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: Gary
> Population: 77,354
> Median home value: $68,000
> Poverty rate: 29.8%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 12.6%
A the typical home in Gary, Indiana is worth only $68,000, the lowest median home value of any large city in the state and eighth lowest in the country. The low property values are likely the result, in part, of the city’s dwindling population. Over the past decade, Gary’s population has fallen by 20.3%, the steepest drop of any U.S. city over that period.
A stagnant job market is not helping economic conditions in Gary. Nearly one in every 10 workers in the city are out of a job, more than double the 4.8% statewide unemployment rate. The bleak economic picture is underscored by the relative lack of small businesses such as restaurants, bodegas, and cafes. There are only about 80 of these establishments for every 100,000 city residents, one of the smallest concentrations of any large city and well below the 165 per 100,000 nationwide concentration.
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.