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US Cities People Don’t Want To Live In

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When looking for a city to settle down in, Americans have different ideas of what suits them best. Whether it is beautiful scenery, a buzzing city that doesn’t sleep, a great culinary scene or excellent schooling and affordable housing, there are many factors to take into account before moving.

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On the other hand, there are also plenty of things that drive people out of cities, and these places know that all too well. These are the US cities that people are leaving in their thousands.  

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge has a great reputation for its Cajun cuisine, culture, open spaces and family friendly areas, but on the flip side of that, it also has an extremely high homicide rate.

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This, together with the year round soaring humidity, plenty of mosquitoes and fire ants have been big reasons why people don’t want to stay. On top of this, the job market is very competitive and good jobs are hard to come by. The charm of the city wears off pretty quickly.

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Little Rock, Arkansas

The capital of Arkansas is filled with American history, being home to former president Bill Clinton, the presidential library and areas relevant for civil rights history. Living costs in the city are low and the unemployment rate is very low at 3.1% but this all comes with sacrifice.

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Little Rock happens to be one of the most dangerous places in America due to its high rates for murder along with other violent crimes. It is also highly susceptible to tornadoes, making evacuation likely many times a year.  

Chico, California

Chico is made up of college town to Chico State University as well as a farming community. While it is scenic and the weather is great, the wildfires make it a risky and dangerous place to live.

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If the wildfires aren’t enough to deter you from living here, there are surging crime rate and very high rates of poverty which might help you in your decision making. However, there are still some people who want to live here as there are bidding wars for new homes.  

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Syracuse, New York

While snow in New York is not uncommon in winter at all, Syracuse takes the award for snowiest place in America, getting an average snowfall of nearly 124 inches every season. Due to the adverse weather conditions, many people look for houses in other cities who originate from Syracuse.

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This in turn means that housing prices are ridiculously low with the average price of a home just $111,000. While their unemployment rate is low, there are too many negative factors to draw people in. 

Omaha, Nebraska

Despite Omaha being the hometown of one of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffett, not many people can say they love the city as much as the billionaire does. Plenty of people who called Omaha home want to get out of the city, despite the fact that it has an affordable and comfortable housing market.

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Unemployment is also at an all time low at 2.6% and income is above average but the weather is a major turn off for people. The summers are searing heat while winter is gray with a lot of snowfall. 

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Dayton, Ohio

Situated in between Columbus and Indianapolis, Dayton has an extremely cheap real estate market with houses selling for $115,000 on average with very little demand for them and there is a valid reason for this.

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The metro area of the city has never really recovered from the recession, which has resulted in many people living below the poverty line and a high rate of homelessness. In addition, a recent report from Attom Data Solutions stated Dayton as a ghost town with more than 16% of homes vacant.   

Eugene, Oregon

Eugene has truly transformed into a dream living location for so many with gorgeous waterfall and luscious greenery, but this comes at a very high cost. Due to its desirability, the cost of housing is incredibly high, as are property taxes, making both buying and renting unattainable for so many.

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In addition, salaries in Oregon are not high enough to support the expensive lifestyle which has forced people to move to more affordable cities including Portland or Seattle where job opportunities are better.

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Detroit, Michigan

Detroit is still known as Michigan’s biggest metro area, but the population of the city has still been sinking for decades. From 1950 until today, the population has decreased from 1.8 million to around 673,000 now.

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The decline of the auto industry has ruined Detroit’s economy with so many abandoned buildings. In 2012, Detroit was named as the most dangerous city in the US for the fourth year in a row. While the suburbs aren’t as bad, the main city has plenty of problems.

Salisbury, Maryland

In recent years, Salisbury has developed a name in the microbrewery scene, but this is not enough to undo all the other negative press associated with the city.

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Violent crime and property crime are twice the national average, the school system is one of the worst and employment income is low and job opportunities are hard to come by. While there have been steps made to reduce crime and poverty, people are still trying to get out of the city. 

