50 Worst Cities to Live In

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Source: Versageek / Wikimedia Commons

39. New Haven, Connecticut
> Population: 129,939
> Median home value: $191,000
> Poverty rate: 24.5%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 32.4%

New Haven is one of two Connecticut cities to rank among the worst cities to live in nationwide. The city’s 6.6% unemployment rate is higher than both the state jobless rate of 5.1% and the national rate of 4.9%. The weak job market likely only increases financial hardship for some city residents as it is not a particularly inexpensive place to live. Goods and services in New Haven County are about 16.5% more expensive than they are on average nationwide.

New Haven is not an especially safe city. There were 938 violent crimes for every 100,000 city residents in 2016, more than double the national violent crime rate of 386 per 100,000.

Source: Thinkstock

38. Tallahassee, Florida
> Population: 190,895
> Median home value: $196,700
> Poverty rate: 26.1%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 49.6%

Tallahassee is one of six cities in the Sunshine State to rank among the least liveable in the country. As is the case with most other Florida cities on this list, Tallahassee has a relatively high poverty rate. More than one in every four city residents live below the poverty line compared to 14% of Americans nationwide. Additionally, both property and violent crimes are more than twice as common in Tallahassee than they are nationwide.

Unlike most cities on this list, Tallahassee has a large college-educated population. About half of all adults in the city have a bachelor’s degree or higher. In comparison, fewer than one in three adults nationwide have similar educational attainment.

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37. Kalamazoo, Michigan
> Population: 75,988
> Median home value: $98,000
> Poverty rate: 30.9%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 31.3%

Air quality in Kalamazoo is nearly the worst of any U.S. city. The city’s air is considered hazardous for about 15% of days in a given year, a far larger share than the 6% average nationwide. The city is also among the most dangerous nationwide. There were 1,217 violent crimes in 2016 for every 100,000 residents, more than triple the U.S. violent crime rate of 386 per 100,000.

As is often the case among cities on this list, Kalamazoo is poor. Over 30% of the population lives in poverty, more than double the U.S. poverty rate of 14%.

Source: Thinkstock

36. Knoxville, Tennessee
> Population: 186,238
> Median home value: $128,000
> Poverty rate: 25.4%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 35.1%

About one in every four Knoxville residents live in poverty, well above the 14% share of Americans and the second highest poverty rate of any large city in the state. Poorer areas often struggle with crime, and in Knoxville, both violent and property crimes are more than twice as common as they are nationwide.

While the city struggles with low incomes and higher crime rates, the home of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville also has some positive attributes common in college towns. For example, 35.1% of residents have a bachelor’s degree, a larger share than is typical nationwide. Additionally, the city has a greater than average concentration of bars and restaurants than the United States as a whole.

Source: Thinkstock

35. Toledo, Ohio
> Population: 278,512
> Median home value: $79,100
> Poverty rate: 26.3%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 18.7%

Toledo, Ohio, is one of the most dangerous cities in the country. There were 1,192 violent crimes for every 100,000 Toledo residents in 2016, more than three times the statewide violent crime rate and nearly triple the U.S. violent crime rate. A high crime rate can depress home values, and real estate in Toledo ranks among the least expensive in the country. The typical home in the city is worth just $79,100 compared to the value of $205,000 of the typical American home. It is also lower than in all but 13 other U.S. cities

As is the case with nearly every other Midwestern city on this list, Toledo’s population is shrinking. In the last five years, the number of people living in the city fell by 2.6%.