The COVID-19 pandemic was a public health crisis that sent shockwaves through the U.S. economy — and the country’s social fabric. In addition to claiming over half a million American lives, the pandemic sent unemployment soaring and exacerbated existing problems, as drug overdoses and crime rates spiked in some parts of the country.
Even before the pandemic, however, there were cities and towns already grappling with severe social and economic distress. These communities have long struggled with challenges such as high unemployment, poverty, crime, drug misuse, and limited access to essential services.
Based on a weighted index of two-dozen social and economic measures, 24/7 Wall St. identified the worst place to live in every state. We considered cities, towns, villages, and census designated places home to at least 8,000 people.
Yazoo City, located in Mississippi’s Delta region, is the worst place to live in the state. With a poverty rate of 44.8%, the city is nearly the poorest in the state and one of the poorest places in the United States. For context 20.3% of Mississippi residents and 13.4% of the U.S. population live below the poverty line. Widespread financial hardship in the area is due in part to a lack of jobs. An average of 20.5% of the local labor force have been unemployed in the last five years, well above the 7.4% statewide average over that time.
A lack of economic opportunity has left many Yazoo City residents needing to depend on government assistance to afford basic necessities. An estimated 39.1% of area households rely on SNAP benefits, more than triple the national SNAP recipiency rate of 11.7%. As is often the case in economically depressed areas, Yazoo City is losing residents. The local population contracted by 3.5% in the last five years.
Our index is composed of data across four categories: affordability, economy, quality of life, and community. Data is all for the most recent year available and came from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, The Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other sources. This is the worst city to live in every state.
|Place||Median home value ($)||Unemployment rate (%)||Poverty rate (%)|
|Arkansas: Helena-West Helena||73,400||11.8||45.2|
|California: California City||124,500||19.1||24.1|
|Florida: Florida City||153,100||14.0||40.0|
|Idaho: Mountain Home||144,200||6.6||16.4|
|Illinois: Sauk Village||70,400||16.3||31.8|
|Iowa: Fort Madison||81,600||8.9||15.9|
|Michigan: Highland Park||45,700||22.6||46.5|
|Mississippi: Yazoo City||70,900||20.5||44.8|
|Missouri: St. Louis||138,700||7.0||21.8|
|New Hampshire: Berlin||92,100||8.0||18.5|
|New Jersey: Bridgeton||109,200||6.9||31.2|
|New Mexico: Gallup||132,000||7.4||28.4|
|New York: Binghamton||91,000||10.4||32.6|
|North Carolina: Reidsville||103,500||9.5||24.3|
|North Dakota: Jamestown||144,800||3.2||14.7|
|Ohio: East Cleveland||58,100||18.8||37.5|
|Oregon: Klamath Falls||159,500||9.3||22.7|
|Rhode Island: Central Falls||159,100||6.8||30.2|
|South Carolina: Lancaster||141,600||18.0||35.3|
|South Dakota: Huron||91,900||1.6||19.7|
|West Virginia: Huntington||98,200||6.8||32.3|
Sponsored: Tips for Investing
A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.