Top 30 Worst Cities in America

“North End of the Las Vegas Strip from Stratosphere Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

More and more people are understanding just how important happiness is for feeling good both inside and out. But in the USA, some places aren’t quite hitting the mark when making people happy. Things like easy-to-walk-around neighborhoods and healthcare that don’t break the bank can be hard to find in some cities. Here are the 30 worst cities in America. We’ve considered factors like employment, income, emotional and physical well-being of people, environment, and community.

Amarillo, Texas

First Baptist Church in Amarillo, Texis, USA
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Amarillo is more crowded than the average city in the U.S., where there are only about 94 people in the same amount of space. But living close doesn’t always mean it’s great. Amarillo has some crime issues—both violent and property crimes happen quite a bit. While it’s not expensive to live there, finding healthy food and entertainment can be tricky.

Flint, Michigan

“ArtWalk in Flint Michigan Photo by Michigan Municipal League” by Michigan Municipal League (MML) is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Flint falls short when it comes to managing its operations efficiently, including how it handles and spends public money. This is measured by comparing the quality of services residents get with the city’s overall budget. Plus, nearly 39% of Flint’s residents and 60% of its children are living in poverty. That’s why Flint is considered one of the worst cities in the U.S. Safety and health are also big worries here.

Buffalo, New York

New Your City street with vast busy road between contemporary typical buildings on clear day
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Buffalo, New York, has around 276,011 people, but many of them feel really sad sometimes. About 22% of people there struggle with feeling down, which is more than in other parts of the country. Money can be tight in Buffalo; things can cost a lot, and there’s a fair bit of crime. However, compared to other places in New York, living there isn’t as expensive, even though New York is pretty pricey overall.

New Orleans, Louisiana

View of Buildings in the French Quarter and the Place St. Charles in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
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While New Orleans is famous for its lively culture and colorful festivals, it also deals with a lot of crime. Violent and property incidents often happen there, making it less safe than it could be. Living in New Orleans can be expensive, about 1.6% more than the rest of the U.S. Finding a job can be very difficult, with 11% of people there without work. Plus, taxes are higher compared to the rest of the country.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Light Trails on the Road During Night Time
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Even though Las Vegas is famous for its flashy lifestyle and casinos, it’s not all fun and games there. In fact, it’s the 26th unhappiest city in America. Living costs are sky-high, about 10.6% more than the rest of the country. Finding a job, buying a home, renting an apartment, and even paying taxes—all of these are very expensive in Las Vegas. Plus, there’s not much greenery around, and many people struggle with gambling problems.

Casper, Wyoming

“Beautiful Downtown Casper, Wyoming” by J. Stephen Conn is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Casper, a lovely city in Wyoming, is known for its picturesque hiking trails and vibrant art scene. But even with all its beauty—people there aren’t always feeling their best, leading to high levels of unhappiness and, sadly, suicide. While serious crimes aren’t too common, there’s still quite a bit of stealing going on. Plus, people in Casper tend to work longer hours than those in other cities, but their paychecks aren’t growing as fast.

Corpus Christi, Texas

“Downtown Corpus Christi , Texas” by Mglsndst1993 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Even though Corpus Christi boasts beautiful coastal scenery, it’s dealing with more crime than most places in the U.S. Almost a quarter of the people there feel depressed, showing that mental health help is important even in pretty places. Living costs are okay, but it’s isolated, with many industrial areas and not enough jobs. Also, it’s not doing too well health-wise—ranking as the tenth unhealthiest city in the country.

North Las Vegas, Nevada

“Nevada – Las Vegas: World Market Center and Outlet Center North” by is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Life in North Las Vegas isn’t easy when it comes to money. Everything costs about 10.6% more than what people pay in other parts of the country. And health-wise, it’s not doing too well either—it’s ranked as the thirteenth unhealthiest city in the U.S. Living there can be tough. Many people have trouble paying their bills, getting a good education, and just making it through each day.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

“Arkansas River Pedestrian Bridge, Tulsa, Oklahoma” by TexasExplorer98 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Tulsa is one of the riskiest places in Oklahoma. In 2020 alone, there were 72 murders there, and every day, about 16 bad things happen. These include violent crimes like murder and robbery—which happen quite a lot compared to other places. Property crimes, like theft, are also common. Despite having lots of parks, many folks living in Tulsa feel depressed – about 24% of them.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

City Buildings near River during Sunset
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Philadelphia is lively and has lots of culture, but sadly, many people there feel pretty down—about 22.60% of them. Plus, a lot of violence is happening, which isn’t good for anyone’s safety. Money-wise, Philadelphia isn’t doing too great, either. The economy isn’t growing much, and things cost more there than in other parts of the country. 

