Special Report

Worst Cities to Live in Every State

Source: Thinkstock

Massachusetts: Springfield
> Population: 154,079
> Median home value: $154,300
> Poverty rate: 24.7%
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 1,031

According to a number of socioeconomic factors, Springfield ranks as the worst city to live in Massachusetts. The typical household in Springfield earns $38,897 a year, the second least of any city in Massachusetts and less than the national median of $57,617. Additionally, 24.7% of Springfield residents live in poverty, the highest poverty rate of cities in the state.

Though not always the case, crime is often more prevalent in low income areas. In 2016, there were 1,031 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Springfield, nearly three times the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans and the third most of any city statewide.

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Michigan: Detroit
> Population: 672,829
> Median home value: $43,500
> Poverty rate: 35.7%
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 2,037

Detroit is emblematic of the economic and population decline that has befallen much of the Rust Belt. The decline of the automobile industry and population contraction in the mid-20th century gave way to a rise in poverty and violent crime. Today, the typical Detroit household earns just $28,099 a year, the second lowest median household income of cities in Michigan and the sixth lowest of U.S. cities. In 2016, there were 2,037 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Detroit, more than five times the national violent crime rate.

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Minnesota: St. Cloud
> Population: 67,396
> Median home value: $155,700
> Poverty rate: 21.6%
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 435

Of the 11 Minnesota cities considered, St. Cloud has the highest poverty rate. More than one in five St. Cloud residents live below the poverty line, over double the state’s 9.9% poverty rate. The city also has the state’s highest annual unemployment rate, which at 4.1% is higher than the statewide rate of 3.9% but below the 4.9% national rate. St. Cloud is also the only city in Minnesota to be losing residents faster than it is attracting them. In the last five years, the city’s population contracted by 1.0%.

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Mississippi: Jackson
> Population: 169,141
> Median home value: $88,500
> Poverty rate: 22.0%
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 858

The population of Jackson has declined in recent decades, from a high of 203,000 in 1980 to 169,141 today. According to several members of the Jackson City Council, one of the push factors may have been the city’s poor public school system.

The city is also relatively dangerous. In 2016, there were 858 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Jackson, more than three times the statewide rate of 281 incidents per 100,000 people and more than twice the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

Source: Thinkstock

Missouri: St. Louis
> Population: 311,404
> Median home value: $125,800
> Poverty rate: 23.8%
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 1,932

According to our index, St. Louis is the worst city to live in Missouri — and one of the worst in the entire country. The median household income of $40,346 a year is $11,400 lower than the state median and $17,300 below the national median. St. Louis also has a poverty rate of 23.8% — well above the state and national poverty rates, which both sit at 14.0%.

St. Louis also struggles with high crime rates. There were 1,932 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 city residents in 2016. For context, Missouri’s violent crime rate of 519 per 100,000 is also among the highest of all states.

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