Washington state is a beautiful place to live. It’s located in the picturesque Pacific Northwest with the Canadian border to the North and the Pacific Ocean to the west. There are some excellent places to live in Washington, but there are other areas that are best to steer clear of. If you’re looking for a city or town to put down roots there are plenty of good choices, however, some places have hidden drawbacks that you should be aware of. Appearances can be deceptive. We’ve researched the cities in the state that are not good choices because of crime rates, low livability scores, or sagging economies. Here are the 20 worst places in Washington state to live in.
20. Toppenish, WA
Only in Your State contributes its opinions on the worst cities in Washington starting with Toppenish. Toppenish is a small rural town that is situated on the Yakama Indian reservation. This agricultural community has had more than its fair share of violent crimes for its size. Most work in the area is seasonal, and the winter months can be difficult to make ends meet for farm laborers who are waiting for jobs to open up again in the springtime. Residents of Toppenish keep their doors locked at night because of the frequent homicides and robberies in the area.
19. Lakewood, WA
Lakewood is a beautiful city in the western part of the state. It’s surrounded by beautiful scenery and breathtaking landscapes, but this doesn’t give you an accurate picture of the dangers within the city. Although the rate of violent crimes has declined, you still have a 1 in 154 chance of falling victim to a violent crime in this area. The longer you stay, the worse your odds become.
18. Aberdeen, WA
Aberdeen is the previous home of legendary grunge musician Kurt Cobain. The city serves as the main gateway for traffic heading to the beaches on the coast of Washington State, but it’s a place you should keep driving through. Aberdeen has the 14h highest rate of property crimes in the state, and the 7th highest violent crime rate. It’s not a safe place to spend any amount of time in.
17. Seattle, WA
Seattle is the largest city in Washington State and it’s also one of the most beautiful. While the recent takeover of a local police precinct and numerous civil rights protests have led to crime and violence, statistically, it’s still above the top 10 as one of the worst cities to live in. Crime has actually been on a decline, but the odds are still 1 in 147 of becoming a violent crime victim here. It’s not a place you want to let your guard down when visiting, and not a place to put down permanent roots. Long-time Seattle residents are moving away because of the threats to their property and personal safety.
16. Shelton, WA
Shelton is a smaller town that is situated near Hood Canal in Mason County. This western Washington city has been ranked as the 8th most dangerous city in the state because of the number of violent crimes that are committed there. It is the home of a minimum security corrections facility. Property crimes are even worse than the violent crimes in town. There are better places to make a new home in the state.
15. Tacoma, WA
Tacoma is a happy city that is not far From Seattle. In fact, parts of the two major cities seem to merge. There are plenty of opportunities here for entertainment, fine dining, shopping, and recreation. Tacoma frequently holds outdoor music concerts and festivals throughout the warm months. With all of these advantages, it’s hardly worth the worry and risk for your safety. Property crime rates are so high here that the statistic has landed Tacoma in the 10th worst position. Living here, you have a 1 in 115 chance of becoming a violent crime victim.
14. Spokane, WA
Spokane is the largest city in Eastern Washington. It sits near the Idaho state border. It’s a lovely city to visit, and it’s filled with amenities. The biggest problem with Spokane is the rising crime rate. A rise in property and violent crimes make it a less favorable option to move if you have other choices.
13. Tukwila, WA
Tukwila is a city that is always active. Its metropolitan area stretches for miles and runs into the metro areas of nearby cities so they are nearly indistinguishable. It’s not much fun to live in a city that gives you 1 in 137 odds of becoming a violent crime victim. What’s worse about Tukwila is that the stats show that residents have a 1 in 6 chance of having a property crime happen to them. It’s not a very safe place to call home.
12. Quincy, WA
Home Snacks has its own list of the worst cities in Washington state and it starts with Quincy. This is a small rural town with a population of 7,248 residents. Quincy has its issues. Among them is the 11th worst median home value at $133,500, but even worse is the 12.8 percent unemployment rate. Combine that with the fact that it’s out in the middle of nowhere, you’ll be out of a job with nothing to do. Robberies are so high that you stand a 1 in 24.7 chance of getting mugged.
11. Hoquiam, WA
Hoquiam is a coastal town with a population of 8,434. If you thought the home values in Quincy were bad, Hoquiam is the second-worst in the state. The median home value is a mere $96,600. The unemployment rate is sky high at 12.2 percent. Residents who do manage to find a job struggle to make ends meet. The average combined household income in this town is $37,628 a year. It’s almost impossible to make it on these low wages. This puts even working community members at the poverty line.
