Graduates Beware: Worst Places to Live in the U.S.
As a newly minted graduate, I frequently get asked why I chose to move all the way from Michigan to New York. The simple answer is there are more writing jobs to be found in New York. For many recent college grads there’s one issue that determines where they live or move: jobs.
I was actually surprisingly pleased to see that the Motor City didn’t come up as first on this list of worst places to live in U.S. from Wallet Pop. The major factors considered include the number of foreclosures, health and fitness of the population, crime rate and unemployment.
Here’s how the nation’s cities ranked:
10. Memphis, Tennessee
Not only does Memphis have a crime rate that’s 90% higher than any other community in Tennessee, it also suffers from corruption among city officials. Not long ago, a city administrator used government funds to purchase big screen TVs.
9. Miami, Florida
Florida may be the sunshine state, but things are not looking so bright in Miami. According to Children’s Health, it’s the second worst city to raise a family. It’s had nearly 40,000 foreclosures and also has a considerable problem with violent crime.
8. Newark, New Jersey
First of all, New Jersey has the most Superfund sites of any other state in the union, meaning its residents are exposed to high levels of environmental pollution. More than a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, and the city is making drastic cuts to public services in an attempt to close a $70 million budget deficit.
7. Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is rapidly becoming the center of the nation’s immigration debate, with a pending law that would allow police officers to ask for immigration papers when stopping someone for any violation. Assertions of discrimination and racial profiling abound. Immigration controversy aside, Phoenix also has one of the 10 worst real estate markets when it comes to foreclosures, and has low per capita income growth.
6. Los Angeles, California
L.A. has the worst air pollution of any city in U.S., coupled with poor public transportation and the most traffic congestion.
5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is the unhealthiest in the country, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. The obesity rate is 30.2 percent of the population.
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
Another city hard-hit by the housing bubble bust, Las Vegas had the highest foreclosure rate of any metro area in the U.S. in 2009. Home values have also fallen 50 percent from their peak in 2006.
3. Detroit, Michigan
Detroit has the highest rate of violent crime of any city in the U.S. Foreclosures went up by 35 percent in the first half of this year, and one can purchase a home (or the shell of a home) for as little as $10,000. It has a high level of unemployment, at at rate of 13.7 percent according to Forbes. It also scored poorly as far as fitness of its citizens.
2. Cleveland, Ohio
In 2009, Cleveland lost the largest number of people out of any American city. The city also has high taxes, an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent and the weather is terrible. It has the third highest number of foreclosures.
1. El Centro, California
El Centro has the highest unemployment rate of any city in the Unites States, at 27.5 percent. Field work is the third biggest employer, after government and transportation and utilities. Even the cemetery went into foreclosure last year.
Despite these depressing statistics, each of these cities does have reasons to keep people from leaving. Many of these cities have rich histories and interesting cultural attractions. Although Detroit’s unemployment is high, there is promise for growth in the re-vamped automotive industry and clean energy sector. Similarly, Oklahoma City is a growing metro. It’s a beautiful tree-filled city and most recently became home to the NBA’s Thunder basketball team. A vibrant downtown scene boasts shopping, arts, entertainment and dining, while suburbs like Moore, Edmond and Norman (home to the University of Oklahoma) offer safe, clean and family-focused places to live. And while the housing market isn’t great for current homeowners in Vegas, it’s a steal for new buyers – especially those first-time buyers fresh out of college! I’m sure there are pros to living in any of these cities.
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