Special Report

The Worst Counties To Live In


To determine the worst U.S. counties to live in, 24/7 Wall St. constructed an index of three measures: poverty, bachelor’s degree attainment among adults, and average life expectancy at birth.

Data on the share of individuals living below the poverty line, as well as the share of adults 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree came from the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and are five-year estimates.

Data on average life expectancy at birth came from the 2020 County Health Rankings, a joint program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and are based on mortality data from the years 2016 to 2018.

Supplemental data on population, income, and median home value are five-year estimates from the ACS. Data on unemployment in January 2021 came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are not seasonally adjusted. Data on the number of annual drug deaths per 100,000 residents came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are for the years 2015 to 2019.