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The Worst Cities to Call Home in the United States

Selma, Alabama

Selma, Alabama
  • Poverty Rate: 41% 
  • Median Home Value: $90K
  • Unemployment Rate: 15.7%

America may be the land of opportunity for many but certainly not for those living in Selma. The Alabama city suffers from extensive poverty and a high unemployment rate compared to the rest of the state. Once integral to the Civil Rights movements, the Selma of today struggles economically, and its population continues to shrink. 

Currently, the population is around 19,000 and the median value of a home is just $90K. Out of the sizable population, a whopping 41% of the state is at poverty level. By comparison, the state of Alabama as a whole is 17%, which is high in and of itself.  Worse yet, there's a 15.7% unemployment rate over the last five years that's more than twice as high as the state average. 

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Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland
  • Poverty Rate: 20%
  • Violent Crime: 1,833 out of every 100,000
  • Property Crimes: 4,495 out of every 100,000

If you have ever seen HBO's "The Wire," it's probably no surprise to see Baltimore on this list. Out of every 100,000 people in the city, 1,833 violent crimes are committed. Out of those crimes, 51 of them are homicides. Property crimes in the city are an astounding 4,495 out of every 100,000 people.

The poverty rate is currently above 20% with a median income of $50,000. But on an unrelated note Baltimore has plenty of historic buildings to appreciate. Nearly a third of the buildings in the city are historic landmarks, more than any city in the country. So, if you like older architecture, or you are just a "Wire" fan, you might want to visit  - but maybe not think about moving in.

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Muscoy, California

Muscoy, California
  • Median Home Value: $236,800
  • Poverty Rate: 38.1%
  • Unemployment Rate: 17.8%

In California, one of the worst places to live would have to be Muscoy. This city has a population of 13,726 and has a median home value of only $236,800, which is nearly half of the state's median home value. Located just north of San Bernadino, most of its money comes in from route 66 travelers. 

While it's fine to visit Muscoy, don't think about living there. The city is one of the poorest in the state. It has a poverty rate of 38.1% and an unemployment rate of 17.8% over the last five years. If you are looking for a successful career, you won't find it here.

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Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio
  • Median Home Value: $67,000
  • Poverty Rate: 30.8%
  • Crime: 5,587 violent crimes and 17,010 property crimes

Cleveland, Ohio is one of the poorest metropolitan areas in the country. The median home value is as low as $67,000. The poverty rate in Cleveland is currently at 30.8%, which is double the national average.

If that's not reason enough for you to avoid Cleveland, then maybe the crime rates are. A deeply shocking 5,587 violent crimes were reported last year and as much as 17,010 property crimes. Out of every 100,000 residents, 1,456 will be the victim of a violent crime and 4,442 will be the victim of a property crime. Perhaps, hold off on that U-Haul for a while.

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Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
  • Median Household Income: $32K
  • Violent Crime: 1,911 out of every 100,000
  • Property Crime: 6,313 out of every 100,000

If you are looking for an area that's safe for your kids, be sure to avoid Birmingham, Alabama. With the highest population in the state, it's no surprise the city suffers from the most crime and poverty. But even when considering the entire population, the crime rates are ridiculously high with people trying to get by on as little as $32K per year. 

Both violent crimes and property crimes in Birmingham are out of control. According to MapQuest's list of the "25 Most Dangerous Cities In The US In 2020," out of every 100,000 people, a staggering 1,911 violent crimes are committed, which is 112% higher than the national average. Fortunately, most of the crimes reported are aggravated assault rather than murder, so while you might get punched in the face, you might not die. To make matters worse there are an estimated 6,313 property crimes out of every 100,000 people. 

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Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut
  • Poverty Rate: 30.5%
  • Unemployment Rate: 7%
  • Violent Crime: 1,066 out of every 100,000

Hartford is undoubtedly rich in history. The capital was home to Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and it's one of the oldest cities in the country. There are plenty of museums to visit and the city is beautifully constructed in general. On the downside, it's in a terrible depression right now.

The poverty rate is currently at 30.5%, while the unemployment rate is 7%. Both statistics are well above the national average. Additionally, 1,066 violent crimes are committed for every 100,000 persons, and 3,602 property crimes. If you've always wanted to live in Hartford, now is not the time. 

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Lansdowne, Maryland

Lansdowne, Maryland
  • Median Home Value: $151,100
  • Poverty Rate: 27.9%
  • Unemployment Rate: 10%

In Lansdowne, Maryland, a population of 8,571 suffers from poverty and crime. As part of Baltimore County, just 10 miles away from the city, there were 583 violent crimes in the area for every 100,000 people in 2018. The community itself has a median home value of $151,100, which is half the median for the entire state. 

