Most Miserable Cities In America Listed
There is a big difference between the worst and miserable places. Some may do their best to attract tourists and increase the town’s revenue, while others are just… miserable. Are you a resident of one miserable city? Do you know which American cities are described as miserable, and why?
We have identifies not the worst, just the most miserable cities in the States, relying on data from 1,000 cities. Population, median household income, the percentage of people without healthcare, and much more – it all has been calculated to show you cities with the highest addiction, scariest blight, and high crime rates. Here are the most miserable cities in the States based on US census data.
50. Lancaster, California
To many, Lancaster is known as a desert town, while for others this is one of the least desirable cities to live in. So far, Lancaster has around 160,000 people living in, of whom 51% are employed, and 23% living in poverty.
Lancaster is no stranger to criminal activities. So far, Lancaster’s official had mostly to deal with meth addiction and neo-Nazis. At the moment, the city’s major is doing its best to kickstart the city and offer a fresh perspective for its residents and investors. They are heavily chasing China for investment.
49. St. Louis, Missouri
In only eight years, St. Lois has lost around 5% of its residents. One-quarter of residents are heavily living in poverty, while around 65% of the total population has a job. St. Louis has a charming vibe, but dealing with crime and gun violence was just too much for many.
As result, many moved out, while city officials decided to close a large number of public streets, to make St. Louis safer. Just in 2015, St. Louis lost 159 residents due to violent deaths. Many blame the law for these shocking numbers because people in St. Louis can carry loaded guns in cars without permission. As of 2015, crime was the No. 1 priority for the city.
48. Pasadena, Texas
How would you feel if you had to stand in a line and wait for ice, water, and food because you just lost everything? That’s exactly how residents of Pasadena felt when Hurricane Ike hit. You may think that people who live on the turbulent ground all have health insurance, but sadly that’s not the case. In Pasadena, around 29% of people don’t have health insurance, which is a very high percentage when the total number of residents is 153,000.
Around one-fifth live in total poverty, while the median income is $50,207. Pasadena is located near petrochemical plants and is known for its race issues. Did you know that Pasadena was the home to the Texas headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan? Today, this city still has a long way to go, since it’s divided. The north part of the city is made up of Latino people, while the South is mostly inhabited by white people.
47. Macon-Bibb County, Georgia
Some would say that Macon-Bibb County is slowly, but surely dying. If you would head now toward this previously charming town, you would enter kind of a ghost city. At the moment, there are about 3,700 unoccupied buildings, including dilapidated homes and overgrown yards, which is more than enough to create a dark atmosphere.
Some residents couldn’t bear this anymore and decided to search for happiness in other places. From 2010 to 2018 Macon-Bibb County lost 1.7% of its population. The total population now is around 153,000. Fifty-six percent are working, and 26% live in poverty.
46. Danville, Virginia
Danville was one of the best places to live in. At least that was the case until textile mill and tobacco jobs were active. Now, fifty-five percent of people are working, and 21% live in poverty.
The total number of residents is 40,000 and the majority of them remember how Danville was oen of the richest cities in the Piedmont area. Danville is trying its hardest to make a big comeback. They have solar farms and work on turning empty and abandoned warehouses into mixed-use developments.
45. Shreveport, Louisiana
Shreveport has about 189,000 people, and they are not strangers to heavy floods that hit this area. In only eight years, Shreveport lost nearly 6% of its population. Over 50% of residents work, while 26% are living in poverty.
Red River put Shreveport under soem heavy times back in 2015. Residents really had hard time-fighting floods. On top of natural disasters, Shreveport fights a high murder rate than doubled from 2015 to 2016. As that isn’t enough, Shreveport has to deal with a high rate of other crimes as well, including robbery and assault.
44. Hemet, California
When the housing market exploded, Hemet went through a massive crisis. In fact, Hemet has been struggling since the 2008 recession, but that didn’t stop people from moving in. In the period from 2010 to 2018, Hemet’s population grew by 8.5%.
Still, around 23% of people live in poverty, and crime rates aren’t something that should be ignored. Just in 2016, exactly 623 cars were stolen, and 170 robberies were reported. That same year, police logged 398 aggravated assaults — the most this century.
43. Mansfield, Ohio
With 46,000 residents, you may think that Mansfield has no issues. However, many PlanetAid boxes stored across the city say otherwise. Around 24% of Mansfield’s residents are living in poverty.
