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.
Comparing entire cities to each other can be problematic, particularly since living conditions can vary from one neighborhood to the next. Still, as much as a city can be judged on the whole, some cities face widespread problems that detract from residents’ overall quality of life.
> Worst city to live: Hartford
> Population: 124,014
> Median home value: $159,200
> Poverty rate: 28.3%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 16.9%
The population of many New England cities is shrinking as residents move south in favor of a low cost of living and good job market. Hartford is one such city. 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 also has one of the highest unemployment rates among major cities, comparable with Flint, Michigan and Compton, California. 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 10.5% statewide poverty rate. Additionally, there were 1,141 violent crimes per 100,000 Hartford residents in 2015, by far the most of any large Connecticut city and five times the corresponding statewide violent crime rate.
American cities are often held to the standards of national averages, or against all of the other cities in a country. However, for the residents that actually live in these places, a more appropriate point of comparison are those cities that can be found nearby, in the same state.
To determine America’s worst cities to live in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the largest U.S. cities. 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 the worst city to live in each state.