Poverty and unemployment are a problem for many residents. An estimated 27.9% of residents are living in poverty, meanwhile, 10.1% are unemployed. Therefore, it's probably a good idea to get as far away from Baltimore as possible. 

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Robstown, Texas

Robstown, Texas
  • Median Home Value: $52,900
  • Poverty Rate: 40.1%
  • Unemployment Rate: 20%

Robstown, Texas is another one of the poorest cities in the country. It has a population of 11,494 and a median home value of $52,900. The poverty rate is exceptionally high at 40.1%. A typical household income in Robstown is a mere $29K.

Unemployment over the last five years has sat at 20%. In part, this is due to a lack of job availability. By comparison, the average unemployment of Texas is 5.4%.

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Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Property Crime: 5,430 people out of every 100,000
  • Violent Crime: 1,065 out of every 100,000
  • Prevalent Firearm Crimes

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, you'll find a ridiculous property crime rate and plenty of violence to go along with it. In fact, Tulsa is the most dangerous city in the state of Oklahoma. Firearm violence is especially prevalent.

Crime statistics show that 5,430 people out of every 100,000 are victims of a property crime. Violent crime statistics reveal that 1,065 are victims of a violent crime. Many of the crimes have involved firearms, and it has become such a problem that Tulsa police have doubled-down on confiscation over the past ten years. 

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Thompsonville, Connecticut

Thompsonville, Connecticut
  • Median Home Value: $173,500
  • Poverty Rate: 25.5%
  • Unemployment Rate: 9.3%

Thompsonville, Connecticut is one of the poorest cities in the state. South of Springfield, Massachusetts, the city is affected by joblessness and low income. The median home value, $173,500, is $100K under the state median.

With a population of only 8,439, you have to wonder why the poverty rate is so high. Poverty currently accounts for 25.5% of the population. The five-year unemployment average is 9.3%, which is higher than the state average. 

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New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Homicide Rate:  37 out of every 100,000
  • A Low of 141 People Killed in 2018
  • Tourists

New Orleans is well-known for its rich culture, Cajun cuisine, and of course, Mardi Gras. There are few cities like it, and for tourists, it's a hot destination. But it also has its dark side. When walking the streets of New Orlean, you really have to consider your safety.

New Orleans may seem like fun, but only until you get murdered. A devastating 37 per 100,000 people homicide rate makes it one of the most dangerous places to live. Luckily, homicide rates are lower compared to previous years. The 141 people killed in 2018 were the lowest number since the 1970s, which is good...we guess.

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Springfield, Missouri

Springfield, Missouri
  • Violent Crime: 1,316 out of every 100,000 
  • Property Crimes:  7,019 out of every 100,000
  • Crime Rate Three Times Higher than the State

There are a lot of Springfields in the country, so to be clear we aren't talking about Springfield, Oregon or Massachusetts, nor the fictional one on "The Simpsons."  Springfield, Missouri has three universities and yet somehow, a city that puts such an emphasis on education, has a terrible problem with violent crimes. 

The crime rate in Springfield is about three times as much as the whole state. There are 1,316 violent crimes for every 100,000 people. Property crimes are even higher with 7,019 for every 100,000. To lower the rate of violence in the city, Springfield Police are working along with the FBI to better target repeat offenders. 

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Bastrop, Louisiana

Bastrop, Louisiana
  • Poverty Rate: 47.%
  • Unemployment Rate: 7.3%
  • Violent Crime: 1,344 out of every 100,00

 

Bastrop is located in northeastern Louisiana and is definitely the worst of the worst places to live in the state. With a population of 10,521, the poverty rate is 47.9%, which means almost half of the population is living in poverty. But hey, at least the unemployment rate is only 7.3%.

Of course, with such a high poverty rate, crime rates are high. An estimated 1,344 incidents per 100,000 people indicate a violent crime rate nearly triple the national average. Crime has forced many people to flee the city and the median home value is now $76,000.

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East St. Louis, Illinois

East St. Louis, Illinois
  • Crimes: 1,190 out of every 100,000
  • Poverty Rate: 37.8%
  • Unemployment Rate: 17.4%

Located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri, East St. Louis is dangerous territory. There were 1,190 crimes reported annually for every 100,000 citizens compared to the state average of only 404. Most of this crime is prevalent in the low-income areas of the city.

East St. Louis has a poverty rate of 37.8%. The average unemployment rate over that last five years has been 17.4%. As a result, property values are low too. In a population of 26,647, $52,200 is super cheap. But in the end, finding a good home for your family is more than about money.

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Lansing, Michigan

Lansing, Michigan
  • 5,570 out of every 100,000
  • Property Crime: 3,030 out of every 100,000

Michigan has a huge problem with violence, overall, even at their capital in Lansing. 5,570 Violent crimes in Lansing account for every 100,000 persons. The property crime rate is at 3,030. Among the most prevalent violent crimes is aggravated assault. So, unless you like getting punched in the face, Lansing is not for you. 

