Neighbourhood Watch – The Worst Places to Live in the U.S.

I was approached by David, from Area Vibes, who wanted to write a post about where to live in America (based on the information collated on the Area Vibes website). David shares some information on the worst places to live in the US – I would love to hear what you think. Do you agree?

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America. It’s the land of the free. The home of the brave. A golden gateway of opportunity. It’s one of the most powerful and economically rich countries in the world. Living there should be one of the best things you could ever do, right?

Well, like any other place, there are always a few bad apples. That is, there are some areas in the US that aren’t really conducive to experiencing the very best life has to offer.

Here are some of the worst places to live in America, and more importantly, why they are the worst places to live. Various ratings are taken into consideration, including:

Infrastructure … Transport … Education … Crime … Housing … Employment … Taxes


Bridgeport, Connecticut
Whilst Bridgeport might be a nice place to live in terms of location and standard of living, you should also be aware that it’s probably best to have an extremely well paid job before moving here. Bridgeport is the most taxed location in the US. Consider somewhere like Cheyenne, Wyoming, where a family earning $75,000 will pay less than 4% tax on their income. In Bridgeport, this jumps to a staggering 22%.

Property taxes are also rather high. Earn over $100,000? Then you’ll be shelling out over $11,000 on property tax alone. Maybe this explains why Bridgeport has one of the highest unemployment rates at almost 12%.

Chicago, Illinois
The ‘Windy City’ hasn’t blown away all of the negative factors against living there sadly. It has a very high crime rate, coupled with similar unemployment levels. Private homes have suffered a spate of foreclosures, along with spending money on (and losing) the 2016 Summer Olympics bid.

Chicago maybe isn’t the best place to shop either. It has a sales tax rate of almost 10% – one of the highest in the country.

area vibes 1

Springfield, Massachusetts

Namesake of the famous Simpson’s family hometown, the real Springfield doesn’t have a lot going for it right now. It has a poor education system – 1 in 4 children do not make it to graduation. It also has a high violent crime rate which is over double the state average.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Whilst it’s a tourist’s paradise, the harsh reality is that Las Vegas is not a very good place to live or bring up a family. It is suffering from a difficult economic period right now. With a declining tax revenue and state aid fund, the education system has felt the effects. It has one of the worst pupil/teacher ratios and is one of the lowest areas for per-pupil spending.

area vibes 2

Camden, New Jersey

Recently voted across the board as one of the poorest cities in the US, Camden is not a good place to live for a multitude of reasons.

Take education. The budget is not adequate on a per-pupil basis. In 2012, the graduation level fell short of the state average of 86% to achieve a 49% rating. The national average is93% currently.  More shocking, only 3 out of 900 SAT takers were certified as being ready for college.

area vibes 3

It’s no picnic for adults either living in Camden. 40% of residents live below the poverty line, whilst crime rates are sky high. In 2012, there were over 2,500 violent crimes for every 100,000 people. This is 560% more than the national average! You actually have a 1 in 36 chance of being a victim to violent crime. Property related crime isn’t much better with a 1 in 11 chance.

Of course, every place will have its own benefits too. But it’s always handy to do a bit of research before moving to a new area. (Especially if that area is Camden!)

| Bio: David Hurley is a writer for Area Vibes, helping people find the best places to live in the US |

[Image source:,, & Wikipedia]


8 thoughts on “Neighbourhood Watch – The Worst Places to Live in the U.S.

  1. Ace CB says:

    Interesting post. I think it’s always hard to make generalizations about the best/worst places to live (especially in a country as large as the US), but this brings up some good points and information.
    Having actually lived in Chicago proper I have to say that it really depends on what part of the city you live in. The city is huge in terms of geography, population, cultural, and socioeconomic differences. It’s almost as if each neighborhood is its own town or city. Some of the nations best and worst public high schools are located in the city. Unemployment is still largely based on your industry and skills. But I will wholly agree that the taxes are atrocious – you pay sales tax for the state, county, and city, which can really add up.


    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      I agree – sometimes ‘worst places’ can be so general, but I was interested by the information used to write the post. The taxes especially surprised me.
      I like your point that some places, being so large, can have their own ‘city’ per neighbourhood.


  2. Rachael (@hookstitch) says:

    Things like this grind my gears because they tend to whitewash everywhere the same without taking into consideration state or local differences. It amplifies the “us” and “them” far too much. I’m surprised Detroit isn’t on that list as everyone loves to knock that city. Thing is everyone forgets every city has issues, or parts that are perfect or whatever, it’s common sense. … ah ranting too early for a Monday morning and for my city, it’s using the wrong picture …


  3. Molly @ The Move to America says:

    I agree that there can be a generalisation which may not reflect every part of that place, especially if they are so large. This is not a comprehensive list of places, a longer one can be found on the Area Vibes site with a more detailed breakdown of how the list is created.

    I found the tax information interesting and I would like to read about cost of living etc too.

    Which picture is not accurate for your city, the one for Chicago, Illinois, Las Vegas, Nevada or Camden, New Jersey – I can see if David can provide another.


  4. blushandbarbells says:

    My city always does pretty well in these surveys, but my particular neighborhood ranks pretty low compared to other areas of the city.

    ABC News did a series of stories about Camden NJ last year (or the year before). It was shocking and disgraceful, but it’s entirely possible that any merits in the city were ignored.


    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      It is interesting how cities can vary depending on what neighbourhood is being looked at – I know that is the case for where I live.

      I might see if I can look up some of the ABC series as it would be good to watch – and I am sure you are right in saying the merits of the city were overlooked as I am sure there was a slant to the programming!


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