The United States attracts more immigrants than any other country in the world. America’s appeal to new residents is testimony that many still view the U.S. as the land of opportunity — a place where people have the chance to successfully pursue a happy, safe, and fulfilling life. However, some parts of the country do not fit this description.
In nearly every state, there are cities and towns that are grappling with severe social and economic distress. These communities struggle with challenges such as high unemployment, poverty, crime, drug abuse, and limited access to essential services — in stark contrast with the best cities to live in in every state.
Using data from a range of sources, including the FBI, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of 25 social, economic, and health measures to identify the worst place to live in in every state. We considered cities, towns, villages, and Census designated places.
It is important to note that the cities on this list rank poorly compared to other places within their respective state and do not necessarily rank poorly on a national level. In some states with smaller populations, variations in measures of quality of life between cities and towns are often less pronounced. In these states, the community that ranks as the worst place to live often does not face many of the serious social and economic problems common in other cities on this list.
Undesirable living conditions in many of the places on this list are likely contributing to population decline. The vast majority of these communities are home to fewer people now than five years ago. Here is a list of the cities that Americans are abandoning.