In an effort to thwart the surge of violence in Lansing, Michigan, the Department of Justice granted over $122 Million to the state in an effort to reduce violent crime. This gives hope to many Michigan residents, but especially those in Lansing. As an area with cultural significance, plenty of commercial interest and one of the largest universities in the country, Lansing deserves a lot better.

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Beecher, Michigan

Beecher, Michigan
  • Poverty Rate: 38.4%
  • Unemployment Rate: 23.1%
  • 1 in 5 households making $10,000 per year

Want to make a ton of money? Don't go to Beecher. The city has a population of 9,128 and a poverty rate at 38.4%.  Unemployment is also high at 23.1%. About 1 in 5 households are making less than $10,000 a year. 

Because the city doesn't have much to offer in terms of opportunity, the median home value in Beecher is ludicrously low at $28,600. It's also worth noting that in the county of Genesee, where you'll find Beecher, there are 45 drug overdoses for every 100,000 people.

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Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri
  • Violent Crimes 1,590 out of every 100,000
  • Property Crimes: 4,306 out of every 100,000
  • Kansas Crime Disproportionate to rest of state

Kansas City has an estimated population of about 495,000 people. Of every 100,000 people, 1,590 violent crimes and 4,306 property crimes affect the city. That amounts to over 7,800 violent crimes annually and over 21,000 property crimes. 

Compared to the rest of the state, Kansas City's crime is remarkably disproportionate. On average, Missouri has an average violent crime rate of 502 per every 100,000 persons compared to the 1,590 rate in Kansas City. For over 150 years, violence has been a problem in the city and that doesn't look to be going away anytime soon.

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Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska
  • High Population
  • Violent Crime: 1,309 for every 100,000
  • Property Crime: 4,927 out of every 100,000

Anchorage is one of the most populated cities in the state. It accounts for over 41% of Alaska's population. As such, it also has one of the highest crime rates. If you were thinking Alaska as a generally safer state, think again.

The average crime rate is 1,309 per every 100,000 people. About 210 of all violent crimes are sexual assaults. Regarding property crimes, the average is 4,927 per every 100,000. Most victims in the state are women, about 59%, making it a more dangerous place for women to live.

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Helena-West Helena, Arkansas

Helena-West Helena, Arkansas
  • Median Home Value: $75,600
  • Poverty Rate: 41.7%
  • Unemployment Rate: 12.2%

While the prospect of a cheap home may sound appealing, Helena-West Helena also offers a high poverty rate. The median home value is a mere $75,600 in a city populated with 10,965. Of all those people, 41.7% are living in poverty. The unemployment rate is high as well, at 12.2%.

Crime is also a concern in Helena-West Helena. The last recorded crime data revealed as much as 471 property crimes and 157 violent crimes. That makes your chances of being a victim of a violent crime 1 in 66, a chance we personally wouldn't be willing to take.

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Stockton, California

Stockton, California
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Violent Crime:  1,399 out of every 100,000
  • Property Crime: 3768 out of every 100,000

Due to the 2008 Recession, this city was one of the largest cities to file for bankruptcy.  Stockton, California now suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. While the city exited bankruptcy in 2013, work opportunities in the city had not changed. This makes it a breeding ground area for crime. 

Stockton is the most dangerous city in the state and moreover, one of the most dangerous cities in the entire country. Violent crime accounts for 1,399 incidents for every 100,000 people. Property crimes are even higher at 3,768. 

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Clifton, Colorado

Clifton, Colorado
  • Median Household Income: $42,000
  • Poverty Rate: 25.6%
  • Unemployment Rate: 11%

Clifton, Colorado has a population of over 20,500. The median home value in Clifton is $138,000, making it an affordable place to live. The problem with the city is its high poverty rate and unemployment rate.

At 25.6%, poverty is much higher than the rest of the state. The median household income is $42,000 but many people in the city are making as little as $10,000. Unemployment in the state is as high as 11% versus the state at 4.7%.

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Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee
  • Property Crimes: 6,405 out of every 100,000
  • 186 Homicides involve a gun
  • Violent Crimes: 1,9043 out of every 100,000

Memphis Tennessee is one of the most notorious cities in the south. Among every 100,000 people, 6,405 property crimes and 1,943 violent crimes are reported. Over the years, Memphis has garnered a reputation for violence, as it has even been the site of famous murders such as the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and plenty of gang violence too. 

Firearm violence is huge in Memphis. In just the past year, 186 out of all homicides involved a gun. Plans designed by the US Attorney General are currently underway to reduce firearm violence. However, in the meantime, it's best to stay far away from Memphis.  

