It's the American dream, right? Living in the U.S., reaping the benefits of a thriving first-world country, and exploring the countless stunning cities and states that the United States has to offer. Well, while some people do indeed get the chance to live the American Dream, it seems as though some people don't get that opportunity. New census data has confirmed that these are the worst cities in America to live in, and if you're thinking your home city must be on the list... this is your chance to find out.
The city of Wichita in Kansas is a city of two halves. On the one hand, you have a thriving city that brings a huge amount of money to the economy, especially within the aeronautical space. On the other hand, however, you have a city that's teeming with crime. In fact, census data shows that it's one of the worst cities in America for its crime rate. So much so that the U.S. Department of Justice has had to get involved.
They've put the Wichita Police Department on their radar, offering them a three-year program that gives the officers extra training and assistance to tackle the crime rates in their city.
As the second-largest state in the U.S., there's no doubt about the fact that Texas is full to the brim with happy locals. But you won't find too many of them in the city of Freeport - as more and more people move away from this place on a yearly basis. However, that's all down to mother nature. Due to its location on the gulf coast, this city is hit hard every single hurricane season. And it's a tough place to live.
In fact, only 30% of kids who grow up in Freeport stay in Freeport to go to college - so it seems as though they can't get away quickly enough.
Many people dream of one day moving to the Golden State, with so many amazing cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco calling this state their home. But, sadly, the same can't be said for Emeryville. Often considered to be one of the worst places in America, Emeryville is home to just 12,000 people, and many of those people want to leave. After all, the crime rate is much higher than average.
According to census data, Emeryville residents have a 1 in 70 chance of being a victim of physical crime and a 1 in 6 chance of being a victim of property crime! Those aren't good odds.
You might associate the name Gautier with a very famous high-end luxury fashion brand; the people of Gautier in Jackson County, Mississippi, are worlds away from Parisian perfection. Home to around 20,000 residents, the city of Gautier had the chance to be a thriving community of Southern charm and friendly neighbors. However, census data suggests that this is actually one of the most dangerous places in the whole state of Mississippi.
One quick look at the Google images of Gautier will show you that this city needs some love - but it's not the residents' fault. The city took a beating during Hurricane Katrina, and it's struggled to survive ever since.
New Haven, Connecticut
You probably don't need us to tell you that New Haven is arguably one of the most famous cities in Connecticut and maybe even the whole country. After all, this place is home to the prestigious Ivy League college, Yale University! And while many parents dream of sending their kids to this New England dreamscape, the city of New Haven (outside of the campus) isn't as beautiful as many would assume.
When you make your way off-campus, you're greeted with a high crime rate of 39 per 1,000 residents - and what makes this even worse is the extremely high homicide rate.
Grants Pass, Oregon
When you think of Oregon, you probably think of hipsters sitting in coffee shops, stunning nature trails, and, of course, Lewis and Clark's famous expedition. And while there's no doubt that the city of Grants Pass in Oregon is the perfect location for those who want to sit on the doorstep of forest walks and river rapids, the city itself is considered to be one of the worst cities in America.
This census data has shown a steep decline in Grants Pass's reputation since the Rogue River burst its banks in 2018. Homes were torn down and badly damaged, and that ultimately had a trickle-down effect on the whole economy.
Tennessee has long been a popular state for retirees, but if your grandparents are planning on moving to Chattanooga, you might want to tell them to avoid the busier metropolitan area. That's because this city is teeming with gang activity, and as a result, the crime rate is extremely high. In fact, it was once considered the 23rd most dangerous city in the whole of the United States of America.
Census data suggests that around 1,065 crimes occur in Chattanooga per 100,000 residents, which is something you might not want your elderly residents to deal with during their slower years.
Nobody wants to live somewhere where the crime rate is high, and the employment rate is low, and it seems as though that's exactly why the population count of Camilla in Georgia is decreasing year on year. Although an unemployment rate of 20% doesn't sound too bad, it sounds even worse when you learn that just 5,000 people live in this city. And when people don't have jobs, they often turn to crime.
Because of this, Camilla is considered a fairly dangerous place to live. And while some people choose to suck it up and stand by their home, there are many others that go in search of pastures new.
What comes to your mind when you think of Colorado? The Rocky Mountains? Stunning ski resorts? Impressive river trails? Well, that's certainly what you'll see if you travel to the likes of Aspen, Colorado Springs, or Boulder - but not if you travel to Pueblo. Often called the 'Steel City,' this place is one of the largest steel producers in the whole country. But this thriving economy hasn't done anything for the crime rate.
With a violent crime rate of around 1,052 per 100,000 people, this crime rate is something that puts many people off. In fact, many people are leaving their homes in Pueblo in search of safer neighborhoods.
