Special Report

Worst Cities to Live in Every State

Source: Thinkstock

21. Massachusetts
> Worst city to live: Springfield
> Population: 154,336
> Median home value: $146,700
> Poverty rate: 27.3%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 17.5%

Springfield is one of the poorest cities in Massachusetts. A typical city household earns just $38,398 a year, about $32,200 less than the typical Massachusetts household. The city’s poverty rate of 27.3% is the highest in the state and nearly double the national poverty rate.

Springfield also has one of the worst job markets in the country. The city’s two-year job growth is below average, and its unemployment rate of 9.3% is tied for 16th highest out of the 551 U.S. cities reviewed.

Source: Thinkstock

22. Michigan
> Worst city to live: Detroit
> Population: 677,124
> Median home value: $42,600
> Poverty rate: 39.8%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 14.2%

Once the fourth largest city by population and wealthiest by income per capita, Detroit’s economic decline over the past several decades may be the largest of any U.S. city. Detroit’s population is a fraction of what it was at its 1950 peak of 1.8 million people, and it continues to decline at a near nation-leading pace. The number people living in Detroit fell 19% over the past 10 years to just 677,124 today, the largest population decline of any city in the state. The typical Detroit household earns just $25,980 a year, about half the $51,084 national median household income.

There were 1,760 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Detroit residents in 2015, the highest violent crime rate in Michigan and the second highest of any U.S. city. Crime and overall urban decay have depressed real estate prices in the city to a fraction of their former value. The typical occupied home in Detroit is worth just $42,600, the lowest median home value of any city other than nearby Flint, Michigan.

Source: Joe Ferrer / Shutterstock.com

23. Minnesota
> Worst city to live: Minneapolis
> Population: 410,935
> Median home value: $227,500
> Poverty rate: 19.5%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 48.3%

Some 19.5% of Minneapolis residents live below the poverty line, nearly double the 10.2% statewide rate. A high cost of living puts greater strain on the city’s poorest residents. Goods and services in Minneapolis are about 4.3% more expensive than they are on average nationwide.

Perhaps the biggest factor undermining quality of life in Minneapolis, however, is the prevalence of crime. There were 1,063 violent crimes in the city for every 100,000 people in 2015 — by far the most of any major city in the state and more than quadruple the violent crime rate across Minnesota.

Source: Thinkstock

24. Mississippi
> Worst city to live: Jackson
> Population: 170,811
> Median home value: $92,600
> Poverty rate: 31.7%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 26.9%

Mississippi lags behind most of the country in many socioeconomic measures, and Jackson, the state capital, is the state’s worst city to live in. Jackson has fewer bars, libraries, recreational centers, and movie theaters per capita than the U.S. as a whole, and is home to some of the cheapest real estate in the country. The median home value in Jackson is just $92,600, less than half the $194,500 national figure and slightly less than the $112,700 median home value statewide. Additionally, 31.7% of the Jackson population lives in poverty, more than twice the 14.7% national rate and considerably more than the state’s 22.0% poverty rate.

Jackson is also the most dangerous large city in Mississippi. There were 921 violent crimes in Jackson in 2015 for every 100,000 residents, more than triple the statewide violent crime rate.

Source: Thinkstock

25. Missouri
> Worst city to live: St. Louis
> Population: 315,685
> Median home value: $130,800
> Poverty rate: 24.9%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34.7%

St. Louis is representative of the economic decline that afflicted many large industrial cities over the latter part of the 20th century. Decades of manufacturing decline, white flight, and exclusionary zoning in St. Louis have led to some of the worst urban decay, racial segregation, and income inequality of any major city today. Some 24.9% of St. Louis residents live in poverty, far more than the 14.8% statewide poverty rate. St. Louis has struggled with a high crime rate since the 1960s and today has the highest violent crime rate of any large U.S. city. There were 1,817 violent crimes reported per 100,000 St. Louis residents in 2015, nearly five times the national rate.

Many of the economic problems in St. Louis are tied to the city’s rapid population decline. The city’s population is less than half of what it was during its 1950 peak of 860,000 people, and it continues to decline today. While the U.S. population grew 11.5% over the last 10 years, the number of residents in St. Louis fell 5.4%.

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