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Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Johnstown, Pennsylvania
  • Poverty Rate: 38.7%
  • Unemployment Rate: 14.2%
  • Median Home Value: 39K

Jobs in Johnstown, Pennsylvania are becomingly increasingly hard to come by. With a population of 19,812, the poverty rate is currently 38.7%. By comparison, the state average is 12.8%. Unemployment is also nearly triple the state average at 14.2%. 
 

Due to poverty and high unemployment, property values are low. The median home value for Johnstown is $39K. On top of this, drug use is a problem in Cambria County where Johnstown lies. For every 100,000 residents, 61 drug overdoses occur each year.

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Oakland, California

Oakland, California
  • Property Crimes: 5,390 out of every 100,000
  • 610 out of all property crimes are robberies
  • Violent Crimes: 1,273 out of every 100,000 people

Oakland, California has garnered a notorious reputation for violence. While violent crimes went down in 2018, violence is still quadrupling the national average. And unlike, most cities with high crime levels, low property value isn't an excuse. 

Violence and robbery are two major areas of concern. Property crimes account for 5,390 for every 100,000 people. Of those incidents, 610 of them are robberies. If you aren't scared enough by that, then consider the 1,273 violent crimes for every 100,000 people.

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Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Violent Crimes: 1,364 out of every 100,000
  • Property Crimes: 6,179 out of every 100,000
  • Aggravated assaults most prevalent crime

The meth empire in "Breaking Bad" maybe fictional, but Albuquerque is no stranger to crime. The New Mexico city has 1,364 violent crimes per every 100,000 individuals. The property crime average is at a shocking 6,179.

Nearly half of all crime committed in New Mexico happens in Albuquerque. Most crime incidents in the area are aggravated assaults, which are three times the national average. Sexual assaults and homicides are nearly twice the average rate. While data for 2020 has not yet been revealed, as it stands, it's not worth the risk unless you are really dying to live near Los Pollos Hermanos.

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  •  8,505 violent crimes and 18,130 property crimes last reported
  • Poverty Rate: 26.6%
  • Median Household Income: $42,087

One of the most populated cities in the state,  Milwaukee, Wisconsin is also one of the most dangerous with the highest rate of violent crimes.  The last crime stats indicated that there were 8,505 violent crimes and 18,130 property crimes. 

Poverty rates in the state are alarming as well. There is a 26.6% poverty rate with 155,000 out of 581,000 people living in poverty.  The median household income according to Data USA is $42,087. 

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Fair Oaks, Georgia

Fair Oaks, Georgia
  • Median Home Value: $100,900
  • Only two out of three complete high school
  • Poverty Rate: 32.6%

Fair Oaks, Georgia 20 miles from Downtown Atlanta, has nearly a third of its population living in poverty. The median home value is $100,900 and there are 9,173 residents in the city. Although Georgia itself has a median home value of only $166K, the poverty rate and unemployment rates are well above average.

Opportunities in Fair oaks are somewhat limited in terms of jobs and education. Only two out of every three people will complete high school and only one and ten graduate from college. The poverty rate is 32.6% and unemployment is over 8%.  

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Makaha, Hawaii

Makaha, Hawaii
  • Median Home Value: $383,200
  • Poverty Rate: 28%
  • Unemployment Rate: 16.7%

When you think of Hawaii, you probably think of it as a tropical paradise just like they advertise in the travel brochure. However, the city of Makaha is anything but paradise for the residents there. For one, the median home value is $383,200, more than $200,000 below the state level. 

Among the 8,740 residents of Makaha, 28% are living in poverty. The average unemployment over the past five years was 16.7%, triple the state average. Although there are several beaches for tourists to enjoy, Makaha's not a great place to settle down.

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East Chicago, Indiana

East Chicago, Indiana
  • 29 drug-related death out of every 100,000
  • Median Home Value: $73,000
  • Poverty Rate: 32.5%

East Chicago in Indiana can be found in the northwest corner of the state and is 20 miles from downtown Chicago. The population of 28,448 continues to struggle economically and drugs are a concern too. In the county, 29 drug-related deaths in the county affect every 100,000 persons.

The median home value in the area is $73,900. Property values are low in part due to the high poverty levels and unemployment. An estimated 32.5% of residents are at poverty level. The 12.5% unemployment rate is also high considering the state average. 

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Camden, New Jersey

Camden, New Jersey
  • 256 Opioid Overdoses
  • Unemployment Rate: 12.6%
  • Poverty Rate: 36.8%

Camden New Jersey is affected by both a high poverty rate and a huge drug problem. The city has a population exceeding 74,600, and among the population there are a huge number of drug users. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that the number of opioid overdoses was 256.

Poverty, of course, often plays a factor in high drug use. Poverty rate in Camden is a staggering 36.8%. The average unemployment is 12.6%. Over time, the population has decreased by 3.6% over the last five years, which means more people are leaving Camden than moving in. 

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