Mansfield used to have lots of industrial work, where people had everyday jobs making steel, machinery, and stoves. However, that industry started going down in the 1970s and 1980s. The modern massive change occurred when a GM factory closed its doors in 2010, leading to more job losses. Plus, high crime rates aren’t cheerful.
42. San Bernardino, California
Of San Bernardino’s 216,000 residents, 57% are employed, and 30% live in poverty. Located only 60 miles from popular Los Angeles, you might expect to see people with higher living standards, but sadly that’s, not the case. However, it does have an interesting history.
It’s where McDonald’s began, as well as the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. San Bernardino was hit hard when a steel plant and an Air Force base closed down – this was initially the loss of many jobs.
41. Compton, California
Thanks to the music industry and many musicians from Compton, this place is globally popular. With 96,000 residents Compton is a significant area, where 23% live in poverty, and 40% of whom aren’t working.
Compton struggles with poverty and unemployment. But it’s no longer as dangerous as the way it was portrayed in the film “Straight Outta Compton.” In 1991 there were 87 murders, and in 2014, it was down to 17.
40. Montebello, California
Montebello is home to 62,632 people. Around 60% of them are working, 14% live in poverty, while 19% of people don’t have health insurance. The average commute time in Montebello is 33 minutes.
The biggest struggle here? Housing. Affordable housing isn’t exactly an option. In fact, in 2019 a home-ownership counselor told The New York Times that prospects for first-time buyers weren’t good. Plus, opportunities to live there weren’t growing.
39. Harlingen, Texas
Texas has so much to offer to its residents. However, some towns have more to offer than others. For example, Harlingen isn’t one of the favorites when it comes to quality living. With 65,000 residents Harlingen is a place of significant size, but only 56% of residents are working, while around 30% live in poverty, which is beyond high numbers.
Harlingen is a hot city, with little or no rainfall – although in recent years it has been struggling with flooding. In 2019, Harlingen opened its doors to 2,000 immigrants, placing pressure on the city to help them.
38. Reading, Pennsylvania
Around 36% of Reading’s residents live in poverty, while 62% get regular paychecks. The number of people living in poverty is high considering that Reading has 88,495 residents. In 2011, The New York Times said it was the poorest city in the US.
Reading was heavily hit when many factories closed their doors forever. Some were downsized, which also lead to people losing tehir jobs. An estimated 44% of households are on food stamps, among the most in the country.
37. Hallandale Beach, Florida
To some people, living in Florida is like dream coming true, while for 20% of Hallandale Beach residents, Florida is an everyday struggle and survival for food. Of 40,000 residents, 60% are working, while 29% are without health insurance.
Not that long ago, Hallandale Beach was known as a “once scruffy beach town,” because it’s perfectly located between Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Hallandale is known for many strip clubs and has been nicknamed “Hound-ale Beach.”
36. Palmdale, California
Palmdale is home to 156,667 people. More than half of its residents are in the workforce, while 19% are supported by various programs since they live in poverty.
Palmdale has a median commute time of 42.7 minutes, which is the highest on the list. It was at one point called “the foreclosure capital of California.”
35. Anderson, Indiana
Anderson ost 2% from 2010 to 2018. Anderson has around 55,000 residents, of which fifty-six percent of people are employed, and one-quarter live in poverty.
Not that long ago, Anderson was a thriving GM city, with 24 factories. When the carmaker closed its doors, around 23,000 people lost their jobs. Anderson is also heavily affected by blight. In 2015, the city tore down 100 abandoned homes. There are hundreds to be destroyed.
34. Fort Pierce, Florida
Fort Pierce is one of the few cities on this list that grew in terms of population. From 2010 to 2018 Fort Pierce grew by almost 10%. Sadly, over half of the people there are employed, and almost 36% of people are stuck in poverty.
Fort Pierce used to have an economy based around citrus farming, but it all changed when diseases kicked in and trade deals went down. Plus, Fort Pierce has to replenish the sand on its beaches every few years because of ocean erosion.
33. North Miami Beach, Florida
North Miami Beach is blessed with around 46,000 residents, and each contributing to making this city one of a kind. However, with 65% of residents working, and under 20% living in poverty, it comes as no surprise, that North Miami Beach isn’t everyone’s first choice for moving to.
Plus 32% have no health insurance or any kind of healthcare. The average commute time? Only 31 minutes. The big issue for North Miami Beach residents is the tumultuous politics, as two recent mayors have faced criminal charges for their spending.
32. Jackson, Mississippi
From 2010 to 2018, Jackson lost more than 5% of its population. Today, Jackson is a hoem to almost 165,000 residents. Around 41,250 Jackson residents live in almost total poverty.
