Desert Town (Small Town U.S.A.)

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East St. Louis is the most dangerous city in the most dangerous metro area in the United States. Across the broader St. Louis metro area, there were 2, violent crimes for every , residents in — more than five times the national violent crime rate of incidents per , people. In East St. Louis, there were 2, violent crimes per , residents, more than seven times the national rate. High crime areas are often poor, and many in East St. Louis face serious financial hardship. Unsafe streets and widespread poverty may be driving some out of the city. In the last five years, East St.


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Louis's population declined by 1. Bridgeton, a small city in southern New Jersey, is the worst city to live in in the state and one of the worst in the country. Lower-income residents are further burdened by the city's high cost of living. Goods and services are 9. Like many cities on this list, Bridgeton is losing residents. Over the last five years, the city's population declined by 1.


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  7. Over the past five years, the number of jobs in Prichard, Alabama has decreased by nearly 17 percent, one of the highest rates of job losses anywhere in the country. Over the same period, employment climbed 6. Prichard, like many other low income areas on this list, is losing residents.

    In the last five years, Prichard's population dropped by 3. Flint, Michigan, is one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the United States.

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    Poor areas often report higher crime levels than more affluent places, and in Flint, there were 1, violent crimes for every , people in , more than in over 90 percent of all U. Flint has made national news in recent years after it was discovered that the city water supply was contaminated with lead. The contamination crisis has driven people out of the city and depressed real estate values. In the last five years, Flint's population fell by 5. Avenal, California ranks as one of the 10 worst cities to live in part because it is losing jobs at a much faster rate than almost anywhere else in the country.

    15. Scottsdale, Arizona

    From to , employment dropped by more than 23 percent in the California city. This is at least partially explained by the fact that, in the same time period, the city's population dropped by More than one in every three Avenal residents live below the poverty line.

    Gibsonton, Florida

    Like many cities on this list, Anniston, Alabama, is losing residents. In the last five years, Anniston's population declined by 4. Over the same period, the number of people working in the city fell by a staggering The city's population decline may be attributable to low incomes and a high violent crime rate. Additionally, there were 3, violent crimes for every , people in Anniston in , the most of any city in the country. Waianae, Hawaii, is one of the few cities on this list with a higher median income than the U.

    Bigger paychecks are not nearly enough to cover the high cost of living in Waianae, however. The high cost of living imposes an especially heavy burden on the relatively large share of Waianae residents living below the poverty line. Of the city's 13, residents, 27 percent live in poverty, a higher poverty rate than in over 90 percent of U.

    In Bastrop, Louisiana, there were 1, violent crimes reported for every , residents in That means violent crimes occurred there nearly four times as frequently as they did in America as a whole. Crime is often more common in poorer areas, and Bastrop has one of the highest poverty rates of any U. Some Like many other cities that rank among the worst places to live, Bastrop is losing a significant portion of its residents. In the past five years, the city's population fell by 6. With 2, violent crimes reported per , residents a year, Bessemer, Alabama, has the second highest violent crime rate in the nation, trailing only Anniston, Alabama.

    Bessemer also has the sixth highest property crime rate with nearly 9, reported property crimes per , residents.

    In addition to high crime, residents face a number of economic challenges. Nearly 30 percent of residents live in poverty, and more than one in three residents have low access to grocery store or super markets. Highland Park, Michigan, ranks as the fifth worst city to live in the country in part because it is the poorest American city by a wide margin. In Highland Park, which is within the Detroit metro area, 49 percent of residents live below the poverty line — one of the highest poverty rates nationwide.

    The city's five-year average unemployment rate of The economic situation in Highland Park has worsened in recent years. From to , employment has dropped more than 15 percent. Makaha is the worst city to live in in Hawaii and among the five worst in the country. Like other cities in the state, Makaha ranks poorly largely because of its high cost of living and low affordability.

    Goods and services are Housing is particularly unaffordable. Makaha is also struggling with a high jobless rate. The Census estimates that an average of 9. California City, California, residents are some of the most likely to be unemployed. Over the past five years, the average unemployment rate in city was Over the same period, employment in the city fell by This lack of jobs likely contributes to the city's Florida City is the most dangerous city in the state. There were 2, violent crimes reported for every , residents in — nearly six times higher than the national violent crime rate.

    The city, located about 35 miles south of Miami, also has a high property crime rate. Property crimes include burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft, and there were 7, reported incidents of these crimes for every , residents in , more than triple the national property crime rate. High crime areas are often lower income, and the share of people living below the poverty line in Florida City is staggering.

    Florida City's In Mendota, California, just 1. The city also has one of the poorest populations in the country. The widespread financial insecurity is partially attributable to a lack of jobs. In the affordability category, the ratio of the median home value to the median income was given full weight.

    Cities where the median home value is closer to the median household income were rewarded.

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    Cost of living, as determined by the average cost of goods and services in an area relative to average prices across the nation as a whole, was given a full weight. Property taxes are largely levied at the local level, and cities where residents pay more property taxes as a percentage of their home value were penalized.

    Property taxes were given a one-quarter weighting. In the economy category, the unemployment rate was also given a full weight. We used five-year average unemployment due to lack of comparable annual data at local levels. Five-year employment growth and the share of the total working-age population with a job were each given a half weight, favoring areas with greater employment and growing jobs opportunities.

    In the quality of life category, the poverty rate was given a full weight, penalizing cities where poverty is more common. The share of the population that struggles to put food on the table due to distance from a grocery store, known as the food insecurity rate, was given full weight. In cases where city-level data was not available, mortality rates were imputed from county level data. The drug overdose mortality rate was given a one-quarter weighting, as was the hospital readmission rate, or the share of those released from the hospital who were readmitted within 30 days.

    Distance from the center of the city to the nearest hospital was given full weight. The number of hospitalizations that would have been prevented by regularly scheduled doctor visits for every 1, Medicare enrollees — known as the preventable hospitalization rate — was given half weighting. Measures used in the community category included the average travel time to work, which was given full weight. The violent crime rate — the total number of rapes, robberies, murders, and aggravated assaults adjusted per , residents per year— was given full weight.

    So, too, was the property crime rate, which is the total number of burglaries, larcenies, motor vehicle thefts, and incidents of arson per , residents per year. The share of commuters either walking, cycling, or taking public transit to work was given half weight. The total number of restaurants, bars, museums, theater companies, movie theaters, libraries, and parks per capita were each given a one-quarter weighting. To avoid geographic clustering, we only took the top-ranking city in a given county. Our list includes cities, towns, villages, boroughs, and Census designated places.

    We did not include places with fewer than 8, residents in our analysis. Median household income, median home value, average travel time to work, poverty rate, population, employment-to-population ratio, median property taxes paid, and average unemployment rate are all five-year estimates from the U.

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    Drug overdose mortality rates are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are for the years to Mortality rates and hospital readmission rates are from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and are as of June These are the worst cities to live in America. Is yours one of them? Bridgeport, Conn.