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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 335 of the most populous cities, we came up with this list as the absolute worst 10 places in the state of Texas:
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.
For more Texas reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Texas For 2021
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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
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:
- Alamo Heights (Pop. 8,374)
- University Park (Pop. 25,036)
- West University Place (Pop. 15,603)
For more Texas reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Texas?