Just recently, the city threatened to cut off water for 20,000 people because $45 million worth of bills hadn’t been paid. As you can assume, this is a massive issue. Now, Jackson is having more radical measures to tackle poverty and create a stronger city.
31. Saginaw, Michigan
Michigan has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to great winter outdoor activities. However, when it comes to equal living standards in each city, that’s something that Michigan cannot brag about. For example, Saginaw has 48,000 people, and 34% living in poverty.
Saginaw used to be dependant on manufacturing jobs. At one moment around 25,000 people worked at General Motors, but that didn’t last. On top of that, locals claim that city needs to deal with crime. Just in May 2019, Saginaw had 16 shootings.
30. Plainfield, New Jersey
Plainfield is definitely doing something right. With 70% of its residents working something is definitely done right. So, why is Plainfield on this list?
It turns out that one-third of residents are without health insurance, which isn’t something that should be ignored. Not that long ago, Plainfield used to be a bit of a violent city – in 1990 there were 719 violent crimes, but since then things have improved.
29. West New York, New Jersey
West New York is another city that has actually seen some growth in recent years. From 2010 to 20148, West New York grew by 6.6%, where around 70% of its residents are employed, while 22% are living in poverty.
Two major issues in West New York are cleanliness and parking. New major has a lot to deal with and make the city more organized, easier to live in, and cleaner. The median commute time is 37 minutes.
28. Miami Gardens, Florida
Miami Gardens still remembers when people took it to the streets to express their opinion on low wages at Walmart. In 2014, it was called the “stop and frisk capital of America,” after an investigation showed nearly 57,000 people had been frisked since 2008.
Today, one of the biggest issues is water, its cost in fact. Water comes from a plant owned by the City of North Miami Beach, making the cost of living higher. Do we still have to pay for water? Anyhow, in March, the city was suing to fight the extra 25% surcharge.
27. Cleveland, Ohio
Did you know that Cleveland was once called the “mistake by the lake?” This ‘mistake’ is home to 384,000 people. Around 59% of its residents are working, and 35% living in poverty. Interestingly, a report from 2019 reported that half of those living in poverty were working.
For years the city has been trying to build its manufacturing industry. Forbes named Cleveland, in 2010, the most miserable city in the States. In 2015, Cleveland had massive issues with gun violence, resulting in 85 gun homicides.
26. Youngstown, Ohio
From 2010 to 2018, Youngstown lost around 3% of its population. Today, Youngstown is a home to around 65,000 people, of whom 37% live in poverty.
Youngstown used to have a population of 170,000 and was even the third-biggest steel producer in the States. However, in 1977 the factory began downsizing making a negative impact on the city. In 2017, Youngstown was named to have some of the worst air pollutions in Ohio.
25. North Miami, Florida
Again, Florida has a lot of places to deal with when it comes to the economy and residents’ happiness. North Miami is one of the places in Florida that should have better living standards. So far, 65% of residents are working, while 23% are in poverty.
As expected, oen of the biggest issues in North Miami is flooding. Flooding occurs so often, that it doesn’t need to rain. As expected with so much water, septic tanks are jammed and many expect that very soon they might not be able to operate properly./ The reason? Rising sea levels. A possible scenario includes waster water all over the place.
24. Huntington, West Virginia
There is a certain level of sadness when you see empty houses all over the place. In fact, if you want to see how dilapidated houses look head to Huntington. Huntington is losing its residents due to many reasons, including healhty habits. Just in eight years, this town lost 6.4% of its population.
Once upon a time, it was a thriving coal town, and now it’s one of the unhealthiest in the States. The opioid crisis has led Huntington to be named America’s overdose capital. But overdoses have fallen since 2017.
23. Hammond, Indiana
Hammond is home to 76,000 souls. From 2010 to 2018, its population fell by 6.2%, putting 22% of people in poverty. Hammond was one of the most industrial towns.
As it usually happens with industrial towns, health issues do appear. Today, Hammon is facing massive problems with air and water pollution. Lead contamination has been a particular concern for residents.
22. El Monte, California
El Monte has 115,000 residents and a busy population, of 58% of its residents working. Around 22% of El Monte residents are living in poverty. The city is located close to Los Angeles, which means that it has a lot of revenue from car dealerships.
However, the pain to El Monte was too big durign teh recession that they still have financial issues. Now, the city is divided over the future of marijuana production, and one large facility in particular.
