $78,300
36 Hillsboro 8,358 8.9% $72,200
37 Marlin 5,705 10.9% $51,100
38 Greenville 26,303 10.4% $78,700
39 Weslaco 39,021 7.7% $76,200
40 Alice 19,439 6.2% $78,200
41 Livingston 5,161 6.5% $108,900
42 Harlingen 65,634 8.9% $81,900
43 La Marque 15,567 13.8% $88,000
44 Cameron 5,457 10.0% $60,000
45 Gainesville 16,169 8.9% $95,500
46 Marshall 23,651 7.8% $89,100
47 South Houston 17,474 8.0% $83,400
48 Lacy-Lakeview 6,581 8.9% $78,300
49 Gonzales 7,440 9.0% $97,600
50 Carrizo Springs 5,828 13.6% $62,200
51 Atlanta 5,615 9.3% $96,100
52 Socorro 32,988 8.8% $85,300
53 Hitchcock 7,464 9.4% $91,000
54 Sweetwater 10,765 7.0% $53,700
55 Roma 10,093 12.5% $70,200
56 La Feria 7,241 11.4% $57,900
57 Ennis 18,890 7.4% $101,100
58 Los Fresnos 6,376 5.6% $84,800
59 Giddings 5,000 10.9% $101,100
60 Everman 6,312 9.1% $70,800
61 Rusk 5,580 3.7% $81,100
62 Bowie 5,115 8.1% $81,000
63 Gladewater 6,407 5.7% $101,500
64 Gilmer 5,148 9.6% $94,500
65 Alton 15,581 15.3% $81,200
66 Anthony 5,402 8.6% $97,300
67 Port Lavaca 12,374 8.3% $90,400
68 Pharr 75,172 7.3% $73,600
69 Diboll 5,360 14.6% $54,400
70 Bonham 10,040 13.3% $74,300
71 Galena Park 11,119 8.4% $67,400
72 Silsbee 6,702 7.4% $91,800
73 Hidalgo 13,449 10.2% $90,400
74 Athens 12,796 7.9% $95,200
75 Manor 7,145 14.7% $149,500
76 Sinton 5,701 9.8% $70,100
77 Mount Pleasant 16,115 5.9% $89,100
78 Willis 6,217 4.7% $71,800
79 Edinburg 84,399 7.3% $104,900
80 Uvalde 16,353 7.5% $67,800
81 Breckenridge 5,573 6.0% $66,100
82 Houston 2,240,582 7.4% $140,300
83 Luling 5,679 1.8% $91,400
84 Elgin 8,756 10.3% $108,300
85 Lampasas 7,238 7.9% $94,700
86 Liberty 8,936 5.6% $102,700
87 Beeville 13,209 6.3% $62,200
88 Rockdale 5,492 10.9% $84,200
89 Webster 11,041 9.7% $150,500
90 Kingsville 26,177 11.4% $85,400
91 Seguin 27,543 6.4% $110,600
92 Texarkana 37,389 9.6% $115,300
93 Baytown 75,310 9.8% $96,100
94 Dallas 1,278,433 6.8% $142,600
95 Vidor 10,928 6.8% $85,400
96 Galveston 49,443 9.7% $154,400
97 Lamesa 9,367 8.6% $61,400
98 Waco 130,659 6.5% $98,800
99 Denison 23,080 9.5% $81,800
100 Pasadena 153,286 9.7% $104,500