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 Rockford, Illinois

Ever since the 70s, people have been trying to move out of Rockford and it hasn’t really seen any kind of comeback or recovery. Not only is it considered one of America’s most dangerous cities, but there are very few job opportunities and the school system is bad.

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There is a reason that the property market is so cheap as no one wants to buy a property here. People have been advised to move to the northern suburbs of Chicago or to Madison, Wisconsin instead. 

Orlando, Florida

Orlando is home to Disneyworld along with an amazing restaurant scene and golf courses, but even though retirees are eager to move there, most other people are moving out.

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All of the tourism to the city means that the living costs are above the national average but the problem is that workers earn 22% lower than the national average wage. Also, the property market is rising in price every year and it is just too expensive. The traffic is terrible and construction never stops. 

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Houston, Texas

They say that everything is bigger in Texas, but this isn’t always a good thing. Unemployment, apartment rent and housing prices are all greater than the national average, making it very difficult for people to afford living there.

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Their infrastructure is prone to flooding, meaning it’s a risky investment to buy a property there and the hurricanes that have hit have caused major damage in the past. Many people who lived in Houston are now looking to relocate to Austin and Chicago.    

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is a city where the rich people are getting richer and the poor people are getting poorer. While it is great for the rich, the mid-income and poor neighborhoods suffer from bad public transport and unsatisfactory public schools, making it increasingly difficult to raise a family with a low income here.

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With the problems not getting any better, millennials realized that it is not a sustainable lifestyle in this city are looking elsewhere to Chicago to get better value for their living costs.  

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Spokane, Washington

Living in Spokane has its perks as the Centennial Trail, around 70 lakes and beautiful local wineries are situated here. The job market is on the up but the problem is that the city’s infrastructure can’t handle the amount of people moving there.

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The construction is not fast enough to build more homes so the rent and housing prices have risen by more than 24%. Moreover, downtown Spokane has a bad homeless problem and and their water quality isn’t up to standard. 

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago has attracted so many people to the city, but with this, there are so many locals who are trying to leave. Chicago has one of the highest crime rates in America and was responsible for nearly half of 2016’s increase in homicides in the US.

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Aside from this, the cost of living is expensive, as are property taxes and education, making cities like Oregon and Seattle look cheap. In 2019, it came in at number 15 on the list of the most expensive cities in the US. 

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Denver, Colorado

In the last few years, the housing prices in Denver have risen dramatically with plenty of luxury homes popping up, but there isn’t the demand. People’s wages in the city are not high enough to be able to purchase these homes and it has been reported that the average price of these homes have topped $400,000.

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With the cost of living rising significantly, most people are moving out and looking for cheaper cities nearby like Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. 

Washington, D.C.

For those looking for a career in government and politics, there is no better place to live than Washington, but it certainly comes at a high cost. Property taxes, housing costs and the restaurant scene are all extremely expensive.

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For most people who are committed to pursuing their political career, they put up with the costs in Washington, but for those who are not as interested, they are most likely to move to Philadelphia where living costs are cheaper and the job market is thriving. 

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Los Angeles, California

Many people who have stars in their eyes and want to work in Hollywood see living in Los Angeles as the dream, but it is actually very difficult to sustain a good lifestyle there without a very high income. The cost of living is higher than average, the property taxes are through the roof and the traffic is terrible.

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The average price for a home is $690,000 and they are snapped up quickly, showing there is the demand there. For a cheaper way of living nearby, L.A locals who are tired of the lifestyle are moving to San Diego or Phoenix.

San Francisco

San Francisco is home to the Silicon Valley and the city of startups attracts many people for it’s high-paying jobs and social scenes, but the extortionate prices of real estate drives them away.

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Most housing that would be overlooked in other cities is prime real estate in San Francisco and people engage in intense bidding wars to snap up any property available. The average selling price is around $1.4 million and it is simply a lifestyle most people cannot afford. 

