The Worst Cities To Live In All 50 States

If you are considering relocating, knowing where the worst places to live is important. The last thing you want to do is move and then have regrets because of high crime rates, dilapidated properties, or even the cost of living. So here are the top 50 worst cities in America to live in, in all fifty states.

1. Alabama: Bessemer

Bessemer Court
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The violent crime rate in Bessemer, Alabama, is a whopping six times the state’s violent crime rate. On top of that, the quality of life, affordability, and economy make it the worst Alabama city to live in. 

2. Alaska: Anchorage

Downtown Anchorage Alaska
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Anchorage, Alaska, has an extremely high violent crime rate compared to other cities in the state and a very high cost of living. The Mountain View neighborhood can be dangerous.

3. Arizona: Douglas

Map view of Tucson
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Douglas, Arizona, is a small city in southern Arizona along the U.S. / Mexico border. The city has a far lower concentration of restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions than others, and a relatively large share of area residents are struggling financially with the poverty rate, making it the worst city in Arizona to live in.

4. Arkansas: Helena-West Helena

Helena pinned on a map of Arkansas, USA
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Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, is considered a dangerous city due to the extremely high violent crime rate. It is pushing people out as the population is dropping rapidly. 

5. California: Mendota

Mendota. California. USA on a map
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Nearly half of all area residents live below the poverty line, more than triple California’s poverty rate. Even though homes are relatively inexpensive in Mendota, incomes are so low that the typical home costs over five times what the typical area household earns. In addition, there is little in the way of entertainment options in the Californian city, making it the worst in the state to live in. 

6. Colorado: Pueblo

Downtown Pueblo, Colorado during Summer
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Nearly one in every four Pueblo residents lives below the poverty line, more than double the state poverty rate. Pueblo is a relatively dangerous city as well.

7. Connecticut: Bridgeport

Bridgeport CT East En
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More than twenty percent of the population of Bridgeport, Connecticut, lives below the poverty line, likely due to the weak job market in the area. There is a lot of financial strain on residents because of the city’s high cost of living.

8. Delaware: Wilmington

wilmington delaware
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Wilmington is the state’s largest city and also ranks as one of the worst places to live in Delaware. Crime can be detrimental to the quality of life in any town, and Wilmington is far and away the most dangerous city in Delaware.

9. Florida: Florida City

Police officers and Fire Fighters arrive to a halt of a car chase crime scene where they blocked off many streets
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The worst city to live in the state, Florida City’s unemployment rate is more than triple the state unemployment rate. It also has a very high violent crime rate.

10. Georgia: Union City

Union City, Georgia winter
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While much of the country has been adding jobs recently, Union City has been shedding them. Union City is also considered one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. Property crimes like larceny and motor vehicle theft are common in the city, as well as violent crimes.

11. Hawaii: Makaha

Summer waves at Makaha Beach, west coast of Oahu, Hawaii
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Hawaii has the highest cost of living of any state in the country. Makaha ranks as the worst city to live in — in Hawaii primarily because of its unaffordability. The typical home is worth over three times as much as the median annual income.

12. Idaho: Rexburg

Rexburg, Idaho - 03/21/2020 : Mainstreet View, HDR
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Housing affordability is a significant obstacle to the quality of life for many in Rexburg, Idaho. The typical area home is worth about seven times the median annual household income, making it the worst city to live in — in Idaho.

13. Illinois: East St. Louis

EAST ST. LOUIS, ILLINOIS - MARCH 19, 2020: An empty Casio Queen parking lot during the coronvirus pandemic.
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East St. Louis is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. This city also has a high crime rate and unemployment rate, making it the worst city to live in —  in Illinois.

14. Indiana: Gary

Aerial View of Downtown Gary, Indiana and its Steel Mill.
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More than one in every three Gary, Indiana residents live below the poverty line. Gary’s violent crime rate exceeds at least twenty-five percent of all American cities. On top of all that, the unemployment rate is relatively high.

15. Iowa: Keokuk

Keokuk, Iowa, USA - 9/2017: Digging for geodes on clay bank
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As is the case in many of the cities on this list, Keokuk’s population is shrinking. When it comes to those who stuck around, more than one in every four residents lives below the poverty line.

16. Kansas: Arkansas City

Arkansas City, Kansas United States - August 15 2021: an old blue house with a wrap around porch in the morning
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A high incidence rate of property crime like burglary and motor vehicle theft can be found in Mayfield, Kentucky. Widespread joblessness is also a problem in this city.

17. Kentucky: Mayfield

Mayfield, Kentucky, USA - August 24, 2021: The Graves County Courthouse.
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A high incidence rate of property crime like burglary and motor vehicle theft can be found in Mayfield, Kentucky. Widespread joblessness is also a problem in this city.

18. Louisiana: Bastrop

bastrop louisiana
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Louisiana is one of the most dangerous states in the United States. In Bastrop, a small city in the northern part of the state, crime is even more concentrated. Bastrop has also been shedding jobs in recent years, with the number of people working falling nearly seven percent.

