Andrew Parker

25 American Cities to Go on Your Mustn’t Visit List

Across America, most cities are a mix of culture and entertainment choices that bring millions of visitors each year. Sadly, not all of them make it to the must-visit lists. Here are 25 of the worst American cities and what makes them so bad. But before you get upset, we’re not criticizing anyone who lives in them, we’re just giving our opinions. It’s all a bit of fun.

Detroit, Michigan

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Detroit used to be at the heart of the American car industry, but decades of economic issues have given it a very different reputation. In 2013, the city filed for bankruptcy due to its major financial problems. High crime rates and a significant population decline have made these issues even worse. It’s not worth visiting.

Camden, New Jersey

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Camden often tops the list of cities with the highest crime rates across America. Although city officials have made efforts to improve safety and reduce crime, it’s still struggling with a reputation that stands as an obstacle to tourism. Without tackling these major issues, it’s unlikely Camden will ever truly bounce back.

Flint, Michigan

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Following the news of lead in the city’s water supply, Flint, Michigan, became better known for its public health crisis. It became a symbol of government mismanagement and water safety concerns across America. Yes, they did manage to solve these initial lead water issues, but the people here still don’t trust the government, and for a good reason.

San Bernardino, California

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In 2012, San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy and became one of the largest cities in US history to do so. This came after a ton of economic sustainability issues and financial mismanagement, which stopped many businesses from choosing to set up there. According to MoneyGeek, the city is the most dangerous one in California.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

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Once upon a time, Atlantic City was the ultimate tourist destination. But now? Well, let’s just say it gambled that reputation away. As other states have legalized gambling, the city has struggled to compete and has lost a lot of its tourist appeal. This has forced the city’s economy to decline and unemployment to increase.

Stockton, California

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Like San Bernardino, this city also filed for bankruptcy in 2012 following high levels of debt and unfunded liabilities. Of course, city officials have been working hard to help it recover, but the consequences of its financial struggles still linger. In 2014, TIME magazine actually called it the most miserable city in America.

Cleveland, Ohio

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Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Albuquerque has one of the highest crime rates in the nation and this is affecting its residents’ quality of life. The government is trying to take steps to address crime and improve safety, but it’s hard for the city to shake off its reputation for danger. If you’re looking to do a Breaking Bad tour here, make sure you keep your safety in mind.

Fresno, California

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Fresno has some of the worst air quality in America, mostly because of the pollution from agriculture and vehicle emissions. This is causing huge health problems for residents and takes away the charm of a truly beautiful place. But this doesn’t seem to stop the tourists, as they make around $1.4 billion for the city alone.

New Orleans, Louisiana

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In New Orleans, water is a constant threat, mostly because the city is below sea level and almost always floods. Although the government improved its flood defenses after Hurricane Katrina, there’s still a fear of another catastrophe striking. Add in the risks of climate change, and you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen.

Gary, Indiana

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Gary first began failing when the steel mills started downsizing. This led to a huge loss of jobs and a population decrease as people moved away in search of better opportunities. Today, large areas of the city are completely abandoned, with empty factories and homes as simple memories of the past.

St. Louis, Missouri

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St. Louis has been making headlines but for all the wrong reasons. Its high crime rate is a huge problem, and officials are trying to solve this with community policing efforts. They’re also trying to address the root causes, like poverty and poor education, but it doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.

Baltimore, Maryland

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Where do we start with Baltimore? If it’s not the high crime rates, it’s the conflict between the community and law enforcement. There are a ton of issues in this city and Baltimore’s leaders haven’t been able to solve a single one of them. Even so, the people have hope that educational and economic programs will lead to progress.

Memphis, Tennessee

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Memphis might be known for being Elvis’s birthplace, but it’s got a very different reputation today. Many of its residents live below the poverty line, which the Atlantic claimed causes them to commit crimes just to put food on the table. Maybe one day, the city will become the community it’s meant to be.

Bridgeport, Connecticut

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Bridgeport is another city where people are feeling the pinch. The city’s been trying to shake off the financial blues for years now, with high taxes and low employment opportunities making it a tough sell for anyone to move in. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be working yet, and it’s keeping both new blood and business at bay.

Newark, New Jersey

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Beyond the recent developments in Newark lies a city that’s struggling with some serious issues. Crime rates and unemployment remain high while many neighborhoods are dealing with both neglect and poverty. If that wasn’t bad enough, the city’s schools are underfunded, which is making this cycle of challenges even worse.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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In Philly, there’s a clear divide between the haves and have-nots. According to the 2020 census, 21.5% of the population is in poverty, compared to the state average of 11.8%. Many of Philly’s residents don’t have access to good jobs or quality education, and even affordable housing is out of reach. If you visit here, you’ll soon feel like some parts of the city have just been left behind.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Milwaukee is one of the most racially segregated cities in the US, and this is causing major problems for its people. The African-American and Hispanic communities are struggling with high unemployment and underfunded schools, keeping them in a cycle of poverty. If only the government could fix these issues.

Buffalo, New York

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Buffalo used to just shovel itself out of the snow, but now it’s digging through economic issues, too. Its once-huge industry is nothing but a whisper of the past, and jobs aren’t easy to come by. Add in the harsh winters, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. After all, the average winter temperature ranges from 48.2°F to 17.6°F.

Birmingham, Alabama

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The civil rights challenges that made Birmingham so famous are nothing compared to its economic and social inequality today. Many of the neighborhoods haven’t seen investment in decades, while high unemployment is causing disaster for the people. It might have a rich history, but the city’s not feeling it today.

Little Rock, Arkansas

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The biggest issue in Little Rock is the education system. Many of the schools are underperforming, and students aren’t getting the quality teaching they need. Young people just can’t break out of the poverty cycle, while the city’s struggling to attract families and businesses to stay permanently.

Hartford, Connecticut

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Hartford used to be known as the “Insurance Capital of the World.” But now? Not so much. The city’s going through an identity crisis because many of the insurance companies have either merged, downsized, or moved out completely. It’s no surprise the economy is struggling since there are barely any jobs available.

Providence, Rhode Island

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Yes, it might be trying to reinvent itself, but it’s hardly smooth sailing for Providence. The art scene and educational opportunities could help it to grow if only the city could solve its unemployment problems. These economic problems are making it difficult for residents to get by each day and for the city to attract new ones.

Anchorage, Alaska

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Every silver lining comes with a cloud, and Anchorage is no different. With a sky-high cost of living and difficulties with importing goods, the city’s isolation is causing huge problems. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business or just a normal person because you’re definitely going to feel the pinch.

Tucson, Arizona

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In the middle of the desert, every drop of water counts, and Tucson’s future depends completely on how it can manage this precious resource. Groundwater levels are dropping while the costs of getting water are rising. We understand why so many people are deciding to leave and why the Phoenix New Times called it one of the worst cities to live in.

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