Americans take into consideration a number of factors when deciding where to live, including the quality of schools, the strength of the local economy and job market, the area’s safety and culture, as well as its climate. Cities that perform well by these measures are more likely to attract new residents, and those that do not tend to drive residents away.
Comparing entire cities to each other can be problematic, particularly since living conditions can vary from one neighborhood to the next. Still, as much as a city can be judged on the whole, some cities face widespread problems that detract from residents’ overall quality of life.
> Worst city to live: Rockford
> Population: 149,346
> Median home value: $87,200
> Poverty rate: 22.4%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 20.9%
Property is very inexpensive in Rockford, Illinois. The typical home is worth just $87,200, well below the statewide median home value of $180,300. While affordable housing can be positive for residents looking to buy a home, as demonstrated in Rockford, it is often indicative of economic and social difficulties. Some 8.3% of the city’s workforce is out of a job, and 22.4% of area residents live below the poverty line — each well above the corresponding 5.9% and 12.6% statewide shares.
Like many of the cities on this list, Rockford also struggles with crime. The northern Illinois city’s annual violent crime rate of 1,585 incidents for every 100,000 residents is the worst in the state and over four times the national violent crime rate.
American cities are often held to the standards of national averages, or against all of the other cities in a country. However, for the residents that actually live in these places, a more appropriate point of comparison are those cities that can be found nearby, in the same state.
To determine America’s worst cities to live in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the largest U.S. cities. Based on a range of variables, including crime rates, employment growth, access to restaurants and attractions, educational attainment, and housing affordability, 24/7 Wall St. identified the worst city to live in each state.