Don’t Dream Of Building Your Family In These 11 Terrible U.S. Cities That Will Put You Through Hell

Families across the United States are looking for a place to settle down and build their lives, but some cities are just not suitable for raising a family. From high crime rates to a lack of educational opportunities, these 11 U.S. cities have been deemed the worst places to raise kids and build a home.

1. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, MI USA - November 07, 2020 : Aerial view of Detroit downtown under evening sunlight.
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Detroit is the base of a dangerously high crime rate that keeps parents in constant fear for their children’s safety. The sound of a police siren often replaces the laughter of children playing outdoors, as the insistent atmosphere of danger erodes any hope of a carefree childhood.

2. Memphis, Tennessee

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Memphis is not as lost in crime as Michigan, but the dreams of a bright future are made bleak in the dimness of a struggling educational system. Overcrowded classrooms, dilapidated infrastructure, and scarce educational resources make a child’s individual growth difficult.

3. Cleveland, Ohio

View of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, and the Cuyahoga River from a park on the west bank of the river
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Crime is the apex threat to raising a family in Cleveland. Cleveland is ranked as safer than only 2% of cities in the United States. The cost of living in the city is also high, giving families little to save after upsetting housing bills. The graduation rate of this city is equally low, as only about 15 percent of high school graduates get their bachelor’s degrees.

4. Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, USA downtown city skyline.
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A stable home is a cornerstone of raising a family, but spiraling housing costs in Birmingham makes that almost impossible. Families are often cramped into overpriced, substandard accommodations that require parents to work multiple jobs before they can afford a roof for their family.

5. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland
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Added to the crime rates, Baltimore is heavily polluted, and its water is tainted with toxins, threatening the health and well-being of families. The authorities should get more active in setting measures for industrial waste management. The air quality here is unhealthy for sensitive groups.

6. Shreveport, Louisiana

Shreveport, Louisiana, USA downtown skyline over the river.
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High in crime and costly to live in, Shreveport is bad for raising a family, as rent for a family of four is approximately the same as the average income after taxes. Crime is also very high, only better than 3% of all cities in the United States.

7. Santa Rosa, California

Aerial view of Santa Rosa Valley Camarillo homes and farms in Ventura County, California.
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Santa Rosa shares a similar problem with Riverside when considering the cost of living. Rent for a family of four is almost twice the average income after taxes. One would expect the cost of living to reflect a higher quality of life, but the education and crime rate in Santa Rosa is fairer than other cities on the list.

8. Denver, Colorado

Denver Colorado downtown with City Park
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Denver is a fun place for singles, but not if you have a family to raise. In 2023, Denver was at the top of the Scholar list of unfriendly cities for children in the United States. The report took the cost of living, crime rate, healthcare, and education as measuring metrics for their conclusion.

9. Providence, Rhode Island

Providence Rhode island
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Providence is better than 11% of the cities in the United States, but making ends meet may be a challenge in the park. A family of four needs a little over four thousand dollars for rent or mortgage. And that could mean spending all of your monthly average income on housing.

10 Riverside, California

Sunset aerial view of historic downtown Riverside, California.
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You need to be a big earner to earn or buy here, and raising a family in Riverside is exclusively for the rich or highly comfortable. The cost of housing for a family of four is about $1500 higher than the average $3492 after-tax income. The crime rate could be better in Riverside, as it is only safer than 5% of all US cities.

11. Newark, New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey, USA skyline on the Passaic River.
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Like most urban communities, Newark has its share of crime and poverty. The city’s violent crime rate is almost twice the national average, enough to make any parent want to leave the area immediately. On top of that, Newark schools are consistently rated among the lowest in New Jersey and the United States.

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