Fort Smith, Arkansas

“Fort Smith, Arkansas History Museum” by Eringrapejuice is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Fort Smith has more crime than what’s usual across the country—about 19% more, to be exact. It’s not doing too well health-wise either, being ranked as the twelfth unhealthiest city in a report from 2023. People in Fort Smith often feel isolated, and there aren’t as many opportunities for education or enjoying arts and culture as there are in other places.

Lubbock, Texas

“Old Fort Worth & Denver South Plains Railway Depot (Lubbock, Texas)” by cmh2315fl is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Lubbock deals with a lot more crime than what’s usual across the country—about 32% more, to be exact. Even though there are some good things about living there, like it’s not too expensive and there’s lots of culture, it’s not doing great health-wise. Lubbock is one of the unhealthiest places in the whole country. People there often feel pretty lonely, and there aren’t enough places for fun activities.

Baltimore, Maryland

“Harborplace, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Baltimore faces big problems with violent crimes—making it tough for people to feel safe. It’s also one of the poorest cities in Maryland, with incomes barely going up. In fact, it’s on the list of the poorest cities in the whole country that are getting even poorer. Plus the city’s spreading out too much, which causes more problems.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

River Center Branch Library in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
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Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana, is a steamy and bustling city with a population of 225,539. Living costs here are about 6.8% lower than the U.S. average—but the median income is almost half of what people earn nationwide. Unfortunately, safety is a big concern, with violent crime rates more than double the national average and property crime rates almost twice as high. Plus, healthcare costs are higher than the national average.

Columbus, Georgia

“Downtown Columbus, Georgia skyline” by PghPhxNfk is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Nestled beside the Chattahoochee River, Columbus might look lively, but its residents aren’t feeling so great. Crime rates here—both violent and property—are way above the national average, making folks feel unsafe and uneasy. On top of that, the city has a high depression rate of 21.90%. WorldHealth also ranked it the fourth unhealthiest city in the U.S.

Memphis, Tennessee

Lincoln American Tower Under Blue Sky
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Memphis is home to 634,139 people, but it’s not exactly a happy place. Crime rates here are off the charts: violent crime is nearly four times the national average, and property crime is more than double. It’s not just by chance—there are reasons behind this danger zone. High poverty rates, gang activity, and limited access to good education and jobs all play a part in making Memphis a tough place to live.

Fayetteville, North Carolina

“Fayetteville, North Carolina” by formulanone is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Nestled in the Sandhills of North Carolina, Fayetteville is a big city with lots of people—1,432 people per square mile, to be exact. But walking around here isn’t easy; the city doesn’t have many pedestrian-friendly paths. To live comfortably here, you’d need to earn $37,200 a year, but most residents only bring in around $23,843. Healthcare costs are also higher than average, about 16.4%, and crime rates are way above the national average. 

Augusta, Georgia

“Confederate Monument, Augusta, Georgia” by J. Stephen Conn is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Close to the South Carolina border, Augusta is a city in Georgia where you’ll find about 653 people per square mile. The economy here is moving forward at a decent pace—with more jobs popping up, but the tax rates are higher than what you’d find nationwide. It’s ranked as one of the top five cities with the lowest sleep rates. Plus, according to WorldHealth’s 2023 report, Augusta is the 5th unhealthiest city in the U.S.

Akron, Ohio

“Akron, Ohio” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Akron is another worst city in the United States. The industrial scene isn’t doing residents any favors, and the weather tends to be gloomy and rainy. Plus, entertainment options are lacking. Crime rates here are higher than the national average—with about 35.5 violent crimes and 61.9 property crimes happening per 1,000 people. Jobs are hard to come by, too, with an unemployment rate of 6.9%. 

Mobile, Alabama

“The Leap Frogs perform a parachute demonstration during Navy Week Mobile, Alabama.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mobile, an Alabama city, has health problems and is ranked as the 27th unhealthiest city in the U.S. The healthcare system costs more than the national average, making things challenging for residents. The weather is often rainy, and jobs are very hard to find. Taxes are higher than usual, and folks don’t earn much—about $23,509 a year on average. Crime rates are also high in this city. 

