USA Today covered the 50 worst cities in America according to 24/7 Wall St., which created an index of over two dozen measures to identify the worst cities to live in. 5 Alabama cities made the cut with two breaking into the top 10. Here are the 5 worst cities in Alabama.
# 35 – Arab, AL
• Population: 8,200 (8,824 as of 2017)
• Poverty rate: 17.6 percent
• 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 549 (top 25 percent)
• Median home value: $143,800
Few U.S. cities are shedding jobs faster than the northern Alabama city of Arab. In the last five years, the number of people working in the city declined by 9.8 percent, even as employment across the U.S. as a whole climbed by 6.1 percent.
Crime is also a problem in Arab. There were 6,217 property crimes – which include burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft – for every 100,000 people in Arab, more than double the 2,362 per 100,000 property crime rate nationwide.
#34 – Fairfield, AL
• Population: 10,850 (10,683 as of 2017)
• Poverty rate: 25.5 percent (top 25 percent)
• 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 1,905 (top 10 percent)
• Median home value: $96,100 (bottom 25 percent)
The typical home in Fairfield, Alabama, is worth just $96,100 – less than half the median home price nationwide. Real estate markets are often a reflection of what residents can afford, and many in Fairfield are struggling financially. The median annual household income is just over $36,000, and more than a quarter of residents live below the poverty line.
Fairfield’s job market lags behind that of most other U.S. cities. The city’s five-year unemployment rate is 7.0 percent compared to 4.1 percent nationwide. Over the past five years, employment growth in the city has been slower than average.
#12 – Prichard, AL
• Population: 22,063 (21,732 as of 2017)
• Poverty rate: 35.1 percent (top 10 percent)
• 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 1,826 (top 10 percent)
• Median home value: $67,400 (bottom 10 percent)
Over the past five years, the number of jobs in Prichard, Alabama has decreased by nearly 17 percent, one of the highest rates of job losses anywhere in the country. Over the same period, employment climbed 6.1 percent nationwide.
Prichard, near Mobile in southern Alabama, has a median annual household income of $25,818 – less than half of the U.S. median. Prichard, like many other low income areas on this list, is losing residents. In the last five years, Prichard’s population dropped by 3.4 percent.
#9 – Anniston, AL
• Population: 22,097 (21,770 as of 2017)
• Poverty rate: 29.5 percent (top 10 percent)
• 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 3,434 (top 10 percent)
• Median home value: $95,700 (bottom 25 percent)
Like many cities on this list, Anniston, Alabama, is losing residents. In the last five years, Anniston’s population declined by 4.2 percent. Over the same period, the number of people working in the city fell by a staggering 10.9 percent.
The city’s population decline may be attributable to low incomes and a high violent crime rate. The typical household in Anniston earns just $32,070 a year. Additionally, there were 3,434 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Anniston in 2017, the most of any city in the country.
#6 – Bessemer, AL
• Population: 26,697 (26,386 as of 2017)
• Poverty rate: 29.7 percent (top 10 percent)
• 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 2,986 (top 10 percent)
• Median home value: $84,000 (bottom 10 percent)
With 2,986 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents a year, Bessemer, Alabama, has the second highest violent crime rate in the nation, trailing only Anniston, Alabama. Bessemer also has the sixth highest property crime rate with nearly 9,800 reported property crimes per 100,000 residents.
In addition to high crime, residents face a number of economic challenges. Nearly 30 percent of residents live in poverty, and more than one in three residents have low access to grocery store or super markets. The typical Bessemer home earns less than $32,000 a year, well below the U.S. median annual household income of $57,652.