The COVID-19 pandemic was a public health crisis that sent shockwaves through the U.S. economy -- and the country's social fabric. In addition to claiming over half a million American lives, the pandemic sent unemployment soaring and exacerbated existing problems, as drug overdoses and crime rates spiked in some parts of the country.

Even before the pandemic, however, there were cities and towns already grappling with severe social and economic distress. These communities have long struggled with challenges such as high unemployment, poverty, crime, drug misuse, and limited access to essential services.

Based on a weighted index of two-dozen social and economic measures, 24/7 Wall St. identified the worst place to live in every state. We considered cities, towns, villages, and census designated places home to at least 8,000 people.

Virginia, a small city of about 8,500 residents in Minnesota's Iron Range, is the worst place to live in the state. The region, named for its iron mining industry, has struggled since the collapse of the U.S. steel industry in the 1980s. The city's poverty rate of 25.5% is more than double the 9.7% rate across Minnesota.

The prevalence of financial hardship may be pushing people out of the city. Over the last five years, the number of people living in Virginia has declined by 2.2%. Likely due to both population decline and widespread poverty, home values in the city are low. The typical area home is worth just $92,200, less than the median home value in any other city or town in Minnesota with adequate data.

Our index is composed of data across four categories: affordability, economy, quality of life, and community. Data is all for the most recent year available and came from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, The Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other sources. This is the worst city to live in every state.


PlaceMedian home value ($)Unemployment rate (%)Poverty rate (%)
Alabama: Atmore94,30015.734.6
Alaska: Fairbanks211,5007.711.0
Arizona: Douglas100,30011.430.1
Arkansas: Helena-West Helena73,40011.845.2
California: California City124,50019.124.1
Colorado: Pueblo141,0008.423.5
Connecticut: Hartford165,30012.028.1
Delaware: Wilmington168,0008.426.0
Florida: Florida City153,10014.040.0
Georgia: Albany99,80013.730.8
Hawaii: Makaha404,90012.731.0
Idaho: Mountain Home144,2006.616.4
Illinois: Sauk Village70,40016.331.8
Indiana: Gary66,10012.430.6
Iowa: Fort Madison81,6008.915.9
Kansas: Coffeyville55,8006.029.3
Kentucky: Mayfield100,20011.634.7
Louisiana: Opelousas98,1008.843.3
Maine: Sanford183,8006.413.9
Maryland: Baltimore160,1008.321.2
Massachusetts: Holyoke195,8006.029.3
Michigan: Highland Park45,70022.646.5
Minnesota: Virginia92,2006.425.5
Mississippi: Yazoo City70,90020.544.8
Missouri: St. Louis138,7007.021.8
Montana: Havre149,3006.617.8
Nebraska: Scottsbluff116,6006.418.0
Nevada: Fernley221,2005.89.9
New Hampshire: Berlin92,1008.018.5
New Jersey: Bridgeton109,2006.931.2
New Mexico: Gallup132,0007.428.4
New York: Binghamton91,00010.432.6
North Carolina: Reidsville103,5009.524.3
North Dakota: Jamestown144,8003.214.7
Ohio: East Cleveland58,10018.837.5
Oklahoma: McAlester101,6006.919.5
Oregon: Klamath Falls159,5009.322.7
Pennsylvania: McKeesport48,00012.131.4
Rhode Island: Central Falls159,1006.830.2
South Carolina: Lancaster141,60018.035.3
South Dakota: Huron91,9001.619.7
Tennessee: Memphis101,8008.725.1
Texas: Robstown64,00015.438.4
Utah: Price144,7007.721.9
Vermont: Barre158,3007.422.8
Virginia: Petersburg108,10011.724.1
Washington: Tukwila315,0007.617.2
West Virginia: Huntington98,2006.832.3
Wisconsin: Beloit89,9008.823.1
Wyoming: Rawlins171,7005.311.0