Every country has a mix of thriving and struggling cities, and the United States is no exception. While many American cities are beautiful and prosperous, others face significant challenges.

These cities, with high crime rates, poverty, struggling economies, and failing infrastructure, can be challenging to live in and visit.

A user asked Americans, what is the worst big city in the USA and why? And here are the top picks:


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“I’ll get a lot of hate for this, but Nashville. Traffic blows, everything is fake AF there, and too many jorts.”

Youngstown, OH

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“It was a major Steel producer in the 1940s, but after the mills shut down, the Mafia had their way with it. Now there’s no reason for it to exist besides a small university, YSU, which the locals call “you screwed up” If you take the sketchiest parts of any major city you’ve been to… that’s all of Youngstown.”

Stockton, California

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Stockton is a less desirable city due to high crime rate, poverty rate, cost of living, and a struggling economy.

“Just got a report of a young lady stabbed to death down the street was the niece of my wife’s coworker. No one knew why she was in that area. It’s still off that it’s right next to a Sikh temple, with very nice people. Yet the apartments on their backside are extremely rough.” a user said.

“I still stand by the 60k homeless; I work with these people day in and out. Homeless dumping to Stockton from other cities has always been a thing. Also, you don’t have to be in a tent to be homeless. A lot of RVs and cars with people sleeping in them.” a Redditor said.

Bakersfield, California

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Bakersfield, California, has recently faced criticism regarding its high crime rate, particularly in areas such as property crime and gang-related violence.

“My buddy got called up to Fresno to do a bunch of jobs (Solar Tech). The first night he stayed, he came out, and his van was broken into, and all the tools were gone. Milwaukee tools too, and for those who don’t know, those are very expensive.” a user said.

“I had a job offer in Bakersfield once. On the tiny flight home, a local couple asked me why I was in town. I told them, asked them their opinions, and they said dear God, don’t move here.” another added.

Camden, New Jersey

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“I passed Camden, NJ on the way to a concert – and we stopped at a light, and a cop drove up and literally told us “just run the reds and go do not stop” and as we turned you would just see groups of people on corners waiting for a stopped car. It was wild.” said one. 

 “I had some work to do out there and was told the same thing. In the area the hospital was in, I was told if I left after 5PM, I’d need an armed escort to the car, and if it was dark, to not stop at red lights. And this was an officer that told me this, not just some random coworker exaggerating stories.” another added.

Houston, Texas

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Houston, Texas, is a large and diverse city, and like many large cities, it has its share of crime.

“A neighborhood in Houston where my parents lived really went downhill. When they would go out of town, I would stay at [the] house so it would not be cleaned out. One weekend I hit the floor many times when the gunshots were close. I really had no idea I could move that fast, and I suddenly was on the floor.” said one.

“Houston’s always been a little weird. Yeah, there are bad neighborhoods, but in some areas, it’s just street by street. You’re perfectly safe going down Street A or C, but if you go down street B at night, you’re going to have a bad time.” another added.

East ST. Louis, Illinois

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“East St Louis is the only city I’ve been in where a cop told me to run every stop sign until I got back to the interstate.” said one.

“Crazy amounts of crime, decrepit businesses, broken down neighborhoods, more crack dens than anything else. It’s rare to have a night without sirens and gunshots. Would rather take my chances in most war zones than in East St. Louis, and I’m a native.” said another.

Jackson, Mississippi

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Jackson, Mississippi, is a city known for property crime, drug-related crime, and violent crime.

 “Very high murder rate, low education, failing infrastructure. EDIT: yes, I know Jackson isn’t a very big city, and it just sticks out as being in bad shape.” a Redditor said.

“This place is by far the worst place I have ever been in the USA. It’s like they literally just stopped funding anything in 1970, and it’s actually really bizarre. “another added.

Miami, Florida

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Miami, Florida, is a large and diverse city, and like many large cities, it has its share of crime.

“Anywhere outside of the nightlife scene is absolutely dangerous. For example, Wynwood, the art district, is LITERALLY in the middle of one of the worst possible neighborhoods. You enter or exit Wynwood from the wrong direction, don’t stop and wait at red lights.” a user said.

“I was born there and lived there until I was nine, and it is the most terrifying place I’ve ever been. A lot of death and violence happened in our hood. Terrible memories and I lost my dad to that city. “another said.

Binghamton, New York

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 Binghamton is considered a depressing city, and Reddit users have something to say about this city.

“Binghamton, NY, was just straight-up depressing. It looked like a ghost town.” said one.

“Ugh, went to undergrad in Binghamton. People love to say it’s in the top 5 most depressing places in the country — they’re probably right.” another added.

Charleston, West Virginia

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Charleston is a city struggling with infrastructure, as per a Redditor.

 “Used to be so vibrant and bustling was supposed to become NYC in the mountains is now a dead zone with a struggling infrastructure and an economy that can’t keep itself afloat. Add on the homeless problem, which makes all of downtown look like a giant skid row.” said one.

 “When I went to a delicious bbq place in Charleston, I drove down a street where every other house had burned down or was in general disrepair. Sobering,” said another.

Baltimore, Maryland

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 Baltimore seems to be a threat of theft. Redditors have something to say about it.

 “while driving, every stoplight seems to require an interaction with two young entrepreneurs spraying raw sewage onto your windshield with a spray bottle and then aggressively demanding money to wipe it off.” a user said.

“Legit. Beat my car with the squeegee and come at me. Glad I broke 50 traffic laws and escaped because they shot someone a week later.” another added.

Phew.. we hope you are now aware of the worst cities to live or travel to in the U.S. Do read about the 8 Overrated U.S. Tourist Destinations to Avoid

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This article originally appeared on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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