Did you know that there are 67 Springfields in the U.S.? But only one Springfield can take the crown as the very first Springfield - and that honor goes to Springfield, Missouri. However, it seems as though the celebrations should end there, as this city doesn't have a very good reputation. It's considered to be one of the worst places to live in America thanks to its incredibly high crime rate.
In 2017, there were over 40 violent crimes per 10,000 residents, and property crime is particularly common in this city. As if that wasn't enough, the unemployment rate is also pretty high.
Did you know that Lansing is actually the capital of the state of Michigan? Because of this, so many people choose to add this city to their bucket list - especially if they're from Michigan and proud of their roots. But while this honor is something that the city should be proud of, it's fair to say that the city has struggled over the years. In fact, it has a high crime, unemployment, and poverty rate.
However, the local authorities are working extremely hard to correct these wrongs, and are currently pouring a huge amount of money into turning this city into a thriving Michigan metropolis.
Dubbed the Sunshine State, Florida is a popular state for tourists, retirees, and sun worshippers alike. But it seems as though those honors should just be reserved for the likes of Orlando and Miami - and the U.S. census data suggests that Jacksonville should be left to the side. That's because the city has been criticized for its lack of greenery and its general lack of open space for residents to enjoy.
What makes it worse is the fact that the city spends just shy of $33 on parks every single year because they have so few. And that's enough to make anyone miserable.
If you look at the photo below, you might see what looks like typical American suburbia. But while the houses in Bakersfield, California, look large and well put together, many of them sit empty due to the decline in the number of people who live there. That's because Bakersfield is home to numerous power plants, which means that the city is one of the most polluted places in the United States.
It seems as though the people who do still live there aren't too fond of it, either. Bakersfield locals have also voted their city as the place with the worst food in America on numerous occasions.
You were probably expecting to see this city on the list, right? The city of Flint in Michigan is one of the most infamous cities in the whole country, thanks to the Flint water crisis. In 2014, over 100,000 residents were faced with contaminated water that had extremely high levels of lead and Legionella bacteria. To this day, the city is still dealing with the after-effects of this terrible disaster.
This, coupled with the fact that Flint has a 41% poverty rate and a high crime rate, makes it one of the worst places for anyone to live in America.
You probably don't need us to tell you that Memphis is one of the most famous cities in the U.S. Known for its musical roots, it's considered to be the birthplace of the blues and of rock and roll, and there's no doubt that the food is also second to none. Because of this, it's a huge tourist trap - something that can be hugely detrimental to a city. And today, it's dealing with a terrible poverty rate.
A high poverty rate also goes hand-in-hand with a high crime rate, and Memphis has that, too. It's still an iconic city - but there's no doubt that it has its struggles.
Connecticut is celebrated for its New England charm - and everyone loves the look of this state during the fall with its orange leaves and its crisp air. But amongst the beauty of Connecticut, you also have the city of Bridgeport, which is considered to be one of the worst cities in America. This is largely due to the high crime rate - although significant redevelopment in the city is bringing this rate down.
Despite this, many of the people who grow up in Bridgeport struggle to maintain their love for the place. This has resulted in many people moving away to other areas of the state.
At first glance, it may look as though the city of Gary in Indiana is in good shape. This government building looks grand and important - and you've got to love it when the sun is shining! But behind all of that you have a struggling city that's considered to be one of the worst in America. And that's mainly because most of the people who used to live here have since left it deserted.
Once considered the murder and narcotics capital of the United States, this city is still suffering from high unemployment levels and a high poverty rate. So, most people just leave.
Huntington Park, California
While California is often the entry point for those looking to experience the American Dream for themselves, living out this dream can be difficult - especially in Huntington Park. 97% of this city is made up of Latino residents, with many of them being illegal immigrants. Because of this, many of the locals can't legally work. This pushes them below the poverty line and has increased the crime rate over the years.
Many of the people who live in Huntington wish that they could have a better quality of life, but it's difficult for them to get out of their vicious cycle. Fingers crossed things get better for them.
As the birthplace of the modern automobile, Detroit will always have its place in American history. The city is rich in culture, and it's clear to see why so many people choose to visit this place. However, it's still considered to be one of the worst places to live in the U.S. It seems as though the economy has shifted over the years, with more and more businesses collapsing, people losing their jobs, and buildings sitting derelict.
Because of this, many people have described Detroit as a very "ugly" city - and that's before we mention the fact that the crime rate has just gone up and up.
Just outside of Las Vegas, you have Reno. And while there was once a time when Reno was going to be the next big Sin City, these plans didn't quite get off the ground. Today, it's known as 'Mini Las Vegas,' and there's no doubt that this small-town casino charm is something that some people absolutely love. However, when you look beyond the casinos and the bright lights, you'll see a lot of failed businesses and abandoned buildings.
