Quality of life in an American city often depends on the neighborhood one lives in, as abject poverty and crime can be found just blocks away from prosperity. Still, as much as a city can be judged on the whole, some cities face widespread problems that detract from their residents’ overall quality of life.
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.
> Population: 677,124
> Median home value: $42,600
> Poverty rate: 39.8%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 14.2%
Once the fourth largest city by population and wealthiest by income per capita, Detroit’s economic decline over the past several decades may be the largest of any U.S. city. Detroit’s population is approximately one-third of what it was at its 1950 peak of 1.8 million people, and it continues to decline at a near nation-leading pace. The number people living in Detroit fell 19% over the past 10 years to just 677,124 today, the second largest population decline of any large city over that period. The typical Detroit household earns just $25,980 a year, less than half the $55,755 national median household income.
There were 1,760 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Detroit residents in 2015, the second highest violent crime rate of any U.S. city. Crime and overall urban decay have depressed real estate prices in the city to a fraction of their former value. The typical occupied home in Detroit is worth just $42,600, the lowest median home value of any city other than nearby Flint, Michigan.
To determine America’s worst cities to live in, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the 551 U.S. cities with a population of 65,000 or more as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. 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 America’s 50 worst cities to live.