Special Report

Cities With The Most Homes People Shouldn't Live In


To determine the cities with the most homes people shouldn’t live in, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 2019 American Housing Survey, which includes estimates on the percentage of moderately or severely inadequate housing units in 22 metropolitan areas. These metropolitan areas represent the majority of the largest cities in the U.S., all among the largest 50 by population. Only Miami, which is among the 15 U.S. metros, is not included. 

The AHS defines moderately or severely inadequate housing units based on definitions from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

To be classified as inadequate, a housing unit would need to meet at least one of the following conditions: 1. lacks hot or cold piped water, lacks a full bathroom, or shares a bathroom with non-household members. 2. Members of the housing units were uncomfortably cold last winter for 24 hours or more because the heating equipment broke down, and it broke down at least three times last winter for at least six hours each time. 3. The housing unit has no electricity. 4. All of the following electric problems occured: exposed wiring, a room with no working wall outlet, and three blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers in the last three months. 5. At least five of the following six maintenance problems: water leaked from the outside in the last 12 months, such as from the roof, basement, windows, or doors; water leaked from inside the structure in the last 12 months, such as pipes or plumbing fixtures; holes in the floors; holes or open cracks (wider than a dime) in the walls or ceilings; more than 8 by 11 inches of peeling paint or broken plaster; or signs of rats in the last 12 months. 

Units were classified as moderately inadequate if at least one of the following conditions was met: 1. Three or four of the six maintenance problems listed in the severely inadequate definition. 2. On at least three occasions during the last three months, all the flush toilets were broken down at the same time for six hours or more. 3. Had unvented gas, oil, or kerosene heaters as the main heating equipment; 4. Lacked a kitchen sink, a working refrigerator, cooking equipment (stove, burners, or microwave oven), or were sharing the kitchen with non-household members.

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