OT: USA Today Worst 50 Cities

Submitted by Yost Ghost on June 13th, 2018 at 2:58 PM

South Bend made the list at #40 for violent crime rate (??) that is sure to get worse September 1st. 


Ohio had Toledo, Dayton, Cleveland and Youngstown on the list.

Michigan had Flint, Kalamazoo and Detroit (#1) on the list.





Navy Wolverine

June 13th, 2018 at 3:12 PM ^

Here was their justification.....

"Air quality in Kalamazoo is nearly the worst of any U.S. city. The city's air is considered hazardous for about 15% of days in a given year, a far larger share than the 6% average nationwide. The city is also among the most dangerous nationwide. There were 1,217 violent crimes in 2016 for every 100,000 residents, more than triple the U.S. violent crime rate of 386 per 100,000.

As is often the case among cities on this list, Kalamazoo is poor. Over 30% of the population lives in poverty, more than double the U.S. poverty rate of 14%."


June 13th, 2018 at 3:22 PM ^

Did you read the article? I was on the same page with you before I read it. Horrible air quality, high crime rate, and high poverty rate (which I take issue with considering they aren't adjusting for cost of living, which is notoriously low in the mid-west).

They looked at the ~600 cities with a population of 50k (about the size of Battle Creek or Royal Oak) or more. Considering that they are looking at the bottom 1/12th, I'm not quite as shocked to see them on the list. I wouldn't think other cities like South Bend, Gainesville, Syracuse, or Salt Lake City would be on the list either, but someone has to be there.


June 13th, 2018 at 5:30 PM ^

People who don't spent much time outside of downtown/midtown would have that assessment.

Don't disagree with any of the statistics, but Detroit blows for two reasons for the average citizen like me: High property and automobile insurance rates.  City income tax sucks as well.

When I moved back to Detroit in 2010, I almost had a heart attack when my rates jumped.

Inflammable Flame

June 13th, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

Toledo represent! This place is a shit hole...but we don't have hurricanes, earthquakes, abnormal sinkholes, terrorist attacks, jobs or drinkable water so we got that going for us...


June 13th, 2018 at 3:22 PM ^

USA Today is a garbage "newspaper" and this list is just dumb.


I don't understand how you can put Miami and Miami Beach on a list like this ranking as worse than Gainesville, FL. Gainesville is a shitty trashy Ann Arbor and there is no way in hell Miami is a worse place to live. Hell, rent in downtown is relatively cheap compared to other big cities around the country


June 13th, 2018 at 3:27 PM ^

On the flip side, here are 10 of the best cities to live in the US:


1. Austin, TX

2. Colorado Springs, Co

3. Denver, Co

4. Des Moines, IA

5. Fayetteville, AR

6. Portland, OR

7. Huntsville, AL

8. Washington, DC

9. Minneapolis, MN

10. Seattle, WA


June 13th, 2018 at 3:42 PM ^

This is such a bad list. I've been to Des Moines for work and its not a city. Its a small downtown with a massive "metropolitan area" to get to the population numbers. Comparing major cities cities to places like Fayetville, Des Moines, Hunstville, etc is just ridiculous. Majori cities have suburbs larger than those places in their metropolitan area.

Also the measures of where is a good and bad place to live are dumb. Acting like crime and poverty impact all people equally is stupid. Its sad how much inequality there is but I would much rather live in NYC, Chicago, LA, DC, etc over Des Moines or Huntsville because those cities actually provide arts, and a diverse food scene, and culture, and numerous other things and the fact that crime rates are technically higher mean nothing to my upper middle class ass and the life I lead. I would much rather live in Detroit than a third of the cities on the top 10 list and my quality of life would be fantastic. 

901 P

June 14th, 2018 at 8:23 AM ^

I grew up in Minneapolis, so I could never say that St. Paul is better. But now that I am older I can definitely see the appeal of St. Paul. Really, though, I would say that comparing the two is tough. They are both great, and part of what makes the Twin Cities nice is that you have the two different city-centers so close together. 


June 14th, 2018 at 11:03 AM ^

Current Minneapolis resident and love the place. St Paul....not as much, but nothing wrong with the place. 

St Paul isn't bad either but the crime is a bit worse and if you're looking for stuff to do, Minneapolis is a better bet. Everything in St Paul shuts down super early. 

Both great cities but very different vibes in each. Minneapolis is energized, young, things to do, people to see, faster paced. St Paul is relaxed, smaller, cute and feels like there is more tradition there. 



June 13th, 2018 at 3:49 PM ^

Lists like this are the laziest of lazy journalism. It seems fun to crap on places like Flint and Detroit for a lot of people, especially when the the age of the internet highlights their failures.

On the plus side, these things can change and those of us who enjoy a challenge and building things see opportunities. D.C. would have been on one of these lists in the 80s. Probably the same with Atlanta and Miami. NYC was nearly bankrupt in the 70s.


June 13th, 2018 at 3:54 PM ^

As with any city, the livability for an individual depends on their income.