21. Lynwood, California
Around 60% of Lynwood residents are workers with full-time or part-time jobs, while 23% are on the poverty line. Not that long ago, Lynwood was named “the best place to live best.” But things didn’t stay that way.
The construction of Interstate 105, which cut right through the city, forced many to move. Around 1,000 homes were left empty and many businesses had to be knocked down. Now, the city’s officials are giving their best to improve the city’s finances.
20. Huntsville, Texas
Huntsville has 41,500 residents and many of them struggle with low employment. Around 35% of its residents are on the poverty line. Bear in mind that those living in prisons are counted in the city’s population.
Surprisingly, The Department of Criminal Justice is the city’s biggest employer, providing nearly 7,000 jobs. Did you know that since Texas’ executions have been done exclusively out of Huntsville?
19. Paterson, New Jersey
In the 19th century, Paterson was mostly busy producing silk, but thats not teh case today. In 20411, the Great Falls, which was used to power factories, ended up flooding the city after Hurricane Irene.
Ever since, Paterson has massive problems with blight, although the city’s tax revenue fell by 38% from 2009 to 2016. As of 2016, Peterson has 770 abandoned homes.
18. Albany, Georgia
Formerly known as “the good life city,” Albany is today home to 75,000 people. Nearly 58% of the population is working, and a third live in poverty.
At teh same time, Albany is fighting poverty and crime, and natural disasters. Albany went through some massive damage and ruined crops from a severe tornado and Hurricane Irma in the past few years, which isn’t something that any city can easily deal with.
17. Trenton, New Jersey
With a population of 84,000, Trenton is no stranger to most unusual scenes, such as hostage situations. Trenton used to be an industrial city, with a catchphrase, “Trenton makes, the world takes.”
However, that industrial rise couldn’t last forever. Violent crimes and neighborhood gangs did their part, and today Trenton under some dark clouds. As expected, gun violence is a huge problem.
16. Cicero, Illinois
Cicero has 81,500 residents, of whom 20% live in poverty. The median commute time is 31 minutes. Cicero is known for being Al Capone’s “private playground.”
At least that was the case back in the 1920s, but the city has evolved ever since. Eventually, they fought off the crime and the nickname. In 1999, the city even voted to make gang members leave within 60 days or face a daily $500 fine. Talking about creative solutions, right?
15. Union City, New Jersey
New Jersey has a logn line of places to improve. With 68,500 residents, Union City is a busy town, with around 70% of residents working, and 23% living in poverty.
In Union City, the average commute time is 33 minutes. Did you know that Union City is the most densely populated area in the States?
14. Bell Gardens, California
Bell Gardens has 42,300 residents. Of that, around 30% are living in poverty, which is a lot. Ironically or not, the official statement in 1991 was that the town had too many people.
Therefore, the city has had to depend on a casino for much of its tax revenue — in 2002, it provided more than half. You may think that this is a poor solution, but it works for them.
13. Hialeah, Florida
Hialeah is no stranger to harsh nature forms, such as tornados. Still, people have learned how to live in this area and get the most from it, at least 293,000 of them did.
Not only that 26% live in poverty, but almost 31% don’t have health insurance. With a primarily Hispanic population, it’s one of the least diverse cities in the country. Hialeah was also rated as the worst city in the US for having an active lifestyle.
12. Brownsville, Texas
Brownsville is a city located on the Mexican border. It usually serves as a crossing for immigrants who enter the States illegally. So far, Brownsville has 183,000 residents, of which 56% are working and more than 30% are pressed by poverty.
As expected, Brownsville is one of the most patrolled places in the States. Locals claim that they see every day three types of helicopters. Due to immigration and overall unstable ground, it’s very difficult for residents to sell their properties.
11. New Brunswick, New Jersey
New Brunswick is best known for being the home to the worldwide headquarters of Johnson & Johnson. At first, New Brunswick appears like a great place to live in, due to vivid night scenes, outdoor spaces, and overall liberal residents. All 56,000 of them.
However, 35% of residents are overwhelmed by poverty, and the overall city is pressed with a crime. In 2017, the city’s assaults with guns rose 64%, which isn’t something that can be easily ignored.
10. Huntington Park, California
Huntington Park has 58,000 residents and a median commute of only 31 minutes. This city is home to 16,240 people who live in poverty. The Los Angeles Times describes Huntington Park as a “working-class haven,” due to affordable housing. Still, when poverty rates are this high, it means only one thing – many struggles to purchase homes.
