> Population: 8,211
> Median home value: $168,300 (state: $264,900)
> Poverty rate: 16.2% (state: 10.9%)
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 15.0% (state: 5.0%)
Franklin, a small city in southern Virginia, ranks as the worst place to live in the state. Housing is far less affordable in Franklin than it is across the state. The typical home in the area is worth $168,300, 4.2 times more than the local median annual household income of $40,375. Across the state, the typical home is worth $264,900, or just 3.7 times the median household income of $71,564.
Economic conditions in Franklin are also generally weaker than they are across Virginia. For example, workers in the city are three times more likely to be unemployed than those across the state as a whole.
> Population: 37,185
> Median home value: $205,500 (state: $311,700)
> Poverty rate: 16.7% (state: 11.5%)
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 9.4% (state: 5.3%)
Parkland, Washington, is located in the western part of the state, about 40 miles south of Seattle. As is the case in many cities and towns on this list, joblessness is a problem in Parkland. The average unemployment rate over the last five years has been 9.4%, well above the comparable 5.3% average rate across the state. For those who are working, incomes are generally low. The median household income in the Census designated place is $51,415 annually, about $19,000 less than the statewide median.
West Virginia: Huntington
> Population: 47,420
> Median home value: $97,100 (state: $115,000)
> Poverty rate: 32.7% (state: 17.8%)
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 7.2% (state: 6.7%)
Due to its economic and health challenges, Huntington ranks not just as the worst city to live in West Virginia, but one of the worst in the country. As the U.S. population increased 3.6% during the last five years, the population of Huntington contracted by 3.5%. Good economic opportunities are scarce in the city. The city’s median household income of $30,362 annually is about half of the U.S. median and about $14,600 less than the state median. Nearly one in three residents live below the poverty line compared to 17.8% of all West Virginians.
Huntington is the county seat of Cabell County, which has the most severe drug problem in the country. The county reported 135 drug deaths per 100,000 residents annually from 2016 to 2018. Over the same period, there were 22 drug deaths per 100,000 residents nationwide and 53 per 100,000 across West Virginia.
> Population: 36,813
> Median home value: $87,400 (state: $173,600)
> Poverty rate: 24.1% (state: 11.9%)
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 9.4% (state: 4.0%)
Beloit, Wisconsin, located in the southern part of the state, relies heavily on tourism. Still, the local job market is relatively weak. Beloit residents are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as the typical Wisconsin resident.
Beloit also struggles with a higher than average concentration of serious crimes like robbery and aggravated assault. There were 465 violent crimes in the city for every 100,000 people in 2018, compared to 295 per 100,000 across Wisconsin.
> Population: 8,975
> Median home value: $162,800 (state: $213,300)
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (state: 11.1%)
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 4.4% (state: 4.5%)
Rawlins, a small city in southern Wyoming, is one of the most dangerous cities in the state. There were 420 violent crimes in the city for every 100,000 people in 2018, compared to 212 per 100,000 across Wyoming as a whole. Though the unemployment rate in Rawlins is in line with the state average, jobs have been disappearing from the city in recent years. There are 10.5% fewer people working in Rawlins now than there were five years ago.
Property values can be indicative of an area’s desirability as a place to live. In Rawlins, most homes are worth less than $163,000. Meanwhile, most homes in Wyoming are worth more than $213,000.
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