Americans take into consideration a number of factors when deciding where to live, including the quality of schools, the strength of the local economy and job market, the area’s safety and culture, as well as its climate. Cities that perform well by these measures are more likely to attract new residents, and those that do not tend to drive residents away.
Comparing entire cities to each other can be problematic, particularly since living conditions can vary from one neighborhood to the next. Still, as much as a city can be judged on the whole, some cities face widespread problems that detract from residents’ overall quality of life.
> Worst city to live: Tucson
> Population: 531,674
> Median home value: $139,400
> Poverty rate: 25.2%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 26.5%
Tucson’s poverty rate of 25.2% is the highest of any large city in Arizona and far higher than the 14.7% national poverty rate. Tucson’s economy has grown slower than that of most cities in recent years, and unemployment in the area remains slightly above the national rate. The number of jobs in Tucson rose by just 2.1% from 2013 to 2015, roughly half the national employment growth over the same period.
Tucson also struggles with one of the highest property crime rates in the country. There were 6,643 property crimes reported per 100,000 Tucson residents in 2015, more than double the national rate of 2,487 incidents per 100,000 Americans. According to one local criminologist, the high prevalence of property crime may be due to the transient nature of many Tucson residents. While the average American moves every 5.2 years, the average Tucson resident moves every 3.5 years. The population mobility makes it difficult to establish a strong community, which is one of the best defenses against property crime.
American cities are often held to the standards of national averages, or against all of the other cities in a country. However, for the residents that actually live in these places, a more appropriate point of comparison are those cities that can be found nearby, in the same state.
To determine America’s worst cities to live in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the largest U.S. cities. Based on a range of variables, including crime rates, employment growth, access to restaurants and attractions, educational attainment, and housing affordability, 24/7 Wall St. identified the worst city to live in each state.