A 24/7 Wall Street survey has fourth-place St. Louis being barely edged out by the likes of Detroit and Flint, Michigan, for the unwelcome honor of being the nation’s worst city to live in. Kansas City, Kansas, came in 49th which would give the city room to crow if there were only 50 cities in the competition. Problem is there were 550.
24/7 Wall St. considered cities with more than 65,000 residents in 2015. Researchers collected and evaluated data in nine major categories: crime, demography, economy, education, environment, health, housing, infrastructure, and leisure. Unfortunately for the cities in the Top 50, the final results makes sense. Detroit, for instance, comes in first.
St. Louis performed badly across the board. “Decades of manufacturing decline, white flight, and exclusionary zoning in St. Louis have led to some of the worst urban decay, racial segregation, and income inequality of any major city today,” say the researchers with some accuracy.
As a consequence, nearly 25 percent of St. Louis residents live in poverty, nearly twice the national average. St. Louis. Worse, it has the highest violent crime rate of any U.S. city with nearly one in fifty people being victimized each year.
Although less celebrated for its crime, Springfield, Missouri, is very nearly as poor and almost as violent at St. Louis. Its violent crime, in fact, is three times the national average.
On the plus side in the worst city competition, Kansas City, Kansas, has very affordable housing, the median home price in the city being less than half the national average. Things go downhill from there. “There are fewer bars, libraries, recreational centers, museums, and hotels per capita in Kansas City than there are in the U.S. as a whole,” the researchers observe. “There are just 120 restaurants per 100,000 Kansas City residents, among the fewest food establishments per capita of any U.S. city.” And these figures include Village West.