35. Lorain, Ohio
> Population: 63,774
> Median home value: $84,600
> Poverty rate: 25.6%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 12.1%
High paying jobs typically require some post secondary education. In Lorain, Ohio, only 12.1% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, a considerably smaller share than the national 30.1% college attainment rate. Perhaps not surprisingly, Lorain residents earn far less than most Americans. The typical area household makes just $36,266 annually, roughly $17,400 less than the typical American household. In addition, more than one-quarter of Lorain residents live below the poverty line, a much larger share than the 15.5% national poverty rate.
Like many other cities that have been struggling economically, Lorain’s population has dwindled, falling 9.2% in the last five years.
34. Racine, Wisconsin
> Population: 78,054
> Median home value: $104,400
> Poverty rate: 21.3%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 18.8%
Racine lags behind Wisconsin in several key social and economic measures. More than one in five area residents live in poverty, a much higher poverty rate that Wisconsin’s 13.2% rate. Additionally, the city’s median household income of $40,378 a year is about $12,000 less than the state’s annual median household income, and about $13,000 less than a typical American household income. Adding to the difficulty of living in the city is Racine’s relatively high crime rate. Violent crimes such as rape and assault, as well as property crimes, including burglary and motor vehicle theft, are more common in Racine than they are across the state and the country as a whole.
Many Racine residents also pay more in taxes than most Americans. The typical homeowner in the city pays 2.9% of their total home value in taxes each year, more than double the rate the typical American pays.
33. Akron, Ohio
> Population: 197,846
> Median home value: $80,300
> Poverty rate: 22.7%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 19.8%
The typical Akron household earns $34,781 a year, nearly $19,000 less than the typical American household. Property values in the city are also far lower than average. The typical Akron home is worth $80,300, less than the $129,100 value of a typical Ohio home and far less than the $181,200 value of a typical American home. Akron is also relatively dangerous. Violent crime is more than twice as common in the city as it is across the state as a whole.
Despite certain shortcomings, Akron has plenty of venues for socializing. There are 61 bars for every 100,000 city residents, more than triple the number of bars per capita nationwide. In addition, there are about 306 restaurants and cafes for every 100,000 people, far more than than the concentration nationwide of 238 such establishments per 100,000 people.
32. South Bend, Indiana
> Population: 103,019
> Median home value: $79,100
> Poverty rate: 26.5%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 24.6%
Once home to a vibrant car manufacturing industry, specifically home to Studebaker’s headquarters and manufacturing, South Bend is now among America’s old, economically depressed industrial towns. South Bend’s manufacturing industry still employs 17.0% of the city’s workforce, in contrast with the national share of 10.3% employed in the industry. But like many other cities with large manufacturing sectors, the city is not wealthy. More than one-quarter of South Bend residents live in poverty, one of the highest rates of any city. The typical home in the area is worth $79,100, less than half the national median of $181,200.
The city is recovering relatively rapidly, however. Employment rose by 7% over the past several years, considerably faster than the national employment growth rate of 4.1%.
31. Kansas City, Missouri
> Population: 470,816
> Median home value: $132,300
> Poverty rate: 17.8%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 31.7%
While higher educational attainment often accompanies higher incomes and lower crime rates in many U.S. cities, Kansas City is an exception. Nearly 32% of adults in Kansas City have a bachelor’s degree, a slightly higher share than the national 30% college attainment rate. Despite a more educated population, the typical Kansas City household earns only $44,173 a year, roughly $9,500 less than the typical American household. However, lower incomes are offset by a lower cost of living. Goods and services are about 5% cheaper in Kansas City than they are on average across the United States.
Crime is a major detriment to quality of life in Kansas City. There are 1,251 violent crimes a year for every 100,000 people in the area, a higher violent crime rate than those in only a couple dozen other U.S. cities.