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6 Michigan cities listed among worst places to live in US

Detroit, Flint among those listed

More than a few Michigan cities were named among the worst places to live in the U.S., according to a new report.

A report published by 24/7 Wall St. details the 50 worst cities to live in. Though the cities on this list span every region of the country, they are overwhelmingly concentrated in the South and the West. Only a dozen of the 50 cities on this list are in the Midwest or Northeast.

To identify the best cities to live in, 24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of 25 measures that fall into one of four categories: affordability, economy, quality of life, and community. (More on their methodology here)

Here are the six Michigan cities that were listed and where they ranked:

43. Ecorse

  • Population: 9,321
  • Poverty rate: 36.8% (top 10%)
  • 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 1,533 (top 10%)
  • Median home value: $37,900 (bottom 10%)

Ecorse is one of three cities in the Detroit metro area to rank among the worst places to live. One of the poorest cities in the country, Ecorse’s poverty rate of 36.8% is more than double the national poverty rate of 14.6%. For area residents that have disposable income, local entertainment options are limited. Ecorse has a far smaller concentration of places like bars and restaurants than the U.S. as a whole.

20. Benton Harbor

  • Population: 9,944
  • Poverty rate: 48.0% (top 10%)
  • 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 2,202 (top 10%)
  • Median home value: $56,200 (bottom 10%)

Benton Harbor is a small city in western Michigan. With over 2,200 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2017, it ranks as the most dangerous city in the state and one of the most dangerous in the country. For reference, there were 383 violent crimes for every 100,000 people nationwide the same year.

19. Muskegon Heights

  • Population: 10,743
  • Poverty rate: 39.3% (top 10%)
  • 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 1,808 (top 10%)
  • Median home value: $42,900 (bottom 10%)

For both individuals and broad populations, incomes tend to rise with educational attainment. In Muskegon Heights, Michigan, just 5.8% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, one of the smallest bachelor’s degree attainment rates of any U.S. city. Incomes in the area are similarly low. The typical household in the city earns just $25,411 a year, less than half the median across the U.S. as a whole of $57,652.

18. Detroit

  • Population: 679,865
  • Poverty rate: 37.9% (top 10%)
  • 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 2,057 (top 10%)
  • Median home value: $42,800 (bottom 10%)

Home to nearly 700,000 residents, Detroit is by far the largest city to rank among the worst places to live. The quintessential Rust Belt city, Detroit is now a shadow of its former self, declining in population from a mid-century peak of 1.8 million. Though the broader metro area’s iconic manufacturing sector has staged a comeback in recent years, unemployment in Detroit remains high. The Census estimates that an average of 10.6% of the city’s labor force was unemployed over the last five years, more than double the comparable 4.1% national rate.

11. Flint

  • Population: 97,810
  • Poverty rate: 41.2% (top 10%)
  • 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 1,945 (top 10%)
  • Median home value: $28,200 (bottom 10%)

Flint, Michigan, is one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the United States. About half of all households in Flint earn less than $26,330 a year, and 41.2% of the population lives below the poverty line. Poor areas often report higher crime levels than more affluent places, and in Flint, there were 1,945 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2017, more than in over 90% of all U.S. cities.

5. Highland Park

  • Population: 10,955
  • Poverty rate: 49.0% (top 10%)
  • 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 1,701 (top 10%)
  • Median home value: $33,500 (bottom 10%)

Highland Park, Michigan, ranks as the fifth worst city to live in the country in part because it is the poorest American city by a wide margin. Highland Park’s median annual household income is $15,699, nearly $42,000 lower than the U.S. median. It is the only city in the nation in which most households earn less than $20,000 a year.

The worst city to live in, according to the report, is Mendota, California

For both individuals and broad populations, incomes tend to rise with educational attainment. In Mendota, California, just 1.8% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, the smallest share of any U.S. city. The city also has one of the poorest populations in the country. Half of all households earn less than $27,500 a year, and 49.5% of the population lives below the poverty line.


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