The 10 worst places to live in America as per WalletPop using a variety of criteria, including unemployment rates, health data, the number of foreclosures, crime statistics, climate and other measures of misery. High on the list and a common thread in many of these places is political corruption.
1. El Centro, California – Population: 41,241
Welcome to the home of the highest unemployment in the United States at 27.5%. OUCH!
One in four people here are out of work and the city holds the not-so distinguished honor of having the highest unemployment rate — 27.5%.
The desert city, which is located in Imperial County just across the border from Mexicali, has a jobless rate triple the national average of 9.5% thanks to the seasonal fluctuations of field laborers.
2. Cleveland, Ohio – Population: 431,363
LeBron James isn’t the only person leaving Cleveland. The U.S. Census estimated that 2,658 people left the city in 2009, the largest numerical drop among America’s major cities.
Forbes also put Cleveland atop its list of most miserable U.S. cities, factoring in its high unemployment (although at 9.1% it’s below the national average), high taxes, lousy weather, political corruption and lousy sports teams — and that was before LeBron decided to leave.
Nicknamed the “Mistake by the Lake,” Cleveland ranked near the bottom when looking at corruption on the Forbes list. “Northern Ohio has seen 309 public officials convicted of crimes over the past 10 years,” according to the Forbes story, which cites data from the Justice Department. “A current FBI investigation of public officials in Cuyahoga County (where Cleveland is located) has ensnared more than two dozen government employees and businessmen on charges including bribery, fraud and tax evasion.”
Cleveland also ranks in the top third of all metro areas for foreclosure rates. The city has thousands of abandoned homes, in part because it provided down payments through the federally-funded Afford-a-Home program to many people who could not afford their mortgage payments.
3. Detroit, Michigan – Population: 871,121
Conveniently enough, Detroit is #4 with a bullet on Forbes “most miserable” city’s list.
Detroit is America’s most dangerous city, with 1,220 violent crimes per 100,000 people, according to violent crime statistics from the FBI’s latest uniform crime report, issued in 2008. It’s heavy reliance on the stumbling auto industry hasn’t helped matters much. Motown also boasts high foreclosure and unemployment rates
4. Las Vegas, Nevada – Population: 552,539
High unemployment and a housing foreclosure nightmare makes it unbelievable that Democrat Senate Majority leader Harry Reid would have a chance of re-election in 2010. If he does, the people of Nevada have no one to blame but themselves for their continued plight.
Las Vegas was one of the hardest hit cities when the housing bubble burst.
In fact, the metro area was at the epicenter of the mess, with the highest foreclosure rate in the country in 2009, according to a report on by RealtyTrac. So many homes are empty that some neighborhoods either have no one around or one lone resident. That doesn’t make for much of a neighborhood block party. Nationwide, 2.21% of housing units received a foreclosure filing in 2009, compared to 12% in Las Vegas.
5. Oklahoma City, Okla. – Population: 560,332
Oklahoma City is the unhealthiest city in the country, as measured by the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual fitness index.
6. Los Angeles, California – Population: 3,849,378
If you don’t really care about breathing, Los Angeles is a great place. The metro area that stretches from Long Beach to Riverside has the worst ozone pollution in the country, according to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report for 2010. Along with being tops in ozone pollution, L.A. is ranked third in year-round particle pollution, and fourth in short-term particle pollution.
7. Phoenix, Arizona – Population: 1,512,986
Beyond the controversial immigration measure, Arizona’s housing market still remains a mess. According to RealtyTrac’s latest foreclosure report, Phoenix and its surrounding area remains among the top 10 worst metro markets when it comes to foreclosures. However, in May, foreclosure activity in the city was down 9% from May 2009, offering a tiny sliver of hope.
Phoenix also ranks poorly among metro areas in per capita income growth.
8. Newark, New Jersey – Population: 281,402
Forget referencing the violent crime, Newark is a complete mess as seen by the joke of cutting toilet paper from the City budget.
Where to start for one of the worst cities in America? Newark has been likened to Detroit, but with its own political and social dysfunction. More than a quarter of its population lives below the poverty line, the state has the most Superfund toxic-waste sites in the nation, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker is trying to close a $70 million budget deficit by cutting items like toilet paper.
9. Miami, Florida – Population: 362,470
If you don’t care about crime and safety, education, economics, housing, cultural attractions, and health … then Miami is the place for you. Cal it an upgrade for LeBron James as he moves from #2 Cleveland to #9 Miami.
Detroit is listed by Children’s Health magazine as being the worst place to raise a family, but right behind it is Miami. If a city isn’t a good place to raise a family, that likely means its also a terrible place to live. Factors the magazine used to come to its conclusions, included crime and safety, education, economics, housing, cultural attractions, and health.
Miami rates #6 on Forbes most miserable city’s list due to crime and corruption.
10. Memphis, Tennessee – Population: 670,100
When it comes to Memphis there are two words to describe it and they are not Elvis Presly. They are violent crime and political corruption.
Memphis has one of the worst violent crime rates in the country, and was ranked third by Forbes in its list of miserable cities for corruption by city officials.
Memphis comes in at #3 on Forbes “most miserable” US city’s list.