With a low employment rate and a high poverty rate, it should probably come as no surprise to learn that crime in Reno is also rife. Because of this, it's considered one of the worst cities in America.
Did you know that Hialeah is the sixth-largest city in Florida? Not only that, but it also has the second-highest proportion of Hispanic Americans of any community in the United States. Unfortunately for these people, it's not considered a great place for them to live. Overall, Hialeah has a 44% unemployment rate, 31% of the population doesn't have health insurance, and 26% of locals live way under the poverty line.
Because of this, it's considered one of the worst cities in America. But let's hope that we'll see a turnaround in Hialeah over the next few years, so the residents can fall back in love with their city.
New Brunswick, New Jersey
You might immediately think of the Jersey Shore when you think of New Jersey, but there is so much more to this state than you might realize. There are so many amazing cities there, but according to U.S. census data, New Brunswick isn't one of them. It's considered to be one of the worst places in America due to the fact that so many of the residents struggle to find work and live below the poverty line.
As if that wasn't enough, the city has also struggled with violence over the past few years. In 2017 alone, gun crimes increased by a whopping 64% over the course of just one year.
North Miami, Florida
If you travel 10 miles north of Miami, you'll find the city of North Miami. And while its southern neighbor is celebrated for being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of the United States, it seems as though most people want to avoid North Miami. But that's not due to the people or the economy - it's down to its location. In fact, North Miami constantly battles intense flooding from high tides.
As the sea levels continue to rise, it's believed that almost 3,000 septic tanks are close to failing. This has left many locals wondering what will happen to all of the human waste.
There's no doubt about the fact that the United States of America has suffered at the hands of natural disasters over the years. And just like many other cities on this list, Albany in Georgia has suffered, too. As well as suffering from the destruction that Hurricane Irma caused in 2017, Albany has also had to deal with a deadly tornado. For a city that relies heavily on agriculture, this devastated the locals and their economy.
Today, around 30% of people who live in Albany live below the poverty line, and this means that many people have turned to crime to ensure they can have a meal in front of them.
St. Louis, Missouri
Known for its iconic Gateway arch, its rich musical history, and its incredibly loyal sports fans, you might be surprised to see St. Louis on this list. But while this Missouri city is popular with tourists and travelers alike, it seems as though the people who live here don't feel the same magic as those just stopping by. In fact, the crime rate in St. Louis has become a major problem over the years.
Gun violence is particularly prevalent in St. Louis, but it seems as though local governments are trying to crack down on such events. So, let's hope they can fix it with time.
San Bernardino, California
If you're not familiar with San Bernardino's history, you may not have realized that this city is extremely famous in the fast food industry. That's because this city was home to the very first McDonald's restaurant! But while this little nugget of information is a very cool claim to fame, it seems as though that's not been enough for San Bernardino to thrive over the past few decades. In fact, it's struggling.
Over 30% of the people who live here live in poverty, and a huge chunk of people are unable to find jobs to help them create the life they've always wanted for themselves.
Port Arthur, Texas
Texas is a huge state, but what you might not realize is that Texas is actually home to over 1,000 cities! One of them is Port Arthur, which census data has sadly described as one of the worst places to live in America. This is all thanks to the location of the city, and the fact that it's been hit by so many different natural disasters over the past few decades.
In fact, it's been hit by three hurricanes since 2005, which has resulted in billions of dollars of damage that local authorities just can't afford to fix. However, they're certainly trying.
Paterson, New Jersey
It's always sad to see a city devastated by a natural disaster. These things aren't their fault, and something that just couldn't be predicted - and that's exactly what happened to the city of Paterson in New Jersey. Before 2011, this city was a thriving metropolis. But when Hurrican Irene hit the city and caused the Great Falls River to burst its banks, the city struggled to survive the fallout.
In their attempts to flee the floods, residents abandoned over 1,250 homes, which have since fallen into disarray. In fact, many people haven't returned - which has severely affected the economy.
Although you might not be familiar with the city of Cicero in Illinois, you'll probably be familiar with the name Al Capone. And this infamous gangster once used this city as his own personal playground, which paved the way for the current gang violence that plagues the locals. Of course, local authorities have tried their best to combat this gang violence, and they even have an order in place that forces gang members to pay fines.
However, it's not done enough to rid the city of violence altogether, and it's now considered to be one of the most unsafe places in the U.S. Some scared residents have even left because of it.
California is a really interesting state. On the one hand, you have stunning beaches and bustling cities. On the other hand, you have arid desert landscapes that are barely habitable. The city of Lancaster is one of those desert locations, with very few people who grow up in Lancaster choosing to stay there throughout their adult years. But it's not just the dry heat that pushes them away from their home.
A whopping 49% of the people who live here are unemployed, which means a huge percentage of people are also living below the poverty line. So, many people leave for employment elsewhere.
