Special Report

Worst City to Live in Every State

Colorado: Clifton
> Population: 20,572
> Median home value: $138,100 (state: $313,600)
> Poverty rate: 25.6% (state: 10.9%)
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 11.0% (state: 4.7%)

Clifton is a suburb of Grand Junction, Colorado, located in the western part of the state. A relatively poor area, Clifton has a median annual household income of about $42,000, and nearly one in every 10 area households lives on less than $10,000 a year. The area’s low incomes are likely partially related to a lack of jobs, as the average unemployment over the last five years stands at 11.0%. Over the same period, the number of people living in Clifton declined by 1.8%.

Source: Courtesy of Magicpiano via Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut: Thompsonville
> Population: 8,439
> Median home value: $173,500 (state: $272,700)
> Poverty rate: 25.5% (state: 10.0%)
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 9.3% (state: 6.5%)

Thompsonville, Connecticut, is located just south of Springfield, Massachusetts. Over the last five years, employment in the area has fallen by 8.0%, and the average jobless rate over the same period was 9.3%, well above the 6.5% state unemployment rate over that time.

Parts of New England have been hit especially hard by the opioid epidemic. Across Hartford County, where Thompsonville is located, there have been 34 drug overdose deaths for every 100,000 people annually, above the comparable overdose rate of 30 per 100,000 statewide. Real estate prices can be indicative of how desirable an area is, and in Thompsonville, the typical home is worth about $100,000 less than the typical Connecticut home.

Source: pabradyphoto / Getty Images

Delaware: Wilmington
> Population: 70,904
> Median home value: $169,400 (state: $244,700)
> Poverty rate: 25.1% (state: 11.9%)
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 8.4% (state: 5.9%)

Wilmington, the largest city in Delaware, also ranks as the worst place to live in the state. A relatively poor city, Wilmington is one of only a dozen cities in Delaware where more than one in every 10 households earn less than $10,000 a year. Additionally, it is one of only half a dozen cities and towns in the state where more than one in every four residents live below the poverty line.

Lower-income areas often have higher crime rates, and Willmington is one of the most dangerous cities in Delaware. There were 1,545 violent crimes reported in the city for every 100,000 residents, more than triple the violent crime rate across the state as a whole of 424 offenses per 100,000 people.

Source: Warren-Pender / Getty Images

Florida: Avon Park
> Population: 10,386
> Median home value: $68,400 (state: $196,800)
> Poverty rate: 33.0% (state: 14.8%)
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 19.9% (state: 6.3%)

Avon Park, a small central-Florida city, ranks as the worst place to live in the state. Over the last five years, an average of about one in every five members of the labor force in the area were unemployed — more than three times the statewide jobless rate over that time. With a weak job market, many in the city are struggling financially. The median annual household income in Avon Park is just $30,675, about half as much as the median household income nationwide. Additionally, Avon Park’s poverty rate of 33.0% is more than double the 14.8% statewide rate.

Source: Larry Felton Johnson, Cobb County Courier / Wikimedia Commons

Georgia: Fair Oaks
> Population: 9,173
> Median home value: $100,900 (state: $166,800)
> Poverty rate: 32.6% (state: 16.0%)
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 8.1% (state: 6.4%)

Fair Oaks, Georgia, is located about 20 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta. Nearly one-third of all Fair Oaks residents live below the poverty line, about double the 16.0% statewide poverty rate. Incomes tend to rise with educational attainment, and educational attainment rates are low in Fair Oaks. Fewer than two in every three adults in the area have completed high school, and more than one in every 10 have a bachelor’s degree.

As is the case in many places on this list, people are leaving Fair Oaks faster than they are coming in. Over the last half decade, the community’s population contracted by 1.1%.

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