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:

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Cleveland 1 1 7,879 15.3% $72,300
Port Arthur 2 4 54,913 10.4% $64,300
Donna 3 10 16,349 11.2% $55,700
Robstown 4 5 11,622 16.2% $55,000
Hempstead 5 2 6,727 19.7% $98,200
Mercedes 6 8 16,501 11.8% $57,900
Elsa 7 19 6,542 16.7% $47,000
Progreso 8 3 5,826 7.3% $51,100
Raymondville 9 7 11,165 16.9% $47,600
Palmview 10 6 5,644 8.6% $82,700
Hutchins 11 21 5,644 6.4% $72,900
Alamo 12 14 19,021 8.1% $68,500
Crockett 13 23 6,561 8.9% $77,500
Mathis 14 5,003 7.1% $46,800
Wharton 15 12 8,773 9.4% $78,900
San Benito 16 11 24,442 11.2% $54,400
Port Isabel 17 9 5,015 4.6% $95,900
Terrell 18 17 16,626 14.0% $92,400
Center 19 16 5,421 22.3% $77,900
San Juan 20 39 35,983 8.3% $84,800
Bellmead 21 13 10,159 8.3% $67,900
Mexia 22 28 7,462 12.9% $74,000
Jasper 23 18 7,663 13.1% $83,100
Humble 24 24 15,569 10.0% $111,200
Jacksonville 25 20 14,803 5.3% $78,700
Corsicana 26 26 23,923 10.7% $80,700
Kaufman 27 85 6,919 6.1% $86,900
Aransas Pass 28 35 8,180 7.7% $89,500
Mineral Wells 29 27 15,691 8.3% $77,600
Freeport 30 38 12,122 13.0% $71,000
Balch Springs 31 15 25,043 6.3% $83,000
Brownsville 32 22 182,110 9.4% $83,800
Paris 33 45 24,936 8.7% $74,200
Commerce 34 30 8,732 14.8% $69,300
Forest Hill 35 70 12,774 9.1% $78,300
Hillsboro 36 31 8,358 8.9% $72,200
Marlin 37 32 5,705 10.9% $51,100
Greenville 38 47 26,303 10.4% $78,700
Weslaco 39 25 39,021 7.7% $76,200
Alice 40 99 19,439 6.2% $78,200
Livingston 41 109 5,161 6.5% $108,900
Harlingen 42 68 65,634 8.9% $81,900
Cameron 43 51 5,457 10.0% $60,000
La Marque 44 49 15,567 13.8% $88,000
Gainesville 45 36 16,169 8.9% $95,500
South Houston 46 44 17,474 8.0% $83,400
Marshall 47 61 23,651 7.8% $89,100
Lacy-Lakeview 48 40 6,581 8.9% $78,300
Gonzales 49 33 7,440 9.0% $97,600
Carrizo Springs 50 117 5,828 13.6% $62,200
Atlanta 51 37 5,615 9.3% $96,100
Socorro 52 41 32,988 8.8% $85,300
Hitchcock 53 112 7,464 9.4% $91,000
Sweetwater 54 41 10,765 7.0% $53,700
Roma 55 57 10,093 12.5% $70,200
La Feria 56 34 7,241 11.4% $57,900
Ennis 57 53 18,890 7.4% $101,100
Los Fresnos 58 73 6,376 5.6% $84,800
Giddings 59 5,000 10.9% $101,100
Everman 60 64 6,312 9.1% $70,800
Rusk 61 168 5,580 3.7% $81,100
Bowie 62 63 5,115 8.1% $81,000
Gladewater 63 74 6,407 5.7% $101,500
Alton 64 54 15,581 15.3% $81,200
Gilmer 65 110 5,148 9.6% $94,500
Anthony 66 29 5,402 8.6% $97,300
Pharr 67 56 75,172 7.3% $73,600
Port Lavaca 68 86 12,374 8.3% $90,400
Diboll 69 106 5,360 14.6% $54,400
Bonham 70 100 10,040 13.3% $74,300
Galena Park 71 52 11,119 8.4% $67,400
Hidalgo 72 72 13,449 10.2% $90,400
Silsbee 73 75 6,702 7.4% $91,800
Athens 74 65 12,796 7.9% $95,200
Manor 75 43 7,145 14.7% $149,500
Sinton 76 50 5,701 9.8% $70,100
Willis 77 60 6,217 4.7% $71,800
Mount Pleasant 78 48 16,115 5.9% $89,100
Edinburg 79 59 84,399 7.3% $104,900
Uvalde 80 62 16,353 7.5% $67,800
Breckenridge 81 155 5,573 6.0% $66,100
Houston 82 78 2,240,582 7.4% $140,300
Luling 83 77 5,679 1.8% $91,400
Elgin 84 136 8,756 10.3% $108,300
Lampasas 85 107 7,238 7.9% $94,700
Liberty 86 46 8,936 5.6% $102,700
Beeville 87 100 13,209 6.3% $62,200
Rockdale 88 87 5,492 10.9% $84,200
Webster 89 96 11,041 9.7% $150,500
Kingsville 90 58 26,177 11.4% $85,400
Seguin 91 79 27,543 6.4% $110,600
Texarkana 92 89 37,389 9.6% $115,300
Baytown 93 81 75,310 9.8% $96,100
Dallas 94 84 1,278,433 6.8% $142,600
Vidor 95 102 10,928 6.8% $85,400
Galveston 96 95 49,443 9.7% $154,400
Lamesa 97 69 9,367 8.6% $61,400
Waco 98 94 130,659 6.5% $98,800
Denison 99 91 23,080 9.5% $81,800
Pasadena 100 103 153,286 9.7% $104,500

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24 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Texas For 2018

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

    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..

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    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.

  11. 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.

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