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Indianapolis, Indiana

The capital city of Indiana has people leaving in their droves due to the extreme weather conditions, having bitterly cold winters and searing hot summers. Not only do the weather conditions create uneven roads and potholes, but the traffic gets even worse and it is hard to get around.

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Despite this, Indianapolis has a good housing market, plenty of job opportunities with the market on the up, and living there is very affordable if you can cope with the weather. 

Richmond, Virginia

While Richmond has plenty of history and culture, there are some major downsides to the city which include their notoriously bad schooling system and the rising housing prices which are nearring unaffordable.

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Despite their schools having some of the lowest test scores and graduation rates, that doesn’t mean the job market is bad and Richmond has recorded some of the lowest unemployment rates in years. Having said that, you need to earn a pretty big salary to be able to afford a decent lifestyle here.

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Des Moines, Iowa  

Iowa is home to plenty of colleges including University of Iowa, Iowa State and Drake but the state also has an extreme climate which has pushed so many people away. Winters can get down as low as 14 degrees while summers can get higher than 88 degrees with plenty of humidity and even more mosquitoes.

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The inexpensive home and low unemployment rate come with too much of a cost in dealing with the unfriendly temperatures year round.  

Champaign, Illinois

Champaign is the college town University of Illinois and other than the college kids keeping it buzzing, there is not much more than cornfields. In order to get some big city life, Chicago is a two to three hour drive away.

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For the most part, the weather in Champaign is not ideal and other than a couple of weeks in spring and fall, it is either boiling and humid or freezing to the point you can’t even leave the house. Housing prices are down considering everyone is moving out of there if they can.  

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South Bend, Indiana

It isn’t just Indianapolis where people are trying to leave in Indiana, it is also South Bend. The city was known for the University of Notre Dame and the college brought plenty of life to the city, but that is not enough to entice people to stay.

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The winters are brutally cold and the city itself is not safe at all. It has high rates of murder and violent crime and the road conditions are said to be appalling. The upside to moving out of South Bend is that it is one of the best cities for flipping houses so you may be able to make an investment. 

Hartford, Connecticut

In the space of eight years, the population of Hartford, Connecticut reduced by a couple thousand and the reason for this is partially due to the huge property taxes. In addition, housing prices have risen by 12.3% in the last year and even though the murder rate was down in 2018, the violent crime rate was recorded as the worst in the state.

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To add to all of this, the local job market isn’t the best despite companies in financial services and insurance giants being located there. 

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Fort Collins, Colorado

Fort Collins is a college town in Colorado and has some good spots for the college kids who live there, but other than that, there aren’t many more benefits for those who live there.

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Between 2016 and 2017, over 1,500 families left the city due to the rising costs of living and jobs are increasingly hard to come by. While the weather is nice and there are plenty of open spaces, making a decent life here is too difficult for the majority who head for California or Texas.

Beverly Hills, Florida

It might share the same name as the affluent and famous California neighborhood, but Beverly Hills in Florida could not be more different. Not only is it one of the poorest cities in Florida but the residents get salaries that are much lower than the national average.

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Moreover, there isn’t much to do in the city and there are very few cultural attractions with a low concentration of restaurants, bars and cafes. People who are able to afford to leave are going in large numbers. 

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Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport is a relatively poor city and the low housing and high crime rates reflect this. The average salaries of the city are considerably less than the national average and more than one in every five people in Bridgeport live below the poverty line.

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To make matters worse, goods and services in Bridgeport are around 30% more expensive than the nation wide average, making it increasingly hard for people to live. The unemployment rates are high and the job market is weak. 

Arvin, California

Despite Arvin having a nice climate for most of the year and a low cost of living, it comes at a price as it has an extremely high crime rate. It has recorded 1,071 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents and in the poorer areas, crime is extremely common.

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There is not much to do in the city for entertainment and there is a high unemployment rate which is detering so many from living here. Residents are looking to relocate to other places in the Bakersfield Metro Area.

