Quality of life in an American city often depends on the neighborhood one lives in, as abject poverty and crime can be found just blocks away from prosperity. Still, as much as a city can be judged on the whole, some cities face widespread problems that detract from their residents’ overall quality of life.
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.
> Population: 124,014
> Median home value: $159,200
> Poverty rate: 28.3%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 16.9%
Hartford is one of many cities in New England where the population is shrinking as more residents move south in favor of a low cost of living and good job market. With goods and services costing 17 cents more on the dollar in Hartford than they do nationwide, the city is one of the most expensive in the country. Hartford is also tied with Flint, Michigan and Compton, California as the city with the seventh highest unemployment rate. An estimated 10.4% of the Hartford labor force was unemployed in 2015, nearly double the 5.3% national figure. While the U.S. population grew 3.9% in the last five years, Hartford’s population declined by 0.7%.
Hartford’s economic decline has led to widespread crime and poverty. Some 28.3% of Hartford residents live below the poverty line, far more than the 14.7% national poverty rate. There were 1,141 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in Hartford in 2015, one of the worst violent crime rates of any city.
To determine America’s worst cities to live in, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the 551 U.S. cities with a population of 65,000 or more as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. 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 America’s 50 worst cities to live.