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: Merced
> Population: 82,440
> Median home value: $204,400
> Poverty rate: 35.1%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 19.5%
Merced is located about 75 miles east of San Jose. While it does not face the same level of risk as those cities closer to the San Andreas fault, a serious earthquake is not out of the question for the California city. More tangible difficulties making the city a less than desirable place to live include an annual unemployment rate of 10.7%, one of the worst in both California and the nation as a whole. In addition, Merced’s poverty rate of 35.1% is the worst of any large California city and more than double the national rate of 14.7%.
Relative to the size of its population, Merced is generally lacking in amenities, including below average numbers of restaurants, bars, libraries, and museums per capita.
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.