For me, living in Detroit (Midtown area for 1 year and downtown for 1 year) was great. I spent 99% of my time downtown or near the WSU medical campus, where most of the new development has taken place.

Living in Detroit for the average resident, however, is an entirely different experience. I don’t doubt that Detroit is the worst city in America for many people. Obviously, this discredits many of the amazing aspects of Detroit culture for even the poorest residents. But as a city, in terms of its infrastructure for the average resident, it doesn’t sound too far off.


June 13th, 2018 at 4:20 PM ^

South Bend doesn't shock me. That city is a dump.  Notre Dame has a beautiful campus, but you get off that campus and that city pretty much sucks.

Blue in St Lou

June 13th, 2018 at 4:30 PM ^

The list is skewed by not considering the entire metropolitan area.  St. Louis, a city I know well, is No.3 on the list based mainly on crime and poverty,  But it is clear from USA Today's description that that is based just on the City of St. Louis.  Only 11% of the 2.8 million people in the St. Louis metropolitan area live in the city.  The rest of us also consider ourselves St. Louisans.  If you ask anyone who lives in the suburbs where they are from, they will say St. Louis. 

USA Today hits St. Louis for a poverty rate of 23.8%, nearly 10 percentage points above the US average.  But in the St. Louis metropolitan area as a whole, the poverty rate is only 11.4%. See https://censusreporter.org/profiles/31000US41180-st-louis-mo-il-metro-area/.  That's well below the national average.

So I wonder what this list would look like if they considered metropolitan areas rather than cities.

Blue in St Lou

June 13th, 2018 at 5:54 PM ^

The list is almost certainly skewed.  At 11% St. Louis has a much smaller percentage of its population in the central city than many other metropolitan areas do, maybe most others.  Here are some neighboring cities: the City of Kansas City, Missouri, has 23% of the population of its metropolitan area.  For Indianapolis, it's 43%, Chicago 28%, Memphis 49%, Little Rock 27%, Tulsa 42%, Des Moines 35%, Milwaukee 38%, Columbus 41%, .  

To do a fair comparison, you'd either have have to compare St. Louis to the inner 11% of other metro areas or do a comparison of metro areas.

Three Midwestern cities that aren't too far above St. Louis are Detroit (15%), Cincinnati 14%, Cleveland (19%, and lower if you include Akron and Canton).


June 13th, 2018 at 6:12 PM ^

The point is that the living conditions of the suburbs of any city have very little to do with the living conditions of the actual city itself.

As I said, suburbs are largely interchangeable. Comparing the suburbs of Metro Detroit with the suburbs of St. Louis is a mostly pointless exercise. 

Urban cities, on the other hand, have a ton of variation in the living conditions of their residents.

Go Blue in MN

June 13th, 2018 at 11:41 PM ^

But his point is that different cities have drawn their boundaries in different places.  If you go to the outer reaches of Columbus proper, the feel is indistinguishable from the suburbs.  Thus, Columbus has urban and suburban areas within it, while St. Louis has just urban (an oversimplification, I'm sure).  So when you compare statistics like crime and poverty of Columbus proper and St. Louis proper, you are not comparing apples to apples.


June 14th, 2018 at 12:21 AM ^

That’s not actually what he’s saying. He’s saying that the population of Detroit and St. Louis proper is a smaller proportion of the total metro population than areas like Columbus.

This does not imply that Columbus has urban and suburban aspects to it. It just means that the population of the city proper makes up a larger chunk of the total metro population. 

Blue in St Lou

June 14th, 2018 at 9:28 AM ^

Not to belabor it, but this is close to what I'm saying.  St. Louis has neighborhoods in the suburbs that are  probably similar to neighborhoods that are within the city limits of Indianapolis and Columbus.  What would a comparison of the poorest 11% of those metropolitan areas to St. Louis look like?  That would be closer to an apples-to-apples comparison than what USA Today did.


June 14th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

The problem with that approach is that Detroit used to have a much larger population, but then people fled to the suburbs. So the small population of the city proper relative of the metro area is a very important reason why Detroit is the worst city to live (for the average resident). 

The same probably applies to various degrees to many other cities on the list. 

A place like Columbus didn’t have that problem as much, so it has nicer developments on the outskirts of the city proper.   


June 13th, 2018 at 4:59 PM ^

It would be a completely different list. They looked at cities with a population of 50k or more. If you start adding in metro areas many of these cities merge, which removes disparity between areas. For example, Metro Detroit would include Detroit, Warren, Sterling Heights, Dearborn, Livonia, Clinton Twp, Canton, Westland, Troy, Farmington Hills, Macomb, Shelby, Southfield, Waterford, Rochester Hills, West Bloomfield, Taylor, St. Clair Shores, Pontiac, Dearborn Heights, Royal Oak, Novi, and Ypsilanti Twp. That's 23 of the 31 cities in Michigan with population over 50k. Not only does that not give any of these cities a chance to show as a top city, but it likely also buoys Detroit more than it deserves.