Huntington Park is more than 97% Latino and has been called an “entry point for immigrants.” Since the region is packed with immigrants, political engagement of the area is low, because so many people cannot vote. Hence, lower living possibilities.
9. Warren, Ohio
From 2010 to 2017, Warren lost around 7% of its residents. Today, this small town is home to 38,000 residents: half of the people are working, and two-thirds live in poverty. Warren had a slow economy for a while, and it became worse when General Motors announced in 2018 it would stop work in a plant nearby.
This means one thing – people had to leave the city to find work. Sadly, Warren’s residents struggle to find food. In fact, after Youngstown, Warren has the second-highest rate of people struggling to find enough food in the country.
8. Camden, New Jersey
New Jersey keeps on repeating on this list – with Camden being the next city, people struggle to live better. In only eight years, Camden’s population fell by 4%. Of 74,000 residents, 57% are employed, while 37% live in poverty. The average household income is $26,105 – which is low.
Camden used to be a manufacturing city but fell off its track between the 1950s and the 1970s. It also has a high crime rate and is officially recognized as the most dangerous city in the country. However, there are some significant signs of improvement, mostly thanks to new police procedures.
7. Flint, Michigan
Globally, Michigan is known as the state of vehicles. General Motors had a massive impact here, and some cities were more dependent on this brand than others, including Flint. Flint has 96,000 residents, of which 39,360 are living in poverty.
Ever since General Motors downsized the area by 1990, Flint has been struggling with a decline in manufacturing. Lately, Flint is known for its water crisis and for having 20,000 abandoned properties, a high murder rate, and even an opioid problem.
6. Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Pine Bluff lost almost 14% of its population between 2010 and 2018, and as of today that percentage isn’t goign up. So far, Pine Bluff has 42,000 residents.
In one year period, people left because the state lost around 3,000 manufacturing jobs. In 2019, things went from bad to worse when the Arkansas River flooded the city.
5. Newark, New Jersey
Newark has 282, residents and a median commute time of 35 minutes. Just like previously mentioned Flint, Newark has some serious issues water issues.
In fact, it has issues with lead poisoning its water supply. There are also significant issues with race relations, which accumulate in 2013. Of 282,000 residents 174,840 residents are working, and 28% of total residents are living in poverty.
4. Passaic, New Jersey
Passaic first thrived as a river port. Later on, it became a textile center, once the construction of a dam was complete. To many, Passaic is a great place to live in if you love a quiet atmosphere.
At least, 70,000 residents do. One of the better Passaic sides is it’s outdoors, and many houses and parks. However, good sides are overrun by more disturbing such as drug issues, strogn violence, and surprisingly poor sex education.
3. Detroit, Michigan
Detroit has many issues, including ongoing shootings, poverty, crime, and urban blight. Today, Detroit has 672,000 residents: 54% of people are working, 38% live in poverty. The median household income is $27,838 although as of 2017 median household income is rising – meaning that things are finally improving for this city.
Plus, the city has organized a blight removal project to create new space for better things. Detroit was almost destroyed when 600,000 left the town after the manufacturing industry collapsed, between 1950 and 1980. That single period, lead to 43,000 abandoned homes. Detroit still has a lot of work to do when it comes to general safety because this town is still considered one of the most dangerous cities in the States.
2. Port Arthur, Texas
Port Arthur is like an ultimate oil city. Surrounded by oil refineries, Port Arthur is home to 55,000 people: fifty-three percent are working, and 30% are living in poverty.
Port Arthur survive many natural disasters, including strong hurricane hits in 2005, 2008, and 2017. Hurricane in 2017, simply named Harvey, caused $1.3 billion in damage. People are leaving Port Arthur in large numbers and even officials are scared of it: if people keep leaving, Port Arthur will fall below 50,000 people and make it unfit for federal grants.
1. Gary, Indiana
Some cities are slowly, but surely becoming a real-life ghost towns, and Gary is sadly one of them. Once steel industry leader, this town is now burdened with unemployment, crime, decaying infrastructure, and countless social problems. Gary has 75,000 residents but lost 6% from 2010 to 2018, and around 36% live in poverty which is incredibly high for this small number of residents.
A drug-enforcement agent who grew up in the area told The Guardian in 2017: “We used to be the murder capital of the US, but there is hardly anybody left to kill. We used to be the drug capital of the US, but for that you need money, and there aren’t jobs or things to steal here.” When jobs disappeared, the majority of white people left. Today, 84% of people living in Gary are African American. In Gary, you can buy an abandoned house doer only $1.