Special Report

America's 50 Worst Cities to Live

For most of us, where we live is determined by only a few factors, including our proximity to family and friends, career demands, and where we have history. 

While some of these less objective factors can be difficult to measure, there are a number of ways to quantify a place’s appeal — and based on those criteria, a number of U.S. cities clearly stand out as less desirable places to live. 

Using data from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the FBI, 24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of 22 measures indicative of desirability and overall quality of life to determine the 50 worst cities to live in. Our index includes data related to the economy, such as unemployment and poverty, as well as measures of community, including proximity to grocery stores, access to parks, reliable public transportation, and the concentration of cultural attractions and entertainment options. 

Though we considered all towns, villages, cities, and Census designated places home to at least 8,000 people, in order to ensure geographic diversity only the lowest ranking community in each county was included in our analysis. 

Although educational attainment rates were not included in our index, adults in most communities on this list are less likely than the typical American over age 25 to have a high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree. This is likely no coincidence as higher educational attainment typically leads to improved job prospects and greater financial security. Every city and town on this list, however, has higher than average poverty and unemployment rates. Here is a look at the most educated city in every state

Though not all index components used to create this list are related to economic conditions, the prevailing narrative in the 50 worst cities is widespread joblessness and financial hardship. Many of these communities rank among the poorest places in the country. Here is a look at the poorest city in every state.

Click here to see America’s 50 worst cities to live
Click here to see America’s 50 best cities to live
Click here to read our methodology