Worst US Cities to Avoid At All Costs

In the United States, you can find awe-inspiring natural wonders alongside cities grappling with poverty, homelessness, and rising crime rates. While there are numerous safe towns and cities in the country, an online discussion about the worst cities to live in America revealed some destinations that certain social media users recommend avoiding.

1. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore Maryland
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Baltimore is famous for its harbor and crab cakes and is the home of The Star Spangled Banner, making it a popular tourist destination. The city is notorious for its ever-rising property crime rates and violent crimes, including homicides. Baltimore has some nice sections, but it could be better. It ranks as the worst city in the US on our list.

2. Camden, New Jersey

Camden New Jersey
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Located just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Camden is consistently named one of the poorest urban centers in America. One person on the thread says her mother was born and raised there, and the area has since suffered a significant decline, recounting, “Her childhood home is pretty much a dump now, bars on the windows, trashed yard, etc.” Camden is one of the worst places to live in the US.

3. Chicago, Illinois

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The rate of gun-related violent crime in Chicago is so high the city is disparagingly called “Chiraq” (a combination of the words Chicago and Iraq). Another person warns, “Don’t drive for any reason after midnight because your car will be shot. This includes interstates. Even most tourist areas are not safe.

4. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit Michigan
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Formerly the home of the American auto industry manufacturers, Detroit has fallen on the hardest of times in recent decades. One commenter observes that Detroit is such a rough area because it is still struggling to recover economically from the loss of many good-paying automaker jobs. Detroit is frequently cited as one of the worst places to live in the US.

5. Flint, Michigan

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Much like Detroit, Flint is working to recover from the loss of well-paying auto manufacturing jobs. In recent years, Flint has made headlines for its water crisis, in which the city’s drinking water became contaminated with lead. One user comments they’ve never heard any positive news about Flint, making it one of the worst US cities.

6. Gary, Indiana

Gary Indiana
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This city’s claim to fame is the birthplace of the Jackson 5 music group and the Jackson family. Once a vibrant manufacturing hub, the rapid decline in production work correlated with a dramatic increase in poverty and crime. What’s the worst city in the US? Gary, Indiana is one of them.

7. Jackson, Mississippi

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Over the last several years, the state’s capital city has had the grim designation of one of the deadliest places in the U.S. due to the number of gun-related homicides. Jackson most recently made headlines because of the water crisis that left thousands of residents without access to clean water.

8. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles California
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As the second largest city in the U.S. (after New York City), Los Angeles is a divided city of the haves and have-nots. One commenter describes L.A.’s Skid Row as “filled with trash and homelessness” while noting “there are suburbs that are nice and quiet.”

9. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Tennessee
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Memphis is the home of Elvis Presley’s beloved Graceland mansion. The city is also plagued by property crimes, like vehicle and house break-ins and vehicle thefts, and a high murder rate, making it the worst place to live in the US for some.

10. Miami, Florida

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One contributor couldn’t hide their disdain for Miami. Describing it as “pretty, warm, tropical, beaches,” adding, “But it’s soulless. It attracts the worst kind of human. Everyone is out to take advantage of you – friends, employers, strangers, everyone.”

11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Pennsylvania
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As the birthplace of America, Philadelphia has many historical attractions. It also has high rates of violent and property crimes and homelessness. A user on the thread praises certain sections of Pennsylvania’s largest city, including Center City and South Philly, but informs readers to stay away from other areas, mainly North Philly.

12. Portland, Oregon

Portland Oregon
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A former Portland resident has a lot to say about his former city, and none of it is good, elaborating on the rates of homelessness, the lack of jobs, the rising crime rate, and overpricing. Another user acknowledges the increase in gun violence and fears the city will become another Detroit.

13. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis Missouri
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This midwestern city is known for its tourist attractions, but in recent years has become known for a rising crime rate and deadly natural disasters.

14. Stockton, California

Stockton California
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Stockton experienced substantial economic losses during the Great Recession of 2007. Since then, the city has struggled to regain its footing. An individual on the thread confirms that the high poverty level “has a direct correlation with the level of crime in the city.”

15. Washington DC

Washington D.C.
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Despite its symbolic and literal importance, the nation’s capital is considered one of the worst cities in America. The District of Columbia experiences a lot of crime, especially in the less prosperous sections of the city. It is quickly becoming the worst city in the US.

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Her articles have appeared in publications such as Wealth of Geeks, MSN (US), MSN Ireland, Flipboard, The Facts, The Cents of Money, A Dime Saved, The Times (Frankfort), Invested Wallet, Chronicle-Tribune, Mama of Five Blog, Lafourche Gazette, The Herald-Press, Kinda Frugal, Peru Tribune, and Financially Well Off. Stephanie Allen got her start in writing by teaching college writing and technical writing courses. She transitioned to working as a contract technical writer specializing in information technology. Her love for writing on various subjects led her to Wealth of Geeks.