Special Report

Worst Cities to Live in Every State

Source: Thinkstock

41. South Dakota
> Worst city to live: Rapid City
> Population: 73,568
> Median home value: $170,400
> Poverty rate: 11.5%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 32.1%

Rapid City ranks only slightly worse than Sioux Falls, a more populous city on the other side of the state. The typical household in Rapid City earns about $49,700 a year — slightly less than the median household income in Sioux Falls and statewide of $55,800 and $53,000, respectively. Partially as a result, housing is slightly less affordable in Rapid City than Sioux Falls. Rapid City’s median income is about 3.4 times the median home value, compared to a more favorable 3.1 ratio in Sioux Falls.

Rapid City is considerably more dangerous than the state as a whole. There were 671 violent crimes for every 100,000 Rapid City residents in 2015, well above the 383 violent crimes per 100,000 rate across South Dakota.

Source: Thinkstock

42. Tennessee
> Worst city to live: Memphis
> Population: 655,760
> Median home value: $94,400
> Poverty rate: 26.2%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 24.9%

One of the largest cities to make this list, Memphis struggles with several issues that make it a less than desirable place to live. Chief among these is one of the worst crime rates of any major city. The city’s annual violent crime rate of 1,740 incidents for 100,000 residents, which is close to five times the national rate, is by far the highest in the state. Additionally, the city’s property crime rate of 5,631 for every 100,000 residents is more than double the national rate.

Memphis’ housing is relatively inexpensive, but like many cities on this list, that likely largely reflects the ability of Memphis’ citizens to pay. Over one-quarter of the population lives in poverty, the highest poverty rate of any large Tennessee city, and the typical household’s income is less than $37,000, about $10,000 less that the median income across Tennessee.

Source: Thinkstock

43. Texas
> Worst city to live: Lubbock
> Population: 249,051
> Median home value: $126,900
> Poverty rate: 22.4%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 26.8%

The typical household in Lubbock, Texas earns only $45,551 a year, about $10,000 less than the median income across the state. The city’s poverty rate underscores the prevalence of financial hardship in Lubbock. Some 22.4% of people in the city live in poverty, well above the 15.9% statewide poverty rate and 14.7% nationwide poverty rate.

Like many cities on this list, Lubbock is not an especially safe place. With 967 violent crimes in 2015 for every 100,000 area residents, violent crime is more than twice as common in Lubbock as it is across both Texas and the nation as a whole.

Source: Thinkstock

44. Utah
> Worst city to live: Salt Lake City
> Population: 192,660
> Median home value: $262,400
> Poverty rate: 19.1%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 44.4%

While Salt Lake City has a growing economy, and is home to a large share of college graduates and low unemployment, the city struggles with frequent crime and unaffordable housing. The median home value in Salt Lake City is $262,400, 5.4 times the city’s median annual household income of $48,761. By comparison, the U.S. median home value is only 3.5 times higher than the typical American household income.

In 2015, there were 9,331 property crimes — burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson — per 100,000 Salt Lake City residents, by far the highest property crime rate in the state and second highest in the country among similarly sized cities. While not as prevalent as property theft, violent crime is also relatively common in the city. There were 855 violent crimes per 100,000 Salt Lake City residents, more than triple the statewide rate of 236 incidents per 100,000 people.

Source: Thinkstock

45. Vermont
> Worst city to live: Rutland
> Population: 16,091
> Median home value: $157,600
> Poverty rate: 17.1%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 28.5%

The U.S. has steadily added jobs over the last several years. In Rutland, Vermont, however, employment fell by 2.1% between 2012 and 2014. The city’s annual unemployment rate of 4.4% is well above the 2.6% unemployment rate in Burlington, Vermont, the largest city in the state. A relatively bleak economic picture may be partially attributable to lower educational attainment. Only 28.5% of Rutland residents have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to over half of all adults in Burlington and 36.9% of adults in Vermont.

Lower educational attainment is often tied to lower incomes and the same pattern holds in Rutland. The typical area household earns only $41,345 a year, slightly below Burlington’s $44,671 median income and the $56,990 median income across the state.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.