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The 20 Worst Cities to Live in England

London, United Kingdom

England is full of scenic locations and exciting cities; however, not all places in the United Kingdom are nice places to live. Areas with high crime, filth, or other issues can be offputting. So, what are the 20 worst cities in England, and what makes them so bad?

What Makes These Cities the Worst?

These areas have been ranked by people in the United Kingdom in a large poll; however, this article combines the details of that poll with factors like crime rates, amenities, socioeconomic factors, and attractions that influence the well-being of the people who live in these places and how nice it is to live in these places. High crime rates and economic struggles are commonly linked to cities being worse.

While many people who live in these areas are proud of their homes, there are also prominent issues that impact the overall well-being of people in these areas.

How Has This Data Been Collected?

Every effort has been made to create a list that uses various data points to highlight what it is like to live in each place on this list. This list utilizes a 2023 I Live Here poll that ranks the top 50 places to live in England. These rankings have been used to compile twenty of the worst places to live in England.

While the poll uses feedback from individuals, it has been supplemented with data about crime, population, and living standards in these areas.

Information for population data has been sourced from City Population, which compiles information using sources like UK census data from the UK Office for National Statistics. Crime statistics have been sourced from CrimeRate, which collects data about cities and towns and creates a crime scorecard. Finally, information collected from Varbes informs economic and other demographic information.

20. Cheshunt

Cheshunt is a town in Hertfordshire, England, and it is around 14 miles north of London. Thus, it is a popular commuter town for many people who work in London or want to be close enough to London without actually being in London. It has a twinned town in France.

Fast Facts

  • Population 48,075
  • Crime per 1000 people 60
  • Violent crime rate 23

19. Croydon

Croydon is a South London town, and it is known for its commercial area. It has lots of shopping and many late-night entertainment spots. This area helps connect London and the southern coast of England, so lots of transportation goes through it. Rent prices in Croydon are higher than most area in the UK. General crime rates are about average, but theft and violent crime are higher than average.

Fast Facts

  • Population 390,506
  • GDP per capita £29,428
  • Unemployment rate 3.6
  • Crime per 1000 people 88.42
  • Violent crime rate 29.25

18. Oxford

Oxford is a location in Oxfordshire, England, and it is settled about 60 miles between London and Birmingham, and Bristol. It is known for publishing, education, technology, and manufacturing.

It was originally settled in the Saxon period, and it is all types of architecture in England from that period onward. People in Oxford tend to be more educated than average. However, rental and house costs are high. Additionally, crime rates, including theft crime and violent crime are higher than in most areas.

Fast Facts

  • Population 160,021
  • GDP per capita £45,588
  • Unemployment rate 4
  • Crime per 1000 people 35.07
  • Violent crime rate 101.62

17. Coventry

As a city in West Midlands, England, Coventry is located on the River Sherburne, and it became a city in the Middle Ages, so it has a long history. It is one of the biggest cities in the Midlands, and it is just a little smaller than Birmingham. The unemployment rate in this area is high as are other factors like violent and theft crime.

Fast Facts

  • Population 343,320
  • GDP per capita £31,714
  • Unemployment rate 6.1
  • Crime per 1000 people 120.43
  • Violent crime rate 51.42

16. Liverpool

As the fifth largest metropolitan area in England, Liverpool is a well-known city, and it has a huge cultural impact. It is known as the home of the Beatles as well as noted as an industrial city, but it has become more art-driven because of its cultural legacy. Liverpool has high crime rates, and crime trends are ticked upwards. However, home and rent prices are more affordable than in other areas.

Fast Facts

  • Population 484,488
  • GDP per capita £31,429
  • Unemployment rate 3.3
  • Crime per 1000 people 153.09
  • Violent crime rate 59.53

15. Kensington & Chelsea

Kensington & Chelsea is a London borough that has royal status. It is a small district, and it contains many wealthy areas like Chelsea and Kensington. It is perhaps most known for being the home to Kensington Palace, which is one of the royal residences in Britain. This area is significantly more expensive than most other area. Due to its urban location, it has higher crime rates.

Fast Facts

  • Population 143,940
  • GDP per capita £73,364
  • Unemployment rate 4.9
  • Crime per 1000 people 142.25
  • Violent crime rate 30.71

14. Birmingham

As the second biggest of all metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom, Birmingham is the hub of the West Midlands. This area is around 100 miles from London. It is an area of cultural, financial, and commercial prominence. In this area, crime rates are higher than average, but house and rental prices are more affordable than average area in England, which can be appealing to some people.

Fast Facts

  • Population 1,142,494
  • GDP per capita £26,765
  • Unemployment rate 7.7
  • Crime per 1000 people 140.81
  • Violent crime rate 62.05

13. Henley-On-Thames

Located in Oxfordshire, Henley-On-Thames is a town about 7 miles from the nearby Reading. Archeologists have determined that people have lived in this area since the second century. Thus, this area is known for its rowing center and historic charm. It is the 2,349th most dangerous place in all cities and towns in England.

Fast Facts

  • Population 12,186
  • Crime per 1000 people 60
  • Violent crime rate 23

12. Reading

Reading is a town located in Berkshire, England, where the Thames and Kennet rivers meet. As a commercial center, Reading has a huge emphasis on industries like insurance and information technology. It also has religious significance because it was the home to Reading Abbey, which was a prominent monastery. Buying a house or renting is relatively expensive in this area, and crime rates are increasing, but they are not increasing as intensely as in some areas.