Macon-Bibb County, Georgia
With its Southern charm and famous peaches, there's no doubt about the fact that Georgia is an impressive state. But it seems as though it can be a little rough around the edges in some places, and this is especially true when you go to Macon-Bibb County. According to census data, it's one of the worst places to live in the U.S - and that's largely due to the unoccupied buildings all over the place.
To be more specific, there are almost 4,000 abandoned buildings in this city, which makes the whole place look run-down and unloved. Of course, things are improving, but very slowly.
There was once a time when Youngstown was a thriving community, thanks to the impressive steel production that occurred in this city. But when the biggest steel factory in the local area decided to close its doors in the late 1970s, the city started to go in decline. Countless people lost their jobs, houses were left empty, and people struggled to make ends meet. Unfortunately, it's struggled to get back on its feet since then.
As if that wasn't enough, the city was criticized in 2017 for having the worst air pollution in the whole state. Because of this, more and more people are choosing to leave.
West New York, New Jersey
Most people can't afford to live in the state of New York, which is why New Jersey seems like such a good option for commuters. In fact, workers could travel from West New York to Manhattan in just over 40 minutes! But while the rent is certainly cheaper, that doesn't mean that living here will make you happier. 22% of the people who live here live below the poverty line, and it's apparently very dirty.
As well as having trash all over the place, those who live in West New York also state that parking is a nightmare - with cars here, there, and everywhere. But you can't deny that it's convenient for those who work in the Big Apple.
Many people dream of living near the water. And before 2015, the people of Shreveport in Louisana relished the fact that they had the Red River flowing right on their doorstep. However, that all changed when the river burst its banks almost a decade ago and completely flooded the whole city. Homes were lost, businesses crumbled, and the whole place fell into disarray as they tried to pick up the remaining pieces left behind.
Unfortunately, as more people struggled with unemployment and homelessness, the crime rate shot up. It's now considered to be one of the most dangerous places to live in the U.S.
Back in the day, Anderson in Indiana was a thriving factory city. It was home to a whopping 24 General Motors factories that employed almost all of the locals - and life was fairly uneventful for those who lived and worked there. But when all of these factories closed down and around 23,000 people found themselves unemployed overnight, the city struggled to regain its footing. Since then, it's continued to struggle.
In fact, so many people have chosen to leave Anderson behind that the city had to shell out almost $3 million in 2015 to demolish hundreds of abandoned homes that were taking up too much space.
Newark, New Jersey
Have you heard about Newark in New Jersey? Although this city looks as though it could be a thriving metropolis, there's something much darker going on under the surface. In fact, it's happening through the water pipes. That's because many of the people who live in Newark have fallen ill due to a large amount of lead in the main water. And when people are coming down with lead poisoning, your economy starts to suffer.
Unfortunately, the troubles don't end there. With racial tension rife, it seems as though the crime rates keep going up and up on a yearly basis, and this is having a huge impact on the city.
It's hard when local authorities don't understand the struggles of regular people, and this has ultimately made Jackson, Mississippi, one of the worst places in America to live. And while this place is home to beautiful buildings and a rich history, 29% of the population lives below the poverty line. And when 20,000 residents struggled to pay $45 million worth of bills a few years ago, the local government threatened to cut off their water.
Because of this, more and more people have chosen to leave their homes behind and say goodbye to Jackson for good. And, of course, that hasn't helped the economy at all.
If you're not sure where Brownsville is on a map, all you need to know is that it's right on the border of Mexico and the United States. As you can imagine, this means that it's home to many illegal immigrants who use this city as the gateway to their American dream. Of course, the authorities know exactly what happens here - which is why the city is constantly monitored and paroled by the police.
This makes it a very undesirable area for people to move, which has left many struggling homeowners battling high mortgages that they just can't afford. Because of this, 31% of the locals live below the poverty line.
At first glance, Hallandale looks as though it could be a real beauty spot. From its proximity to white sandy beaches to the countless waterways that snake through this city, there's no doubt that it looks appealing. However, the city has a bad reputation - so much so that the locals call it Hound-ale Beach. But what's caused the bad reputation, we hear you ask? Well, it's the strip clubs.
Hallandale is home to so many strip clubs that these establishments seem to have taken over the city. This, coupled with the lack of employment options, makes this city one of the worst in the U.S.
Camden, New Jersey
New Jersey is home to some great cities, but according to U.S. census data, Camden is not one of them. Although it hasn't been hit by natural disasters or suffered the loss of big factories, the people who live here don't get paid a lot. The average income for people who live in Camden is just over $26,000 - which is very much below the American average. So, people are struggling to live.
37% of the people who live here are living in poverty, and with more and more people struggling for food, there are more and more people turning to crime. Because of this, it's not a great place to live.