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.
When you’re looking at science and data, Tukwila is the worst place you can live in Washington. Let’s see why.
The unemployment rate here is 8.5%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $260,200, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 18.1 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That’s not fun, either.
Tukwila is a far drive south from Louisville.
Union Gap, part of Yakima County, is the 3rd worst place to live in Washington for 2019.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $38,667, and crime 1st worst in Washington.
Additionally, the poverty level is 29.2% in Union Gap.
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.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Washington, Fife came in 6th. Let’s see why.
Located in Pierce County with a population of 9,805, Fife has the 40th highest unemployment rate in Washington. Crime is high for the state as well, coming in as the 2nd most dangerous.
Additionally, 14.6% of the population lives below the poverty line.
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 is a really small, densely populated place in Washington.
The unemployment rate here is sky high at 11.3%, and income levels are the 16th lowest in Washington. Homes sell for an average of $198,600.
If you’re trying to have some sort of professional career in Washington, this is one of the last places you would want to live.
Would you believe that Chehalis is the 5th most dangerous place in Washington? That’s the case, as every year, you have a 1 in 13.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within Chehalis city limits.
In addition, every year, you have a 1 in 431 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Chehalis. That means raped, attacked or killed. Again, for Washington, that’s just unacceptable.
Beyond the crime numbers, Chehalis’s unemployment rate is the 30th highest in Washington (7.3%), and homes are the 22nd cheapest in the state ($169,800). Say what you want about ‘cheap living’, the fact is homes are priced on demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Chehalis.
Hoquiam is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Hoquiam is the 46th most dangerous place you can live in Washington.
Residents in Hoquiam have a 1 in 26.8 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 Hoquiam, where average homes are valued at only$95,000. That’s the 1st-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
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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