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: 298,537
> Median home value: $119,000
> Poverty rate: 27.4%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34.3%
Cincinnati is a relatively dangerous city. There were 925 violent crimes for every 100,000 city residents in 2015, more than double the national violent crime rate of 373 incidents per 100,000 Americans. Experts partially attribute the city’s crime problem to the availability of guns — which are often available on the streets for less than $100 — as well as a shortage of drugs, which is sparking turf wars. The prevalence of violent crime in the city led to the 2015 firing of Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.
Though the 34.2% share of city residents with at least a bachelor’s degree is slightly larger than the 30.6% U.S. rate, the typical Cincinnati household earns only about $35,000 a year, well below the $55,775 median income nationwide.
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.