50 Worst Cities to Live In
45. Davis, California
> Population: 66,733
> Median home value: $527,000
> Poverty rate: 28.5%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 72.2%
In Davis, California, 72.2% of area adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, more than double the nationwide college attainment rate. The city is home to UC Davis, one of the largest universities in California’s public school system, which may explain the area’s high college attainment rate. High educational attainment rates typically accompany low poverty rates. In Davis, however, 28.5% of the population lives below the poverty line, nearly double the nationwide poverty rate. For many residents, owning property in the city may be too expensive. The median home value in Davis of $527,000 is more than $100,000 greater than the value of a typical California home and close to 10 times the city’s median household income. This means housing in the area is about three times less affordable than it is across the nation.
44. New York, New York
> Population: 8,491,079
> Median home value: $496,200
> Poverty rate: 20.9%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 35.9%
New York City is home to some of the wealthiest and most financially successful people in the world. It is also home to some of the poorest. More than one in every five people live in poverty in New York City, which also happens to be one of the most expensive cities in the country to live. A recent report from left-leaning non-profit think tank Economic Policy Institute identified the New York metro area as one of the most unequal U.S. cities. The average income among the top 1% of earners is approximately $2.2 million a year, dwarfing the average of $54,895 for the remaining 99% of New York City workers. Like most of the worst cities to live in, sky-high housing prices make New York City one of the least affordable in the country. The typical home value is nearly 10 times the median household income. Nationwide, a typical home costs 3.4 times the national median income, by contrast. Virtually all living costs — housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, etc. — are more expensive in NYC than across the country.
43. Newark, New Jersey
> Population: 280,577
> Median home value: $216,200
> Poverty rate: 28.2%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 13.7%
New York is the most populous, economically robust metropolitan area in the country. Not all parts of the metro area are especially great places to live. Located roughly 15 miles from midtown Manhattan, goods and services are pricey in Newark. As a whole, the cost of living in Newark is 21.6% higher than it is across the country as a whole. Housing is particularly expensive, costing about 50% more than housing costs nationwide. Not only does a dollar not go as far in the New Jersey city, the median household income in Newark is about $17,700 lower than the national median income.
Newark is not particularly affordable, nor is it especially safe. There are 1,078 violent crimes a year in Newark for every 100,000 residents, far more than the national violent crime rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 people.
42. San Francisco, California
> Population: 852,469
> Median home value: $846,800
> Poverty rate: 12.0%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 54.2%
San Francisco has some of the most expensive properties in the country. A typical home in the city is worth $846,800, more than double the value of a typical California home and more than three times the cost of a typical American home. Housing costs are likely driven up by rapid population growth. In the last 10 years, the San Francisco population has expanded 18.6%.
Higher incomes in the area are not enough to compensate for the higher costs. The typical San Francisco household earns $85,070 a year, far more than most American households. However, goods and services cost over 60% more in San Francisco than they do across the nation as a whole, the highest cost of living of any U.S. city. In addition, a typical area home costs 10 times more than what a typical area household earns each year.
41. Santa Barbara, California
> Population: 91,208
> Median home value: $883,600
> Poverty rate: 15.8%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 46.9%
Located along the Pacific Coast in Southern California, for some residents Santa Barbara might be considered a paradise. Also, a number of the city’s economic and social measures are better than national averages. For example, 46.9% of area adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, a far greater share than the 30.1% of American adults with similar educational attainment. With more college educated adults, incomes are also higher than average in Santa Barbara. The area’s median household income of $62,340 a year is higher than both the state and national figures.
However, the median home value in the city of $883,600 is more than double the value of a typical California home and 14.2 times the city’s median household income. As a result, Santa Barbara’s housing market is the least affordable in the United States.