Fast Facts

  • Population 173,170
  • GDP per capita £47,214
  • Unemployment rate 3.3
  • Crime per 1000 people 107.59
  • Violent crime rate 38.69

11. High Wycombe

High Wycombe is located in Buckinghamshire, and it is about 8 miles north of Reading and 29 miles from London. It is known for its market on High Street, which has been around since the Middle Ages. They are also known for having a rich history in the furniture industry. It is one of the worst areas for robbery in Buckinghamshire, and the overall crime rate is higher than

Fast Facts

  • Population 127,856
  • Crime per 1000 people 80
  • Violent crime rate 34

10. Bradford

Bradford is one of the most populated areas in England, and it is the 7th most populated area in the whole country. This city grew as an industrial center, and it is known for textile manufacturing, especially wool. The fall of the wool industry in Bradford has caused economic hardship and social challenges the city has had to manage. The good news is that rent and home prices are fairly affordable in Bradford; however, crime is rising, and there are higher instances of crime than the average rate.

Fast Facts

  • Population 546,976
  • GDP per capita £20,650
  • Unemployment rate 5.8
  • Crime per 1000 people 138.75
  • Violent crime rate 62.43

9. Bournemouth

Located in Dorset, England, Bournemouth is a coastal town that was once part of Hampshire. It has lots of Victorian architecture, and St. Peter’s Church is a landmark. Because it is near beaches, it is a popular vacation destination, but it also has a booming business. The crime rates in Bournemouth are significantly higher than in other areas in Dorset at large.

Fast Facts

  • Population 200,916
  • Crime per 1000 people 92
  • Violent crime rate 40

8. Swindon

Swindon is a town in Wiltshire. It started as a small town, but with the railroad, it grew. It continued to grow after WWII because people were leaving London in the mid-twentieth century and going to other towns like Swindon. Swindon is about normal on its average salary and unemployment rate, and the overall crime rate is about average compared to the surrounding area.

Fast Facts

  • Population 233,713
  • GDP per capita £42,873
  • Unemployment rate 5.4
  • Crime per 1000 people 68.20
  • Violent crime rate 29.08

7. Andover

Andover is a town in Hampshire located on the River Anton. It has sister cities in France, Germany, and the United States. The Ministry of Defence is the main employer in Andover, so it has an important role in military operations. It also has cultural and political hotspots. The crime rate in Andover makes it dangerous for a town of its size, and its violent crime rate is significant.

Fast Facts

  • Population 47,299
  • Crime per 1000 people 91
  • Violent crime rate 59

6. Aldershot

Aldershot is a town in Hampshire at the northeast corner. It is often referred to as the “Home of the British Army.” The army’s influence allowed Aldershot to go from being a small town to a much more prominent town starting in the Victorian era. It is now the 30th biggest area in England. The crime rate is slightly lower than other crime rates in Hampshire.

Fast Facts

  • Population 62,938
  • Crime per 1000 people 75
  • Violent crime rate 35

5. Aylesbury

Aylesbury is a Buckinghamshire town in South East England. This town is known as the central point between Milton Keynes and High Wycombe. It is known for landmarks like the Waterside Theatre and Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery. This area has higher crime rates than the average in Buckinghamshire. It has the worse drug crimes in its region.

Fast Facts

  • Population 87,135
  • Crime per 1000 people 80
  • Violent crime rate 36

4. Slough

Slough is located in Berkshire, England, which is near Greater London. It is close to both London and Reading. Because it was a good spot for trade and foreign labor, it is one of the most diverse places in the United Kingdom. It has many notable businesses with offices in this area, such as Lego, DHL, Burger King, McAfee, and Blackberry. Compared areas in the region, housing and rental prices are about average.

Fast Facts

  • Population 158,289
  • GDP per capita £60,099
  • Unemployment rate 7.0
  • Crime per 1000 people 105.59
  • Violent crime rate 40.74

3. Portsmouth

Portsmouth is located in Hampshire, which is in Southern England. It’s about 70 miles southwest of London and it is about 19 miles from Southampton. Most of the city is located on Portsea Island, making it the only city in England that is not on the mainland of England. Vehicle offenses are a rapidly growing type of crime in this area, while violent crime has also been growing. This area has relatively affordable housing.

Fast Facts

  • Population 216,349
  • GDP per capita £33,192
  • Unemployment rate 6.1
  • Crime per 1000 people 136.29
  • Violent crime rate 59.21

2. Peterborough

Peterborough is a town that’s about 76 miles north of London, and it is located on the River Nene. As an official cathedral city, residents are often proud of its status, even though the status has no real value. Humans have lived in this area since the Bronze Era. The unemployment rate in this area is relatively low, but the crime rate is higher than average, including the violent crime rate and theft crime.

Fast Facts

  • Population 216,349
  • GDP per capita £33,178
  • Unemployment rate 2.8
  • Crime per 1000 people 106.7
  • Violent crime rate 41.78

1. Luton

Luton is a town in Bedfordshire, England. It is approximately 30 miles from London. The town is settled on the River Lea, which is a focal point of the area. The hat-making industry is one of the most important historic industries in the area. The average salary and unemployment rate are about average in this area, and the percentage of the population with a higher education degree is lower than the UK average.

Fast Facts

  • Population 224,826
  • GDP per capita £26,852
  • Unemployment rate 5.6%
  • Crime per 1000 people 88.76
  • Violent crime rate 33.59

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Lily Wordsmith

Written by Lily Wordsmith

Lily Wordsmith is a freelance writer who has had a love affair with the written word for decades. You can find her writing blog posts and articles while sitting under a tree at the local park watching her kids play, or typing away on her tablet in line at the DMV. In addition to her freelance career, she is pursuing ebook writing with an ever-growing repertoire of witty ebooks to her name. Her diversity is boundless, and she has written about everything from astrobotany to zookeepers. Her real passions are her family, baking desserts and all things luxe.

Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith

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