10. Airway Heights, WA
Airway Heights has moved up on the worst cities in Washington list. It’s been there for a while but it’s getting even worse in this small city of 6,523 residents. The unemployment rate is 9.9 percent which isn’t the worst, but it’s certainly not good. The cost of living is high, but the income levels are a low $41,014 a year. That’s for the combined family income that everyone in the household earns. There aren’t many good jobs in the area. There isn’t much demand for housing because in this small town there isn’t much to do. In addition to being unemployed, you are likely to be bored out of your mind.
9. Centralia, WA
Centralia is a moderate-sized city with a population of 16,729 residents. It’s located off of the main interstate in Western Washington. The home values average $148,900, which is the 15th worst in the state. The unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, which is another grim statistic, but the worst thing about living in Centralia is the high crime rate. It’s one of the worst places to live as it has never recovered in reputation from the infamous 1919 massacre.
8. Union Gap, WA
Union Gap is a smaller community of 6,125 permanent residents. The city is just south of the larger Yakima, and the two cities are joined by a common main street and merge, yet remain distinct and separate entities. Union Gap has the absolute worst home value average at an extremely low $93,700. This tells us that there aren’t many people anxious to move here because the low price indicates that there isn’t much of a demand for housing. Although at first glance Union Gap looks like a peaceful and calm little town, living here is nothing short of a struggle for the residents. Unless you take your business to Yakima, there isn’t much to do here. The average combined household income is a pitiful $37,202 a year. The crime rates aren’t the worst but they’re not good either. It’s a boring and bland place to live while you’re trying to figure out how to pay the next month’s rent.
7. Kelso, WA
Kelso is a city in Western Washington with a population of 11,871 residents. If you’ve considered moving to Kelso you’d better think twice. Although it’s not far from the scenic Mount St. Helens area, it’s not a good place to try to earn a living. More people are trying to get out of Kelso than trying to get in. The average home value of $120,700 is the third-worst in the state. There is almost no demand for housing in the city. It could be because the unemployment rate is a whopping 14.7 percent, which is the third-worst in the state. There are far better places to find in the state if you’re looking for a place to build a career and a future.
6. Longview, WA
Q13 Fox News brings us the final rundown of the worst places to live in Washington. They start with Longview. Longview gets horrendous marks for its high unemployment rate. If you can’t find a job how are you going to put food on the table, or even have a house to put it in? Another drawback is the Narrows Bridge. Traffic gets ugly in this part of town.
5. Parkland, WA
Fox News scoured Road Snacks to find Parkland near the bottom of the barrel of the worst cities in Washington State. The city crashed when it came to its livability score. There isn’t much to do in Parkland, and if you do find a job, it’s probably not going to pay much according to the statistics. There are better places to live than this.
4. Bainbridge Island, WA
Bainbridge Island is even further down in its attributes that would draw a crowd. If you’re looking for a place to go off the grid and hide from the rest of the world, then it might not be so bad. If you actually have a life, you’re going to spend most of it on the commute to and from work. There isn’t any work on the island and you’re going to have to ride the Ferry to town and back home every day. God forbid you should show up late. The town is out in the middle of nowhere and there is not much to do.
3. Bremerton, WA
Bremerton is the home of the famed naval shipyards. This port city was at one time a beautiful and fun place to live, but those were different times. Road Snacks gives this city the thumbs down because the crime rates are so unreasonably high that they make the city tank to the bottom 20 percent of all cities in the state. Plus the Ferry ride to anywhere gets old fast.
2. Port Orchard, WA
Port Orchard scored so low that it made us feel sorry for the residents. This small town is in a serious economic crisis. Sure, there are houses available there, the problem is that nobody wants to live there. Port Angeles joins Bremerton, it’s neighbor in sinking to the bottom 20 percent of the cities because of its skyrocketing unemployment rates, vacant housing, and high crime rates.
1. Port Angeles, WA
Port Angeles is a small college town that sprang up in the middle of nowhere. You must take a Ferry to get to Port Angeles, which makes it a terrible commute to anywhere. The unemployment rates are high, and so is the crime rate. Like Port Orchard, there is a lot of vacant housing here.