Jackson, Mississippi

“Mississippi State Capitol, Jackson, Mississippi” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Let’s chat about Jackson, Mississippi. It’s struggling quite a bit. It’s the poorest city in the state and ranks as the eighth unhappiest in the whole country. Lots of folks here are facing money troubles—about 32.2% living in poverty. Jobs are scarce, too, with 7.7% of people out of work. And when it comes to safety, crime rates are high—violent crime is 45.8, and property crime is 71.8. 

Gulfport, Mississippi

“Armed Forces Retirement Home—Gulfport Mississippi” by DoD Inspector General is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Gulfport is in the top five cities in the U.S. with the slowest income growth, and there’s an unemployment rate of 7.5%. Taxes are higher here than in most places. Plus there are a lot of people packed into Gulfport—with 72,468 folks living there as of 2024. It’s also ranked as the second unhealthiest city in the country. In addition, healthcare costs are 8.6% higher than the national average. 

Birmingham, Alabama

“Downtown Birmingham, Alabama” by James Willamor is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Birmingham, another city struggling in America, has a lot going on. With 1,416.80 people per square mile, it’s pretty crowded. Sleep is hard to come by here, with some of the lowest sleep rates in the U.S. Plus, separation and divorce rates are high. Depression affects about 21.70% of people in Birmingham, and everyone faces the risk of crime. Healthcare is pricey and taxes are high. Sadly, the residents’ income doesn’t make up for these challenges. 

Toledo, Ohio

“Toledo Ohio ~ Toledo Museum of Art ~ Historic Building” by Onasill – Bill Badzo – 149 Million Views – Thank Y is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Situated at the western tip of Lake Erie, Toledo’s packed with people—with 3,373 folks per square mile. Depression affects about 24.40% of the population here. According to WorldHealth’s 2023 report, this city is also ranked as the 18th unhealthiest city. Crime rates here are higher than the national average and so are taxes and unemployment rates. 

Gary, Indiana

“Abandoned City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana” by slworking2 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Gary, Indiana, used to be a busy place, but now a lot of people have left. Many factories and buildings are empty, and no one seems keen to fix them up. Crime is a big problem here because a lot of folks live in poverty. When the steel manufacturing business started struggling, businesses in Gary had to close because there wasn’t enough money coming in. This meant people became poorer over time and turned to crime.

Cleveland, Ohio

“Walmart in Cleveland, Ohio” by Nicholas Eckhart is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

With 374,861 people, Cleveland is the second-biggest in Ohio and sits pretty dense on Lake Erie. There’s a lot to see and do here, with plenty of cool stuff to explore. But when it comes to safety—things aren’t great. Violent crimes happen more than three times the U.S. average, and property thefts are more than double. Plus the weather tends to be gloomy and rainy—which can affect the city’s vibe. 

Shreveport, Louisiana

“Inner Loop Expressway West of I-49, Shreveport, Louisiana” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Shreveport, a city in northwest Louisiana, doesn’t rank too well when it comes to health. It’s considered the third unhealthiest in the U.S. In terms of things like facilities and services, there’s not much to offer here. The weather is very hot, and there’s a risk of natural disasters. The economy isn’t doing great either—with lots of folks struggling to find work. Plus, it’s not a very safe place to live. 

Montgomery, Alabama

“Montgomery, Alabama” by markcbrennan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In Montgomery, Alabama, people struggle to get enough sleep—it’s got one of the lowest rates in the whole U.S. According to WorldHealth’s report, it’s also the sixth unhealthiest city in the country. The weather here isn’t too pleasant, especially from May to October when it gets very hot and humid. And as if that’s not enough, crime rates are sky-high, making it a constant worry for everyone. 

Newark, New Jersey

“Downtown Newark, New Jersey” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Reports suggest that Newark isn’t a great place to live. With a median income of $61,625, an unemployment rate of 6.2%, and over half of the millennial population renting, Newark is labeled as one of the worst cities to live in the U.S. Young people and those thinking of moving here should steer clear and pick somewhere else to settle down. 

Detroit, Michigan

“Michigan Central Station – Downtown Detroit” by Geoff ☆ RT Ficiel ☆ is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A recent study looked at life in America’s 62 biggest cities and found that Detroit is the worst place to live. Detroit also ranks as the second-worst for safety—with high rates of violent crime, property crime, and accidents, as well as a lower number of law enforcement workers compared to the population. In another report by WalletHub, it was named the second worst-run city in the country.