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 331 of the most populous cities, we came up with this list as the absolute worst 10 places in the state of Texas:
- Port Arthur (Photos)
- Robstown (Photos)
- Cleveland (Photos)
- Hutchins (Photos)
- Donna (Photos)
- Raymondville (Photos)
- Progreso (Photos)
- Elsa (Photos)
- Marlin (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. And the worst place to live in Texas? That would be Port Arthur.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Texas reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Texas
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Texas
- 10 Most Dangerous Places In Texas
How we determined the worst places to live in Texas for 2019
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 331 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 331 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 — Port Arthur. 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.
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 16th lowest. Meaning…more open spaces. Unemployment here is 9.2%.
On the bright side, spending on students in Port Arthur is the second-highest in Texas at an astounding $16,494.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Texas, Robstown came in 2nd. 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 Robstown, the number of people out of work is 15.2%
In Texas, that’s the 8th highest in the state.
The residents in Robstown have the 16th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Robstown average $32,634 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 $54,300 on average. That’s the 6th lowest in the state.
Cleveland is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Cleveland is the 73rd most dangerous place you can live in Texas.
Residents in Cleveland have a 1 in 29.8 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 Cleveland, where average homes are valued at only$80,200. That’s the 58th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
Hutchins is another place in the Lone Star State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Hutchins is a staggering 9.7%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($37,582 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $79,000, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Hutchins is bad, but not horrible.
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.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $84,600 (68th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.3% (20th worst)
More on Palmview: Data
Palmview, TX needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 11.3%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 23rd highest in the state. You have a 1 in 22.3 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
There are some bad places to live and some really, really bad places to live. According to the data, Raymondville is one of the worst places you can live in Texas. And quite possibly, one of the worst places you can live in, period. Let’s see why.
We’re not economists, but when you have a 18.4% unemployment rate for a city of 11,087 people, that’s a sign that things aren’t just bad. They are downright depressing.
Progreso is the 8th worst city in Texas for 2019. When you’re comparing other cities to Progreso, things just don’t look great, at least according to science.
Progreso is the 10th most dangerous place in Texas, according to FBI statistics. And the residents here have a hard time keeping a job — at least in comparison to the rest of the state. The unemployment rate is 5.9%, worse than the state average.
Home values are really low ($50,700), and residents earn just $43,036 a year.
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Elsa is the 9th worst place in the state of Texas.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Elsa 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 Elsa are the 4th 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.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Marlin is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of Texas. Let’s see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 110th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Marlin had a 1 in 34.4 chance of being robbed in 2018. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Marlin, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Marlin’s other issues are a very high unemployment rate (8.3%) and income levels of its residents ($26,087).
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, Port Arthur ranks as the worst city to live in Texas for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Texas:
- Terrell Hills (Pop. 5,248)
- University Park (Pop. 24,692)
- West University Place (Pop. 15,477)
For more Texas reading, check out:
- 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Texas
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Texas
- 10 Safest Places In Texas
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Texas
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Texas