19. Maine: Orono

Ocono Bog Boardwalk at Bangor City Forest, Bangor, Maine
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Orono is by far the poorest city in Maine due to widespread financial hardship caused by a weak job market. Orono residents also do not have much in the way of culture and entertainment options, with a low concentration of bars, restaurants, and museums.

20. Maryland: Cambridge

Cambridge, Maryland US - January 28, 2023 - Blue Ruin restaurant exterior
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Maryland is the wealthiest state in the country by median income, but not all parts of the state are equally prosperous. In Cambridge, a small city in the Delmarva Peninsula, about one in every four residents live below the poverty line. Violent crimes like robbery and aggravated assault are relatively common here as well.

21. Massachusetts: New Bedford

New Bedford, Massachusetts/USA - July 5 2020: Buttonwood Park zoo is one of the finest small zoos in the USA, covering some seven acres and home to a variety of animals.
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The typical household in New Bedford earns well below the national median household. Housing and the overall cost of living are less affordable in this Massachusetts city. 

22. Michigan: Highland Park

Highland Park, Michigan - Sept. 23, 2017: The vacant fire headquarters and municipal building in Highland Park, MI, a city in Metro Detroit. The historic buildings were abandoned in the early 2000s.
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Highland Park has suffered for decades from the decline of the region’s auto manufacturing industry. The area’s low incomes are reflected in the depressed real estate values. On top of this, crime is also a problem here.

23. Minnesota: St. Paul

ST PAUL, MINNESOTA USA - JUNE 2, 2019: Outside dinning at the French Meadow restaurant on Grand Avenue.
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Violent crimes like robbery and homicide are common in St. Paul, with a rate of more than double that of Minnesota. Over twenty percent of the residents here live below the poverty line. 

24. Mississippi: Yazoo City

Yazoo City, MS/ USA - May 16, 2019: Yazoo City Corp limit sign. Gateway to the Delta
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Did you know that Mississippi is the poorest state in the country? It’s true; nearly fifty percent of Yazoo City residents live below the poverty line.

25. Missouri: St. Louis

St. louis downtown at twilight in USA
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St. Louis is the most dangerous city in Missouri and one of the most dangerous in the United States. The typical household in the town earns well below the median household income. 

26. Montana: Havre

Havre, Montana USA - 6-9-2020: Overlook from US-2 of rail yard switching station and commercial district
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Crime is much more common in Havre than it is across the state of Montana. Unemployment will likely be a growing problem in Havre in the coming years as job growth has not kept pace with the population growth. 

27. Nebraska: Bellevue

Aerial View of the Omaha Suburb of Bellevue, Nebraska
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Though Bellevue does not struggle with some of the more serious problems common in other cities, like high poverty and violent crime rates, there are aspects of life in Bellevue that make it less preferable than other Nebraska cities. This city has low access to grocery stores, and the unemployment rate is about four percent.

28. Nevada: Cold Springs

Washoe County, Nevada on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. There are many kind of shops here.
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Cold Springs has a low poverty rate, strong employment, and rapid population growth. It’s ranking as the worst city to live in — in Nevada — is attributable primarily to its lack of cultural and entertainment attractions.

29. New Hampshire: Derry

Derry, New Hampshire, USA - November 27, 2021: Derry Annual Nutfield Holiday Parade 2021, Political contender, Jodi Nelson, State Representative in parade
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Derry is a relatively safe place, and few residents face serious financial hardship. One of the reasons Derry ranks as the worst city to live in New Hampshire is the city’s high cost of living. Property taxes are also high in Derry, giving it another cause to be the worst city to live in — in New Hampshire.

30. New Jersey: Bridgeton

Bridgeton, New Jersey, U.S.A - June 23, 2018 - An aerial view of a single family home equipped with solar panels and red barn
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Bridgeton is one of the most dangerous cities in the state and more dangerous than over ninety percent of American cities. Nearly one in every three Bridgeton residents lives below the poverty line.

31. New Mexico: Gallup

Historic Route 66 in Gallup, New Mexico, USA, 07-25-2019
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Gallup, New Mexico, is one of the poorest places in the United States, with about thirty percent of the city living below the poverty line. The violent crime rate exceeds over ninety percent of other American cities. 

32. New York: Newburgh

A woman walks up 2nd street in the City of Newburgh, NY on Tuesday, July 28th, 2020.
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Newburgh ranks as the worst city to live in New York state, primarily because of its high violent crime rate and widespread financial hardship. The violent crime rate is more than triple the state violent crime rate, and more than thirty percent of residents live below the poverty line. 

33. North Carolina: Lexington

LEXINGTON, NC, USA-8 MAY 2022: A block of colorful vintage commercial buildings with signs for Rouzer Motor Parts and Autoplus.
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The typical Lexington, North Carolina household earns less than thirty thousand dollars a year, which causes over thirty percent of residents to live below the poverty line. It is ranked as the worst city in North Carolina to live in.

34. North Dakota: Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS, ND/USA - JUNE 28, 2019: Ralph Engelstad Arena on the campus of the University of North Dakota.
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Though it ranks as the worst city to live in North Dakota, Grand Forks is a far better place to live than most cities on this list. Poverty is relatively high in Grand Forks, but the violent crime and unemployment rates are quite low. 

