By Haddon Libby

Facty Health, an online health and wellness website ranked the worst cities in the United States to live in over the next 30 years.  Facty considered things like poverty, crime, costs to live, cultural amenities, climate change and other factors when determining the worst places to live.

Memphis, Tennessee ranked as the worst city in the United States to live in.  In coming up with this ranking, Facty Health cited the high violent crime rate and the poor geographic location from a climate change standpoint.  If you live in Memphis, there is a 2.5% chance that you will be the victim of a violent crime – the highest level of a major US city.  If that isn’t bad enough, there is a 7% chance that your home is in a flood plain.

While Memphis has significant exposure to climate change, Houston, Texas has the greatest exposure to climate change.  The city currently spends 40% of its days with unhealthy air quality.  While this southern city is experiencing more days over 100 degrees than in the past, the real concern is rising sea levels which threaten to flood large sections of the city.  Houston is 50 feet above sea level with its highest areas standing at just 90 feet.   The violent crime situation is 2.3x higher than the US average.


Our neighbor to the north – San Francisco – comes in third.  Issues start with the high cost of living in the city with the average renter paying more than $4,000/month.  One in ten residents live below the poverty level.  If you own property in the city, there is a 6% chance that you will experience a crime each year.  Violent crimes average 5,500 annually meaning that there is a 1 in 150 chance that you will be assaulted.

Just west of Fresno is the fourth worst city to live in – Mendota – population 12,600.  Roughly two in five people live below the poverty line making it one of the poorest cities in the United States. One in eleven residents is unemployed.  When it comes to the education of its children, only one in four are proficient readers.  Just one in eight students is proficient in math.  The average rent is $832.

Coming in fifth is Anchorage, Alaska.  Real estate prices are high as are crime rates. There is a 7.7% chance that you will experience a crime in Anchorage with 2% of residents likely to experience a violent crime.  This makes Anchorage one of the least safe cities in the United States. As it relates to reading and math, only one in four fourth graders are proficient.

Rounding out the top ten are Penns Grove NJ, Albuquerque, NM, New York City, Corpus Cristi TX and Idabel OK.

US News & World Report agrees that Memphis, Tennesse is the most dangerous place to live amongst cities in the United States.  St. Louis MO, Detroit MI, Birmingham AL, and Little Rock AR round out their five worst cities.  The publication states that San Juan, Puerto Rico is the worst place to live followed by Detroit, Hartford CT, New Haven CT and Flint MI. Stockton and Vallejo are considered the worst places to live in California.

A quick look at our community shows many of the characteristics of the worst cities in the United States versus the best.  Riverside County and the Coachella school systems have the lowest literacy rates in the state with only 2 in 5 being proficient.  Math proficiency levels are even worse at roughly one in three.  Affordability is a challenge with an average rental rate of $3,500/month and high costs for electricity.  Violent crimes occur to roughly one in 267 people with 2.7% of residents subject to a property crime each year.

Haddon Libby is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Winslow Drake Investment Management.  For more information on our services, please visit