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Bellmead, Texas

In between Dallas and Austin lies Bellmead, a small city in the Waco area. The city has some of the highest crime rates across America and in 2017 there were 2,305 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents.

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The problem with crime in the area has made property prices spiral down and the median price for a home is just $70,000, showing exactly how undesirable the location is. In addition, the schooling system in the area is very poor and test results have been less than satisfactory.

Desert Hot Springs, California

Within the San Bernardino metro area, Desert Hot Springs is said to be one of the worst places to live. Not only is it a very dangerous area with 1,017 violent crimes in the city in for every 100,000 people in 2017.

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Residents don’t have a lot of money and salaries are very much below the national average. While many of these poorer areas have lower costs of living, this is not the case for Desert Hot Springs and goods are 30% more than the national average. 

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Trenton, New Jersey

The capital city of New Jersey is driving people out mainly due to the low employment rates. The five-year unemployment rate in Trenton is at an all time high at 7.8% which is almost double the national rate in the U.S.

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Due to the lack of employment opportunities in the Jersey city, it has quite a low median annual household income of around $35,000 which is more than $20,000 below the U.S. average. To make matters worse, the cost of living in Trenton is very expensive so people really struggle with their low salaries. 

East Point, Georgia

Located in the Atlanta metro area, East Point happens to be one of the most dangerous places in Atlanta, recording 1,307 violent crimes for every 100,000 city residents in 2017 and this number was higher than the crime rate in 90% of the US.

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The school system is not great and this has deterred many families from moving there. The danger in the area has made housing prices dramatically reduce, but this also means there is no demand.  

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Adelanto, California

Adelanto has one of the 50 highest poverty rates in the U.S. and most of the residents live in poverty. Only 5.2% of adults in Adelanto hold a bachelor’s degree which is one of the smallest rates in America and well below the average of 30.9% of adults.

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Moreover, working in Adelanto is incredibly difficult and the majority of residents face a daily commute of more than 41 minutes each way which is around 15 minutes longer than most Americans.    

East St. Louis, Illinois

Considered to be the most dangerous city in the United States, there were 2,752 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2017 in East St. Louis which is more than seven times the national rate. Not only is the area affected by plenty of crime, but the poverty rate is around 43.1% and the highest of any U.S. city.

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The unsafe streets are driving people out of the city in their thousands and in the last five years, the population of East. St Louis declined by 1.6%.

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Bridgeton, New Jersey

The small New Jersey city is not just the worst to live in the state, but also the whole of America. Most households bring in an income of around $34,000 annually which is less than half of the national average.

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On top of this, the cost of living is not cheap, so the poorer residents seriously struggle to live and their costs rack up until they simply can’t afford it anymore. At this point, residents are leaving the city to live in cheaper places, resulting in its population declining by 1.2% in the last five years. 

Waianae, Hawaii

You may think that living in Hawaii is the retirement dream and a life of beautiful beaches and relaxation, but this is not the case for the most part. Although residents of Waianae earn more than the average American household, they still cannot keep up with the huge costs of living in the Hawaiian city.

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Goods and services are around 61% more expensive than other cities in the U.S. This has resulted in 27% of the population living below the poverty line. 

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Bessemer, Alabama

Bessemer, Alabama, has the second highest violent crime rate in the nation, recording an average of 2,986 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents a year. The property crime rates are also incredibly high and is the sixth greatest in the country.

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More than the crime, the economic state of the city is not much better and over 30% of residents live in poverty. For this reason, many people are leaving the city and heading for cheaper places within Alabama.  

New York, New York

New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world and even though the cost of housing and rent as well as food is extreme, it is still one of the most densely populated cities. Even though living in Manhattan seems like the dream, people can only handle it for so long before they leave.

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It was recorded that 300,000 people move to the suburbs each year and 200,000 relocate out of the state. With barely any space in Manhattan, people look for more space in different places.  

Read more: Vacation in Europe for the least amount of money

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