When you think of Washington, you normally think of Seattle, rain, and beautiful mountains.
What you don’t normally think about are the potential stink holes that are around the mountains.
So we dug in and did the dirty work for you to figure out where the worst places to live are in the Evergreen State.
The following are the worst, not so evergreen places in Washington:
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 Washington? That would be Centralia.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Washington reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Washington
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Washington
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Washington
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Washington For 2019
Centralia was the site of an infamous massacre in 1919 and now it has massacred the competition when it comes to being the worst place to live in Washington.
The mix of extremely high unemployment and crime is a winning combination to end up high on our list of worst places to live. Centralia resides in the worst 10% of both categories.
On the plus side, those who do a job have a relatively short commute to work as the median commute time for people in Centralia is the top 20% of places in Washington.
Here in Tukwila, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in Washington. That’s not a good combination.
Located in King County, you have a 1 in 18.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Tukwila city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (8.5%). That’s good for the 22nd highest unemployment rate in Washington.
When you’re looking at science and data, Union Gap is the 3rd worst place you can live in the state of Washington. Let’s see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Washington. Union Gap is the 1st most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 9.2 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $97,700, which is the 2nd lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Union Gap.
Income levels are just about $38,667, the 9th lowest in Washington.
When you add it all up, Union Gap really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
Out of all the places to live in Washington, Shelton ranks as the 4th worst — not something to brag about.
Shelton’s unemployment rate stands at 8.7%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $39,072 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 15th cheapest in the entire state at $150,800. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there’s not a lot of demand to live way out in Shelton. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 18th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 18.6 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 318 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
Located in southwest Washington close to Mount St. Helens, Kelso ranks as the most unlivable place in Cowlitz County.
The city scored poorly across the board for the criteria we analyzed, with the exception of having an excellent commute time.
It seems that people in the cities on our list are much more likely on average to find ways to get out.
Fife ranks as the 6th worst place to live in Washington for 2019.
While the unemployment rate is high (but not terrible), crime is a real factor here. It’s the 2nd most dangerous place you can live in Washington, according to the latest FBI numbers. If you live here, you have a high chance of being a victim each year.
Residents here earn about $58,649 a year. That’s in the bottom half of what people in Washington normally make.
Aberdeen ranks as the 7th worst place to live in Washington.
Known as the “Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula” it seems as if the nickname might want to add “Gateway to high unemployment” as it ranks as the 30th worst in the State.
That being said, the spending on childhood education in the city is higher than the state average and the weather is about average for Washington.
Ocean Shores ranks as the 8th worst city in Washington. Located in Grays Harbor County, Ocean Shores has the 16th lowest income levels in the state of Washington ($40,451), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 11.3%.
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Chehalis is the 9th worst place in the state of Washington.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Chehalis 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 Chehalis are the 22nd 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 Washington.
The city of Hoquiam is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of Washington in 2019.
It’s unlucky for Hoquiam, which has the 2nd highest unemployment rate (12.8%), the 15th lowest household incomes ($40,301) and the 1st lowest home prices in the state ($95,000).
Basically, a lot of people in Hoquiam are out of work. And crime is certainly a factor here as well. Although it’s not one of the most dangerous places we’ll look at, it’s in the top 20%.
Add it all up, and this is truly one of the worst places you could live in Washington.
How we determined the worst places to live in Washington 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 118 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 118 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 Washington — Centralia. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Washington.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Washington
If you’re looking at areas in Washington 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, Centralia ranks as the worst city to live in Washington for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Washington:
- Duvall (Pop. 7,683)
- Sammamish (Pop. 62,877)
- Mercer Island (Pop. 24,768)
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