35. Ohio: Cleveland

View of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, and the Cuyahoga River from a park on the west bank of the river
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A dangerous city, Cleveland’s violent crime rate is among the highest in the country and five times higher than Ohio’s. Joblessness is also a problem, as the city’s unemployment rate is well above the statewide rate.

36. Oklahoma: Okmulgee

Okmulgee, Oklahoma, USA - October 16, 2022: The Okmulgee County Courthouse
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The population decline and reduced housing demand in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, have reduced property values. High crime rates may also be suppressing real estate values and detract from the overall quality of life in the city.

37. Oregon: Sweet Home

Sweet Home, Oregon - 12-9-2020: ggStairs leading to McDowell creek just below McDowell Falls near Sweet Home Oregon
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Don’t be fooled by the name, Sweet Home is not a sweet place to live in Oregon. Its ranking as the worst place to live in the state is due largely to economic conditions.

38. Pennsylvania: Chester

East Goshen Township, PA / USA - March 13, 2019: View of the Mariner East II pipeline construction site along Route 352 in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
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The area’s low incomes are partially attributable to the high jobless rate in Chester, Pennsylvania. The typical home is worth less than the median home value in over ninety percent of U.S. cities.

39. Rhode Island: Central Falls

Valley Falls and Board Street bridge over Blackstone River at Valley Falls Heritage Park, between Cumberland and Central Falls, Rhode Island RI, USA.
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The typical Central Falls, Rhode Island household earns well below the national median household income. The area’s low incomes make housing particularly unaffordable.

40. South Carolina: Georgetown

Georgetown, South Carolina. Panoramic aerial view at sunset.
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Georgetown is one of the poorest cities in South Carolina and the entire United States. Crime is often concentrated in lower-income areas, and Georgetown is no exception. The high crime and widespread financial hardship may be pushing some residents out of Georgetown.

41. South Dakota: Box Elder

Box Elder, South Dakota, United States 7-31-21 Air and Space Museum at Ellsworth Airforce Base
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Though it ranks as the worst city to live in — in South Dakota, it is a preferable place to live than the vast majority of cities on this list. However, Box Elder has a higher cost of living than every other city in the state; goods and services are still less expensive than nationwide on average. However, the city has a far lower than-typical concentration of places like restaurants, nature parks, museums, and movie theaters.

42. Tennessee: Memphis

Memphis, Tennesse, USA downtown cityscape at dusk over Beale Street.
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Memphis is the most dangerous city in Tennessee and one of the most dangerous in the United States. As is the case in many high-crime cities, Memphis is also home to a largely poor population, as joblessness is an issue here. 

43. Texas: Robstown

Robstown. Texas. USA
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Robstown, Texas, has struggled with high joblessness for years. Likely due to the weak job market, Robstown is losing residents rapidly. 

44. Utah: Grantsville

Grantsville, Utah Utah USA 04 01 2021: Morton Salt at Great Salt Lake
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Though Grantsville ranks as the worst city in Utah, it is safer and has a lower poverty rate than the state as a whole; it is also a far preferable place to many other cities on this list. Grantsville’s status as the worst city in Utah is attributable primarily to factors relating to community and quality of life.

45. Vermont: Barre

Barre, Vermont, USA. july 2018. Rock of Ages, vermont, Granite Quarry. The quarry itself is the world's largest deep-hole dimension granite quarry.
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The unemployment rate in Barre, Vermont, is the highest of any city considered in the state and half a percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate. The relative lack of jobs may partially explain the city’s recent population decline.

46. Virginia: Franklin

A view of an abandoned farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Franklin County, Virginia
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Nearly ten percent of workers in Franklin, Virginia, are unemployed. Property crimes like burglary and motor vehicle theft are relatively common in Franklin.

47. Washington: Yelm

Rural road surrounded by tall evergreen trees with a 25 mph sign in Yelm, Washington, Thurston County Washington
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Though residents of Yelm, Washington, are far less likely to live below the poverty line or be the victim of a violent crime than those in most cities on this list, other conditions in the town detract from the quality of life. Property crime is relatively common in this city.

48. West Virginia: Martinsburg

Homes in Martinsburg, West Virginia, seen from the Amtrak train Capitol Limited, traveling from Chicago to Washington, DC.
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Struggling economically, the city’s unemployment rate stands at nine percent. The lack of jobs in the area may partially explain the widespread financial hardship in Martinsburg.

49. Wisconsin: Beloit

Beloit, Wisconsin, USA-07.21.2022: Wisconsin welcome center
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Nearly one in every four area residents lives below the poverty line in Beloit, Wisconsin. The area’s low incomes are partially attributable to the high jobless rate. 

50. Wyoming: Green River

Green River Lakes Trailhead, Wyoming USA July 5 2021: The trail head for the Continental Divide Trail along at the Green River Lakes in Wyoming
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Though Green River does not struggle with some of the more serious problems common in other cities on this list, like high poverty and violent crime rates, some aspects of life in Green River make it less preferable than other Wyoming cities. Area residents have little in the way of entertainment options, and employment options are relatively limited here.

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